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Do it once (and only once) with workflow automation

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Do it once (and only once) with workflow automation


There’s a concept in productivity philosophy that suggests you “only handle it once” (OHIO) — the idea is that you immediately deal with whatever crosses your desk rather than wasting time by setting it aside and getting back to it later. When designing workflows for myself and my team, I like to take this a step further and set up processes in such a way that people need only do a simple task a single time. 

“Why would you do something more than once?” you might ask. You may not think of it that way, but, in many cases, everyday work involves doing the same thing several times. For example, you mark a task as done in your product management software, then send an email to your colleague to let them know it’s complete. You enter content into the CMS for your website, then copy the same content to the system you use for your mobile site. Not only is this kind of thing inefficient, but every time you’re entering or copying data from one system to another, you risk introducing errors. 

In my last article, I explained how I save new contacts’ information by entering it into a form that then updates a variety of different systems. This time, I’ll walk you through a few more examples, explaining the automation tools that enable them. 

Cross-posting from one website to another

At one time, we’d frequently cross-post content from one of our sites to another whenever the article would be of interest to both audiences. Rather than start completely from scratch, I designed a workflow where editors would select a certain category in WordPress (which wouldn’t be displayed on the site) to indicate that a piece should be published on both sites. 

The annotated screenshot above, along with this shared Zap, gives you a sense of how this worked. The trigger setting the workflow in motion was the publication of any article on the first site. The first thing Zapier did, using its built-in filter function, is to see whether the requisite category was checked. If not, nothing more would happen. 

If the Zap continued, it next copied over the featured image associated with the article. This took several steps, in part because we were getting a lot of time-out errors on the second site. We solved this, for the most part, by getting the name of the featured image file, downloading the image to our Google Drive if there wasn’t already a file with that name in the folder, then uploading that image to the second WordPress site. 

We continued to have time-out problems, so I set up a step whereby if the image wasn’t uploaded successfully to the second WordPress site, a default generic image would be selected instead. This kept the process rolling along rather than getting stuck on an error. 

Finally, the system would create a new post on the second WordPress site, copying over the headline, body copy and featured image. The rest of the images within the article were still hosted on the first site, which we’d decided we were OK with. The resulting post was set to Draft status rather than automatically published because we did have to do a few things manually. 

The manual part (and why)

First, you may notice the process doesn’t address the question of authorship. Because WordPress stores authors as ID numbers, and because our author IDs differed from one site to another, we couldn’t just copy an ID over. At one point, we did a lookup in Google Sheets that matched ID numbers from one site to another, but that ended up being difficult to maintain so we went with selecting the author by hand.

Our categories and category IDs differ from one site to the other, too, which means we categorized the articles after they’d been copied over to the second site. In addition, we went into the Yoast SEO plug-in and designated the original URL as canonical. This also gave us the opportunity to check the article over to ensure everything functioned as intended before publishing. 

Making form submissions go further 

The submission of a form is a fantastic time to trigger other events. For our MarTech Intelligence Reports, we use a form to gather information about software vendors in the categories we cover. When someone we’ve asked to fill a questionnaire hits submit, this triggers a number of processes. 

  1. The company logo they’ve uploaded gets added to a Google Drive folder set up for this purpose.
  2. The answers are copied into a Google Doc, which serves as the starting point for a vendor profile. Internal parties receive an email notification with a link to the draft.
  3. The submitter receives an email acknowledgment.
  4. The status of the ClickUp task representing that vendor profile is automatically updated to indicate that we’ve received the form submission
  5. A comment is posted to the ClickUp task with a link to the draft document. 
  6. The vendor’s analysis of industry trends goes into my unstructured data store tool, Mem, so I can tap it when writing the analytical part of the report. 
  7. The submitter’s name, company and email address are added to my directory of contacts.

I’ll walk you through a few of these processes so you can see how it all happens.

Even though we cover a lot of different software types in our MarTech Intelligence Reports, we use a single questionnaire to gather info from vendors. That questionnaire uses conditional logic to ensure the right questions appear for the correct category. This means that when we make a change to a question that’s required for every vendor, we don’t need to change it 12 times in 12 different forms. We also use a hidden field to link the form to the task for which it is being submitted using a task ID. 

Uploading the company logo (number 1 above) uses a simple JotForm function to call a webhook at the time of submission, sending the uploaded image to the proper Google Drive folder. 

Creating a Google Doc draft from the form input (number 2) uses native JotForm functionality to send an email with form data when it’s submitted. One general challenge with these form submissions is that even though the conditional logic prevents certain questions from appearing to the person filling out the form, those questions (and blank answers) are output whenever you export the form data. And as we expand to cover new categories, this issue grows larger. 

We get around this by utilizing the native email notification feature, which is set to only include fields that are completed. The email goes to a Zapier tool called “Email Parser by Zapier” that parses the email with all the questions and answers (but only the relevant ones, because the blank ones weren’t sent over) and copies plain text into a Google Doc.

