With AI supporting more and more everyday marketing activities, there is a risk of becoming too reliant on the technology and the data it produces.

Mike Maynard and Hannah Wehrly discuss why marketers should continue to play an essential role in data analysis, they explain the risks and benefits of chatbots and the role they will play going forward and discuss how dynamic emails can improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Listen to the podcast now via the links below:

About Napier

Napier is a PR-lead, full service marketing agency that specialises in the B2B technology sector. We work closely with our clients to build campaigns, focusing on achieving results that have a significant positive impact on their businesses and which, above all, ensure maximum return on their investment.

About Mike Maynard

Mike is the Managing Director/CEO of Napier, a PR and marketing agency for B2B technology companies. A self-confessed geek who loves talking about technology, he believes that combining the measurement, accountability and innovation that he learnt as an engineer with a passion for communicating ensures Napier delivers great campaigns and tangible return on investment.

About Hannah Wehrly

Hannah is the Head of Business Development and Marketing at Napier and leads on pitching, proposal writing, lead nurturing, email marketing, social media and content creation. Hannah joined the Napier team back in 2017 as a Marketing Specialist after completing her degree in Marketing and Communications, and her role focuses on developing new relationships with potential clients.

Time Stamps

[00:54.5] – AI’s role in data analytics.

[04:06.5] – Switching marketing automation platforms. Is it worth it?

[08:18.4] – HubSpot’s state of marketing and trends report 2024.

[10:44.2] – Chatbots and the role they play in marketing.

[13:38.4] – Dynamic emails, how to use them and their benefits.

Follow Mike and Hannah:

Mike Maynard on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemaynard/

Hannah Wehrly on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-wehrly-b0706a107/

Napier website: https://www.napierb2b.com/

Napier LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/napier-partnership-limited/

If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe to our podcast for more discussions about the latest in Marketing Automation and connect with us on social media to stay updated on upcoming episodes. We’d also appreciate it if you could leave us a review on your favourite podcast platform.

Want more? Check out Napier’s other podcast – Marketing B2B Technology: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/marketing-b2b-technology/id1485417724

Transcript: Marketing Automation Moment Episode 14 – Data Analysis: The Role of Marketers vs AI

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Kelly

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment podcast. I’m Hannah Kelly.

Mike: And I’m Mike Maynard. This is Napier’s podcast to tell you about the latest news from the world of marketing automation.

Hannah: Welcome to the Marketing Automation Moment podcast. This week we discuss using AI for data analytics,

Mike: we have a little bit of a disagreement about switching marketing automation platforms.

Hannah: We discussed HubSpot’s state of marketing and trends report 2024.

Mike: And we chat about dynamic emails and how they can help personalization.

Hannah: Hi, Mike, and welcome back to another episode of Market automation moment. How’re you doing?

Mike: I’m good. Thanks, Hannah. It’s good to do another episode. It’s been a little while,

Hannah: it has been a little while. And I’m excited because we have a few good things to talk to you about today. And I’m going to jump right in with our favourite topic because we can’t have a podcast and not talk about AI. So I actually came across an interest in news last week where act on has actually brought in an AI platform to help support customers in generating more insightful reports. So they’re actually saying that since buying in this AI platform, there’s a 60%, higher customer report usage compared to our report. So it’s now offering customers the ability to look at trends, so spikes on emails open raise. I mean, it’s quite a cool concept, don’t you think?

Mike: I agree, I think it’s quite interesting. They thought thought spots age, which is not an easy things. And it’s all about basically making it easier to access data. So clearly, one of the things that I think we’re seeing, you know, AI being applied to is data analytics. And what they’re trying to do is get people who, you know, frankly, don’t really understand data analytics to be able to actually get some insights from the data. And I guess that should be a good thing, although maybe it’s also a little bit dangerous. If people don’t understand what they’re doing. Perhaps people could ask the wrong questions or get the wrong results. What do you think? All?

Hannah: That’s a great point, Mike, I think it’s interesting, because, as marketers, we should be asking these questions about data. Anyway, there’s been a move in the last few years to have in data centric, you know, campaigns report. So we should be asking this questions. But I’m hoping that there’s a level of support from axon to make sure that customers can ask the right type of questions to get the right type of responses, because you’re completely right, it could go very wrong very quickly.

Mike: Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s really interesting. AI is an amazing tool. It’s certainly helping, a lot of people do things that perhaps they couldn’t even do before. But I still think that it’s leaving the opportunity for experts to come in and really understand what’s going on. And so one of the things that, you know, does sometimes worry me is that you see people looking at different campaigns, jumping to conclusions, and sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong. You know, the classic thing is, we’ve got two Google ads running, and we’ve had 100 impressions of each and one of them’s got to click on one of them hasn’t. So the one that’s got to click has got to be better. And the answer is, it might be better, it possibly is better. But the data you have doesn’t support that, you know, it’s pure randomness at this point. And I think people understanding statistics, is going to be more and more important going through and relying on AI, pulling out the right answers. You know, that’s clearly risky at this point.

