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The metaverse is not coming – it’s here.

The metaverse is not coming - it's here. 1 2022
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

As the number of people on digital platforms continues to grow, there is a parallel rise of virtual spaces and virtual worlds.

While virtual reality may seem like an irrelevant technology, its uses are increasing. An increasing number of industries use virtual environments already.

Given the opportunity to create a new world, how far would you go? What if you could live your dreams in a place that is not our own. Would you take advantage of the opportunity?

Imagine walking through a museum and coming upon your favorite painting. You can look at it from any angle, even walk around and get a close up view. Feel free to study the brush strokes, learn about what inspired the artist and keep a list of questions for your next visit.

ICYMI — Here’s a short summary of the metaverse

Virtual worlds have been around for a long time, with Second Life as one of the earliest examples. The current interest in these spaces is driven by the availability of high-performance computing and AI-driven tools. As a result, we are now witnessing the creation of metaverses: persistent virtual worlds that are available 24/7 and enable transactions between avatars (in-world representations of human beings).

What is the metaverse about? A metaverse is like planet Earth, but with far more possibilities — think of it as an alternate reality that exists alongside ours. You can do anything you want in a metaverse — there are no limits to your imagination. You can travel to different planets, meet friends and strangers, or go shopping. You can create virtual experiences, events, or even businesses in a metaverse.

A metaverse is like planet Earth, but with far more possibilities — think of it as an alternate reality that exists alongside ours.

While there are many different concepts of a metaverse in the tech industry, most share common attributes:

1. It’s accessible via an assortment of devices. This includes desktop computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s also possible to access it via augmented reality (AR) glasses or even VR goggles.

2. The metaverse is open source. Anyone can develop applications for it. Some proprietary applications are available, however they must be hosted on an open source platform (such as OpenSim or Unity).

3. There are multiple layers in the metaverse. This includes entertainment and informational content such as news websites and blogs, as well as social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.”

The metaverse is not coming - it's here. 2 2022
Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash

Who’s investing in the metaverse?

There are already many companies creating their own metaverses — Linden Labs (Second Life), Epic Games (Fortnite), Roblox, Decentraland, Facebook Horizon and so on. Venture capitalists are also actively investing in metaverse startups that are developing new technologies and applications for this space.

The metaverse is a new universe that will be built on the internet — or a decentralized version of the internet. It’s an online hub for social interaction, entertainment, and commerce. Think of it as a mashup of all the different digital universes we have today — like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitch and Fortnite.

At first glance, it might seem like we’re already using social media to meet our friends and colleagues in places that aren’t real. Or that we’re using apps like Google Maps to walk around in our own city streets, seeing what’s around us with augmented reality glasses or goggles. But no matter how much you enjoy these experiences, there are still limits to what you can do when you can only go where the developer wants you to go.

The metaverse will be a shared, persistent space where people can interact with each other and virtual objects, no matter what device they’re using. Social interactions will look identical on a smartphone as they do on a console or VR headset.

The metaverse will be a shared, persistent space where people can interact with each other and virtual objects, no matter what device they’re using.

The metaverse is still in its infancy today. But many tech companies are working to bring it to fruition. And if they succeed, the benefits to businesses could be enormous — including new opportunities for distribution and monetization.

What’s on the horizon?

I may be a little bit biased, but I believe the metaverse will change the way we shop, work and connect with other people. The metaverse will reinvent the way we interact with each other and engage with brands.

New virtual reality startups — an innovation that essentially opened a doorway to the Metaverse — are already changing our world and people’s habits.

The metaverse is also bringing massive opportunities to businesses. It will be a place where you can meet your customers and add value to your business. For example, you could provide support services, hold virtual events, or sell products in new ways. It is a concept that has been around for decades, but it is coming to fruition now, driven by technological advancements such as VR/AR and 5G internet.

People and businesses will be able to have virtual meetings, attend conferences, shop at virtual stores, and even create their own virtual worlds. It will be a shared space where people can interact with each other and digital objects in real-time. The metaverse will be a set of interconnected virtual worlds that are persistent, meaning they don’t go away when you log off.

While trying to replicate the online experience, companies and organizations are finding ways to apply virtual reality within their walls. The gaming industry sees this as a favorable selling platform in the near future.

The metaverse is not coming - it's here. 3 2022
Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

How gaming is influencing the metaverse.

We have seen the rise of video games over the last two decades and their popularity across all demographics. Some games, such as Fortnite, have become cultural icons. And recently, the game industry hit a milestone: more than $1 billion was spent on digital content in a single month.

more than $1 billion was spent on digital content in a single month.

Tilt Brush, Google’s new VR drawing app, has the potential to be a major new revenue stream for publishers. Ranging from 99 cents to $15, there are already hundreds of thousands of dollars changing hands in Tilt Brush. You may not think about monetizing your art through an Oculus Quest or HTC Vive, but when you are immersed in an entirely new world, anything becomes possible.

I believe this is just the beginning of a revolution that will see increasing adoption of virtual and augmented reality to change how we live and work in the future.

There’s more to it than gaming though.

Virtual reality is a technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence and environment, allowing them to interact in that world. It creates the illusion of being able to “be there”.

The metaverse will be a place where you can meet up with friends, but also where you can hang out as a brand — micro-experiences for consumers to immerse themselves in. Brands will have a presence and new business models are expected to emerge.

When I meet people who are interested in the metaverse, they often ask me what opportunities there are for making money. They assume that there is a simple answer to this question, and that it is obvious. There isn’t one simple answer, but many more complex answers. To make it even more complicated, the answers are different depending on whether you are a content creator or a technology developer.

