Marketing Automation Like a Demigod

Think of marketing automation as the Achilles of the Selling People Stuff World: a hulking demigod and veritable typhoon of a soldier ... with one hyper-exploitable weakness[1] just hanging out right there in front of Zeus and everyone.

Amphora depicting legendary Greek hero Achilles

His lamentable fashion sense?


Given that business operations obviously don’t have literal heels like Achilles, they still can be taken down by other means. Instead of arrows, marketing automation’s ghostly psyche[2] dumps obols[3] onto Charon[4] and crosses the River Styx thanks to user error. Preventing user errors means your approach slaughters Hector outside the gates of Troy[5] and foregoes the whole piquing-the-ire-of-Paris-who-then-shoots-you-with-an-arrow-in-the-heel[6] thing.

Knowing Is Half the Battle

The definition of "marketing automation" is right there in the name. It streamlines the lead generation process by tracking your audiences’ tastes and preferences so as to narrow down the individuals most likely to purchase your products and services. Marketing automation parses existing leads and determines whom to further target and whom to put along a different path. From there, you receive valuable analytics and insight into your demographics. Think of it as the "You May Also Like" feature on numerous social media sites and online storefronts stretched to its logical advertising conclusion.

Companies deploy marketing automation in order to free up personnel for matters that can’t be adequately completed with just software. Rather than throw your employees into the clutches of Lyssa[7] with such repetitive responsibilities, marketing automation frees them up to study your leads’ needs and wants and nurture a more prosperous relationship with these potential customers as they inch closer to the point of sale. While you can’t leave the lead filtering process entirely to the machines, you can save time and money by automating factors such as purchase patterns, email opens, click rates, page views and others.

Building the Trojan Horse

Say, for example, you own and operate Crazy Peneus' Discount Lumber Emporium[8], which carries all the wood needed for someone to construct a gargantuan mobile equine fortress as revenge for abducting the Spartan queen[9]. The horse-builders fill their online shopping carts with enough fascines[10] to dam the Aliákmonas[11] up to the peak of Olympus itself. Because you employ marketing automation tactics, you also offer the shoppers some pitch to buy with their lumber orders. As it so happens, they think it might be a good idea to keep themselves protected from the elements while hunched inside the belly of a legendary war machine.

Unfortunately, before they are able to click the submit button for their purchase orders, they are distracted by a pesky Trojan priest who wasn’t properly felled by some sea serpents Poseidon sent earlier[12]. After a day of battle, your shoppers return the next morning to check their email accounts and lo and behold, good ole Crazy Peneus (that’s you) has sent each of them an automated message reminding them of their abandoned shopping carts. You tell them they probably really do want to get on that purchase if they ever hope to dam the Aliákmonas. And they agree.

Your Discount Lumber Emporium succeeds because of this small reminder. Solid scoring of initial leads allowed you to tailor future relationship building efforts around what’s best for the customer, in this case, showing that you care about them completing their giant horse project.

Be aware, that kind of follow up does require active human intervention. You need to make sure you’re not overburdening phone lines and inboxes with too many reminders that you exist, and refine your approach to make sure generals aren’t receiving the email updates meant for civil engineers. Failure to do so could isolate repeat customers by inaccurately gauging what interests them time after time or just losing prospects altogether due to overburdening them with either too much or straight up wrong information.

And Then I Took an Arrow to the Heel

Not paying attention can hamstring (pun absolutely intended) your business. Even automated processes require you to monitor analytics to make sure your customer base grows, not stalls in neutral or — Zeus forbid — shrinks.

Don’t be like Chiron[13], hoping to cash in on his ward Achilles’ celebrated name by opening up Mr. Centaur’s Academy for Bright Young Boys. Instead of inspiring the wealthy parents of intelligent young gentlemen in and around the Mt. Pelion[14] area through a visually appealing and informative website and social media presence, Chiron purchased third party leads and bots posing as "followers" from the famous Oracle at Delphi Clearinghouse[15], because it totally sounded legit.

Except it wasn’t. At all.

Although buying the contact information saved Chiron time when building a rapport with potential clients, it actually led to the downfall of his business. You see, because he didn’t analyze the leads he didn’t bother to generate, he wound up creating a not-so-minor scandal when he emailed the wealthy parents of intelligent young gentlewomen in and around the Mt. Pelion area. It didn’t help that he contacted them several times a week and never honored their requests to unsubscribe from his mailing lists.

If good marketing automation is characterized by attentiveness, then apathy stands as the hallmark of the bad. Failing to understand key performance indicators, never changing your criteria for nurturing leads, and prioritizing your needs over those of your potential and established customers can all cause your business to plummet faster than Icarus[16] during the perihelion[17]. You have to evolve your strategy as you better acquaint yourself with the habits of your most lucrative demographics.

A Little Bit of Logike

As with all things business, you have to go with what makes sense if you want to generate leads and from there, mad drachmas[18]. When it comes to marketing automation, strike the right balance between saving time and taking an active role in expanding your customer base. While it takes some experimenting to discover the right strategy, doing so will ensure you stand out as half a god among mere mortals, not a crumpled wreck on a Turkish shore[19] with a pointy implement jammed into a tendon that just happens to be named after you.




[1]Achilles was more or less invulnerable everywhere except his heel, since his mom, the sea nymph Thetis, dipped him in the River Styx to make him functionally immortal, but held him by the foot when she did it.

Thetis was not the sharpest spear in the phalanx.

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[2]How ancient Greeks believed they died and passed into the underworld.

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[3]Ancient Greek coinage

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[4]Ferryman into the underworld, who helped the souls of the deceased finally cross over. But he required payment first, hence why burial rites always included some obols.

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[5]Achilles' major victory in the Trojan war

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[6]Paris eventually kills Achilles by shooting an arrow into his heel.

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[7]Goddess of madness, rage and frenzy

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[8]Peneus was a river god who turned his daughter Daphne into a laurel tree to escape the advances of Apollo.

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[9]The Trojan War started when Paris, the prince of Troy, abducted Helen.

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[10]Unit of measuring bundles of brushwood

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[11]Longest river in Greece, not far from Mt. Olympus

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[12]Laocoön, who warned the Trojans about the horse. They heeded him about as much as they heeded Cassandra.

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[13]Achilles’ childhood tutor and father figure, who was totally a centaur.

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[14]Where Chiron mostly lived

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[15]Famous seer, who could allegedly see the future. The natural gas fumes she allegedly inhaled may have contributed a little.

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[16]Son of the imprisoned Daedalus who attempted to escape using wings made of wax and discarded feathers. Flew too close to the sun, because hubris, and the wax melted and he totally fell and died.

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[17]Time of year when the earth is closest to the sun

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[18]Greek currency

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[19]Troy is in modern-day Turkey.

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