When I became an entrepreneur, I realized the importance of email marketing to nurture community and then convert them to clients. There is a huge opportunity here marketing tech help COEs nurtures upskill their community to help them create engaging and informative dashboards. This article will address the what, why, and how of using elements of a martech stack in your COE practice.
But first, what am I talking about when I refer to martech? It's marketing technology like email marketing, quizzes, client relationship management software. So why do you need this martech stack?
Have you ever thought of how your wish you had more data on your users to better meet their needs?
Are you supporting soooo many users with a lean team and it's tough to manage all the touchpoints?
You have allllll the ideas of what you want to do and there's just not enough time between
taking care of your community and your other initiatives?
Or perhaps your new users don't know how to get started and what some good resources are.
Marketing technology allows you to better understand your community to serve them while allowing you to work on other priorities. Before moving on to the thee the how of martech, I want to address a very real concern; data privacy, which some people will say is a reason why they cannot use martech.
Specifically, this post will briefly cover GDPR, the (European) General Data Protection Regulation. The spirit and intent of GDPR is to ensure protection and privacy of people's data. As a result, companies took several measures to ensure compliance. In May 2018 when GDPR went into effect, marketing tech companies included GDPR as a consideration when people provide their email address to opt-in to email lists. Additionally, if your company needs to comply with GDPR, they likely have robust data and privacy policies that provide direction and coverage for your COE's activities. GDPR also affords individuals the ability to have their personal records deleted, which you can do. In reviewing the regulations, personal data is defined as any information related to an identified information, for example, an account number or email. Basically, personal data is like personally identifiable information (PII), meaning that used alone or combination with other relevant data, information used to identify a person. What's the bottom line when it comes to PII and GDPR? Your company must comply, but don't think of it as a barrier.
Now's a great time for a legal disclaimer. Don't consider this information legal advice, it's just the interpretation and understanding of a former bank examiner who had to supervise banks at the beginning of GDPR implementation.
The second reason people may say why they can't implement marketing technologies; their community doesn't want their data collected.
This reason is just begging for data collection and analysis. Is that ACTUALLY a reason, or is that just a few people who don't want their data collected? Survey your people to see where they stand and if it is an issue, just share that they'll receive general, not personalized content that would be relevant to them.
Now that we've covered why you might use marketing technologies, what they are, and covered data privacy concerns, let's discuss who can use marketing technologies.
Do you need to have a multi-million dollar company to use martech?
No. I use it with my own company that has revenue of less than $100k. I'll cover costs in this post to also provide you some idea of how a company of any size can use these technologies to their benefit. With as little as $100, you can make a big impact.
A Simple Stack
There are two components to a simple stack; email capture and email marketing. Email capture can be done in a variety of ways:
1. A license request.
2. A sign up form. Got a google form? You can use this to capture emails.
3. A quiz. This is my favorite by far.
For a license request and a sign up form, make sure the opt-in is part of the form so that your users consent to receiving updates and tips from your COE on a [insert timeframe here] basis. They should be actively checking a box or entering their name and email, the two most important pieces of information.
IKYK that quizzes are an amazing tool for businesses. The reason why is that they help the quiz taker learn more about themselves and they help the business learn more about the quiz taker. Quizzes can also capture emails. Make no mistake, it doesn't have to be a boring quiz. Think of the Buzzfeed style quiz that people love. You can adapt that for your use. Don't worry, this isn't about finding out which Disney princess you are (one of the most popular quizzes of all time). You can create a quiz that will help you assess skill level, for example. Tableau has done this with their learnings paths and the personalized results (recommended paths) are a great example of how the quiz can be used.
The second part of the stack is arguably the most powerful. Email marketing. Only it's not email marketing like businesses use to sell us their goods, we're using it to provide value and "sell" people into the appropriate courses and programs we have developed. Email marketing is performed via an email service provider (ESP), like Mail Chimp, Mailerlite, Salesforce, ConvertKit, etc.
If you use email groups like 'User Group Members' or 'Viz Creators' you might be wondering, "Why can't I just use my groups?" An ESP gives you more flexibility and more power than an email group ever could. With an ESP, you can set up an onboarding sequence when someone gets their license so that you can set your community up for success. And if you have more information about them (say, from a quiz), you can create tags that can be applied to each person.
So, if you just need to send your creators who have advanced skills an email? No problem!
Want to send beginners a series to email to help them up level? No problem!
Want to send user group members who are interested in speaking an email? You guessed it, no problem!
As you can see from these examples, you wouldn't create or request all of these groups in outlook/gmail or through your IT. With an ESP, you can deliver more relevant and engaging content that supports your users with what they need and are interested in.
At this point, you might be thinking, "this sounds great, but how much does it costs? Can I ACTUALLY get it approved for use? And, will this actually make me more effective or efficient?" The answers are: it doesn't have to cost a lot, you might have to build a case (but hopefully this post will help with that), and yes.
Email service providers range in costs from bare-bones free versions like Mail Chimp if your list is small. I actually prefer and recommend Mailerlite because it's cost effective at approximately $120 for a list of up to 1,000 subscribers. There are more expensive ESPs out there and your company may already be using one that you can create a sub-account for. For a quiz, I recommend using a quiz platform, my favorite (and in full transparency, one that I'm a strategic partner with), Interact is a great tool and costs approximately $225/year. The total monetary costs per year for this simple stack starts at $345 per year. Totally reasonable!
Will these tools make you more efficient and effective? When used correctly, yes. Imagine all the data you can collect without having to a lot of unnecessary interviews (save those interviews for when they're really needed). The cost of confusion and multi-tasking can be high. You don't want your users to be confused on their Dataviz journey, so providing them the resources they needed in a scheduled, automated means, is helpful for them and you...so that you can help users with real-time problems or work on priorities without having to answer emails around how people can get started.
Depending on your organization, you may need to build a business case for these tools. That's a great opportunity to flesh out your strategy to ensure it's right for you, but hopefully all of the information in this introductory article can help you build a business case.
I'll plan to delve into each of these tools in future posts, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
PS: This post contains affiliated link. It's no additional cost to you and if you want a comparison of different tools, I'm happy to help.
Helping people and organizations begin their data visualization and Tableau journey. I'm a fan of training, Tableau, data viz, my kids, cupcakes, and karate.