Open Source Marketing Automation with TYPO3: An Overview

Transcript of our presentation held at the 2018 TYPO3 Conference (T3CON18) in Berlin.

Good morning! 

In this slot, we want to talk about marketing automation.

That is a really, really broad topic to cover. I'll only be able to touch on the surface. There's going to be a lot of details that you have in your mind. Please hold those questions, if you may, and ask them in the Q&A part.

My name is Ekkehard Guembel, I'm from Bitmotion, a 25-people TYPO3 agency in Hanover.

We've been dedicated to doing TYPO3 projects for over a decade now. Nonetheless, we all keep our eyes open on what else is going on in the world. I suspect that's why some of you are here in the room today.

For us, the term marketing automation has been popping up for years but it has only gotten more relevant last year. We were in a customer project, a really large pitch, and part of the requirement was that the CMS would be able to deliver basic marketing automation functionality. "Oh, my gosh, what do we do?"

We started looking around, founder our ideas, and at the same time, other existing customers came to us and asked about the same thing. For us it has become a thing, and I want to tell you more about it today.

Before we do that, I want to lay some groundwork about marketing automation and the underlying concept of inbound marketing, assuming that not everyone of you is familiar with it. Again, this is going to be a really brief and general flight, so there's a lot of exceptions. My apologies for that.

The general idea in marketing is, let's talk to the right people, the right message, at the right time. A website is not doing that as of today. We are always talking the same thing, to everybody, all the time. Well, not so good. It's close to a poster at the corner of a street. How can we get the marketing automation? One thing would be targeting and even personalizing content on the website. That would address this thing, but online marketing is more than just websites. Another good example would be email campaigns. Email campaigns, not the annual newsletter, but really to the right people, the right content at the right time, and that requires some brains.

This is based on the customer journey, and in marketing there are some different angles to think about it. The most well-known is the attract, convert, close, and delight scheme. I want to translate that into things that are more familiar to you. If we talk about attract, how do we attract people to the website or to other channels? Traditional things like SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing, and others.

Next, convert, translates into "we wanted to create a lead" or other sorts of conversions as well. How do I create a lead? I need to pitch some value. I need to motivate people to get in touch with us. I need a forum to get in touch with us and I need to head low of that, and I need to create trust and value, again, to have people not shy away from us. Now, this anonymous visitor is turned into a known lead that we can talk to.

The next step is to sell something. When I say sell, that's not really selling. It can be anything. It can be donation. It could be community contribution. It could be all kinds of goal that I pursue. When I say sale, that's really just a parameter. Here, again, right content to the right people at the right time. The user is not immediately ready to buy or to reach that goal that I want him to reach. We want to stay in touch with him, give him the right motivation, overcome blockers, et cetera. That's what we can do in proactive communication now, like emails or other channels.

Once this goal is reached, the journey is not over. We want the customer to be happy. We want him to spread the word and recommend us. We also, depending on the nature of the business, we want him to be a returning customer or to do some upselling or to do later upgrades. That's basically is also called a sales funnel in marketing. There's so many flavors of that and I cannot really touch on all of that, but that's the basic idea.

We can do that in manual processes, but we talk about marketing automation. What does that mean? Machines taking over? No. We want to have machines do what they can really do good, and maybe even better than we can. First is, be consistent, do the simple and stupid stuff, but do it right, be reliable, be timely, and everything. Let's make this more concrete.

I have some real-life experience in a sales team where whenever a lead came in and that was generated by demo downloads, people downloaded demos and that created a lead, and then the sales team, basically, sent all the same texts snippets all the time, and that was really, really bad. "Wow, a new lead. Let's send an email." People don't do that in time. They sometimes fail to do it at all. They don't do proper follow-ups, and then they spend a lot of money with stupid stuff that machines can do. That's what we're talking about here.

The other thing is there are things that machines can do even better; the keyword here being data-driven, and then onto machine learning and all that. What is the right thing for this person? With really personal analysis, I can get a much better clue of what this person is really about, but that's nothing a human can do in every case. Meanwhile, the sales teams are no longer drones. They can now use their valuable time for real personal interaction and the result being a much more interactive and much more human experience for the buyer.

