Video Book Summary – Marketing Automation by Jeff LeSueur

This is a video book summary about “Marketing Automation, Practical Steps to More Effective Direct Marketing”
by Jeff LeSueur.


Transcript of Video Book Summary – Marketing Automation, Practical Steps to More Effective Direct Marketing
by Jeff LeSueur

This book, written by Jeff LeSueur in 2007 is written for companies that are doing business in the hundred million dollar + range. I bought the book because of the title. I’m planning a book of my own that will carry the same title with a slightly different sub-title. But my book is going to be written for independent salespeople and small or medium sized businesses that want to handle their marketing, leads, and sales better than they are now. But back to Mr. LeSueur’s book.

I started reading this book with a bit of skepticism, thinking that since it is meant for fortune 1000 companies the concepts wouldn’t apply to me. There are a lot of concepts in the book that I don’t think will apply to many small business owners. However, although the ideas were challenging, I began finding many valuable concepts and principles in it that I’d like to summarize for you:

The book is divided into three parts:

– Marketing Financials
– Marketing Automation
– Advanced Topic

So let’s discuss Part One. It has a lot of discussion in it about finance and the relation between revenues and marketing.

I believe that this book is part of a trend in the topic of marketing automation that brings accounting and finance into the equation and rightfully so. This is because marketing needs to be more tightly knit into corporate finance activities. In the past, marketing departments have been viewed as the place that designs ad campaigns and brochures. But with modern marketing technology maturing, marketing executives can now begin to more accurately connect sales with investment and prove the value of certain marketing initiatives to company revenue. So much of the first section of the book discusses how to measure what the author calls RMI or Return on Marketing Investment.

– Managing Profit and Loss
– Return Allowances
– Pricing
– Measuring Marketing Effectiveness and Marketing Financials
– Modeling and Analytics with an eye to improving response rates

The first section gets deep into aspects of financials in an enterprise environment dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars but the read is interesting and I did get some clear concepts out of it.

Part Two is titled “Marketing Automation” and introduces some of the concepts and principles of today’s marketing automation systems. Now let me say that marketing automation is defined a bit differently today than when I first began thinking about the topic in 2001. When I first thought of this concept, I was a direct salesperson calling on small businesses and corporations in my sales territory, selling cell phones and service. Regardless of the dictionary and college class definitions, I considered myself a “marketer”. I still consider what small businesses have to do to grow their businesses “marketing”. And at that time, any tool that I could find to automate the repetitive tasks I had to complete, I considered “marketing automation.” My first marketing automation tool was an IBM Selectric Ball Typewriter. That programmable machine took forms and sales letters that I had to send out daily and remembered them so I didn’t have to type them over and over again. That was a form of marketing automation for the times.

Today, marketing automation seems mostly to be defined as software that works behind the scenes on a company’s website that first tracks anonymous visitors and then eventually ties those visits together with identifiable information once a website visitor gives it up (by filling in a form or requesting information from your web site). By tracking this and tying website activity all together, marketing and sales teams can put together more accurate buyer profiles and patterns that can be used to eventually close more sales.

But in the bigger picture, by using the information gathered in this process and tying it in with analytics, marketing departments can begin to profile activities and behaviors that occur on websites and in responses to email or direct mail campaigns to better predict future buying behaviors. And this predictability creates actionable knowledge that is very useful for marketing and sales departments in larger companies. So this is part of what is explained in the Marketing Automation Section of this book.

There’s a really good explanation in this section about Marketing Cost Codes and Revenue Codes for Marketing departments. I liked this because it laid out some great principals for revenue attribution. Marketing departments need to understand how revenues relate back to marketing activities and this section is worth further study. It was one of my favorite parts of the book. The principles were related to managing list and mailing campaigns for large companies but they are also applicable to small growing businesses as well.

For example, companies should assign codes as follows:

– codes for offer recipients
– promotions codes
– codes for list pull dates
– codes for offer descriptions
– codes for expected non-recurring and recurring costs
– codes for actual costs
– response codes
– response date codes
– and response value codes

To manage records, it pointed out that you should create fields for;

– Follow up dates
– Follow up responses

There’s a lot to digest here but for larger marketing departments with the time and resources to digest it, I suspect it would be well worth a deep study. There is a good discussion of data quality and, more importantly, data access. The book points out quite accurately the problem of data complexity as a barrier to use (by marketers). There are database practices that create a languages of their own for database administrators. So a language barrier is created. Marketers don’t understand the cryptic terms that must often be used to comply with machine based best practices. So the concept of a “data mart” and a “data map” are introduced as ways to translate information from the complex SQL database field titles into easy-to-understand, usable titles for marketers.

This was a valuable chapter and would be very helpful for Chief Marketing Officers to read. I’ve done some of my own work managing databases with around a million records (which would be very small compared to the databases discussed in this book). I saw first hand how complex and difficult large databases can become to manage. So this discussion in itself makes the book worth reading. The section winds up with some important information about audience selection, personalization, and using samples to make better choices within large prospect and customer databases.

In Part Three, the author also discusses the unique issues related to managing large contact databases and CRM systems. It showed an interesting and enlightening example of how cumbersome a database can become if a company is adding notes to their contact records on a regular basis. Contact history must be managed and archived or you could easily have an out of control database. The book ends with a discussion of Strategic Marketing that emphasizes the full spectrum of a customer life cycle from inception through an entire cycle that could include cancellation, revitalization, and win-back. The key principle being that marketing efforts should be attributable through the life cycle of the customer and tie back to actual company revenues.

I liked this book. But I must say that it is written for large marketing departments. You won’t find guerilla marketing tactics here. It’s more like how to take your company from $100 million dollars per year in sales to a billion dollars per year in sales. For companies like that, this is a book you should read right away. For the typical salesperson or small businessperson, I’d probably prioritize my time for something more practical.

In either event I’d like to thank the author, Jeff LeSueur. I credit him with a great and organized effort to take his valuable experience with SAS, a company that does business with many of the largest corporations in the world and sharing it through this book. I recommend it very strongly for the right audience.

I've been intrigued by the use of automation in marketing since 1996. I started this blog to write, discuss, and review programs, applications, and ideas with others. If you'd like to contribute articles, ideas, interviews, reviews, or a how-to about a product or program, please contact me. I can be reached at (951) 313-7200.

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