Building a global and scalable marketing campaigns process
When I took on the role of Global Campaign Operations Manager, I was presented with two core challenges. One, I needed to create a unified, global process that would incorporate all of the marketing regions who, up until now, had been working in a siloed fashion. And two, I needed to reconcile with the huge company growth we’d been experiencing.
In the four years since I’d joined, Pure Storage grew from 900 employees to roughly 4000. That meant higher sales quotas, more marketing campaigns to run, and an increased number of agencies to help us with the manual, operational work of setting up marketing campaigns. At a certain point, though, adding more and more marketing agencies doesn’t really justify the spend. Yes, they help us tremendously, but someone still has to manage these agencies, train and retrain agency employees through inevitable turnover, and QA their work. It was a lot of hours on our end, and the idea of adding even more agencies didn’t make sense from a management or cost perspective.
I knew that if we really wanted to scale out our global marketing campaigns in an efficient manner, we needed an alternate solution.
Why we needed software
I started leveraging a ticketing system to centralize global campaign requests and create a more unified marketing campaigns program. But in order to accelerate the completion of those requests, we needed automation.
Nobody at Pure Storage was really thinking about automation, but I saw it as the future. There are so many manual, repetitive steps involved in setting up a marketing campaign that I saw as an opportunity for automation. And the truth is, most people didn’t want to do this work anyway. It’s tedious, it’s boring, and the stakes are high—any missteps can have a serious impact down the line on our campaigns, and the company brand as a whole.
Under manual processes, most of our marketing campaign requests required an average three days to complete. However, if someone submitted a ticket on a Friday, you’d have to factor in the weekend plus three business days; similarly, our APJ or EMEA tickets submitted in different time zones had longer delays.
Some of our marketing managers even ended up bypassing the ticketing system and creating their own campaigns because they didn’t want to wait. So, the success of a unified campaigns program absolutely rested on our ability to bring in an automation platform that could accelerate campaign creation.
The benefits we knew we needed:
- Reduced time spent setting up marketing campaigns.
- Limited amount of oversight and QA-ing involved.
- Increased accuracy; the appropriate steps for each campaign are completed every time.
- Lessened strain on marketing budget/need for marketing agencies.
- Ability to expand automation opportunities to address other manual and time-consuming marketing processes.
Criteria for evaluation
Given that the scope of our automation project was pretty well-defined, I was able to come up with clear criteria:
- Integration with Marketo: All of our marketing campaigns are built using Marketo, and that was going to be where we needed the most automation. A robust, seamless integration with Marketo was essential.
- Ease-of-use: I’m not a coder by any means, so I needed a tool that was relatively easy to use and didn’t require me to pull in IT any time I needed to make updates.
- Flexibility: We have a lot of different types of marketing campaigns that we need to build, so I really needed a tool that was flexible in allowing me to make changes to recipes, rebuild recipes, etc.
- Reliability: One of the reasons I wanted to adopt an automation tool was to eliminate the inevitable human error that comes with doing things by hand. Our automation tool had to be extremely reliable—no downtime, no errors—to meet that goal.
Demo & findings
When I started my search, I was able to eliminate some of the more complex, code-heavy tools right away—SnapLogic and MuleSoft, for example, just seemed way more geared towards IT. Eventually, I narrowed it down to Workato and Tray.io.
Though the tools were fairly comparable in capabilities, there was more coding involved in Tray.io and I really wasn’t a fan of their flow builder. It felt clunky. The experience with Workato was more intuitive, easier to use, and they had a greater amount of integrations—not necessarily something we needed right away, but as we continued on our automation journey, I liked the idea of having more opportunity.
But, most importantly, Workato’s overall customer service and the people that I worked with were just fantastic. They gave me a free trial of Workato so that I could play around with the recipes on my own, and were just really supportive every step of the way.
After implementing Workato, we kind of had a slow start to our automation journey, through no fault of Workato’s. I was using an internal ticketing system that, because it had been set up in a certain way and was owned by IT, couldn’t handle our required dependencies without heavy IT resources and development. I tried to work around it, but eventually settled on bringing in my own ticketing system that I could manage and scale based on Marketing’s agile needs and ever changing go-to-market strategy
Luckily, the transition into our new ticketing system was seamless with Workato as Workato already had an out-of-the box connector and we were able to get started right away. It really further proved that Workato was the right solution for us.
Workato was a no-brainer decision. It was easy for me to use, integrated with the right applications, and allowed us to quickly pivot to a new ticketing system. And in the short month and a half that we’ve been living with the integrated solution between our core campaign operations MarTech stack, we’ve seen tremendous results.
We’re currently on track to have about 8000 tickets in our ticketing system by the end of the fiscal year, about 70% of which will be automated in some way by Workato. More and more marketers are using this ticketing system because they know that it’s faster than setting up their own campaigns. They no longer have to wait three days for their campaign requests to be completed; Workato has reduced that time down to 10 seconds.
Additionally, I was able to identify another use case for Workato with our legal team. They have to create terms and conditions every time we involve some type of promotion or incentive in our events, which we were doing a lot of. I worked with them to automate the creation of terms and conditions, in which I project will save them up to 300 hours per year (which translates to huge company savings) and reduce the SLA from two weeks to 10 seconds.
Finally, I’m expecting to save up to $300,000 annually in agency spend around Campaign Operations, which is going to make a huge impact on our budget and allow us to reallocate those hours to other initiatives. Overall, Workato was the best option for us, and we’re excited to create more and more automation opportunities.