Now, what is a marketing automation system made of? We have, basically, four building blocks. The first element is, of course, the visitor himself. The visitor has some properties. As long as he's anonymous, he doesn't have a lot of properties. He does not even have an IP address for GDPR reasons. Maybe we learned something about him over time, then, we put him into segments. That's really important when we say the right message for the right person. What is the right message for this person? We cannot do this on an individual basis, we work with segments. We open the drawer and say, "Okay, this fits here." That can be based on multiple criteria like geographical or device-type or even behavior.

When a user comes in through a certain landing page for this product, then we have an assumption that he might be interested in this product. If browsing the website, he is 80% send in this product area, then okay, we put him to that segment. Of course, it can be multiple segments at a time.
The next building block is all the other components that we can work with on the website or in other places, for instance, the website itself. The website is where the right content lives, but that is not necessarily the CMS. There are many scenarios where landing pages are generated by the marketing automation system. When we say website, that can be within TYPO3 or outside of TYPO3. On the website, there are things like forms, which is obviously the most important one. Outside of the website, we can send emails. We have assets and we can even deliver dynamic content. With all these elements, we can now build our campaigns.

When we say dynamic content, I would dig into that a little bit deeper in a second, but for now we're talking about website content on the one hand and what we call focus items on the other hand. Focus items would be all sorts of pop ups, stuff like that. I think we've all seen that. It can be made good or bad. That's a different story, but that's what I mean by focus items.

Okay. Now, again, glueing all this together is the campaign. You may roughly consider it a workflow, a decision tree with a criteria like user opens this email, or today is a Thursday, or user's city is Hamburg or multiple criteria, and all that connected and combined with timing definitions makes a huge workflow. It can look like this in an easy case but workflows can be much more complex even.

It's the high art of a marketing automation to design manageable workflows to split it into multiple trunks that are manageable overtime. There's workflows or campaigns, rather. Then there's a lot more that comes with the framework. One is inside of the system, things like reports are very important and analysis, but also, technical things like customizing, setup, emails, and that integrations, APIs, plug-ins, extensibility are really important. That's basically the missing part of the puzzle with marketing automation.

What would we use this for? I gave you general ideas. I gave you a couple of examples. Let's look at more. First is anonymous visitor. The anonymous visitor is for us and for our clients it's really important because we can work with the anonymous visitor without having to care about or without having problems on the side of GDPR. When it comes to known visitors and then personal data, et cetera, it gets more tricky. We'll talk about that. Anonymous visitors, even there we can do a lot.

First of all, how can we segment? I gave you some examples. Here are some more. A first time visitor may be greeted completely different than a returning visitor. The frequency of his visitor, his behavior, maybe even his device type, if it's a smart phone, we would give him different pop-ups. Pop-ups is bad, don't do that on the smartphones. We interact differently on a smartphone.

What else can we do? Again, content-focused items and maybe even different call to actions and forms that we throw at the user. Doing that alone can dramatically increase your lead conversion. In a real life customer project, we had like over 20% better or 20 point more lead conversion from anonymous to known context and that's a lot.

Email campaigns would be completely different. Example, the typical one isn't the nurturing campaign. Situation being a user is on the website, is not ready to purchase right away, so we want to stay with him and send him what we call drip emails. We send him one now and say, "Hey, thank you for visiting. Thank you for downloading the demo." Then, there's something to click on and either he would click that or not, or he will open it or not. The decision tree starts off and there's going to be follow up emails, et cetera. We can do more things with all these email magic. We can very simply do double opt-in things and even flexible with that. We can do reminders. When we like, we could even do the traditional, old school of newsletters based on segments.

Next example, hot leads. What do I mean by hot leads? A user who has been on the purchasing page three times but never clicked the button, or who has visited the pricing page and then downloaded this and then read that. They are probably much closer to purchasing than the one that had just browsed around and went away. We want to handle them correctly. Either send them a voucher or give them a phone call, or whatever the action is, but this can be triggered by the system. The system can say, "Hey, red alert. He is a really hot lead. Sales team, go ahead."