The opportunities for content creators range from selling virtual real estate to selling branded virtual products (like Apple iPods) to selling branded virtual services (like an insurance company offering protection against theft).

The opportunities for technology developers range from providing infrastructure and enabling technologies to service providers (as with Second Life’s Linden Lab) to social media platforms allowing people to connect with others in the metaverse (like Facebook).

More opportunities for monetization.

There are two more monetization models to make content in virtual reality. One is advertising, and the other is micro-transactions.

The current state of advertising techniques including: full screen ads, interstitial ads, mid-air banner ads, floating HUD ads, and static billboards.

Advertising in virtual reality is no different than advertising on a traditional website or mobile application. Most advertisers will want to take advantage of all available touchpoints within the VR experience to ensure that they get maximum exposure for their brand. 

One challenge with this model is that although it’s “immersive”, it doesn’t really provide much interactivity for the consumer or engage them in any way. Marketers will need to come up with new and innovative ways to advertise in the metaverse in ways that facilitate more meaningful engagement with customers.

Read more about some of the challenges for marketers in the metaverse.

The second monetization model is micro-transactions. This model is more interactive and engaging for the consumer.

The metaverse is not coming - it's here. 4 2022
Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

Wrapping up.

The metaverse is one of the most disruptive technologies that will dominate near-future tech headlines. Sellers should be looking at the opportunities that exist in this virtual world because they can help their businesses grow.

The metaverse is one of the most disruptive technologies that will dominate near-future tech headlines.

If a business wanted to get involved with this type of venture they should follow these three rules:

1. Be the first mover

2. Offer something tangible that people want

3. Establish your brand before launching into the virtual world

Because the metaverse is still in development, it’s easy to be skeptical. But when you look at the number of industry players that are working on building it and the amount of investment they’re making, it’s clear that this is a real opportunity.

The metaverse is the next big thing for creative developers. If you’re building a social app now, you need to be thinking about how you’ll support it in the metaverse. It’s not just about games. It’s about commerce, communication and creativity, too. And that’s just what we can imagine now.

Virtual worlds have existed for over 30 years and traditional gaming has been around for decades, but now we have new technology that can bring them all together into a single experience. This will be an important shift in how we use computers and smartphones. I can’t wait to see what people do with it.

We are still early in our journey but it’s important to keep innovating and learning along the way. It will be a fun ride, and I hope you’ll come on it with us.

Every single sentence (and each topic) in this article was compiled by an NLP algorithm — available for free to anyone who can access the internet… Did you notice?

This is about marketing automation.

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Introduction to Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation tools are not a replacement for your marketing team.

Chances are, if you have attended a virtual conference or sat in any virtual boardroom lately, you would have heard the phrase “Marketing Automation”. Here is the basic outline, in case you haven’t.

More often than not you’ll encounter an unnecessary amount of repetitive tasks when it comes to marketing. There is often a lot of data preparation tasks for reporting or audience segmentation, and there is the tedious tasks like swapping out elements in an email template. Even creating and publishing campaigns can be tedious and repetitive. Often you will feel as though you cannot do anything meaningful because you are stuck in this cycle.

Here is where Marketing Automation helps. It helps you complete your repetitive daily tasks programmatically, freeing up your time so you can do stuff that actually means something.

Go one step beyond your own boundary and think about how efficiency for large marketing departments can increase by leveraging Marketing Automation. It means more team members can make more meaningful contributions which could have more of an impact on the business as a whole.

Disclaimer:Marketing Automation tools are not a replacement for your marketing team. They are tools for marketing enablement. Something smart marketers can add to their existing arsenal of marketing weaponry for them to be more efficient.

Who Marketing Automation is for

Marketing Automation can be used by any entity who is struggling for time or is looking to increase efficiency for marketing-related activities.

Marketers with almost any level of experience can use Marketing Automation. Meaning it would be a beneficial tool for the most junior to the most senior marketers. Not because it could potentially do parts of their job better than they could, but because it can do more parts of their job more efficiently and in less time.

Marketing Automation also isn’t limited to large enterprises or wealthy corporates. It applies to anyone from the latest day one startups to some of the most established corporate enterprises. Any business can benefit from marketing automation with the right implementation for their specific needs. I emphasise “specific needs” because marketing automation is not a one size fits all solution.

Businesses need to take careful consideration of the problems they are trying to solve using Marketing Automation. A business needs to consider their industry, their business environment, and where Marketing Automation would best fit into the organization to solve problems. It is not something you buy off the shelf, flip the switch, et voila.

Example:

Corporate enterprises with longer sale cycles would not need the same implementation as a fast-paced eCommerce website. The climate in both businesses is entirely different.

Note: If you have dipped your toes into the marketing automation pool before without any success, then consider whether the implementation was correct for your use case. Chances are the solution was not the most suited for your requirements.

How Marketing Automation is working for businesses

Marketing Automation is currently being used in a myriad of ways thanks to the ongoing experimentation by marketing teams. Though the most popular implementations are to automate data processing or to automate daily tasks within marketing teams.

Implementations have ranged from automatically generating segmented customer lists, programmatically creating the content of a marketing email, dynamically swapping ad content based on user behaviour, or even automating bids in ad auctions. There are plenty of existing implementations to explore and test.

A favoured execution is Facebook Dynamic Ads for eCommerce — where marketing teams can automatically target and dynamically serve relevant content to users who fall within any stage of the purchase funnel.