It’s not formatted very nicely, but it’s a good head start, putting the answers into the tool we will use to write the profile. That same Zap emails the team working on the report with a link to the Google Doc so we can get to work.

Automatically setting the status of the ClickUp Task (number 4) is something I’ve only recently implemented and I’m really finding it useful. The form submission triggers a webhook from Zapier that passes over the task ID number from the hidden form field. That sets off a POST to the ClickUp API that checks a box in the linked task to indicate that the form has been submitted. 

I’m using the API instead of the native Zapier ClickUp integration because the native connector requires me to designate a space, a folder and a list for each Zap. Because of the way our tasks are organized in ClickUp, this means I’d need a separate Zap (or some other functionality) for each report. With the API, I only have to specify the unique ClickUp task ID to work with that task.

For whatever reason, though, the API doesn’t allow me to change task statuses. So I have a checkbox within the task record that essentially asks “is the form submitted?” and that box is checked through the API when it is. Then, I use native ClickUp automations to change the task status to “Info Submitted” and put a little comment on the record alerting the assignee. 

This process doesn’t “know” about the other Zap that creates the Google Doc, however, so another API call (number 5) is for connecting the task and the draft. Whenever a new Doc is created in the designated folder, Zapier parses the title of the document and extracts the task ID (which I’ve set up to be the last part of the title).

With that task ID, it uses the ClickUp API to POST a new comment to the task providing the assignee with the Google Doc URL.

How it appears in ClickUp

As I explain this, I realize that I probably ought to combine number 2 and number 5 into a single Zap. See? We’re all learning together!

Is all this worth the trouble?

As you can see, there is a lot of detail work involved in setting up these workflows and, like any other computer process, it’s not very forgiving — include an extra space or leave off a slash mark and that’s the whole thing scuppered. 

That said, if you’re automating processes your team encounters over and over in the course of their daily grind, it’s well worth the trouble of the initial setup. We’re doing 12 MIRs this year and each one of them has somewhere between ten and 22 profiles, so it’s worth it to me to set this up once and potentially benefit 286 times in 2022 alone. Once automated workflows like this are functioning smoothly, they eliminate a lot of mind-numbing repetitive work and let you focus on more creative, strategic tasks. 


About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.



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How is the Blockchain Shaping the Digital Marketing Automation Tools?

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How is the Blockchain Shaping the Digital Marketing Automation Tools?


It is no doubt that most of us are aware of what blockchain is and how it has shaped the future of digital marketing automation. If you are reading this article, then you might be wondering what exactly is the difference between blockchain and digital marketing automation?

What Exactly Is Blockchain? The blockchain is a decentralized ledger system that records transactions between two parties. A block stores information about previous transactions, so each block contains a link to its previous transaction’s record to prevent double-spending.

The users will have their copy of the record on their device so they can keep track of all the changes made in that particular chain by any member of the network.

The Blockchain Is Creating a New World

The blockchain is a new technology. It’s based on the idea of decentralization and peer-to-peer networks, which makes it different from traditional centralized systems. Blockchain technology uses a distributed ledger to store information, making it impossible for a hacker to modify the data stored on the network.

The blockchain can get used in many ways, including cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. But it also has applications in other industries such as digital marketing automation tools where marketers need fast access to information about their customers or prospects without having to go through an intermediary (like Google Analytics).

Some companies have started using this technology as part of their product offerings by providing users with access to their data through APIs that they can use however they wish (for example: visualizing trends over time).

How Digital Marketing Automation Tools Work

Digital marketing automation tools work by task automation like sending emails, creating landing pages, and tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns. These tools can help you save time and money by automating tasks.

For example, let’s say you want to reach out to more leads on LinkedIn but you don’t have time to send them an email every day. With a digital marketing automation tool like HubSpot or Marketo, you can set up an autoresponder sequence that will send out emails automatically so all you have to do is check-in once in a while and make sure everything’s running smoothly.

Prepare for the Future of the Blockchain Marketing

As technology continues to evolve, the blockchain will play a pivotal role in digital marketing. This is because it offers a secure and reliable platform that marketers can use to communicate with their audience. In addition, it also provides better transparency than traditional marketing methods because of its decentralized nature.

Below are some of the ways that marketers can benefit from using blockchain:

  • Security: The blockchain offers greater security than traditional methods of digital marketing since it doesn’t rely on central servers or third parties.
  • Efficiency: Using blockchain technology means there’s no need for middlemen or intermediaries when conducting transactions online. This improves efficiency by cutting out unnecessary steps between two parties looking to transact business with one another; this saves both time and money for both parties involved!

Secure Digital Marketing Tool Designed on Blockchain

A digital marketing tool designed on blockchain will be more robust and secure. Blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed ledger technology that helps in recording transactions between two parties efficiently.

It also ensures that the records cannot be tampered with once they get recorded. This means that if you buy a product from an e-commerce website and pay for it using cryptocurrency (a form of digital currency), then no one can hack into the system and change your transaction record to avoid paying you the money.

