Marketing Automation vs. Parenthood: The truth behind both!

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Last May, I officially joined the Parenthood club when I gave birth to my firstborn, a baby girl.

Even though she is still an itsy-bitsy being, I am dumbfounded on how fast she has grown and how rapidly she is changing from the infant we brought home from the hospital to what she is capable of today. As with those who have joined the same club will tell you, this new journey is never uneventful.

As I reflect back past the sleepless nights, it dawned on me that bringing up a child is not unlike to setting up marketing automation for a business.

I know, I know, comparing child-rearing to marketing automation may be a stretch, but there are some key similarities from both experiences. By sharing my learning from both, I hope it can help you if you ever find yourself in either situation… or both. ☺

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Lesson Learned #1:  Start from the big picture

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I sought out advice from experienced parents. Most advice boiled down to one simple rule: set guiding principles and stick to them.

After some debating, we on the following rules to raise our baby. We will try to keep a balance and avoid over-indulging her with too much attention in case she becomes too needy. We will train her to sleep on her own, eat well and of course, no matter how crazy our life gets, we will always find time for each other and have date nights.

And then reality hits you… There were only sleepless nights and I must admit that I still rush to the crib at the first sound of a sniffle.

However, having those guidelines helped us to be more grounded, more deliberate in our immediate reactions, and strengthened our bond with each other.

Believe it or not, setting up marketing automation works in the similar ways. The most important step is to define a set of objectives for what you’d like to accomplish, then work gradually but persistently to get there.

Whether it is to increase sales conversion with retargeting tactics or drip nurturing of your existing customers to grow long-term retention, it is important to have the big picture goal in order to guide the planning, execution, and measurement of your campaigns.

This way, you’re not caught up in the nitty-gritty details of one particular campaign or automation flow, but rather consider the outcome it delivers.

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Lesson Learned #2: It’s all about knowing your target audience

The essence of marketing is knowing your customers and finding unique ways to capture their interest or get them to perform the desired action. As a parent, my audience is my child. Like how customers come in various characteristics or needs, every child is unique and requires an approach that suits their personality.

Understanding your baby’s needs at the beginning requires shrewd observation (a.k.a. data gathering) and clarification abilities. What her cry means or why she is grumpy is a science of its own. You have to test and interpret all factors provided.

In the same way, most of your site visitors will not directly tell you what they are interested in buying. You can, however, gain valuable insights into web behaviors as they browse in your site, understand what they viewed, clicked to cart, or whether they responded to a specific campaign message.

For example, if a visitor has browsed skinny jeans and checked out the shipping & return policies before leaving the site, there is a good chance she is interested in buying the jeans but unsure about the fit and, therefore, is looking for return options as a guarantee.

In e-commerce, ability to track visitor web behaviors is key to sales. Click To Tweet

Insights from visitor data can help us interpret and understand what visitors need, in order to capture those needs with the right level of engagement at the right time.

Knowing your audience, it’s about observing needs and providing the right response (food, diaper change, comfort or simply attention) that gives you the results you are looking for – a happy baby or a satisfied customer. Win-win. 😀

Lesson Learned #3: Patience is your friend

Unless you’re super lucky, it’s hard to get it right the first time. Getting it takes patience through tons of trial and errors.

At some point, the daily routines of taking care of your baby become more innate as you learn how she likes to be held, tickled, or the type of food she likes. But getting there was an ongoing learning process that requires repetitive testing accompanied by some cranky moments.

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Building out marketing automation follows the same cycle. Setting up the “optimal” automated campaign flows does not end just by hitting “activate”, there will be hiccups along the way, as you will notice recipients do not respond as you hoped.

With some patience, however, you will see what works best so you make gradual tweaks with A/B testing of the campaign flow in order to optimize for a much higher conversion rate for your campaigns.

Lesson Learned #4: Life changing outcomes

As the saying goes, the best things in life don’t come easy, but those are the ones worth the sacrifice. Every parent will tell you how true it is.

Parenting comes with challenges and overwhelming questions each day: am I being over protective, am I setting the right guidance, is the time I devote on her adequate, etc.?

Raising a child is a life-altering growth experience. It may sound cheesy to non-parents, but a simple smile or her getting over a cold that you are so worried about brings enormous joy and pride to my heart.

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Again, this is also true for marketing automation. Setting up automation flows requires enormous time, effort and commitment from the entire team, an experience that does not go without hair grabbing frustrations when those triggers or results fail to work.

But when they do, you gain a great sense of accomplishment, not to mention a hearty boost in income for your business.

As a marketer, I cannot imagine life before automation, where each campaign is independent and manually pushed to the customers, just as I cannot now imagine life without my daughter.

So, in conclusion…

Hope I have not lost you along the way as I share my experiences working with marketing automation with ContactPigeon, and bringing up my child. I do hope some of the insights will help those who are just starting out on their journeys.

I’m sure as my baby girl grows there will be new exciting challenges and outcomes, dos and don’ts (perhaps a part 2 in a future post).

If you have insights that you’d like to share either on babies or marketing, leave a comment or write to me. I would love to hear more about it.


Sofia Spanou

View posts by Sofia Spanou
Sofia is the manager of customer success and takes pride in ensuring all customers are benefiting from ContactPigeon's automation features. When she is not speaking with a customer, Sofia enjoys spending time with her husband and newborn daughter.