The Facebook Ads implementation has had a significantly positive effect on revenues for eCommerce businesses.

How does this help your business?

The example above helps cut down the amount of time spent on audience segmentation and ad creation or ad maintenance. Marketers no longer need to spend as much time on optimization and can shift their focus towards more valuable tasks.

It also means marketers no longer need to spend as much time and brainpower on granular campaign optimizations. Tasks are programmatic with little input and maintenance. Especially in unsupervised machine learning executions. Which effectively allows the machine to learn how to be the most effective it can be without any human intervention (meaning it would learn faster than if it were restricted by boundaries).

It leads to an increase in overall efficiency and meaningful output for the business. Which all results in a positive impact on business revenue.

This is about marketing automation. 5 2022

What to expect from Marketing Automation

As mentioned earlier, Marketing Automation is not a replacement for a good marketing team. It is a tool which can help increase efficiency and return on investment for marketing activities.

Marketing Automation is not a replacement for a good marketing team.

With the right implementation, you could expect to save time on daily tasks and money on wasted ad spend. You will see an increase in the quality of leads and customers, and you will see an increase in revenue for your business.

Your marketing efforts can only benefit from Marketing Automation when done right. Your marketing team will be even more useful and will be able to do a lot more of the fancy innovative stuff they could not get to previously. You will move your business into the ’20s and could put yourself into —  or further solidify —  an existing industry-leading position.

You will no longer be targeting your ads to users using blind faith. You will have a good idea of who you are targeting, what they are interested in and what content is likely to entice them to engage. It means you will be more relevant to your customers, and your marketing efforts will less invasive and less annoying than your competitors.

Simply put. You can expect better results.

The final word on Data and Marketing Automation

It is not a new topic or discussion, but it is one which is re-surging and growing rapidly. There are a lot of opportunities for Marketing Automation to help make life simpler for marketers and to help them free up their time for more of the fun stuff.

Businesses can also see great benefits in the form of increased outputs and efficiencies from their marketing team — which, most importantly, should add positively to their bottom line.

I look forward to seeing new players in the market and the executions they roll out. It is always great to learn from the competition. In fact, it would be difficult to optimize these executions without different perspectives.

You’re welcome to get in touch with me via LinkedIn or Email if you need help with your digital marketing efforts.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on Marketing Automation and Data. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts though. Have tried to implement Marketing Automation? Which executions have worked best for you and how did you implement them?

TL;DR (Much Time + Many Efficiency = Very ROI)

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Read about ownership and communication.

3 movies or books related to the metaverse

Metaverse hero image for movies 2022
Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

Movies and books are related to the metaverse in that they can be used to explore the concept of virtual reality. They can also be used to explore the implications of virtual reality on society.

The Matrix

In the 1999 blockbuster film, “The Matrix”, the world is revealed to be a simulated reality, created by machines to keep humans docile while their bodies are used as an energy source. The film’s writer and director, the Wachowskis, drew inspiration from a range of philosophical and religious sources, including Jean Baudrillard’s concept of the “hyperreal” and the Hindu concept of Maya.

In the years since the film’s release, the concept of the matrix has become a popular metaphor for the internet and other digital technologies. In a 2014 interview, the Wachowskis spoke of their hope that the film would help to “liberate people from the matrix of control that they live in”.

The matrix is related to the metaverse in the sense that both are virtual realities that can be accessed through digital technologies. The metaverse is a more advanced version of the matrix, which allows for more interaction and immersion. It is possible to create your own avatar and explore the metaverse in a way that is not possible in the matrix.

The metaverse is also a more open and democratic space, in which anyone can create a virtual world or join an existing one. In the matrix, people are limited to the world that has been created for them by the machines.

Ready Player One & Snow Crash

Ready Player One takes place in a world that is strikingly similar to the metaverse described in Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. In both worlds, people spend most of their time in a virtual reality world called the metaverse. The metaverse is a place where people can be anyone they want to be, and do anything they want to do.

The similarities between Ready Player One and Snow Crash are more than just superficial. Both books explore the implications of people spending most of their time in a virtual world. Ready Player One suggests that the metaverse could eventually replace the real world, while Snow Crash suggests that the metaverse could eventually lead to the collapse of society.

Both books are also about the search for a hidden treasure. In Snow Crash, the treasure is a software program called the Metaverse Navigator. In Ready Player One, the treasure is an Easter egg hidden inside the virtual world of the metaverse. The metaverse is a fascinating concept, and it’s no surprise that it has inspired both books and movies.

The metaverse offers a glimpse into a future where people can escape the limitations of the real world. It’s a place where people can be anyone they want to be, and do anything they want to do.

Bonus: Space Jam

In 1996, Space Jam was released to the world. The movie starred NBA superstar Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters, and quickly became a classic. 22 years later, the movie is still being talked about and referenced. There’s even a Space Jam 2. But what is it about this movie that has made it so popular?

I believe that the answer lies in the metaverse. The metaverse is a digital world that exists beyond our own. It’s a place where we can be anyone we want to be, and do anything we want to do. It’s a place where we can escape the everyday struggles of our lives and just have fun.

And that’s exactly what Space Jam offers us. It takes us to a place where we can escape our reality and just have some fun. We get to see Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters team up and defeat the evil aliens. We get to see them play basketball and defeat the aliens in a game that is just as exciting as any real game of basketball.

The metaverse is a place where we can be anyone we want to be, and do anything we want to do.

And that’s why Space Jam is so popular. It offers us a chance to escape our reality and have some fun. It allows us to explore a new world and experience some amazing adventures. It’s no wonder that it has become a classic.