In general, blockchain offers marketers several benefits:

  • It allows for better data sharing and storage than traditional databases
  • It offers enhanced security features because there is no single point of failure
  • It can help companies boost productivity by integrating both humans and machines

Blockchain Protocol That Ensures Safety, Security

Don’t worry, you can still use digital advertising. You just need to trust the blockchain protocol that runs it.

Ad-blocking software has made digital advertising ineffective already and will soon make all digital advertising completely ineffective. You see, if you are using ad-blocking software on your computer or mobile device, then you’re not seeing any of the ads being served to people who aren’t using ad blockers.

This means that advertisers must pay for each impression (or view) of their ads, even when those impressions do not get seen by anyone at all!

By adopting a blockchain protocol for their digital advertising campaigns, marketers and publishers can verify which impressions are being seen by humans and prove whether or not they were delivered effectively before paying for them.

It is worth mentioning that the benefits can be multifold as is already visible from the other spaces like the cryptocurrency markets. Numerous traders are gaining from the rising cryptocurrency prices. So, digital markets too must watch out for this technology.

The entire industry benefits because everyone is working together instead of trying to scam each other through fake views on fake websites with fake content created solely for financial gain without any real value-added back into society whatsoever!

Digital Technology Is Changing Everything

You probably already know that digital technology is changing everything. But what you may not realize is that blockchain is one of the biggest and most important digital technologies to come out in years.

Blockchain can be a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s worth learning about because it’s changing the way we do business, marketing, and advertising—even as we speak! The best place to start learning is by understanding what blockchain means. It’s essentially a decentralized database that allows information (such as financial transactions) to be stored on multiple computers rather than in one location. This makes it more secure than traditional databases which are usually stored on just one server or computer system.

Conclusion

As you can see, the blockchain is changing the way we interact with technology. It’s also changing how we experience marketing automation tools, and how they work. The future of digital marketing will be shaped by this new technology, which means marketers need to start exploring how it can be applied to their jobs now.



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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover

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Marketing operations talent is suffering burnout and turnover


“It’s hard to hire; it’s hard to train; it’s hard to keep people from burning out. To make matters worse, these challenges have intensified so swiftly that leaders have hardly had time to digest them, let alone mount a defense.”

That’s the main takeaway from “The State of Marketing Operations: 2022,” a new report from junior marketing ops training platform Highway Education and ABM leader Demandbase. The findings were based primarily on a survey of 800 marketing operations professionals from organizations of all sizes, more than half from mid-sized companies.

The demand for talent. The vastly accelerated shift to digital marketing — not to mention sales and service — has led inflated demand for MOps talent, a demand the market can’t keep up with. Two results: burnout as too much is demanded of MOps professionals; and turnover, as it’s easy to find alternative opportunities. The outcome for companies is the growing burden of hiring and training replacements.

Use of marketing software has grown two and a half times in less than ten years, according to the report, and the number of marketing operations professionals, across organizations of all sizes, has increased by two-thirds. Use of marketing automation alone has grown 228% since 2016, and there has been a 66% growth in the size of MOps teams just since 2020.

Perhaps most remarkable, 93% of MOps professionals learned on the job.


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Why we care. Providing beginner MOps training services, Highway Education clearly has an interest in this data. At the same time, there can be little doubt that the demand for MOps talent is real and growing. If there’s a surprising figure here, it’s that use of marketing software has grown only two and a half times in the last decade.

AWS MOps leader Darrell Alfonso, quoted in the report, says: “There’s a disconnect between marketing strategy and the actual execution — what it takes to actually operationalize and bring a strategy to life. Leadership, especially the ‘old guard,’ will be more familiar with traditional methods like field marketing and commercials. But now, during the pandemic and post, there’s an entire digital world that needs to be
managed by people who know what they’re doing.”

Read next: More on marketing ops from Darrell Alfonso


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]

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Product Market Fit with Scott Cunningham [VIDEO]


Scott Cunningham, CEO of Social Lite and Co-Founder of Merchant Mastery, has worked with thousands of ecommerce stores. The one thing he hears ALL. The. Time? 

“Facebook doesn’t work for my business.”

If you’ve said that about your ecommerce store, listen in as Scott shares what’s missing and how you can overcome that hurdle and start selling.

In this video:

  • Start Here to Sell More: 00:22-00:30 
  • What If I’m Selling a Brand New Product? 00:51-1:02
  • The Formula for Winning in Ecommerce: 1:21-1:34

Learn more about ecommerce:

The Future of Ecommer Marketing Is Now ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/future-of-ecommerce-marketing/

Use This Framework to Build Ads That Move Product ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/offer-harmonics-scott-cunningham/

NEW for 2022! Become an Ecommerce Marketing Master ➡️ https://www.digitalmarketer.com/certifications/ecommerce-marketing-mastery/




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