Featured in the October edition of the Fearless Forum, Amber Hobson of Applied Systems is walking us through her journey of implementing Dynamic Content. In this master class, Amber goes into detail about her team's marketing strategy before rolling out Dynamic Content, lessons learned during implementation, and how it ultimately impacts marketing efficiency and reporting.
Q1: Can you describe how you leverage personalization at your organization?
Every single email is personalized to some extent. Our CMO is very much about the right content to the right person. We had implemented specific letterhead, envelopes, etc. throughout the organization to ensure that when you receive something from Applied, the address matches your country’s main location. He wanted us to do this for digital as well. We started with multiple emails for each region to get the right footer address, which later grew into the sophistication that we have today.
Q2: What are some specific benefits you’ve seen from implementing personalization?
It saved time for our Demand Gen team significantly! It’s much easier to change words or make minor edits within the Dynamic Content than it is to create multiple emails and set up our smart campaigns to send the right one based on country. Now, we can just build a single email and schedule it in a simple campaign.
It also had an unanticipated benefit where it can now flow into our reporting. We can actually do our reporting for email statistics based on the Dynamic Content segments as well. This is huge for our regional teams! It allows us to see how an email performs based on each group. For example, we’ve learned now that shorter emails perform better in North America while longer emails are better received in Europe.
Q3: Can you go into detail about efficiencies?
We work in 4 countries and technically 2 languages. In our industry, there are minor wording changes even between the US and Canada. This means that we were having to build separate emails for just a single word or a CTA link change. At this point building multiple emails for minor nuances was difficult to manage and we would have a single program with at least 5 emails to ensure we were getting the right content to the right person. By implementing Dynamic Content, we were able to scale down to a single email that we segment appropriately to make the necessary regional changes. We always start with the US (our largest market) and then we can quickly run a find/replace for some of the smaller copy changes.
Q4: How are you setting up your Dynamic Content campaigns within Marketo?
Our most used campaign is our Geographic segment. We set up a segment to catch country & language for everyone in our database. We’ve had to expand this segment over time as our company has grown by adding other markets. We also switched to using the State/Country picklist functionality in SFDC. One thing you have to remember is that when a change like that is made, you have to update all of your segments. Otherwise you end up with more people in the “Default” category than you want.
Then we created a Footer & Unsubscribe snippet for our emails as the most basic quick win. This allows us to have unique subscription centers and to include our local addresses in the footer of our emails.
Then for every email we do, we use that Snippet in our footer section.
Q5: What are some unique ways you’re leveraging Dynamic Content with Marketo?
We have two unique ways that we’re using Dynamic Content. One is geography. All emails automatically have a geographic segment added, even if it is just for the footer & unsubscribe content. The second method that we do is leverage Acuity to manage scripts. We use Acuity to provide each of our sales reps with their own calendar link. Then we create a segment based on SFDC account owner and simply change the URL based on the reps.
Q6: How are you layering features of Marketo to make Dynamic Content work for you by utilizing tokens/buttons?
This one took us a while to figure out! We had been using Dynamic Content for our copy for years before we realized that we could use it for our CTA links as well. We have added Dynamic Content to each of our five program tokens, which we use to populate our CTAs. We standardized our CTA to always include one of these tokens (with a few minor exceptions).
We also layered Marketo features into our modules when we are working in a newsletter. We have our client newsletter that goes out each month and each module corresponds loosely to a certain product. We segmented each module to have different content based on if you do or do not have that product. It gets crazy when working through QA, but we’ve identified key client accounts that will get specific content sections that we use as our QA people.
Q7: What was the trial and error process like leading up to the current Dynamic Content model you’re using?
It was more just us being paranoid about what we thought might happen versus what is actually likely to happen! We put our marketing team on every email that went out, but since we all have US information, the test results may not always be ideal. We got so many questions from the team asking if it should have said this or if it was correct for the market. I think we finally have them set up to understand it, but it made everyone so nervous!
Then, we had to train our communications team how to write the copy so that we were getting all regions at once so we could actually schedule them correctly. The other issue with the geographic segment was that we used to have our French copy translated for a later date, but now we’re providing the copy at the same time as the other regions. It creates a better experience for our client base (especially because a single account may have both French & English filters), but it took some training for our team.
Q8: What was the most challenging part of building out your Dynamic Content model?
It took a lot of research to decide how we wanted to start. We knew that building three (at the time) different emails every time that we sent something wasn’t working, but we weren’t sure how to fix it. After digging around on the Marketing Nation Community, talking to other users, and then going through trial/error, we decided that Dynamic Content was the way to go. Building out our segments was very challenging. We found originally that our data wasn’t as clean as sales thought it was, so we had to do a clean up campaign in SFDC and then we set up standardization for country & language across all areas of SFDC as well as within our Marketo forms. We still do periodic audits to ensure the data is correct and have had to expand our standardization to other systems that simply touch SFDC or Marketo (finance system, implementation system, etc.)
Q9: What advice would you give to Marketo users who are considering implementing Dynamic Content for localization purposes?
Think through your segments. You have to remember that no person can be a member of two segments so if there is any chance of overlap, you may need to diagram it out. And start small! Pick one type of item to do dynamically. For us, it was geography. As soon as you have that first one worked out, the ideas will just flow and you will find so many uses!
We hope you enjoyed reading about how Applied Systems is leveraging Dynamic Content to make the lives of their marketers easier.
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