Wrapping Up

Movies and books are related to the metaverse because they are both ways of escaping reality. In the metaverse, you can be anyone you want to be and do anything you want to do. In movies and books, you can be anyone you want to be and do anything you want to do, but you’re limited to what the filmmakers or authors want you to do. The metaverse gives you more control over your own life, while movies give you more control over someone else’s life.

As we continue to explore the metaverse, we are constantly discovering new and amazing ways to connect with others and experience new and wonderful virtual worlds. Whether we are creating or exploring, we are constantly expanding the possibilities of the metaverse. Thank you for being a part of this journey!

5 metaverse opportunities for business

Metaverse hero image 2022
Photo by Sound On from Pexels

The metaverse is a potential game changer for businesses. It could enable them to interact with customers in new and innovative ways, create new marketing opportunities, and improve customer service. It could also help businesses to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Here are 5 metaverse opportunities for business.

1. Online Retail

Brick-and-mortar stores are struggling to keep up with the ease and convenience of online retail. But what if you could have a physical store in the metaverse that was as easy to use as online retail? Customers could teleport in, browse your products, and buy what they want without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

2. Event Planning

The metaverse is the perfect place to host events. You can create a virtual space that is tailored to your event, and it can be as large or as small as you need it to be. You can also invite people from all over the world to attend your event, and they can do so without ever having to leave their home.

3. Recruiting

The metaverse is the perfect place to recruit employees. You can create a virtual space that is tailored to your company, and you can invite people from all over the world to apply for a job. You can also interview candidates and make job offers without ever having to leave your office.

4. Education

The metaverse is the perfect place to learn. You can create a virtual space that is tailored to your needs, and you can access it from anywhere in the world. You can also take classes from any location, and you can do so without ever having to leave your home.

5. Entertainment

The metaverse is the perfect place to entertain yourself. You can create a virtual space that is tailored to your needs, and you can access it from anywhere in the world. You can also play games, watch movies, and listen to music without ever having to leave your home.

Wrapping Up

We’ve seen how virtual worlds can be used for education, business, entertainment, and more. And as the metaverse continues to evolve, we can expect even more amazing things to come. So thank you for joining me on this journey. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the metaverse!

Be sure to check out my other posts for more information on this fascinating topic.

This is how dangerous AI can be.

This is how dangerous AI can be. 6 2022
Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

This is how dangerous AI can be.

Think you can spot the difference between content generated by an AI and content generated by a human? Read through the below and see if you can spot which sentences or paragraphs were compiled by an NLP algorithm.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the world around us. It already powers our smartphones, but the implications don’t stop there. Artificial Intelligence will not only impact how we use technology, it will transform how we live, interact with others and work. It’s set to create new industries that didn’t exist before and disrupt existing ones.

The Emergence of AI

AlphaGo was a watershed moment. It was the first time an AI won against a top human player in a game that requires intuition and creativity. AlphaGo was developed by Google DeepMind, a British artificial intelligence company specializing in deep learning. In 2016, AlphaGo defeated Lee Sedol, one of the world’s best Go players. This moment is often referred to as when Artificial Intelligence became real and transformed us into Homo Digitalis. To many people this event represents possibly the most significant event this century.

The Potential Impacts of AI on VR

AlphaGo has moved humanity to a whole new level, but it’s just the beginning. We are still at the very beginning of AI and there is no telling how far it will go and what an impact it will have in the next decades to come. We already see AI in our everyday life in various ways, from simple applications like Amazon’s Alexa, to Google Assistant and Siri. Even when you take a picture with your smartphone, AI is at work as your camera analyzes what is happening in front of you and makes necessary adjustments to the settings. In the near future AI will significantly impact how we use VR and AR (Augmented Reality).

Immersive VR is one of the best possible mediums for AI to present itself and influence us. This is because VR is based on a person’s experience and perception. In order to create a compelling, realistic experience you have to create deep learning algorithms that understand and respond to actions. The AI needs to be able to differentiate between real actions by the user, gestures, body language and virtual content projected into the virtual space.

Virtual reality creates an environment where AI can truly develop itself as we will have a new way of experiencing our existence and perception of ourselves in relationship with others, society and nature.

Every single sentence (and each topic) in this article was compiled by an NLP algorithm — available for free to anyone who can access the internet… Did you notice?

12 Big Predictions For The Future Of Marketing Automation

This is how Marketing Automation will be used in future

Disclaimer: These are the new things I would personally like to see, and things I think we will see more often in the future.

Note: Yes, I want machine learning and AI to do the bulk of the work. Machines can learn, optimize, and implement marketing-related solutions faster than I ever could — it is my own opinion that it would be silly not to let them try (with a helmet).

Segmentation

  1. Automated Audience Segmentation — to automatically determine and create the audience a user should fall under with no human intervention.
  2. Automating Content Interest Segments — to rank what type of content (and the content itself) with which a user is most likely to engage.

Integrations

  1. Integrations and applications for physical locations (Automatically segmenting “Brick & Mortar” visitors based on in-store behaviour).
  2. More natural AI integrations with Online Messenger based services.
  3. Better accessibility for businesses with smaller budgets (Minimum-click type solutions).

Media Planning, Buying & Reporting

  1. Automated Website Tagging Solutions (Minimum-click type solutions).
  2. Automated Reporting (With in-depth AI-generated Insights).
  3. Automated Media Planning (Allowing AI to leverage reporting data and audience segments to compile plans).
  4. Automating Ad Generation & Placement (Ties into Segmentation and Automated Media Planning).

