Can marketing automation be a threat to your brand?

Marketing automation and email marketing have been gaining momentum over the last decade. Today there are more than 250* different applications related to email marketing and more than 350* applications related to marketing automation and lead generation. The growth continues despite consolidation, so there is no shortage of tools. Many come with a built-in database  of decision-makers and include contact details from various sources.

The common metrics for email marketing success assessment are:

  1. Open rate per device type, domain, geography and demographic segment
  2. Click-through rate per device type, domain, geography and demographic segment
  3.  Conversion rate per device type, domain, geography and demographic segment
  4. Bounce rate per device type, domain, geography and demographic segment
  5. Number of unsubscribes per device type, domain, geography and demographic segment
  6. Mailing list growth rate
  7. Spam complaints
  8. Email forwarding and sharing rates
  9. Engagement over time
  10. Overall ROI

A typical lead generation email looks something like this:

Subject: Hey Ralf, let´s jump on a call!

Hi Ralf, 
My name is [xyz]. I was looking at your [website or linked profile] and I am convinced that we can help you to achieve [xyz] at least [x] times faster without increasing your cost. Recently we helped [XYZ company that has ZERO similarities with yours] to achieve [xyz].

I´d like to book a quick 30 minute meeting to explain how we can help.

[Link to a meeting scheduling app]

Best regards, 

My immediate reaction is often:

  1. You are not being honest with me as the email address you are using is intentionally neither on my website nor any of my social media profiles.
  2. The proof point for your services has nothing to do with my needs as the company you mention has nothing in common with what we do.
  3. If you are not being honest and have no idea what we do, why should I invest 30 minutes to “jump on a call”? By the way, I do not consider 30 minutes a "quick meeting".

This reaction makes it very unlikely that I will ever consider using the product or service offered. For this reason, I often miss an important metric in measuring the success of an email marketing campaign, namely the change in sentiment of a recipient towards the brand after receiving a marketing email.

Is the change positive? Are you investing in a tool that hurts your brand? Do you know the difference?

So what is the take-home message?
The selecting a marketing automation or email marketing tool is just the start of the journey; it´s not the end where the content and sequence become an afterthought.

When you segment your audience and create content be honest, be relevant, and brief, especially in the Nordics where "less is more." Focus on making it convenient for the recipient to engage. Finally, focus on what your audience wants and expects, not on your generic offering.

* Marketing Applications Data Source: