You don’t have to look very far to find someone raving about how their Marketing Automation campaigns are blowing the doors off their previous campaigns. They should be, they’re great. Gone are the days where marketers load one list into their email tool and blast the same message to their entire list. One click of the button will send millions of emails.

Enter tools like Marketo and Exact Target for the enterprise or MixPanel and Vero to help small businesses communicate with their customers based on events, actions or timelines. Marketing Automation campaigns are great for on-boarding, retention, cart abandonment (if you’re a retailer), and re-marketing to mention a few. Email personalization was one of the key trends for marketers heading into 2015.  In fact, here are some of the articles from PardotMarketing ProfsDirect Marketing News the list goes on and on.

Still to this day, marketing blogs are hammering savvy email managers to optimize the crap out of their audience segments by focusing every message to the individual. In many cases, it’s working. If you’re not using it yet, you should, because the email performance is off the charts in almost every metric if you’re deploying them properly. So why did I title this post saying it will fail? Because all good things come to an end.

3 Reasons Why Marketing Automation Will Fail

  1. Consumers Are Catching On
    Yes, consumers will fall into your optimization trap and finally do the action you were wanting them to do… but they’re catching on. ‘Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll get a 10% off coupon tomorrow if I leave this in my cart’ or ‘Did this sales person really email exactly 24 hours later?’. Part of me wonders if the marketing community is just training consumers to hold out for just a little longer because maybe they’ll get a better offer. Could this be leading to some of the fall off when it comes to marketing automation performance?
  2. Bad Marketers Are Going to Ruin It for Everyone
    According to SimilarTech, nearly 400,000 websites are using some type of marketing automation for customer acquisition or retention. Now imagine all the different types of campaigns these companies are sending to leads, new customers, infrequent visitors and power users, etc. We’re talking billions of emails here. Getting your message to stick out within the inbox is now harder than ever due to the sheer volume of messages customers are receiving. Why would a user click on your marketing or promotional message
  3. Messages Are What the Marketers Want to Communicate
    The big one…. 95% or more of marketing automation campaigns are sent because the marketer wants the user to do a specific action. It’s not what the user wants to receive. Automation campaigns are most frequently used when a user drops out of some type of sales, lead acquisition or purchase funnel. The email is the mechanism to get them back into the funnel. To do this, the user needs some type of incentive, like free shipping, $10 off, a tchotchke or my favorite, a contest. This gets back to #1 but consumers are starting to see right through these offers making retailers offer more to get the same results. Instead, send the user what the user wants.

What’s next for Marketing Automation
The heydays will soon be over for promotional automation offers. What do I think will be the next wave of insanely profitable email campaigns? It’s still a type of automated message but it’s based on things people want…. not what the marketers want.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been working with a tool that flips Marketing Automation away from the marketer and sends messages based on the item. TrackIf is a tool that websites (mainly retailers) can add to their site which allows users to get alerts when the item they want, changes in some way. It’s like getting an email from an item not from a retailer/marketer.

Out-of-Stock Alerts
Take for example that fire pit you’ve been eyeing up all winter. Spring is finally here and now it’s time to jump on that fire pit while the spring sales are hot. The downside is, it’s out of Stock.

Notice on the product page, there’s the email capture form. This is where TrackIf collects the email for the user and instantly starts monitoring the item. The moment the item comes back in stock, the user is notified with a simple message that says the item they want is now available (see out-of-stock alert below). This type of notification gives the user what they want therefore additional offers are not needed.

Price Alerts
Another high performing alert TrackIf has is a price alert. How many times have you looked at an item and thought, ‘I would by this but not at that price?’ Now retailers can give the user the option to get notified when the price changes.

Notice in the image above the Get Price Alerts link next to the Add to Cart button. Under that link is the email capture where users start tracking that item. From here retailers treat this item as they normally would but as soon as the price drops or it goes on sale, TrackIf will notify all the users tracking it.

Again, an additional offer isn’t needed to get people back to the site when you’ve just notified users about a change in an item they want.

The Results
By sending messages users want, TrackIf has delivered some of the highest performing campaigns our clients have seen.  For Out-of-Stock alerts, open rates have topped 115% (58% unique) on 60,000 sent messages and a click thru rate in excess of 30%. How can a campaign have more than a 100% open rate you might ask? They’re opening the message multiple times. Why is this? We believe it’s because we’ve removed the marketing speak from the message. It’s just – Hey, this item you wanted 4 days ago is back in stock. If you want it, go get it.

Performance on the price alerts are slightly lower and we believe it’s because a desired price can be different ranges for people. It’s not in or out like the inventory alerts. Price Alerts are still seeing open rates above 90% and click-thru rates nearing 20%.

In the end, automating messages off items are what users want. Let them sign up for the alerts they want and as items change, alert them. No additional marketing is needed. To learn more about TrackIf’s Out-of-Stock or Price Change alerts, please click the links. If you would like a preview on your site, please fill out the form and we can have a demo up and running for you within hours.