Media

  1. Smarter DOOH placements and inventory.
  2. Smarter ride-hailing integrations, ad placements, and inventory.
  3. Leveraging Online Audiences for DOOH.

I’m curious. What are some of the things you’d like to see?

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Read more about marketing automation.

How Data Plays A Role In Marketing Automation

Data is an essential element in a successful Marketing Automation strategy. As the adage goes, “good input means good output”. Which translates to “better data quality equals better quality results”.

Think of data as the heart of your Marketing Automation implementation. The heart does not function well when it is weak.

Data not only needs to be clean for it to be useful. It also needs to be correct.

Consider leads driven automation. The leads data is useless if the names of the contacts coming through are incorrect or if they do not come through in the correct format. This will cause issues if you’re running complex automations and relying on the leads data to feed lookalike audiences and run automated media campaigns using machine learning. The same is true for any other data point or implementation.

It does not only apply to the ingested data or output data. It is also pertinent to the schema and structure of the databases, data warehouses, and data pipelines you set up to store and process the data from a backend perspective.

Again, data is of no use if it is stored or processed incorrectly. A Phone Number accidentally being processed and stored as First Name data is useless. It should be obvious, though you would be surprised at how often this error occurs.

Data is typically used in conditional formulas to trigger automation. Which is why the information needs to be precise. If the information is not accurate, then the criteria set up to trigger the automation may never be met.

Example:

1. Setup

You have set up your data pipeline to ingest form data from a web page or an app. You accidentally misconfigure your automation to send form field data to the wrong columns in the database. You have set up an automation trigger based on data you would expect to see in one of the columns in the database (“1. DO THIS when Field Value is X” or “2. DO THIS when data is added to Column X”).

2. Errors
The data from the form is not only processed incorrectly (meaning the data may be formatted incorrectly) but is also inaccurately stored.

Sometimes databases will not have any data stored. This can happen when the database schema does not allow for the storage of unspecified data types.

3. Problem

The automation trigger may do one of two things using the example triggers above. Trigger 1 may not fire at all because it never receives the information it expects. Trigger 2 may fire, but the processed data would be incorrect.

4. Conclusion

You can see how this could be a showstopper for both the Marketing Automation implementation and for the business as a whole. It is a frequent error amongst many, and you would be surprised at how often it is left unattended.

Good input means good output

The above example illustrates why clean data is necessary for Marketing Automation to work effectively. The data needs to be correct right from the beginning if you want to realise the power Marketing Automation has to offer. 

You will have to take the time to ensure everything is correct — there are no shortcuts. Not doing your due diligence could result in a mass of errors which may turn out to be very costly.

Implementation is simple

As long as you make sure you’ve done the necessary legwork upfront, then implementing a best-in-class Marketing Automation strategy should be simple. There’s no reason why your business cannot succeed by leveraging Marketing Automation.

It’s one of the best ways to maximise your marketing efforts, bring your business into the ’20s, outperform your competitors, and stay relevant to your customers. 

Start now and thank yourself later for having done so.

Reach out to me if you want guidance around best-in-class Marketing Automation strategies for you and your business.

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Read more about marketing automation.

1 Simple Marketing Automation Example

What does a simple Marketing Automation implementation look like?

Say we have three users visiting the eCommerce platform. USER A, USER B, and USER C.

  • The journey begins as soon as USER A, USER B, and USER C visit the eCommerce platform.
  • USER A is browsing without any purchase intent (Browse 4 Product pages).
  • USER B is browsing with a weak purchase intent (Add 1 Product to Wishlist).
  • USER C is browsing with a strong purchase intent (Add 5 Products to Cart ad Initiate Checkout).
  • Neither USER B nor USER C completes a transaction.

We build an algorithm to set criteria in our automation flow for segmentation. The criteria is based on the user’s behaviour on the eCommerce platform. Ads are then served based on their segment — with content tailored to each segment based on their relative interests and position within the conversion funnel.

  1. If a user (USER A) visits a page and does nothing else, then segment them under “Awareness”. Serve ads related to brand/product education to help drive interest.
  2. If a user (USER B) visits a page and adds something to their wishlist or cart then segment them under “Interest”. Serve ads with images and details of similar items to their wishlist or serve ads with images and details of their cart items.
  3. If a user (USER C) initiates but fails to complete a checkout then segment them under “Intent”. Serve ads with coupons or discounts for their cart items to persuade them to complete their purchase immediately.

The algorithm and theory outlined above can be applied to almost any campaign type (App-Installs, Leads Generation, Newsletter Signups etc.) or ad platform and is one of the most popular implementations you will encounter today. A typical funnel will always have a top, middle, and bottom. You could add more complexity based on your specific needs if required.

NOTE: This is a basic example of an algorithm used in Marketing Automation with remarketing ads for eCommerce businesses. It relies on the ad platform to do the bulk of the automation work without much input or maintenance from the marketer.

1 Simple Marketing Automation Example 7 2022

There’s more to it

More experienced Marketing Automation specialists will build bespoke solutions (using your platforms and databases, etc.) or run implementations which extend the existing automation capabilities of the ad platform. 

These will typically include integrations with SMS (“Promotions”), Email (“You Left This In Your Cart”), or Online Messenger Services (“Here’s A Recommendation”) in addition to the ad platform integrations.

I have used a basic and generic example to protect the sensitive intellectual property of the entities with whom I work. For more detailed examples or case studies, reach out to me.

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Read more about Marketing Automation.

Want to know more about the power of marketing automation?


