With 80 percent seeing their leads increase, and 77 percent see conversions increase, why are only 5 percent of marketers leveraging marketing automation? Join marketing powerhouses from Publisher’s Clearing House and more to find out!

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Publisher’s Clearing House today has transformed itself into the fifth-largest gaming publisher; Casino del Sol is Arizona’s only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond casino resort; and agency Allen and Gerritsen wins awards for its work with iconic brands, such as Campbell’s, Yuengling, and Staples.

What do they have in common? They’re a few of the just five percent of companies focused on developing potent marketing strategies launched from powerful marketing automation platforms.

Marketing strategy powerhouses from these companies recently joined VentureBeat’s own Evan Schuman for a live marketing automation roundtable. On the agenda? Our latest VB Insight report, “Marketing automation: How to make the right buying decision (the first time),” the marketing automation choices they’ve made, and how they’ve overcome the challenges 95 percent of companies have faced as they’ve put their tactics in place.

“Ultimately we’re trying to get the right message to the right consumer at the right time, just as marketing has been since the beginning,” says Jason John, CMO of Publisher’s Clearing House. “But there’s a delicate balance, finding out what the right way and the right approach is.”

Marketing automation offers the ability to reach customers in personalized and more consistent ways across channels and devices at unprecedented scale — but it can’t replace strategy. The efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing automation efforts depends on your ability to interpret the data you collect, and the way you constantly continue to optimize.

At PCH, its consumer demographic ranges widely, from the under-30s to the older 50-and-up demographic. “We see a very wide range of behavior across these groups,” John says. “It’s 100 million profiles versus 100 million ways to interact with the company.”

Steve Neely, CMO of Casino del Sol, agrees. “It’s a lot of data, a lot of mapping, and also trying to understand what people truly react to as opposed to what they tell us,” he says. “And we find for the most part they tell us one thing and they do something else,” he adds. “So we’re trying to work through the process of trying to figure out what the true combination of communication methods it’s going to require to get the optimal return and the highest redemption rate possible.”

“Just saying, ‘Okay, just extract the key points of data from all that and go ahead and make your marketing work’…that’s really easy to say and really hard to do,” John says.

At Casino del Sol, the focus is finding what communication method is going to result in customers taking a physical trip to the resort, and it requires an tremendous amount of A/B testing, iterative testing, and constant refining and optimization to understand and implement the total communication package across the channels that this outcome requires.

“It’s a long process and it doesn’t happen very quickly,” says Neely.

“Obviously we know these big e-tailers are doing the same thing,” say Tim Parcell, VP of experience planning at Allen and Gerritsen. He notes that when you strip away the cosmetic overlay, Zappos and Amazon have very similar executions across multiple channels, and the same goal: the recapture moment.

However, their brand tones are very different, Parcell points out, with Zappos more whimsical and personable, while Amazon is matter-of-fact.

“And that’s really key as we explore automation” says Parcell. “Having a really large quiver of things that are always on brand voice and tone, whatever that message is. How do we convince them to click on that email? What is the right number of messages? How many times a day?”

“We have some hypotheses,” he adds, “but test and learn.”

But, Jason says, “There’s always a blend of art and science. As scientific as we want to be, we always understand that you can’t always predict exactly what a consumer is going to want and need, no matter how much data you have, so there’s an art to it.”

Parcell agrees, adding, “If we get very precise and scientific, that can feel dismissive. The comfort level of the consumer and their expectations means we have to put in exploratory things. We have to play with that.”

“It’s just going to take longer than you think it will,” says Neely. “The adoption rate is at their pace, no matter how hard we try to move them—we can get very interesting and very aggressive, put all this effort into the art side—but at the end of the day the consumer is the consumer, and they’re not going to move as fast as you want them to no matter how hard you try.”

“And you can’t get frustrated with that,” he adds. “It’s a process and it takes time. You just have to work through.”

To learn more about the challenges involved in developing a marketing automation strategies and how to win through them, check out our free VB Live roundtable now!

In this webinar you’ll:

  • Learn exactly what marketing automation can and can’t do
  • Frame the marketing automation question for the C-suite
  • Maximize ROI by using automation tactics that work best


  • Jason John, CMO, Publisher’s Clearing House
  • Steve Neely, CMO, Casino del Sol
  • Tim Parcell, VP Experience Planning, Allen and Gerritsen


  • Evan Schuman, VentureBeat

This webinar is sponsored by IBM Marketing Cloud.