Marketing Automation: It’s Not a Rock; It’s Not an Island
It’s hard to believe, but technology has only been viewed as a quick-fix solution in the marketing industry for about five years. Since marketing tech is still in its infancy, expectations are through the roof — with the belief being that all these emerging technologies will act as a silver bullet to erase all our problems and eliminate all our obstacles.
This is especially true of marketing automation software, which is often the solution to a lot of problems, although it’s not necessarily the immediate magical fix we’d like it to be. Developing great marketing strategies that produce awesome results goes far beyond technology, but marketing automation platforms can do the heavy lifting to help smart marketers deliver superior customer experiences with brilliant insights.
That said, marketers who invest in marketing automation must be prepared to play the long game — to invest in their platform to the extent that they can maximize its capabilities. In the same way that smart marketers nurture and shape their customer journeys, they should also work to nurture and shape their use of these powerful technologies. If you’re not fully invested, you’ll likely only use a mere fraction of your platform’s capabilities, keeping you searching for the promised land with nothing more than the occasional glimpse at a mirage of an oasis.
Maximize Your Marketing Automation Software
Here are eight simple tips to help you get the most out of your marketing automation platform.
1) Structure Your Marketing Campaigns from the Outset
Don’t try to do everything at once. Get the basics working first, and you’ll be generating ROI in no time. Maintain momentum, build capability, and expand your customer audience.
2) Optimize at Every Stage of Campaign Creation
Bad data doesn’t create new leads; poor processes don’t move a prospect through the funnel; weak messages don’t engage your audience. Be the best you can be at every stage.
3) Align Sales and Marketing
Work with the Sales team to determine and implement best practices for lead nurturing and lead scoring so only the most qualified leads are sent to Sales.
4) Follow Established Marketing Guidelines
Train your staff around best practices behind segmentation, form creation, CRM integration, compliance, and all other marketing-related activities.
5) Customize Your Marketing Efforts
Great marketing is customized to the user based on accurate, well-developed personas. This means delivering messaging based on their attributes and behavior. Let the data be your guide, and never assume anything.
6) It’s (Probably) Not the Technology’s Fault
Many marketers are quick to blame their marketing automation platforms when they don’t achieve immediate success. The more likely culprit, however, is the marketer — but that’s okay! If your team is lacking the skills or knowledge to operate effectively, reach out to your vendor for advanced training.
7) Make the Business Case for Your New Marketing Automation Software
Your company probably just spent a pretty penny on that fancy new piece of tech, and they did so for a reason. Now, your job is to educate your stakeholders about the value of the platform and how it is supporting your marketing efforts to create efficiency and drive revenue.
8) Adopt, Adapt, and Achieve
Within reason, you will need to adapt to the tool. It’s a piece of software, so it’s likely not as flexible or intuitive as the people operating it. Your marketing philosophy should remain fundamentally intact, but your marketing methodology might have to make occasional compromises.
Marketing automation isn’t rocket science, but implementation, execution, and sustained success do require logic and a systematic approach. Make sure your team has the training and processes in place to be consistent in all aspects. Invest some time in deciding as a team how to set up and structure campaigns, segment data, name and manage imagery and assets, report consistently. Of course, the vendor will have lists of things for you to consider and do, but take the necessary time to think through the reality of how it will work for your business and how you and your colleagues might need to adapt.
If you struggle at first, you might start looking for the next shiny piece of technology before you ever fire off that first email. Don’t give in to that impulse. Marketing automation can be the silver bullet you’ve been looking for, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get it right the first time. Continue to adapt, ideate, and iterate — that unwavering commitment will be rewarded soon.