Marketing Automation is being adopted by organisations at faster rates than ever before [Sirius Decisions B-to-B Marketing Automation Study 2014]. When implemented well it can drive significant growth in businesses both large and small, but get it wrong and it can prove a costly misadventure.
42% of CRM users are planning to increase their marketing automation spending in 2015 [Software Advice: ‘Customer Relationship Management Software Userview’ (2014)]. If you’re one considering implementing marketing automation as part of your strategy please take heed and avoid the most common marketing automation blunders.
1. Lack of Strategy
With the buzz surrounding marketing automation and its promises of more, better quality leads, it’s easy to be drawn in by the hype. However, investing in marketing automation should be a carefully considered decision. In order to be successful, it must fit in to your company’s overall goals and larger growth strategy.
You should think about the costs involved in running and maintaining the platform in terms of staff and resources. Marketing automation is only as good as the person behind it, so ensure you have the time and dedication to properly set up and monitor the platform.
2. No Segmentation & Targeting
Marketing automation provides a way to communicate tailored content to an appropriate audience. Take the time to segment and target your leads properly in order to communicate more effectively with them.
Segment your database based on relevant factors such as demographics, interests, behaviors and interaction with your company. Putting in this extra effort will lead to innumerable rewards when it comes to sales.
3. Lack of Good Content
Content marketing is at the heart of marketing automation. Many companies make the mistake of producing content to fill quotas as opposed to content that truly engages their audience. Sending out bad content is worse than sending out no content at all.
The content you send out can be used to gauge interest, generate engagement and capture leads, so it’s imperative to spend some time developing your strategy. Define your buyer persona and what will interest them at each stage of buyer readiness and you’ll be able to produce high quality content that your prospects enjoy.
4. Being Too Sales-Focused
The end goal of marketing automation is to send more sales-ready leads to your sales team for conversion. However the buying process can be a long one and leads need to be nurtured, rather than sold to along the way.
During the nurturing phase, you should send useful content that will have value for your customers. News articles, industry trends and reports that are relevant to your brand should be crafted for your audience. Once your lead is engaged, you can start sending more product-related content, but don’t undo the hard work you’ve done to get them there by being too sales-focused.
5. Not Paying Enough Attention
Don’t set up your marketing automation system and leave it to run. To get the most out of your system, you should review and refine your strategy regularly to optimize your results.
Test different ideas and find the approach that best works for you and your customers. The more you test, the more you will learn, and the more successful your efforts will ultimately be. Remember that in such a dynamic marketing environment, your strategies can always be improved upon.
Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing sectors in today’s marketing technology sector, which isn’t surprising considering 75% of companies using it see ROI in just 12 months [Focus Research (2013)]. But as with any marketing strategy, you get what you put in. So if you do go down the route of marketing automation make sure you’re willing to give it the time and effort it deserves.