Hannah: Absolutely. And, you know, I can’t resist a plug at this point in time, Mike, but if you are struggling, if you’re listening to this podcast right now, and you’re struggling with understanding your data, get in touch with us, you know, we do this for clients on a day to day basis. And we’d love to help you learn about your data and what it means for your company.

Mike: Or you should be had a business firm or marketing there.

Hannah: I’m definitely in the right role, for sure. Definitely.

Mike: I mean, I think just to finish on the AI topic, though, AI is a good thing. It definitely simplifies access to data analysis of data. And what we’re saying is not that, you know, having the AI tool is bad, but relying on people who don’t understand the underlying data could be dangerous, you know, AI is gonna make it less dangerous, but it’s certainly not necessarily going to solve that problem. So don’t think just because there’s an AI tool, there’s no need for experts, experts can come in and definitely add value.

Hannah: Absolutely. Now I want to stay on the same track of axon Mike but I want to move on to a slightly different topic. And this is because apt on actually recently held a webinar, talking about the strategic approach to switch in mult automations. So it’s definitely a sales ploy. They had some good reasons for why people look at leaving. So how complex the platforms are, you know, cost, the lack of product update, and I think it’s actually really good thing to bear in mind that, you know, people do look to change mouth automation platforms, but what do you think?

Mike: Well, I actually think sometimes people looking to change marketing automation platforms is just chasing the next shiny thing. To be quite honest, a lot of the platforms have very similar feature sets, and the cost and time involved in switching can be so expensive, the payback time for you know, small incrementally. improvements. I’m not convinced it’s worthwhile. See,

Hannah: I have to disagree. Like, because I think actually comes to the details of why it’s important to move. So, I mean, take for example, it depends on your goals and your objectives, I think so if you look at HubSpot, for example, they have a really cool SEO function. So if you’re a company that’s really looking to improve your SEO, you know, this is a goal for you. Actually, I would choose HubSpot, say over a platform like SharpSpring, because HubSpot specialises in providing that SEO features. So though I agree, you know, there’s a lot of time and there’s an effort spent, I think it really comes down to those specific details of what you’re looking to achieve. And sometimes actually making that move is worthwhile.

Mike: And I guess you’re right there hammer has always, but I think you know that the HubSpot, it really applies to a particular group of companies. So they’re relatively small companies that are using marketing automation. And they don’t have a separate SEO function, whether that be in house or outsource to an agency. And then I can see the benefit of HubSpot, they’re coming in. But to be honest, I suspect that quite a small percentage of you know, for example, the sharp spring customers, where a lot of them will have other SEO functions. And they’ll have more tools available to support that SEO and less need to actually use something like an integrated product like HubSpot, some

Hannah: very good points, Mike, I think it really does depend on your team, your goals, but I’m still gonna stick on my side of the path and say, I think sometimes it’s worth it. And I mean, if we look at more like enterprise companies as well, if you’re on a HubSpot or SharpSpring, you could actually outgrow that platform very quickly. And then you’re looking at more the sales forces, the Marketo platforms, because they’re more complex, they enable more automations, that report is more granular. And I think it’s important to bear in mind where you are in your journey. So just because you’ve got one month automation platform, doesn’t mean that in five, 710 years time, you’re not going to move as your company grows.

Mike: And of course, you’re right, again, I’m gonna have to admit I’m wrong and a good thing. We’re not recording this, that’s all I can say. I think actually, you know, now you’ve convinced me that there is a reason for switching sometimes, I thought, actually, the act on information, it was quite interesting, because, you know, they’ve come up with this strategic approach. And basically, you know, what they say is simply migrating what you do to another platform is wrong. And equally, completely starting from scratch on the platform is wrong, you should reuse some of the things you do. But there’ll be some things you need to change. I mean, to me, okay, they’ve created a webinar out of it, you know, they’re arguing that it’s quicker, I think you’ve just shouldn’t be so dogmatic and say it’s one or the other, there shouldn’t be a black and white. And to me, it’s fairly obvious, you’d make the switch based upon making the best decision. So I’m not sure that their webinar necessarily added a lot to that. But hopefully, it’ll give people a reason to think about, you know, for each element of their market automation system, if they’re switching to a new platform, then they should consider Should I just continue doing what I’m doing and basically do a migration? Or should I do a rebuild? And actually, that is quite important. And people should think about that a lot before they make the switch. Because, as we mentioned before, it’s very time consuming. I

Hannah: can finally say that we’re in agreement, Mike. So that’s fantastic news for us.

