Setting Yourself Up for Marketing Automation Success

Marketing automation. It’s a marketer’s dream. It can be a liberating tool that allows you to take a “hands-off” approach to the email channel, while still knowing the right message is going to the right person at the right time.

But as much of a time saver as marketing automation is, the question is do you actually need it?

Before you even implement the tool, its success within your organization and how easy it is to get it up and running will hinge on the drivers which led you to believe marketing automation is worth pursuing. If you’re looking for a tool, make sure you think carefully about some of the most common reasons organizations look into the technology. To set yourself up for long term success, consider these common reasons organizations turn to marketing automation:

Bandwidth and inability to balance

You’re a growing company, and the resources needed to keep your “batch and blast” programs running are causing you to sacrifice time you could be investing in new content and strategies move the business forward. The reality here though is marketing automation doesn’t necessarily solve these problems and allow you to shift focus. If the inability to balance creating and delivering quality content exists today as you’re doing “batch and blast”, it’s likely only going to increase once you automate. The demand for content never diminishes. In fact, as you identify and fill gaps in your buyer’s journey, it’s safe to say that demand will only increase.

Lead Scoring with marketing automation will make us more efficient

Recognizing where your sales team should spend their time can have a huge impact on revenue. But if this is your leading reason for implementing a marketing automation platform, are you prepared for everything else you’ll need to do so it’s effective? And, as we talked about here, setting up lead scoring once doesn’t mean you’re done. If lead scoring is your main reason for investing in marketing automation, perhaps investing in a standalone tool to help arm your sales team with the data they need is a better route. This way you can build a business case for marketing automation, and a plan to implement it so you’re successful.

Marketing automation will eliminate random marketing

You have a lot of email programs running and a lot of money invested in them, but you don’t know what is and isn’t working. Or, do you know if your programs are integrated? Marketing automation can fix this problem at the executional level, but trying to execute “batch and blast” within a marketing automation platform at the strategic level is the equivalent of buying a Ferrari just to go to the grocery store. It’s way more power than you need and functionally isn’t worth the investment. To truly succeed in eliminating a random approach to marketing, understanding your business goals, how these translate to marketing goals, and how to identify and speak to your customer throughout the entire buyer’s journey is key. Putting the upfront time and effort into your email programs, is the easiest way to make sure your marketing is strategic and purposeful.

Conversions are decreasing!

Yes, marketing automation can make your messages timelier while effectively nurturing leads or shortening your sales cycle (or both). But it doesn’t guarantee increased conversions. Barring technical issues with your platform, decreasing conversions point to a bigger strategic problem. Chances are if you dig deep enough into the data, you’ll find it provides a clear explanation as to why your conversions have decreased. Fixing this before you add marketing automation can set you up for sustainable success down the road. It’ll also save you from that awkward conversation when you have to explain to your CMO why the budget that went towards the new tool isn’t fixing the problem. No one likes that conversation

Marketing automation keeps content fresh

Yes, marketing automation will help you deliver the right content at the right time. But it’s still very possible to overuse content. In fact, with the customer journey continuing to become more comprehensive, the increase in conversation paths people can take also means they’ll be driving the types of content they consume, when they consume it, and how much of it they want. With a less linear path to the bottom of your funnel, the need for even more content will begin to take precedence as you master the art of marketing automation.

About Stephen Lehner

Stephen Lehner leads the sales and solutions consulting arm of Fathom’s Nurture Services group. The common thread of his work is enabling customer engagement by aligning clients with both the tools, resources and strategic approach needed to meet their marketing goals; while paying attention to the business’ top and bottom-line. Lehner has spent the vast majority of his career in the digital marketing space fulfilling both sales and account management roles while working for both an ESP and DMP platform provider, as well as marketing service providers. He has partnered with enterprise clients such as American Express, Time Warner Cable, MARS Chocolate, CANON USA and Career Education Corporation to scope, implement and manage full scale email marketing, analytics and mobile initiatives.

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