Data has a better idea. Marketing Automation.
Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Navigate this post about Marketing Automation

  1. Introduction to Marketing Automation
  2. Who is Marketing Automation for?
  3. How does data play a role in Marketing Automation?
  4. How does Marketing Automation work for businesses?
  5. How will Marketing Automation be used in future?
  6. What to expect from Marketing Automation
  7. Final word on Marketing Automation

This is an Introduction to Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation tools are not a replacement for your marketing team.

Chances are if you have been attending any virtual conferences or sitting in any virtual boardrooms with your marketing teams lately, you will have heard the phrase “Marketing Automation”. Here is the basic outline in case you have not heard the term yet.

You are likely to encounter an unhealthy amount of repetitive tasks when it comes to marketing. There is often a lot of data preparation tasks for reporting or audience segmentation. There is the tedious task of swapping out elements in an email template. Even creating and publishing campaigns can be tedious and repetitive. Often you will feel as though you cannot do anything meaningful as you are stuck in your cycle of repetitive tasks.

Here is where Marketing Automation comes in. Marketing Automation helps you complete your repetitive daily tasks programmatically. Freeing up your time so you can finally get through those more meaningful tasks you have never been able to start.

Go one step beyond your own time and think about how efficiency for large marketing departments can increase through Marketing Automation. It means more team members can make more meaningful contributions which could have more of an impact on the business as a whole.

Disclaimer:Marketing Automation tools are not a replacement for your marketing team. They are tools for marketing enablement. Something smart marketers can add to their existing arsenal of marketing weaponry for them to be more efficient.

This is who Marketing Automation is for

Marketing Automation can be used by any marketing-related entity who is struggling for time or is looking to increase efficiency for marketing-related activities.

Marketers with almost any level of experience can use Marketing Automation. Meaning it would be a beneficial tool for the most junior to the most senior marketers. Not because it could potentially do parts of their job better than they could, but because it can do more parts of their job more efficiently and in less time.

Marketing Automation also isn’t limited to large enterprises or wealthy corporates. It applies to anyone from the latest day one startups to some of the most established corporate enterprises. Any business can benefit from marketing automation with the right implementation for their specific needs. The keywords in that last sentence are “their specific needs” as marketing automation is not a one size fits all solution.

Businesses need to take careful consideration of the problems they are trying to solve using Marketing Automation. A business needs to consider their industry, their business environment, and where Marketing Automation would best fit into the organization to solve problems. It is not something you buy off the shelf, flip the switch, et voila you are making money.

Example: 

Corporate enterprises with longer sale cycles would not need the same implementation as a fast-paced eCommerce website. The climate in both businesses is entirely different.

Note: If you have dipped your toes into the marketing automation pool before without success, then consider whether the implementation was correct for your use case. Chances are the solution was not the most suited for your requirements.

This is how Data plays a role in Marketing Automation

Data is an essential element in a successful Marketing Automation implementation. As the adage goes, “good input means good output”. Which translates to “better data quality equals better quality results”.

Think of data as the heart of your Marketing Automation implementation. The heart does not function well when it is weak.

Data not only needs to be clean for it to be useful. It also needs to be correct. The variables you use needs to be precise and relative to the automation you are setting up.

Consider leads driven automation. The leads data is useless if the names of the contacts coming through are incorrect or if they do not come through in the correct format. This will cause issues if you’re running complex automations and relying on the leads data to feed lookalike audiences and run automated media campaigns using machine learning. The same is true for any other data point, and the example applies to any implementation.

It does not only apply to the ingested data or output data. It is also pertinent to the schema and structure of the databases, data warehouses, and data pipelines you set up to store and process the data from a backend perspective.

Again, data is of no use if it is stored or processed incorrectly. A Phone Number accidentally being processed and stored as First Name data is useless. It should be obvious, though you would be surprised at how often this error is left unattended.

Data is typically used in conditions as variables to trigger automation. Which is why the information needs to be precise. If the information is not accurate, then the criteria set up to trigger the automation may never be met. Which means the trigger would not fire and your automation would not work as intended.

Example: 

1. Setup

You have set up your data pipeline to ingest form data from a web page or an app. You accidentally misconfigure your automation to send form field data to the wrong columns in the database. You have set up an automation trigger based on data you would expect to see in one of the columns in the database (“1. DO THIS when Field Value is X” or “2. DO THIS when data is added to Column X”).

2. Errors
The data from the form is not only processed incorrectly (meaning the data may be formatted incorrectly) but is also inaccurately stored. 

Sometimes databases will not have any data stored. This can happen when the database schema does not allow for the storage of unspecified data types.

3. Problem

The automation trigger may do one of two things using the example triggers above. Trigger 1 may not fire at all because it never receives the information it expects. Trigger 2 may fire, but the processed data would be incorrect.

Meaning the data cannot be used as intended, and in some cases cannot be reformatted or re-processed to facilitate the intended use.

4. Conclusion

You can see how this could be a showstopper for both the Marketing Automation implementation and for the business as a whole. It is a frequent error amongst many, and you would be surprised at how often it is left unattended.

This is how Marketing Automation is working for businesses

Marketing Automation is currently being used in a myriad of ways thanks to the ongoing experimentation by marketing teams. Though the most popular implementations are to automate data processing or to automate daily tasks within marketing teams.

Implementations have ranged from automatically generating segmented customer lists, programmatically creating the content of a marketing email, dynamically swapping ad content based on user behaviour, or even automating bids in ad auctions. There are plenty of existing implementations to explore and test.

