Tag Archives: drip campaigns

The Nurture Fallacy: 5 E-Nurture Marketing Myths

16 Aug

Marketing automation companies have built a big business by creating tools for electronic “nurture” programs. Now, B2B marketers around the world are executing “e-nurture” programs designed to take prospects on a multi-step journey designed to increase prospect education and awareness, and ultimately, to lead prospects to buy.

It’s not uncommon to see B2B marketers execute complex drip and trigger campaigns with seemingly endless tracks and branches. In some organizations, nurture complexity has outstripped the ability of charting tools to diagram the planned  communication paths.

While marketers must focus on the customer journey, the current e-nurture fad fails to deliver on the value that it promises. Here are the five commonly held beliefs that I believe to be myths:

Myth # 1: “You can take prospects on an email journey”

While email remains an invaluable tool for marketing and demand generation, it is a horrible tool for guiding prospects on a linear educational journey. Here’s why: only 10.8% of email is ever opened, and only 30% of mail that is opened is actually read (the rest is skimmed).

Most nurture campaigns are built on the assumption that a prospect will internalize a core message or idea and will progress on the electronic customer journey from message to message. The fact is that very little commercial email is read, very few ideas are internalized, and very few people are persuaded by content delivered through email. While some portion of people who open may click through and interact with online content, that proportion is almost always a small single digit percentage of the overall campaign audience. By the time the next message arrives, the educational benefits of the previous message are almost always forgotten.

Myth # 2: “Content should be sequenced along an educational path”

To maximize sales conversion, email campaigns should promote the best content (based on conversion rate) vs. optimizing content to follow a progressive educational path. Nurture campaigns should be focused on sequencing content based on effectiveness by first merchandising the content with the highest impact that hasn’t yet been accessed by a particular prospect. It’s common sense: sequencing content based on performance vs educational narrative will always drive better results.

Myth # 3: “The more tracks and steps, the better”

As marketers build teams and programs around nurture strategies, they often drift towards micro-segmentation of the prospect database based on interest and sales stage. The result is an endless tree of options and content as prospect interest evolves and sales stages change.

For marketing and sales, the typical result is painful complexity and a proliferation of content required to address every interest/stage permutation. In most companies, a few pieces of content do the real heavy lifting and have the biggest impact on persuasion and conversion. A proliferation of nurture segments dilutes the impact of the best content and creates heavy demands for new content that inevitably underperforms and quickly becomes out-of-date.

Myth # 4: “Prospect activity tracking is the secret to an effective nurture program “

Since only 10.8% of email is opened, a basic nurture practice is to resend messages to people who ignore the first message to try to get their attention a second, third, or fourth time. Continue reading

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