6 minute read
Posted by Jim Perren on 26 Jan 2017

Marketing Automation, when done properly, can improve the way that businesses identify hot leads, generate more leads, and nurture any leads which are not yet ready to buy.

But what happens when Marketing Automation goes bad – when the results are Marketing Naughty-mation?

To be able to provide all their great functionality, Marketing Automation Systems are sophisticated pieces of software, which you need to understand well to get the best out of them.

Sophisticated software like this can be a serious investment. As should your preparation work be that you’ll need to do for your customer personas.

So how do you ensure that your investment in Marketing Automation provides you with a return?

One place to start is to ask what the early adopters found. What did the pioneers of Marketing Automation learn from their journey?

Some of them found a bountiful new world where the well-qualified leads kept coming; whilst others found that the wheels fell off their waggon and they were attacked by bears.

In a recent survey by Ascend2 these pioneers identified a few reasons preventing the success of a Marketing Automation project:



So how can you mitigate these Marketing Automation bear attacks? Let’s look at the top five on the list.

Lack of an Effective Strategy

The pioneer road out west is now a well-worn track. Find somebody that’s travelled it before. Locate a consultant or an agency who has some expertise to guide you. Ask them if they have done this for themselves and others. One of our mantras at Intergage is that the software itself is the last piece of the puzzle. What is more important is the background work that you’ll need to do to develop your

One of our mantras at Intergage is that the software itself is the last piece of the puzzle. What is more important is the background work that you’ll need to do to develop your personas and the thinking around how you deliver your marketing messages currently and what the best way forward is.

Trying to do that without someone to guide you through it is likely to result in a ‘wheel off waggon’ moment.

Complexity of the System

Marketing Automation Systems are complex. But you don’t have to dive deep into all of the complexity straight away. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard on this is to start small, test, improve and scale up when you’ve proven the system works. Keep campaigns small with a tight remit. Don’t try to automate your entire organisations process at one fell swoop. The bears will be clawing at your back before you know it.

Marketing Automation software is complex – it has to be to deliver all the whistles and bells that we want. So keep it simple to start with. Learn as you go and, at the risk of repeating myself, get some help from someone who knows the software well.

Inadequate Contact Data Quality

Is your data full of duplicates, do you have badly formed address data or incomplete data?

Are some of the email addresses badly formed, or have your contacts simply gone away or even died? Data decays at around 22% a year – so nearly a quarter of the data that you have is likely to be out of date in some way.

So you need to be cleaning and refreshing your data regularly to make sure that the Marketing Automation system isn’t sending out bad communications to your potential customers.

Lack of Employee Skills

This one comes back to training. All of the platforms that we recommend come with varying levels of training.

We are particularly impressed with HubSpot’s offering. It’s not just a series of training courses, it is also a complete Inbound Marketing Framework that extends through to a refreshing Inbound sales methodology.

The training is second to none with twelve fully documented in-depth video courses.

Being fully trained in the software is a great idea, but there is always a great advantage to working with experienced consultants and agencies who have been here before. You’ll recognise them by the bear claw scars on their backs.

Lack of Relevant Content

We recently worked with a customer who has a relatively simple 60 day trial of their product which teaches primary school children how to write. Once we had outlined all of the touch points with the teachers through the whole process, we identified 26 different emails that we needed throughout their buyer’s journey.

Once we had outlined all of the touch points with the teachers through the whole process, we identified 26 different emails that we needed throughout their buyer’s journey.

A lot of these were nurturing emails drip feeding help, case studies and ideas for sessions with the children. There were infographics that needed to be designed and everything had to work within the brand guidelines.

In short, there was a lot of content which needed to be designed and delivered to a high standard, referring back to our key personas so that we had the tone of voice right. And this was just for one campaign.

So if you are embarking on a Marketing Automation project make sure that your marketing department has the capacity to design, develop and deliver all of the content required. And if they don’t, get some help from a suitable agency.

So I hope that has given you some ideas as to why Marketing Automation can fail. Find yourself a friendly trailblazer agency or consultant who can help guide you along the smooth trail - and avoid the bears.

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Topics: Marketing Automation