Then, fourth and last example, out of many more; existing customers. Of course, you want to treat existing customers very different than you would treat newbies. You don't want to bother them with the, "Hey, this is how we work." You want to give them other things like, "Hey, are you happy?" or "Here's a great upgrade offering." As a side note, specifically here but in general, as soon as it comes to known context, marketing automation has a high involvement with CRM systems. That can be really tricky because many customers out there as we know are not good in CRM. For us, there's another piece of the puzzle. How do we relate to the CRM projects? How do we avoid to run into dead traps?

Okay. You may note that e-commerce did not come up as a word, so far. Obviously, e-commerce is even the traditional domain of marketing automation. The abandoned shopping carts, we all get those emails, "Hey, there's still this t-shirt in your cart." "Thank you very much." That's very typical. That's one traditional place. The other is real email marketing where it was early days for marketing automation. It's still strong, not my personal domain, not the strongest domain for TYPO3. I find it important to understand that there are so many other places too.

This is a reaction that I get all the time. How does this relate to GDPR? As I said, to be completely on the safe side, without any lawyers involved, et cetera, we can do a lot of sensible things with anonymous visitors, as long as we turn off IP addresses. The rest is also no rocket science. One thing, it's not just GDPR, it's also e-privacy. So far, the e-privacy directive, and we'll see what the e-privacy regulation will bring next year, probably 2020. Whatever it's going to be, it's not going to be a showstopper. We can overcome it. We can put a little more work in and proper communication.

We will use some users on the way who decide, no, they do not want to be tracked why they are personalized. Okay, that's fair. The better we communicate, the better is the chance that people give us their consent and we can work with them. That also it involves proper technology that is able to do that, of course.

Okay. Let's get to software. What do I need to do marketing automation? Who are the players? The dominant ones today are the big commercial Saas, Software as a Service companies as Hubspotor Marketo, or Salesforce, et cetera. They are really owning the market. Of course, they're quite expensive. They're crazy expensive. This whole situation reminds me a lot of where we were 15 years ago when TYPO3 and the like were starting to disrupt the CMS market. The CMS market at that time was owned by commercial guys like Core Media, et cetera. Now an alternative came along, in that case, multiple alternatives and change the landscape.

So far, that's not yet there. They are owning the market. They are rarely used to their potential. That's another observation. People use 5% or 10% of what this crazy expensive tool can do, but they feel good because they spent all the money. Because it's a hosted solution, it's a SaaS solution, its flexibility is really limited. It can do what it can do, but if you need more then you have to beg and pray. You can ask Martyrs about his begging and praying towards HubSpot; not so easy. Last but not least, it's hosted somewhere not in the EU. Data is not in your own hand. It's really sensitive customer data. Especially the larger corporations do not very comfortable in that place.

Next category would be CMS systems that bring Marketing Automation features. Again, the big guys do that, the big commercial ones. Of course, now a different situation they can do a really deep integration and small things, but they have a limited scope as opposed to the specialised marketing automation solutions. Then again, they are too pretty expensive and it's not something that I tell customers all the time, but I do hear the pain from customers that paying licence cost is still relevant even in 2018.

I don't want to tell names, but one huge automotive corporation in Germany, one of the large sub-departments is ready to move away from a commercial CMS and move on to something that we like because of just than. Then, it's a lock in, of course. If you have this combined solution, there you go.

I have to read it to you. This one says, "Open Source." Pretty clean desk; not much on the landscape except this one. It's called Lux. That's a marketing automation extension by our friends iNTERcODE. It is today a paid extension. We see where that goes, but it looks nice and we can do a lot of things already. If you're any bit interested to go meet the guys from into code, they'll be happy to talk to you.

For us, for several reasons, we needed the full job and decided to go for Mautic which is the only serious open source marketing system these days. For us, it's the perfect choice because it fits us perfectly. What is Mautic? Mautic has been founded in 2014 by a guy named Dave Hurley. Dave was originally the Joomla guy for many, many years, even our project team leader I guess. He has a lot of same experience that we have. He did not go the same way that Joomla or TYPO3 went though he's an American. He went for venture capital. He founded the Mautic, Inc. and at the same time the Mautic Association.

