Kentico EMS 7: Marketing automation

Marketing automation is a new module available in Kentico EMS. For those of you who didn’t attend Kentico Connection 2012 and haven’t been attending the Achieving Marketing Success webinar, I’ll give a brief overview of the module's functionality. Improving marketing funnel on your web site will be the topic of this article!

Marketing automation introduction

As a commonly agreed marketing definition says: Marketing automation is a process in which you manage automatic targeting, timing and content of your outward marketing messages as a response to a behavior of visitors and prospects on your web site. You and your website's visitors can benefit by using this functionality in several ways. For marketers, it simplifies planning and delivering marketing messages to exactly defined segments of visitors thus reducing repetitive work and risk of human error. For visitors it helps provide the right content at the right time.

To give you a better idea about marketing automation, here are some examples of usages:
  • Lead nurturing process for contacts triggered by conversion events. This marketing automation process could include content which helps in converting leads into customers by sending use cases, success stories, trial offers, etc.
  • A process promoting a live event or webinar using a series of e-mails. You can also send post-event messages, such as information where the event content can be downloaded from. Such processes can be triggered by user registration on your web site or by creating dynamic contact group which would exactly target desired audience of the event.
  • Upsell process. You can use this type of marketing automation process as an opportunity to upsell your customers or sell them complementary services. After a customer makes a purchase on your web site, the process automatically sends him or her a recommendation for other products/services or just promotes upsell.

Introducing the 'Beauty day event promotion' automation process

You should now be familiar with marketing automation definition so let’s see how "Marketing automation" module works in Kentico EMS. Together we will create “Beauty day event promotion” process which will target all newly registered female visitors of our web site. Aim of the process will be promoting the Beauty day event. Also each registered event attendee will receive an eBook with beauty tips. Finally, when the event is over, the process will offer each attendee a complimentary discount voucher for purchasing cosmetic products on the website.

In this example I will use several predefined objects such as Newsletter issues and Documents, which are used by the marketing automation process. They are not part of demonstrated functionality so I’ll skip explanation of how to create them.

Setting up the process

The management interface for Marketing automation processes is located in CMS Desk -> On-line marketing -> Processes. You can see there a list of all processes defined on the Kentico CMS installation. Let’s start by creating new Marketing automation process called “Beauty day event promotion”. After creating new process we need to make first important decision – when the process will be started for contacts who meet a trigger criteria? Three options are available:
  • Always when a trigger condition is met
  • Only once (when it hasn’t been run before for the contact)
  • If it is not currently running on the contact
I think that for the Beauty day event promotion is most suitable “If it hasn’t been run before” (= only once) option. Every registered female visitor will receive the invitation e-mail just once:

Defining a trigger for the process

Let’s go ahead and define when the process will be launched. This setting can be found under Triggers tab. You can define global or site triggers and for this example we will pick a site-specific trigger.

Let’s take a look at available trigger types:
  • Contact created (if you would like to launch a process on first-time visitors of your web site)
  • Contact modified (if you would like to launch a process on existing visitors with specific value in their profile being updated, e.g.:  visitor’s country must be USA)
  • Activity performed (if you would like to launch a process when a visitor does certain action on your web site)
  • Score exceeded (if you would like to launch a process when a visitor exceeds Lead scoring limit)
We would like to send promotional e-mail only to female visitors who just registered on our site. Therefore the marketing automation process will be launched on “Activity performed” – “User registration” trigger type. We will also insert additional condition using condition builder (“Contact is female” condition) which will limit launching process only on female visitors:

What will process do?

Now it’s time to specify what the marketing automation process will actually do. In our example we want the process to:
  1. Send an e-mail promoting the Beauty day event
  2. Send an eBook with beauty tips to those who register for the event
  3. After the event, send a discount coupon to the attendees
Let’s start with the first part, which is sending promotional e-mail. Switch to the “Steps” tab and drag “Send newsletter issue” step onto the grid. This step is suitable for our scenario where we need to send series of e-mails and with same look & feel. To send a simple e-mail you can choose “Send e-mail” step.

After you add the step, connect “Start” and “Send newsletter issue” steps so that it looks similar to the following picture:

Step properties

Now we need to define which e-mail will be sent to the visitor. To do this, double click on the step or click pencil icon. As you can see we can change name of the step and select which e-mail will be sent:

Completing the process

We will create rest of the process in a similar fashion. We just need to drag’n’drop required steps, connect them with preceding steps and set their properties. We will need to place following steps in our process:
  1. “Wait” step after sending first e-mail so that visitor has some time to read e-mail and register to the event. Let’s say that we will wait 1 week.
  2. “Condition” step in order to decide if visitor registered on the event.
  3. “Send newsletter issue” step in order to send free eBook for those who registered within 1 week after our first promotional email.
  4. “Finished” step to distinguish visitors who were not interested by our e-mail
  5.  “Wait” step to wait after event is over
  6.  “Send newsletter issue” step in order to send discount coupon for event attendees.
The whole process should look similar to this one:

Adding conditions to steps

Let’s go back for a moment and take a look at how we actually defined the condition step. We will use the new visual rule designer I referred to before. Let’s take a closer look:

There is a list of predefined macro rules on the right side of the dialog (you can add your own rules as well). They take the form of simple sentences. We just need to find the right sentence for our scenario – “Contact is registered for specified event”. Then we'll use the green left arrow to add the rule to the condition. Simple, isn’t it?

Visitor's point of view

And that’s it. We have just created the marketing automation process that communicates with visitors on our web site and sends them timely messages. To verify proper working of the process and to show you visitor’s point of view I will try to emulate a visitor’s behavior on the web site ...


... yeah, it works! After registering on the web site as a female user I’ve received series of personalized e-mails:

Final word

One last tip: don’t forget that you can also launch marketing automation processes manually as opposed to the example above. This is suitable for situations where you have defined a dynamic Contact group containing a list of specifically targeted contacts (such as inactive prospects). You can then launch a marketing process for all contacts in the contact group with a single click.

Go ahead and explore all available step types (you can define your own steps) and other possibilities in the marketing automation process. Try to come up with a really powerful process to boost your web site’s revenue or just create one that helps visitors learn about your product. I’ll be glad to hear about your ideas and implementations. You can even create a case study to share your idea with others!
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Vita Janecek

I'm Online Marketing Product Owner and I'm writing mainly about Kentico features such as Contact management, Marketing automation, E-mail marketing, A/B testing, etc.