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                                                                                                                                                 Ann I. Nygren

                          If you’ve never seen the         material, attend webinars, or engage in other        tracting with a Marketing Automation vendor)
                          half-crazed look people get      activities. This allows a prospect to learn more     but here’s how my friend described his expecta-
                          in their eyes when they          about a property while simultaneously giving         tions:
                          adopt a game-changing            the marketer an opportunity to measure their            “Generally speaking, only about 25% of
                          technology, try striking up      interest and determine whether they’re ready to      organically generated leads are going to be sales
                          a conversation with a mar-       be called upon or presented with more of a           ready and prepared to make a purchase deci-
                          keting       wonk      about     “closing” marketing message.                         sion. Of the 75% that are not sales ready, 90%
                          Marketing Automation.               The great thing about a Marketing                 will usually drift away before sales/marketing
                          You’ll see it firsthand. I did   Automation platform is that even small mar-          is able to reengage them in a conventional sales
     about a week ago while chatting with a friend         keting departments can use it to apply sophis-       process. With Marketing Automation, some
     from the insurance industry. When the subject         ticated, multi-touch nurturing campaigns to          marketers are reporting a 40% increase in the
     of sales leads came up, it set him off on an evan-    their lead-gen programs with a relatively low        number of sales ready leads they are able to
     gelical rant about the virtues of Marketing           investment. And, unlike simply mailing or            generate from the same pipeline.”
     Automation and how it is “transforming our            emailing to a segmented list, Marketing                 Obviously these results are going to differ by
     entire approach to leads management.”                 Automation incorporates dynamic behavior             company and the skill with which they use the
        Unlike a lot of marketers, his problem was         tracking that uses a scoring system to establish     tool. But the logic is sound: “You’ll end up
     not generating leads – his problem was verify-        if a lead is “sales ready”. The behavior and         delivering fewer overall leads to your “closers”,
     ing that the leads he has were sales ready. Too       resulting score triggers a behavior-specific nur-    but the quality will improve, as will your mar-
     many were not, and he knew if the situation           turing sequence that suits their position in the     keting team’s willingness to follow-up on
     didn’t improve, the managers and department           sales funnel. The scores are based on parameters     them.”
     heads he worked with in other areas of the com-       assigned by whoever is running the system, but          I have to admit, my friend’s enthusiasm
     pany would be lukewarm to new marketing               the best-practice approach is to involve both        piqued my interest, but I wondered aloud how
     initiatives.                                          sales/promotions and marketing in defining           it might apply to the gaming and leisure
        “Our direct-purchase leads were all solid and      what constitutes ‘sales ready’ lead characteris-     industry. “Marketing Automation would be
     sales ready, but the leads we were generating         tics (of course, in smaller resort or gaming         particularly useful in a business where you
     through paid search – or organically on our           properties, these functions are frequently inte-     want to be able to segment your list by cus-
     website – were so overwhelmingly not sales            grated in one department)..                          tomer type and run targeted email campaigns
     ready, we were doing a lot of ‘wheel spinning’           When set up correctly, as the leads progress      based on their needs and expectations,” he
     in our direct mail and email campaigns.”              through the process, their scores increase. Once     replied. What makes these systems a huge leap
        His marketing messages were rolling off the        a score rises to a point at which it’s deemed        forward from traditional email marketing soft-
     backs of ice-cold or otherwise unsellable             “sales ready,” the lead is trafficked out to the     ware is that the tool can keeping track of exact-
     prospects. They weren’t seeing the kind of ROI        “closer” (say, the resort spa manager, or the per-   ly what prospects are responding to and pro-
     they needed. It was a problem he knew he              son in charge of VIP promotions). Marketing is       vide them with the most appropriate offer.
     needed to address quickly. Hence the                  happy because they remediated a potentially          Marketers Marketing to Marketers:
     Marketing Automation effort.                          dead lead. Prospects are happy because they’re
                                                           not being contacted before they’re ready.            Your Lessons Begin at Opt-In
     Prospect Nurturing 101                                Department heads are happy because the leads         If any of this is making sense to you – and if
     At its most basic level, Marketing Automation         they are calling on are verifiably prepared to       you work with direct marketing in some fash-
     technology provides tools for marketers to take       make a purchase decision. Everybody wins.            ion, I expect it will – you’re probably wonder-
     non-sales-ready leads and “nurture” them until           The figures on exactly how much you can           ing how you can get your head around the
     they are ready to be called upon. Nurturing           expect to improve marketing campaign conver-         issue. The good news is Marketing Automation
     activities can include a series of persuasive         sion rates differ from one study to the next (def-   is probably the most instructive purchasing
     emails, invitations to download informational         initely do your own due diligence before con-        processes you’ll ever experience.

38       GAMING & LEISURE                                                  SPRING 2011                                                     702.547.4545
                                                    MARKETING AUTOMATION – WHY ALL THE KIDS ARE DOING IT

   Here’s how my friend put it: “Shopping for a      case study on how a Marketing Automation             calls won’t be the “nails on a chalk board”
Marketing Automation system feels like evalu-        campaign can be used. No need to waste money         you’re used to getting from unsolicited sources,
ating a gun by letting a salesmen use you for        buying books about Marketing Automation: A           because it’s addressing a genuine need or inter-
target practice.” The moment you visit a ven-        tidal wave of material will be thrown at you for     est. If you get it right, your own sales efforts
dor’s website – Eloqua, Silverpop, Marketo, et       free. The three vendors mentioned above deliv-       could sound just as over-the-top engaging.
al. – and identify yourself as a prospect, the       er beautifully on the promise of their teaser        Imagine that.
very thing you’re shopping for will get pointed      emails and provide more helpful information
strait at you.                                       than you can possibly hope to process.               Ann I. Nygren is a principal and owner of Key
   You’ll immediately receive invitations to            The next round of learning begins when you        Consulting/Software (KCS), an IT consulting
download white papers, read free book chapters       proceed far enough down their automated sales        company focused on gaming and hospitality
on eMarketing, and participate in webinars and       funnel for your lead score to trigger sales calls.   applications ranging from Infinium and
so on. It may feel overwhelming at first, but        You will experience how polished these sales         Agilysys (LMS & Stratton Warren) to Bally,
once you get past the ‘I’m-being-targeted’ feel-     processes are on a new level. Between their          Aristocrat, and SOX compliance. KCS pro-
ing, you’ll notice that the emails you’re receiv-    Marketing Automation system and CRM, their           vides IT professionals who assist in installa-
ing are very relevant to what you’re trying to       reps will know exactly which of their materials      tion & upgrades, customization, interfacing
do: Learn enough about the various Marketing         you’ve downloaded, which webinars you’ve             and the creation of unique client-specific soft-
Automation platforms to make an informed             attended…,and pretty much every other touch          ware. Ann can be reached at
purchase decision.                                   point you’ve interacted with.
   Another benefit of the information overload          It all leads to a very informed discussion
is that it provides an invaluable, comparative       about your needs. Chances are good these sales

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