There's is a commercial business model with Mautic, basically, looking at providing, hosting and services; not in any way in competition with what we would do. They are strong believers in open source and communities. It's not just words like you have in another projects, they really believe it. I met Dave Hurley for first time last month, and he's a really really humble and down to earth guy. I like him a lot. He's not like the Clown of Mautic because he has his commercial background and that's fine but he is a strong believer in open source and so I believe in this project.

Again, this is US based but it is strong around the world. It is really, really strong in Brazil, for instance, and then in Central Europe, Italy, France, et cetera too. It is nice to see the community grow and people hop on the train. To be honest, it is not doing the same that a Hubspot can do today. It is very good for the basic 50% but there's a lot missing. On the other hand, it's open source, you can do what you need. Again, exactly what TYPO3 was.

We start the industry to shift the commercial guides. Now, I'll scramble to react and we talk about that later. Technically, Mautic is also really close to what we like and in TYPO3 it's all Symphony. We will have a breaking change when we go from version two to version three, but it's still going to be the latest and greatest in Symphony. I don't want to show you screenshots all the time, but at least give you a simple or a first impression of what the Mautic surface looks like. It's a very, very intuitive and pretty surface.

TYPO3 integration. First let's think a moment, why would we integrate with a CMS in the first place? What does it mean? What aspects does it have? A, we need to track what the user does. That's the core of all the segmentation, et cetera. If we don't know what the user is doing, we're blind, we cannot automate. That's simple; tracking pixel on the website.

Next, we want to collect data. We want the lead, so we need a forum. Then as we said, we want to communicate back, given pop-ups or whatever we can. How do we do all that? Again, tracking pixels, maybe even tracking of downloads, et cetera, JavaScript for content and other overlays. That's not integrated in the CMS. We can let the marketing automation system generate an HTML snippet and then put that into the CMS and let it display that. Well, that works out of the box with any CMS, even the HubSpot can do that.

The result is not good. For the user, if it's done well, okay, but for the editor, it's really tough because we live in two worlds and there's a lot of limitations to what we can do. We TYPO3, we can do a lot better than that. First, we have an integration with the form framework. That means, if I create a form in TYPO3, it will automatically create a forum in Mautic, and there's no HTML involved. I can modify the form all the time, and it's kept in sync all the time. That's fantastic and much, much better than the other guys.

We can do targeting. I'm going to show you that in a second with more like language synchronization. Think of a guy who goes to a website and switches to Spanish. Now, marketing automation kicks in and you sends him a focus item, a pop up. What language will that be in? Hopefully Spanish, but not with all the other systems. As far as I know, we are the only ones who can integrate on that level. There's more like tagging per page and there's more coming up even like automatic tracking of assets.

As an example, targeting, we all know the content or any TYPO3 elements have this access tab. There you can say, "This is only for this front-end user group." The very same thing we can now do with what we call personas. We have personas and they can say, "This text, this news item, this layout is only visible to that persona." That includes caching, and statistic file-caching and everything. It's as powerful as front end user groups are.

Where do those personas come from? Basically, they are data sets in TYPO3. I can create a new persona, and then it shows up in the access tab. How does TYPO3 know which persona this user is? Now, that's where Mautic comes into play. On the right-hand side, we see the segments that are fetched from Mautic online. Those are my Mautic segments and I can now say for the persona called upgrade intent, for that persona, all the users that are part of that segment will be matched to this persona in TYPO3. That's super powerful.

Of course, I can only be one persona. There's a certain order in it et cetera. That works really smooth and it is really intuitive and it's magic. How is it done in TYPO3? There are some common things to do like this targeting. The targeting, the access tab has nothing to do with Mautic, it is just fueled by Mautic. We move that into a separate extension called marketing automation.

This Mautic magic with the segments and the formframework integration, and all the other things, that is an on top extension. All that is currently available on GitHub, and it's going to be in the tair as soon as we are ready to merge. An original Mautic extension was developed by a friend, Jurian Janssen, who is currently an intern with this TYPO3 GmBH. We're now merging all our things with his original code, and then it's going to be in the jar. At that point I want to thank those who contributed most. Next to Jurian were Nicole Cordes, Florian Wessels and Helmut Hummel involved here, too.