Mike: That might mean I’m right, who knows.

Hannah: So let’s stay on the topic of HubSpot, because HubSpot have actually just released their state of marketing and Trends report for 2024. Now, I have to say, I love these reports. You know, we write about them every year on the Napier blog. But I think it was kind of interesting, because there’s potentially some trends that I don’t necessarily agree with. So I think you know, to start, let’s mention, it covers both b2b and b2c. So we have to take the results of a little pinch of salt because we work solely in the b2b sector. I mean, have some obvious stats and trends. So you know, the future of content is going to be personalised, I don’t think that’s going to shock any marketers out there at the moment. But one thing that really stuck with me is that they had a whole section on how chatbots are the future of marketing, and it all relates into AI, but I just don’t necessarily see that happening. What do you think? Well, let’s just go

Mike: back to a personalization first, because you covered a couple of things there, Hannah. I totally agree. I think more and more personalization is inevitable. But actually, if you look at what’s happening at the moment, very little content really is personalised, particularly in the b2b sector. And I think there’s, there’s an opportunity for companies to do more. I mean, if you look at Turtle one of the partners we work with, that’s an amazing ebook platform that lets you personalise. Actually, the reason most people switched to turtle is the analytics and not the personalization. So, from a b2b point of view, I still think we’ve got a little way to go until we really can say, Yeah, we’re actually moving forward with personalization. I

Hannah: think you’ve just called me out there, Mike, because I am one of those typical marketers right now that is like we personalise. It’s fine. What’s HubSpot, speaking about and I think that’s a great reminder. that we can always be improving. You know, and you’re completely right. There is definitely some elements where there can be more personalization, you know, Account Based Marketing has helped fuel that. And you know, I’m a big fan of turtle when the capabilities it provides in really narrowing down the personalization per company.

Mike: Yeah, I mean, we all can improve. And I think that’s something we need to bear in mind. Although nape has recently actually started working with a new platform, where we’re actually gonna produce hyper personalised reports for people. So I know you’ve got a big project working on that. And I’m really excited to see what you produce. I’m

Hannah: very excited to get started on it, Mike. So couple of podcasts time, we can maybe talk about the results.

Mike: Definitely. It’d be great to perhaps talk about some more case studies, I think it’d be a good idea. Let’s talk about chatbots, though. So you mentioned the fact that HubSpot said chatbots are gonna be important part of the future. But you weren’t so sure. So why do you feel chatbots are not going to be that important.

Hannah: I feel that there are still limitations to chatbots. So though AI has obviously advanced, we’ve spoken about this a lot. I think sometimes the questions can only be answered by a human counterpart. And I think sometimes marketers rely too heavily on chat bots, were actually in this sales journey. In the buyer journey, this buyer needs this personal connection to know that you’re taking their queries their questions seriously, and helping them overcome their challenges. And I just hope that as an industry as within the marketing landscape, we don’t become complacent in just expecting chatbots to answer the questions, build relationships, I think it can be used, I just don’t think it’s going to be the future, it’s going to be the one tool that every marketer has to have in their toolbox. What do you think?

Mike: I mean, I think chat bots have got quite a long way to go. And it’s easy to point out the problems with chatbots. So certainly agree with them. I mean, there was news a couple of weeks ago in the UK, about a consumer chat bot, from an airline, I think it was, and the chat bots was asked a question and then I think the user typed in something like Swear to me, this is the right answer. And unfortunately, the chat bot interpreted sware very differently to the way maybe a human would, and came up with a few exploitive. So it illustrates the risk of chatbots. And I think in b2b, particularly looking at technical products, which is where a lot of our clients sit, it’s super important to get those numbers, right. And what’s happens with AI, you know, basically, when you create an AI model, you crush all the information into some sort of compressed format, and you try and expand it out and you use a bit of randomness, actually, to do that. There’s a risk, you get the numbers wrong, and people call this hallucinations. It’s a real problem. I think there’s still a challenge with AI in terms of getting the right numbers all the time. And we’re getting closer. And without wishing to be too geeky. I think, you know, the technique of ragging that people talk about in AI is really important, because that lets a look up onto some day to be done. So you can, for example, look up on a data sheet, and then AI is much more likely to get the answer. Right. But I still think it’s a risk, you know, equally there was another issue where I think a chatbot offered a discount the company didn’t want to offer and the company was held to that discount, the chat bot was held to be basically making a commitment. So we know courts will interpret chat bots on websites as being a commitment by the company. And I think there’s areas where chat bots can work really well. And then there’s definitely areas where, you know, certainly in the near term chat bots are not reliable enough for most companies to 100% trust them have

Hannah: some really interesting points, I learned a lot even listening to that mic. So thank you. So I mean, let’s move on. I know we’re coming up to the end of our time today. So I want to have a chat about dynamic emails. And this is part of our insightful Tip of the Week. So we’ve done a lot of campaigns in the past for dynamic emails. And I have a question for you, Mike, what’s the difference between dynamic and static standard emails? And is worth using it?

