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Assessing a Marketing Automation Problem

Jim wrote in, "Hi Christopher – our question is about Twitter mainly. Our organization name is related to the name of many local, unaffiliated organizations. We’ve distinguished ourselves by adding "national" in front of our name, but every day, many times a day, people confuse and tag us in tweets about one or more of the unrelated local organizations. The tweets are sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Our question is whether we should take steps to address that or just let it continue? I thought about setting up an automation that thanks everyone who tags us and encouraging them to check us out online. What would you do?"

A few things are important to determine here when it comes to assessing a marketing automation problem. First, how important is the marketing automation problem? How does Twitter fit in overall with your strategy? Before you go designing a system of some kind to deal with the problem, you should establish just how important Twitter is to your marketing. For example, when I look at the overall contributors to conversions on my site for all of calendar year 2020, this is what I see:

Customer Journey Analysis

Twitter is the #4 source of conversions for me, accounting for almost 79 conversions, and so if this were your site, would you want to give up about 2% of your conversions? Probably not, so you’d want to pursue this line of inquiry. On the other hand, if Twitter didn’t make it to the top 25 converting sources for your site in 2020, then I’d say you probably have a relatively low risk problem.

So, assessing your overall marketing risk is the first step. The second step is, how big is the marketing automation problem? Do these tags happen once a day? Multiple times per day? Five times an hour? The more frequent the problem, the more it might make sense to automate something. Also take into account how much effort it is to solve the problem currently. Is it 10 seconds per reply for someone to respond? Is it 10 minutes? A problem that occurs once a day but takes seconds to respond to is a minor nuisance that might not be worth solving. A problem that occurs once an hour and consumes 10 minutes of that hour is a major productivity drain.

Third, how complex is the marketing automation problem? Does the same response work for the vast majority of situations? Would giving a fully automated answer cause substantial reputational risk? If the answer is no, then definitely automate it away. If the responses you give have to be complex and well-thought out, with substantial reputational risk if you mess it up, then you probably can’t automate it away. Screwing up a sensitive response that could explode isn’t worth automating.

Automation flowchart

Marketing Automation Solutions

So, given these three assessments, if I were tackling this marketing automation problem, I’d see one of a couple solutions. First, if it’s something that can’t be automated, that has to be manual, I’d look at either training someone internally in my organization to handle it or outsourcing it. There are tons of companies and contractors around the world that are available to deal with this exact problem, appropriate for every budget level.

Second, if it’s something that could be automated, I’d look at what’s available in the marketplace. Again, tons of companies have social media monitoring and automation solutions, so if there’s one that deals with this exact problem – essentially a Twitter version of an out of office reply – I’d slot that in. If there was no appropriate vendor, or the cost of the software outweighed the value, I’d probably write my own software and run it on one of my servers. Twitter’s API is relatively easy to work with and is very robust in what it allows you to do.

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