Then what we would really like to see next, what Jörg is working on is the official blessing from both sides. An official industry partnership between TYPO3 and Mautic.Now, to go for full circle, let's talk about the implications. First of all, let me remind you, technology is not everything. Marketing automation is 90% brains and 10% technologies. You can have the greatest technologies and very easily do creepy things and let people click it away in an instance, rather than being humble and helpful and successful.

The good thing is you don't have to introduce it all at once, you don't have to launch marketing automation. You can go there in tiny baby steps and do this campaign, or this focus item first, and then this and then that campaign, and you can test a lot. You can AB test like crazy. You can see, this test performs better like that, or that decision is smarter than that one; so easier to introduce. Of course, there's complimentary things to do, like online marketing. There has to be some interface or it's all one, but the tool should not be limiting you.

What does it mean for businesses? First of all, it's a cool thing. We really had one customer who said, "Well, you found the holy grail." First, no, we didn't find it, others found it, and second, it's not necessarily the holy grail for everyone. We're happy that it's for you and you feel that way. Still, there's a lot of potential and it's a direction that the markets taking, and your business competitors will go the same way too. There's some sense of inevitable.

Second message, open source is a viable choice today already, and it will go much further in the near future. The other thing is, that's what I started to talk about earlier, the other guys, the Hubspots, et cetera, they are not stupid. They do what they can to grow their user base. They have very cheap or free entry levels, and then switch and bait their users and locks them in, and then it gets steep cost curve because this lock in effect in marketing automation is obviously very tough.

With a CMS, we have all done CMS migrations from OpenText to TYPO3, et cetera. With marketing automation, that's going to happen eventually, but really throwing away everything as far as you know, especially if you talk about a SaaS solution. What about the implications for agencies? First of all, as I said at the beginning, being just good at CMS is not going to be enough in the future. It is increasingly narrow. Marketing automation, on the other hand, is, of course, only one of the complementary technologies that people look for.

If you go to Gartner or whatever, there are more things. That's no theory, that's what people are really looking for in enterprise projects. It is, of course, still early days, but it is a hot thing. It's not too late to hop on the train here. It is growing really strong and it's fun. For me, it's a lot of fun, it feels like early days of TYPO3. There's a lot of potential and opportunity out there.

Beyond tech, once again, it requires a completely different skill set than a CMS would. How does it sell? It is very different today than selling a CMS project because those integrated projects or the specialised marketing automation, you talk to different people. They are not as price sensitive, maybe, at least not in the beginning, as they would be. For CMS, they have other goals, they want the job done.

In the future, you have to ask yourself, "Is it going to be okay to be a specialised agency? What is the role as a specialised agency going to be in the future if any?" This is not just from my head, I had talked to a lot of people in the preparation. I want to give a shout out to [unintelligible 00:37:56] for really openly discussing their points of view with me.

Last slide. Implications to TYPO3. Like for agencies, also the CMS must not be narrow on the future. We have to get broader in order to stay competitive. That can be through integrated features or it can be through good integration and, ideally, official support. I am very appreciative of the fact that Europe is working hard to get more of that done. That could involve translation management. We have the guys from LanguageWire, and the whole. It could involve other things like CRM and e-commerce and what have you.

Now, while marketing automation is just one part of this spectrum, we can even dare get much better. For instance, if any of you is really good in doing Marketo, I would love to talk to you and then integrate that knowledge into the marketing automation extension for TYPO3 and turn that into an official feature for TYPO3. I would love to be able to go all the mainstream web products like Marketo or whatever and see TYPO3 listed as an official partner there. That would be my dream. That would give us a lot of visibility and credibility and it would help us all.

Now, how can we do that? Why can we do that? TYPO3 has a wealth of strengths. We only need to play it. Not only are we open source, not only have a fantastic product, we also have a strong market share in important segments, and we have a tremendous community. That community I do not only mean the fantastic developers that we have, but we also have all these other contributors and we have a network of agencies that love and live open source. Let's go ahead and do that and then bring what we have together and then that can take us to places where others cannot go by definition. Neither HubSpot nor WordPress will be able to do what we can do.

Please talk to me if you like.

For now, thank you very much and questions are welcome.

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