Marketing Automation and Outsourced Campaign Execution: Streamlining campaign process to results
You’ve worked hard to put together the marketing automation team in your company; why would you want to outsource some of the responsibilities in running it? The easiest way to answer that question is with an example, and a great case study to share with you is our very first campaign execution client, NetApp.
As the manager of DemandGen’s NetApp Campaign Execution Services Team for the Americas, I manage a great team of 9 dedicated campaign experts. This year we’re celebrating our fifth anniversary doing the execution piece of all of NetApp’s marketing automation campaigns. What that means is that NetApp’s internal marketing team comes up with a campaign ideas and develops the campaign plan—but then they get to turn over all the nitty-gritty marketing automation systems work to us to get those emails built and sent out!
How It Works
Through experience, DemandGen has developed a very streamlined and effective campaign execution process that gives our clients a painless way to get their projects completed.
- Request process. Using a campaign ticketing system, our client requests assets to be built for an upcoming e-mail campaign. We work with the marketer directly to make sure we have all the pieces we need to put the email campaign together.
- Templates. We’ve built an extensive library of templates for NetApp that enables us to have one for all of NetApp’s campaign types, which are approved by NetApp’s brand team. The ticketing system allows the marketer to indicate which template to use as well.
- Development. Specialized campaign developers on our team flow content into the proper templates, and provide advice and recommendations on look and feel to the NetApp marketer to help create the most effective emails. Within one to two business days, it’s back to the requester to review all the information. The developer and marketer go back and forth to make changes and edits, until the requester says it’s good to go: all that happens in just two and a half days typically.
- Quality assurance. The DemandGen Quality Assurance Specialist reviews everything to make sure that not only did the marketer get what was requested, but also that the links are going to the right places, the front- and back-end processes are working correctly, and everything is following NetApp brand identity.
- List management. A list manager on our team works with the marketer to build the list segmentation (the distribution list), including approval for the list count.
- Deployment. Deploying a campaign isn’t a matter of just pushing the “send” button! We work extensively with the marketer on various issues like throttling the number of sends, segmentation refinement, subject line testing, and other points. Then, when NetApp gives the go-ahead, we do “push the button.” We also manage the marketing campaign calendar to ensure a contact will not get more than one email a day from NetApp.
- Metrics. Reports are put onto the marketers’ dashboard so they can watch registration for an event, see who is clicking on what links, how many people opened the email, etc. The experts on our team can evenhelp analyze the numbers to understand if a campaign was a success, and offer suggestions on how to improve the campaign.
- Onboarding. When new people are hired in NetApp marketing, we train them on the campaign request process so they understand how to use the ticketing system and how our two teams collaborate. I find out what kind of campaigns they are going to use, and give them specific documentation we’ve created for the kind of requests they are going to be making, to help them get started.
NetApp is a big company with a lot of moving parts, and a global reach. That means that our Campaign Execution Team in the Americas receives 80-100 campaign tickets every month along with building numerous nurturing campaigns throughout the year, and working on two to three major product launches annually.
Each major product launch campaign takes about two months to complete from start to finish, and includes a host of activities and requirements. Our team is responsible for:
- Building three to six emails per Americas region—usually totaling around 18
- Creating new templates for other geographical regions to leverage
- Creating multiple forms, confirmation emails, and programs
- Developing very complicated list segmentation
If all this sounds like a lot of work—you’re right! Companies like NetApp hire DemandGen for campaign execution because it IS a lot of work and they’d rather have their marketing team focus on the marketing strategy, programs, and content rather than the systems and tactical work to get the campaigns built, tested, and launched.
When you hire the DemandGen campaign execution team, your campaign worries are gone. You talk to one person and say what you need, and it gets done. Flawlessly. With NetApp, I’m responsible for putting the DemandGen team together, hiring the right people, creating the processes, building the templates, making the team as efficient as possible so that SLAs are met, working with the brand team, and making sure that things get done right.
The campaign volume has steadily increased over the past five years, but NetApp never has to worry about resourcing to keep up with marketing needs; our team has grown to accommodate the volume. We interview and test potential candidates, negotiate employment contracts, on-board the new hires, provide extensive training for new staff so they can develop and deliver at the highest service level, and manage those resources.
When a company looks at outsourcing, the key is that the benefit has to be greater than the expense. NetApp knows the benefits they are getting from us exceed the expense for our services. But done right, outsourcing shouldn’t feel like the people you’re working with are “outside” the company. In fact, a lot of people at NetApp do not realize that our campaign execution team is DemandGen! They think we are part of the NetApp marketing automation team—and to all intents and purposes we ARE an extension of that team.
I feel that my job is to help our partners at NetApp be heroes, and it’s a job I love—it’s really rewarding. Chad Granoff on my team had a good analogy: “The DemandGen NetApp team is truly a great team—it’s like a great basketball team. You bring the ball up the court, strategically pass it around, and finally, you shoot to score. Everyone is there to help, and at the end of the game, NetApp wins. Together, we’re unstoppable competitors with the best track record.”
Brenda Gonzales is a highly experienced e-mail campaign execution manager. As the team lead of DemandGen’s NetApp Campaign Execution Services team in the Americas, she manages nine dedicated people, and works with the client closely to gather information, understand requirements, and implement e-mail campaigns containing different levels of initiatives. She also created the campaign execution process that ensures quality and on-time delivery, and contributes expertise to DemandGen’s campaign execution service offerings.