Teams have seen the most success recently with implementations for automated audience segmentation and remarketing campaigns in particular.

A favoured execution is Facebook Dynamic Ads for eCommerce — where marketing teams can automatically target and dynamically serve relevant content to users who fall within any stage of the purchase funnel.

The Facebook Ads implementation has had a significantly positive effect on revenues for eCommerce businesses.

How does this implementation work? 

Say we have three users visiting the eCommerce platform. USER A, USER B, and USER C.

USER A, USER B, and USER C visit the eCommerce platform. USER A is browsing without any purchase intent (Browse 4 Product pages). USER B is browsing with a weak purchase intent (Add 1 Product to Wishlist) and USER C is browsing with a strong purchase intent (Add 5 Products to Cart ad Initiate Checkout) but neither of them purchases.

We then build an algorithm to set criteria in our automation flow for segmentation. The criteria is based on the user’s behaviour on the eCommerce platform. Ads are then served based on their segment — with content tailored to each segment based on their relative interests and position within the conversion funnel.

  1. If a user visits a page and does nothing else, then segment them under “Awareness”. Serve ads related to brand/product education to help drive interest.
  2. If a user visits a page and adds something to their wishlist or cart then segment them under “Interest”. Serve ads with images and details of similar items to their wishlist or serve ads with images and details of their cart items.
  3. If a user initiates but fails to complete a checkout then segment them under “Intent”. Serve ads with coupons or discounts for their cart items to persuade them to complete their purchase immediately.

The algorithm and theory outlined above can be applied to almost any campaign type (App-Installs, Leads Generation, Newsletter Signups etc.) or ad platform and is one of the most popular implementations you will encounter today. A typical funnel will always have a top, middle, and bottom. You could layer on a bit more complexity based on your specific needs if required.

NOTE: This is a basic example of an algorithm used in Marketing Automation for eCommerce businesses. It relies on the ad platform to do the bulk of the automation work without much input or maintenance from the marketer.

More experienced Marketing Automation specialists will build bespoke solutions (using your platforms and databases, etc.) or run implementations which extend the existing automation capabilities of the ad platform. These will typically include integrations with SMS, Email, or Online Messenger Services in addition to the ad platform integrations.

I have used this basic and generic example to protect the sensitive intellectual property of the entities with whom I work. For more detailed examples or case studies, reach out to me — I will facilitate discussions with leading Marketing Automation experts.

How does this help the business?

The example above helps cut down the amount of time spent on audience segmentation and ad creation or ad maintenance. Marketers no longer need to spend as much time on optimization and can shift their focus towards more valuable tasks.

It also means marketers no longer need to spend as much time and brainpower on granular campaign optimizations. Tasks are programmatic with little input and maintenance. Especially in unsupervised machine learning executions. Which effectively allows the machine to learn how to be the most effective it can be without any human intervention (meaning it could potentially learn quicker than it could if restricted in terms of what it could do).

It leads to an increase in overall efficiency and meaningful output for the business. Which all results in a positive impact on business revenue.

This is how Marketing Automation will be used in future

Disclaimer: These are the new things I would personally like to see or the things I think we will see more frequently. Do not take these as predictions. I do not have a crystal ball to see into the future.

Note: Yes, I want machine learning and AI to do the bulk of the work. Machines can learn, optimize, and implement marketing-related solutions faster than I ever could — it is my own opinion that it would be silly not to let them try (with a helmet).

Segmentation

  1. Automated Audience Labeling — to automatically determine the bracket a user should fall under with no human intervention.
  2. Automating Content Interest Segments — to rank what type of content (and the content itself) with which a user is most likely to engage.

Integrations

  1. Integrations and applications for physical locations (Automatically segmenting “Brick & Mortar” visitors based on in-store behaviour).
  2. More natural AI integrations with Online Messenger based services.
  3. Better accessibility for businesses with smaller budgets (Minimum-click type solutions).

Media Planning, Buying & Reporting

  1. Automated Website Tagging Solutions (Minimum-click type solutions).
  2. Automated Reporting (With in-depth AI-generated Insights).
  3. Automated Media Planning (Allowing AI to leverage reporting data and audience segments to compile plans).
  4. Automating Ad Generation & Placement (Ties into Segmentation and Automated Media Planning).

Media

  1. Smarter DOOH placements and inventory.
  2. Smarter ride-hailing integrations, ad placements, and inventory.
  3. Leveraging Online Audiences for DOOH.

This is what to expect from Marketing Automation

As mentioned earlier, Marketing Automation is not a replacement for a good marketing team. It is a tool which can help increase efficiency and return on investment for marketing activities.

Marketing Automation is not a replacement for a good marketing team.

With the right implementation, you could expect to save time on daily tasks and money on wasted ad spend. You will see an increase in the quality of leads and customers, and you will see an increase in revenue for your business.

Your marketing efforts can only benefit from Marketing Automation when done right. Your marketing team will be even more useful and will be able to do a lot more of the fancy innovative stuff they could not get to previously. You will move your business into the ’20s and could put yourself into or further solidify an existing industry-leading position.

You will no longer be targeting your ads to users with blind faith. You will have a good idea of who you are targeting, what they are interested in and what content is likely to entice them to engage. It means you will be more relevant to your customers, and your marketing efforts will less invasive and less annoying than your competitors.

Simply put. You can expect better results.

This is the final word on Data and Marketing Automation

It is not necessarily a new topic, but it is one which is re-surging and growing rapidly. There are a lot of opportunities for Marketing Automation to help make life simpler for marketers and to help them free up their time for more of the fun stuff. 

