Forget Tech Features: Marketing Automation is All About Strategy

Author: Thomas Halter

Kenny Van Beeck belongs to the Belgian generation of pioneers in marketing automation.

Marketing automation is a fantastic concept that can give businesses a serious competitive edge by connecting with their users in a personal way, and thus learning about what the consumers expect from their favourite brands. Kenny Van Beeck has been providing Emakina’s clients with his CRM & marketing automation expertise for many years, and belongs to the Belgian generation of pioneers in the field, with over 20 years of experience with all the big players. So, we decided to ask him a few questions about how brands can optimise their marketing automation strategies…

– Hello Kenny, I heard somewhere that you have precious tips for brands looking for marketing automation solutions…
– Well, you heard right then! But the first thing I would say to these brands is: don’t look for solutions until you’ve found a strategy that fits your needs.

– Why is strategy so essential?
– Because brands need a strategy before they even start window-shopping for technical solutions. The biggest error is to make decisions based on the technological-features-to-price ratio of the solutions out there. This is a recipe for disaster. Once you know what you need to do and how you’re going to do it, then you can think about technology properly. Or at least, if you’ve already chosen a technology, then think about how you are going to meet your needs within that technology. You need to know what the job is before you choose the right tool to do it. This approach works for most things in marketing – and in life!

“Technology without strategy is like a monkey with a gun. Useless at best, dangerous at worst.”

– Okay, so what’s the best approach then?
– What we use here at Emakina is, of course, a full-service agency approach. I think it serves our clients best and they’re all very happy about their ROI. Basically, we begin with a 2-day workshop with the client to understand their needs and goals. This allows us to design a strategy that will determine the technology, the tools, and all the following steps that will ensure success for their brands. Marketing automation uses fantastic technologies and very powerful tools, but it’s still, first and foremost, marketing.

– And once the strategy is in place, what’s next?
– Once we’ve designed a strategy together with our client, everything can move quite quickly, working in sprints. In Belgium, Emakina mainly works with two technologies, SalesForce and Selligent. It’s a choice we made: one of unmatched expertise in these solutions by partners we work very closely with. But the agency can rely on experts in other technologies in other countries. Anyway, the point is that we know these tools very, very well, and so we can set them up, take care of the installation, IP warmups, authentication processes, databases, and all the other technical aspects, to allow our clients to rapidly get used to the practical aspects, thanks to the training we provide. Once we’re done, they know what we built, why we built it like that, and exactly how to use it.

“We build programs for marketeers, by marketeers.”

– So they just press “send” and bye-bye, it’s over?
– (Laughs) No, far from it. It only begins! Being a full-service agency, we can provide our clients with a real competitive edge: we work in the long term with them, as partners. Besides training and technical support, we accompany them with our content production power! We have extremely talented, creative people in-house who can deliver outstanding design, copy, videos, landing pages, newsletters, emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, templates… you name it! These are all the pieces that turn a well-thought-out journey into an awesome user experience.

– What’s in it for brands?
– Well, this is how users become loyal to brands because they see the added value and what’s in it for them! As we get to know and understand them better, we offer them what they expect and sometimes more. Ties between brands and their users can become much stronger and more durable when a good product or service is supported by great CRM. It’s in the name! Customer. Relationship. Management. And what is true for our client’s brands and their users is true for us and our clients.

– What do you mean? How does Emakina ensure good client relationships?
– Well, of course, we don’t just deliver, bill, then disappear! With agile methods, it’s almost organic: we have weekly follow-up calls with our clients, provide technical support, we go through reports and KPIs, then we adapt and optimise constantly. Finetuning is an essential part of our projects. And every month, we have a one-day session where, based on reporting, we decide with the client what the next steps will be. This collaborative approach ensures short-term actions serve long-term objectives. Because you probably don’t want marketing automation if you cannot see beyond the short-term. Your imperatives probably lie elsewhere in such a case…

You can contact Kenny to ask him all your marketing automation questions, set up a meeting or a call, or just tell him you found his insight useful via KEB@emakina.com

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