Act-On has identified the three factors – the Fundamental 3 – for predicting your marketing automation success.
On the Rethink Marketing podcast, we recently interviewed Phil Bosley from Tactical Marketing about the Fundamental 3. Before launching his new company, Phil lead the Lead Marketing Strategist at Act-On, consulting with thousands of customers on their marketing efforts.
One of the his last projects at Act-On was researching what is it that makes our customers have a successful experience with the platform. There were plenty of opinions. Some just thought you had had to log in a lot to Act-On. Others just though it was the quality of your marketing.
“As we internally started to realize there was a lot of debate and disagreement about this, we launched into a data study using modern data science methodologies,” Bosley said. “We collected data on just about every customer that we have. And we began to look for patterns. We used frequency tables, and histograms, we used ANOVA comparative studies with IBM’s SPSS software. We really took this to a scientific level to understand at its core what was it that made an Act-On customer successful, what was it that made an Act-On customer love their experience, and ultimately what were the determining factors that somebody would love Act-On so much that after the first year they renewed for a second year, after the second year they renewed for a third year, so that we could see that longevity in relationship.”
And what they discovered was an answer that is within reach of any customer, regardless of size or marketing skillset.
This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast
Predicting Your Marketing Automation Success
Nathan Isaacs: Can you tell us more about the Fundamental Three.
Phil Bosley: You have to have a good email frequency. You have to have the website be tracking website visitors on your website. And you had to have had your forms integrated to Act-On. And not even using Act-On’s form tool, as long as your forms were integrated and Act-On was collecting that data.
If you had those three, good form collection, good website tracking, and good email volume, you would be delighted with Act-On. And the customers that chose to continue their partnership with Act-On, when those three things were in place, were in the high 90 percentile. If you’re doing those fundamental three things, you love your Act-On experience.
Nathan: And what happens if you were not doing those three, or not doing one of the three?
Phil: That was the craziest part of the study. When a customer elected to not do one of the three. It’s pretty obvious most people use Act-On for email, so that one is kind of a wash, like everybody uses Act-On for email.
But if you had elected to not deploy the beacon, you weren’t collecting that website visitor data inside of Act-On. If you had chosen to not integrate your forms, you weren’t collecting form information in Act-On. Then the vast majority of customers that were not doing one of those three things would find themselves at the end of their contract saying, ‘I just don’t know what Act-On provides me.’
Nathan: And can you talk more about each one of the Fundamental Three, like when you talk about email frequency is that one email a quarter, or is that one email a week, or is that a million emails?
Phil: We looked at different sizes of customers. Act-On has 1,000 active contact a month subscription, and we have customers who send many millions of emails every single month. And what we did is we looked at the different sizes of customers, and how that impacted their likelihood to love Act-On. And it was really quite amazing. What we saw is regardless of the size of the customer, it was completely agnostic to size. What was really, really important was really the percentage of your contacts that you’re using.
For example, if I’m a small organization and I have a subscription to about 1,000 active contacts. That means I can email 1,000 people a month. As long as I was emailing to about 20 percent of those people, I would love Act-On. Where we saw the problem is when people would go for extended periods, like multiple months of time without reaching out to their audience. But if you were reaching out to at least about 20 percent of your audience once a month, those customers time and time again, in like 95 percent of the time, loved their Act-On experience.
Nathan: With some customers they may want to continue using third-party integrations. Is it all or nothing? How does that work out?
Phil: It’s a really great question. When we talk about the Act-On beacon, that’s the mechanism that allows us to track and integrate your website visitor information to the behavior profile. We talk about form submissions. A lot of customers do see it as all or none, especially when they’re going through onboarding. They’re making decisions based on their 60- and 90-day priorities. And, for example, if we take forms, oftentimes integrating their forms is not a 60- or 90-day priority. They’re working now on that next email campaign. And it’s something that they just don’t come back to.
Many customers, and working with thousands of Act-On customers, I’ve heard this many, many times, they simply prefer a different form tool. We know that about 40 percent of the websites in the world run on WordPress. And the WordPress plugins for forms are just beautiful, and they’re simple, and they’re easy. And what many marketers struggled to understand is, why would I replace this easy thing that I’m doing, that works for me, with a new tool, with an Act-On form. And what I think a lot of people don’t understand is you just don’t have to.
What’s important is in that process that Act-On is learning who is submitting forms. Now that’s different than data being migrated through say a form submission to CRM and synced to Act-On. When somebody submits a form that’s tied to Act-On, Act-On actually learns the identity of that browser, of that device, and can associate, stitch it into this bigger picture profile that we have of the customer.
The Act-On Website Beacon
In a similar fashion the website beacon, a lot of people use Google Analytics, I use Google Analytics, is a great way to track traffic and traffic trends on your website. The Act-On website beacon actually tracks individual behaviors, and it can be used in segmentation, in personalization, in in-depth understanding of your audience and their behaviors, it’s used in lead scoring. It’s so critical to so many things that are outside of just the traffic trend. And because people don’t understand how critical that is, by the time they realize that they need it, they haven’t been collecting data. Again it’s 10 minutes to deploy. It’s just one of those things you have to prioritize early in your Act-On journey.
Pulling it All Together
Nathan: Excellent. If this is new to some folks or they haven’t really done any of this, what are your recommendations for them? What should they be doing?
Phil: Well if this is brand new, like if this is the first time you’re thinking about Act-On and marketing automation, and you’re asking the question, how do these pieces fit, like we want to be successful, we want to be happy with Act-On, we want to receive the benefits, the productivity, and increased sales that Act-On provides, but you’re just not sure how the pieces fit, the Act-On University actually has an excellent marketing automation strategy course. And what it does is it just gives you that big picture vision and these fundamentals on how to deploy it.
So as an Act-On user, just the grad cap in the top right of your environment, go to the university, click on the course listing, and register for the marketing automation strategy class. It’s a live instructor-led class. There’s Q&A. It’s something that I think literally every customer I’ve ever talked to that’s gone through that class has called it invaluable.
If you have the big picture, and you get it, all of it clicked, and you’re like, yeah, we just wanna go do that, you can either hit the university, we’ve got some great article content on how to integrate your forms, or we have some great content on how to deploy the website beacon. If you need a little more help than that, then just reach out to our support organization, firstname.lastname@example.org. Those guys and gals in the support organization can just walk you through the technical requirements and configuration, so that you can be up and running in no time.