B2B Marketing Automation.

B2B Marketing automation could have potential – if it didn’t suck so badly.

Is marketing automation completely beyond the capability of the B2B marketing department? Are we destined to receive automated spam forever? Or is there a glimmer of hope…?

“Sir, can you give me an example of good brand marketing automation?”

“No. Marketing automation sucks.”

“Oh dear. Still on a downer about those repetitive spam emails?”

“You mean like email number 8 that I received this morning, reminding me I hadn’t responded to emails 1 to 7…?”


“If I wanted to respond to their spam email bollocks, I’d respond to the first one. Automating the subsequent 7 emails because of a non-response is incompetent to the point of moronic. Idiots. I’m surrounded by idiots.”

“You must have one good example Sir.”

“NO. I HAVEN’T. [Pause] Ok, I have.”


“So, I bought a Triumph Bonneville.”

“Seriously Sir? You bought a Triumph Bonneville? At your age? Seriously?”

“It’s not just a Triumph Bonneville. It’s a Jack Lilley custom Triumph Bonneville.”

“Oh, and that’s different to a Mid-Life Crisis Triumph Bonneville is it?”

“Yes. Totally different. In terms of brand positioning, I am not only ‘The Author’ and a B2B marketing Legend, I’m also an outlaw. This is a custom Bonneville… for outlaws.”

“And will you be turning up to meetings clad in your outlaw leather britches?”

“Actually no. I bought some jeans with Dyneema®.

“What, like Kevla…?”

“Hell no! Dyneema® is ‘the ‘world’s strongest fiber’ – 15 times stronger than steel. Lightweight strength without making you all sweaty in the downstairs department.”

“Eww. Just, eww.”

“Quite. Anyway, we helped DSM Dyneema with its Brand Positioning Strategy a while ago – developing brand messaging across long and complex value chains. I learned about an Australian brand called Saint making ‘Unbreakable’ jeans with Dyneema®. You can fall off your motorcycle, slide along on your ass then get up and dust yourself down. The jeans don’t even scuff.”


“They cost about £500.00.”

“Oh dear.

“Yes. So, I contacted my man at DSM Dyneema and said, “Jeff, it’s time you paid back my many, many years of labour and servitude – can you get me some cheap Unbreakable Jeans from Saint?””

“What did he say?”

“He said, “No, loser, you’re on your own.” Or words to that effect. But he did forward an email from Saint with a link to a flash sale. Sure enough, the jeans were available for 24hrs with a 70% discount. I hit the ‘Buy Now’ button, but jeans to fit my racing-snake physique had already sold out.”

“Couldn’t you order them?”

“No, but there was an email field to be notified when new stock arrived. I hesitated, knowing that the discounted price would only last for 24hrs, but the spam would last forever. In the end I filled in my email address and waited.”

“What happened?”

“Nothing. I kept revisiting the site over the next few days to see if the stock had been replenished. All that happened was the sale ended, prices went back up and my legendary, custom, Bonneville buttocks remained exposed to the cruelties of the road. Metaphorically speaking. Obviously.”


“About a week later, an email landed in my in-box. ‘It’s started…’ I thought. At best, the jeans would now be available in my size at full price, at worst this would be the beginning of the spam. But the system remembered the product I wanted – and the price I had been offered when I tried to buy it. I was automatically being offered the discounted price. I checked on the main Saint website and the full-priced jeans were still not available in my size. So not only was I being offered the discounted price, I was being prioritised over other potential customers who might pay 70% more for those jeans.”

“Woah. What did you do?”

“Bought the jeans, without hesitation. Saint converted the sale and they did it using marketing automation. It may have been more luck than judgement because most automation sucks, but you asked for a good example. This was a good example – offer, engagement, automation, conversion, sale. And a positive user experience too. That’s why I’m telling you about it.”

“But mainly so you could bang on about your Triumph Bonneville.”

Custom Bonneville. My custom Bonneville… The point is that Saint used automation to make me feel good about their failure to hold sufficient stock. By extending the conversion process and managing the customer experience using marketing automation, they sold more products. It was seamless, it didn’t create any additional sales drama for Saint and a lost sale became an additional sale – the product arrived in stock, I was notified, right product, right price, converted sale. Good B2B branding, happy customer, increased brand loyalty.”

“Have they spammed you?”


“Are you a fan of marketing automation now?”


“How are the jeans?”

“Fucking amazing.”




Scot McKee