Mike: I think it’s a great question. So dynamic emails are emails that change the content based upon some data. So technically, if you do, sort of dear first name, that’s a somewhat dynamic content, because you’re going to change the name. But in reality, when we look at Dynamic emails, what they’re doing is they’re changing big chunks of content in the email. And in fact, we’ve created campaigns where, literally, there’s been multiple sections of email, and none of it is fixed. None of it is static. It all depends on what the user did. And, you know, one campaign I’m thinking of, is a campaign we ran for a client, which was people who bought this product also bought this product. And so they had a effectively a big lookup database. And it said simple things like for example, if you bought a soldering iron, then people who did that also bought solder. Needless to say, you need solar to sold or anything. So it was a really simple concept. It’s used a lot. You know, if you buy from Amazon, you’ll have seen it, but it’s all triggered dynamically because what you don’t want to do is have to create a million emails And actually, at one point, that’s what they were doing. So if you bought a soldering iron, there was an email, they’d written saying, you bought soldering on think about solar, you’re probably going to need it, you know, or alternatively, you bought a hammer, think about some nails. So it’s really simple, but they were writing emails. And that wasn’t scalable. And it also was very difficult to manage. So I think one of the things dynamic emails do is they let you create an email that can be then reused in multiple occasions. So for example, you know, where people are creating a follow up email, when someone’s downloaded an ebook, typically, that structure is the same, you know, maybe what you could be doing is actually taking from the ebook, you know, the name of the ebook, and then perhaps looking up, for example, something that’s relevant about that ebook, so some follow up content, putting it into one dynamic email. So then you got one email that’s run across multiple campaigns. And I think the more people use dynamic emails, actually, the more manageable their campaigns or it feels difficult and complex at first, but actually, it simplifies things a lot. That’s

Hannah: really interesting, Mike, and I’m interested, how easy is it to create dynamic email? So it’s going to save a bucket load of time, you know, for marketers, rather than doing these manual emails, but do we create one dynamic template that we then use across multiple campaigns? How does it work? So

Mike: I mean, basically, to create a dynamic email in most marketing automation platforms is pretty easy, you have different chunks of content. And you either insert basically the content from the contact record or the company record, or you select a different content block based upon data that’s held in the company or contact record. So you know, it’s really simple. And you can control lots of things that way. So, as an example, one use of dynamic emails is for translations. So you create one email. And then what you do is you’d switch the language. So you change the content based upon the language that that person wants to receive. And typically, that language is driven primarily by the country in which they reside, obviously, as a few European countries that make it a little more difficult, because they have multiple languages. But basically, that’s how you do it. So you’d switch the content. In language, you’d have one email to maintain. And that means that you don’t have to go hunting around for 1015 emails for multiple translations, you’ve got one email, you just changed that dynamic content. So it’s really easy to do. And I think, you know, what people need to think about is, when you’ve got an email that is basically the same, but you’re changing the words inside or maybe the images, but the structure is the same, you know, the sections the same, there, maybe it’s better to do it dynamically than it is to try and create lots of static emails, and particularly, you know, again, because that dynamic content will all be together. If you need to change all of that content, then it’s very easy to do, because it’s all held together. Rather than being spread across multiple emails. I would encourage people to use it. It’s a great way to personalise campaigns, something we’ve talked about earlier, because as soon as you’re using dynamic content, typically it’s driven by personalization. And it’s a great feature on a lot of marketing automation tools. That I think, you know, sometimes people are a little bit scared of using, particularly if they’re not marketing automation experts. That’s

Hannah: so insightful. Thank you, Mark. I mean, my mind is already worrying about how we can implement dynamic emails for Napier. So if I’ve got ideas about personalization, I’m sure our listeners have to.

Mike: That’s great. And I know you’ve got lots of ideas, so I’m looking forward to seeing those campaigns.

Hannah: Thanks so much for your time today, Mike. It’s been a fantastic conversation.

Mike: Thanks, Hannah. It’s been really good again, and look forward to the next episode.

Hannah: Thanks for listening to the Marketing Automation Moment podcast.

Mike: Don’t forget to subscribe in your favourite podcast application, and we’ll see you next time.