Is Marketing Automation Living up to Your Expectations?

There’s no substitute for old fashioned elbow grease and good conversation

MarTech Today recently published an article on why marketing automation is not living up to expectations. The article cites a number of reasons including:

  • Inability of marketers to align strategy with buying cycle of their audience
  • Feeding the content beast for all the automated touches is hard
  • Process and data quality issues and lack of analytical skill in marketing

The article’s author Mary Wallace, even goes so far as to say “Executing on campaigns that leverage behavioral information and the segmentation components of marketing automation remains almost impossible.” Really? Impossible?

These sound more like symptoms of marketers lagging behind the expectations of modern day consumers. Just like any technology, marketing automation in an enabler of efficiency and scale. It does not create the strategy, messaging or business processes. No technology solution does. That’s like going to a trade show and saying the booth is going to generate the leads, not the messages, promotion, and conversations with your staff.

Investment in Marketing Automation is Investment in Your Customer

There’s no question, the job of the marketer is not getting any easier. It requires a more diversified set of both creative and analytical skills. Program execution is a continuous cycle of iteration looking for success and pushing through failed programs – or even worse mediocre programs – to figure out what works for your audience. None of which happens without hard work and persistence to keep executing. But that’s what makes this job fun.

Investment in marketing automation is more than just buying a tool. You’re investing in improving conversations with your audience so you can better address their needs on their timeline. It’s true, your success will be dependent on how well you can learn your audience behavior and develop relevant content. But that challenge exists with or without a marketing automation tool.

Insider Tips for Success

Now, not all marketing automation is created equal. Finding the tool that suits the skillset of your team, your budget, and your business objectives can make all the difference. Getting started small is perfectly OK. Boiling the ocean is rarely the right approach. Regardless of how deep you jump in, thoughtful process and data management will be your best friends.

One last thought to keep in mind. We all know and accept change is constant. What that means is what you build today will likely not be what you need next year or the year after. Find the solution that will give you the freedom and flexibility to adapt as you grow. Have a vision of what you think that means for your team and iterate as you go. You will not know all the answers. Put together a plan that includes some old fashioned elbow grease and good conversation, then see where marketing automation takes you.

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