As Henry Ford famously said “If you ask people what they want, they’ll say a faster horse” and this is so often the case with marketing automation. Most marketers know the end goal however, the strategies and tactics to achieve these goals are often misaligned or absent.

Some rush in and others never get around to making a start. Those that rush in may be able to execute at pace, rapidly transforming their marketing campaigns initially, but can lose steam and revert to a ‘rinse and repeat’ approach over time.

Those that find themselves paralysed at the starting line are often overwhelmed by the scale of the project ahead and focus on what they don’t have in place, rather than the quick wins they could implement over time.

This is why at Marketing Cube we’ve started to offer our customers much more than technical support for marketing automation. Over the past 12 months, we’ve made a number of improvements to the way in which we service modern marketers.

We’ve combined our knowledge of literally managing thousands of marketing automation programs, to be able to share best practice and strategic insights with you, irrespective of where you are in your automation journey.

There are more than a few key things we’ve discovered by specialising in marketing automation over the past decade. But generally, if you’re early on in your automation journey, they fall into these three categories:

  1. Simplify: start small and commit to continuous improvement.
  2. Keep the customer at the forefront: use Human Centred Design (HDC) principles to develop your journeys.
  3. Plan: no award-winning strategy or campaign was ever delivered off-the-cuff – commit to an annual roadmap of how you’ll deliver not just your campaigns, but also capability improvements across your teams.

Sounds easy enough. But how does it work in practice?

Last month, we kicked off our first Oracle Marketing Lab for 2019 in Auckland with an impressive collection of successful enterprise-level brands.

We started by reviewing Ideo’s six-stage approach to Human Centred Design (HCD) principles1, since they are ‘kind of experts on the process of how you design stuff’. We then took a deep dive into how a number of organisations apply this in real-life settings, none more so real than Unicef2 who use HDC for creative problem solving and innovation. Unicef has very kindly provided some useful resources and toolkits to help others affect change in similar ways.

But HCD doesn’t just work in terms of product development and large scale infrastructure projects. While there don’t seem to be as many examples for marketing, it’s easy to see how the same principles can be applied:

  • Observation: Analytics
  • Ideation: Creative, Media and Content Strategising
  • Rapid Prototyping: Testing
  • User Feedback: Customer Insights
  • Iteration: Optimising
  • Implementation: Execution

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Getting the most out of your marketing automation platform and taking your campaigns to the next level, requires a strong marketing automation strategy.

However, some marketers rush into marketing automation and rapidly transform their campaigns initially, but lose steam and revert to a ‘rinse-and-repeat’ approach over time. Other marketers find themselves paralysed at the starting line, often overwhelmed by the scale of the project ahead. 

We’ve combined our knowledge of managing thousands of marketing automation programs, to be able to share best practice and strategic insights with you, irrespective of where your organisation are in your automation journey.

Female with mobile and laptop smiling 500x500pxl

To understand why HCD is now more important than ever for marketers requires an understanding of how far we’ve come…

Prior to 2000, marketing was all about making people want things – this era was dominated by the product.

After the turn of the millennium, we approached marketing from a more people-centric standpoint with a more diversified product offering to appeal to differing customer preferences. Marketing became about making things people want.

Since 2010, we’ve moved into the Experience Economy which is dominated largely by purpose. It’s about creating experiences people want and it works.

Take marketing led businesses like Coke for example: you can see their evolution below. In Australia, the ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign3 connected people and the Coke brand on a personal level. 76,000 virtual Cokes were shared online and 378,000 custom Coke cans were printed across the country.


CocaCold Cant beat the real thing 600pxl

Make people want things.

Post 2000’s

CocaCola Taste The Feeling 600pxl

Make things people want.

Post 2010


Create experiences people want to engage with.

Delivering unique and personalised experiences like this requires a deep understanding of your target audiences (observation), a creative idea that will engage (ideation), bravery to try new things and test new channels (rapid prototyping, user feedback and iteration), and flawless execution (implementation).

At Marketing Cube, we’ve taken this a step further and released our own HCD framework, specifically aimed at providing you with the marketing automation strategies and tools to power your unique customer experiences.

During the Auckland Lab, we assessed the capabilities of our brands against each of the following Design For Automation principles:

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Customer Insights
  • Customer Journey Mapping
  • Customer Experience Planning
  • Content Strategy
  • Managing Success

Overall, the results are impressive, but there’s still some work to do.

Design for Automation Framework


Average scores of the Oracle Marketing Lab Auckland Participants

Here are the highlights:

  • Given the maturity of these enterprise brands, all have robust brand strategies and guidelines that are applied to marketing automation activities.
  • Only 50% of participants are scoring their leads, likely creating inefficiencies for sales conversion.
  • Systems and data are siloed and require integration across the end-to-end customer journey (50% have no integration with their marketing automation platform). As a result, segmentation is basic and rarely leverages real-time engagement.
  • Only 50% use personas as a segmentation and personalisation tool.
  • Most have mapped their end-to-end customer journeys, but they’re not always leveraged during campaign planning and they’re not regularly updated by customer research.