Top 5 marketing automation mistakes you need to stop making now

For many organisations - our customers included- MA is one of the cornerstones of the marketing strategy, acting as a central engine or hub from which to launch campaigns.

Welcome to the first in a series of Marketing Automation blog posts. Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking about all things marketing automation, from how to use it successfully, why data is important, what role it plays in ABM and much more. Enjoy.

In one of the biggest MarTech mashups Adobe last week shelled out $4.75bn to buy marketing automation (MA) vendor Marketo. Not only does this underline how important MA has become, it also gives some indication of the likelihood of its longevity and its growing domination at the centre of many marketing programmes. For many organisations – our customers included – MA is one of the cornerstones of the marketing strategy, acting as a central engine or hub from which to launch campaigns.  We thought it would be useful to put together list of the most common MA mistakes, so you can avoid these pitfalls and keep your MA strategy on track.

1. Not setting expectations internally
Much like the latest must-see box set, everyone will have an opinion on MA and the various pros and cons it offers. In our experience, marketing departments greet MA with open arms, hoping it’s the silver bullet they’ve been looking for. Able to see the myriad benefits, and always having too few resources and not enough leads, marketing teams welcome MA like a new best friend.  Sales teams are less keen because they see MA as something that’s going to reduce the amount of leads they get through and therefore lessen the chances of them hitting targets. And the C-Suite examine the cost and wonder how it will ever deliver the ROI promised by marketing. Regardless of the stakeholder, manage these expectations accordingly as early as possible in the process. People support what they help to create, so get everyone involved and explain the outcomes relevant to their role.  For example, let the marketing team know how they’ll be trained up to use it, and that it takes time and effort to make it successful. Chat to sales about how although their lead count will decrease, so will the time it take to close a deal because of the improved lead scoring.  Ensure the C-Suite are reassured that while results won’t be immediate, the technology will generate additional revenue over the coming years that would be impossible to create without it.

2. Using it as just an email marketing platform
We see many companies make the jump from an email marketing platform to an MA platform because that’s what their competitors and (so they believe) everyone else is doing. The problem is that this often leads to organisations just using their new MA platform in the same way they were using their simpler (and cheaper) email marketing system. But just simply batching and blasting away in the same way is wasting the investment in MA and will negate the vast majority of  benefits the new platform offers. A new MA platform means a new method of doing campaigns. It calls for a revived approach that drives a multi-channel engagement strategy and more complex functionality, such as lead nurturing and lead scoring, to ensure the real benefits of the new platform can be realised.

3. Ignoring automation functionality
It sounds obvious, but it’s something we’ve come across time and again.  While MA requires a significant amount of time to use to its full potential, it also has huge advantages in the simple tasks that can be automated through the platform.  Automation of daily or weekly items, such as data normalisation, lead handover processes and the cloning of regularly used campaigns for example, mean users can be elevated out of the mundane day-to-day responsibilities to spend much needed time delving into the more complex functions of the platform where MA really comes into its own.

4. Failing to integrate with third party platforms
MA platforms become more and more powerful as they’re integrated with third party platforms such as CRM systems or webinar tools, or the thousands of other systems that exist within the MA ecosystem. But we’ve noticed a trend for organisations to ignore the possible integration opportunities. Instead they continue working on each system independently, or with an occasional cross over at best. This siloed approach takes the superpower out of the MarTech stack; if everything is working in separation there can be no single holistic customer view. When a new tool is added into the stack (or ideally before it is purchased) conducting some initial research will inform whether an integration is possible. This not only makes the whole stack and process more efficient, it also provides a great deal more overall insight.

5. Not upskilling employees, or getting the right support in place
MA technology is a powerful and complex beast that can have a huge impact across your organisation. From marketing to sales, finance and HR, getting support from around the business is vital to securing success. One important aspect that we see organisations tripping over is the requirement for training. Not just the ‘here-it-is, this-is-what-this-button-does’ quick and dirty training, but the indepth, bigger picture vision, and how to get there using your MA platform. There is little point investing in a new element to your marketing stack if you’re not then going to invest in having people who understand the technology, the strategy and the know-how of how to see it all through. Upskilling, employing MA specialists or gaining support from an agency are three key ways to ensure the benefits of an MA system are extracted and the system is delivering on the expectations you projected at the start of the process. To find out how to unleash the power of Marketing Automation within your campaigns, please click here.

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