Businesses can also see great benefits in the form of increased outputs and efficiencies from their marketing team — which, most importantly, should add positively to their bottom line.

I look forward to seeing new players in the market and the executions they roll out. It is always great to learn from the competition. In fact, it would be difficult to optimize these executions without different perspectives.

You’re welcome to get in touch with me via LinkedIn or Email if you need help with your digital marketing efforts.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on Marketing Automation and Data. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts though. Have tried to implement Marketing Automation? Which executions have worked best for you and how did you implement them?

TL;DR (Much Time + Many Efficiency = Very ROI)

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Here’s what Google says about Marketing Automation

What is marketing automation?

Marketing Automation is a tool or service that helps marketers complete repetitive daily tasks programmatically.

Who needs marketing automation?

Marketers with almost any level of experience can use Marketing Automation.

What will marketing automation do for my business?

Marketing teams have seen the most success recently with implementations for automated audience segmentation and remarketing campaigns in particular.

How does data influence marketing automation?

Data is typically used in conditions as variables to trigger automation.

What should I expect from marketing automation?

With the right implementation, you could expect to save time on daily tasks and money on wasted ad spend. You will see an increase in the quality of leads and customers, and you will see an increase in revenue for your business.

What is the future of marketing automation?

Segmentation of audiences, integrations between marketing platforms, faster reporting and time to insights, smarter marketing campaigns.

This is about ownership and communication.

1 Comment

This is about ownership and communication.

An introduction.

One of my peers posed a thought-provoking question to their team at work today. It was a simple question brought up after a member of their team hadn’t turned in a clients report. When they were queried as to why the report wasn’t submitted, they replied with “I was busy…”.

My peer took a moment to process what they had just heard and then asked another question. “How far into your career do you need to be before you stop making excuses and start taking ownership?”.

The repercussions of not supplying the client with this report were more severe for my peer than for the team member — and my peer made sure to let this team member know. My peer was ultimately the one who had to face the client and tell them their report would be late.

NOTE:

To be clear, the issue isn’t that the report wasn’t submitted. It’s that there was never any communication that the task wasn’t going to be completed in time — there were tasks with a higher priority being attended to. The team member was expecting my peer, who had tasks of their own to complete, to pick up the slack and do the task for them.

The response.

The question was candid and direct, but it got the desired response. It got the team member to understand the importance of taking ownership no matter the level of seniority. They then committed to fixing the underlying issue and adjusting their attitude which had lead to the situation.

It must be noted that while these exchanges generally aren’t pleasant, there was no aggression and no unnecessary conflict. It was merely a discussion between a senior manager and a member of their team. The outcome was that the team member agreed to take ownership and ensure the problem wouldn’t reoccur in future.

Instead of funnelling the punishment down onto the team member, my peer opted to take this situation as an opportunity to educate their team and to help them find ways to solve the underlying issue around ownership. An inspiring display of professional maturity.

When is it going to end?

I spent some time thinking about this exchange today. I thought about my professional journey. I’ve managed to fast-track my way up the ladder without stumbling too much along the way. I firmly believe that this is as a result of hard work, effective communication (knowing when it’s time to speak and when it’s time to learn), and taking ownership of my wins and losses.

I was lucky to land up where I did with my first job. The culture in the business was one where blame games weren’t tolerated. Where each team member had to take ownership of their wins and losses. We had a sign on the boardroom door that read “Don’t enter with problems, enter with solutions”.

The people I worked with were excellent guides. They were quick to help correct my attitude when it wasn’t in line with what the business stood for. I learned early on that if you don’t take ownership, then don’t expect anything to get done. I often take this for granted.

I continue to see people of all ages and experience levels fail to take ownership as I progress through my career. For both their losses and for their wins. It’s mind-numbing.

The question “When is it going to end?” has a simple answer. It ends when you stop tolerating the behaviour and guide people onto a more desirable path. How long into your career do you need to be? As long as it takes for someone to address it with you.

Taking care.

You’re complicit if you aren’t proactive in taking action to sort the problem out. You’re letting that person carry on without any repercussions and are enabling the less desirable outcomes. Sometimes the person doesn’t even know that what they’re doing is undesirable. You only know what you know. Not addressing the issue with the person is only ever going to end up restraining their growth. This helps nobody.

A senior team member should focus more on guiding a junior team member. This will serve them both better in the end. They need to share their wisdom and experience* to ensure that junior team members grow to be better than they are themselves. Otherwise how would the business progress and facilitate a competent succession of roles and responsibilities?

*Be careful and ensure you’re not coming across as condescending when sharing your wisdom and experience. A condescending tone will result in a negative outcome every time. People are not receptive when they’re being spoken at.

The lesson.

After witnessing the exchange today I was reminded that authority is built through honesty and sincere guidance. Communication is key and is a two-way street when it comes to taking ownership. I don’t know there’s a problem unless you tell me, and if I don’t know about the problem then I can’t help you.

I was also reminded that people aren’t proactive in being proactive. They need an example of what’s expected — a leader who will lead by example. If a course correction is required, then as a senior team member I need to be proactive in providing the necessary guidance. I should not be ignorant and believe that everyone else has had the same experience at the same pace as myself.

After witnessing the exhcnage, I’ve taken the lessons on board and have committed to finding more effective ways to communicate with my peers and influence a culture of proactive behaviour and ownership of wins and losses. It was a great reminder.

Did you find this post thought-provoking, and have you witnessed similar exchanges in the workplace? If so, what were the lessons you drew from the exchange?

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