One of the most common misconceptions about marketing automation is that the hard part is finding a vendor, but once the software is purchased, you can pretty much set it up and let it run itself. The truth is, the name “automation” is a bit of a misnomer. Like the early “self-driving car” prototypes, marketing automation will save you a tremendous amount of work, but you still need to have someone commanding the wheel to correct your course every now and then or prevent major marketing fails.
Here are eight real world automation fails to look out for…
Marketing Automation Fail #1: There Are No Clear Objectives
Clear objectives are an important part of any marketing strategy, but when it comes to marketing automation, setting clear and decisive goals is crucial. Clear objectives will guide you when it comes to establishing, maintaining and improving your campaign over time. These goals will keep your entire team on track throughout the process.
– Increase the amount of inbound leads by X percent in X number of weeks, months, or years.
– Increase overall conversions by X percent in X number of weeks, months, or years.
– Gather lead attribution data for a more effective long-term campaign.
– Empowering sales with a steady supply of nurtured leads & powerful intelligence.
Marketing Automation Fail #2: You Don’t Understand Your Customers
Content is key, especially when it plays a larger role in your overall marketing automation strategy.
Setting up systems and attributions is great, however, it won’t do you any good if you don’t understand your core customer. Everything that you do for your company, including the content you write, landing pages you design, and emails you send, won’t make a difference unless they are speaking to the right personas.
When designing your content strategy, it’s important to create content that appeals to different people within the sales funnel. This will include decision makers, industry influencers, and gatekeepers in organizations.
By putting a content strategy into place, combined with your marketing automation tools, you’ll be able to deliver the right message at the right time, allowing you to effectively manage and nurture leads.
Marketing Automation Fail #3: Poor Communication & Training
Act-On tells the story of an internal meltdown that occurred as the result of poor marketing automation integration. In this case, the VP of Marketing dumped a new system onto her creative-minded subordinate who found the increased data crunching and responsibilities to be intimidating, to say the least.
No one had included this poor guy prior to purchasing the technology, so it seemed just sort of “thrust” upon him — and, worse yet, no one checked in with him in the subsequent weeks to see how he was getting along. He was able to use the basic email program, but stumbled with the complex system as a whole.
As you may guess, he developed a negative outlook and overall grumpiness over the next few months that made working with him a nightmare for the other staff members who saw it as a character flaw more than the issue of project-oriented stress that it truly was.
Finally, a digital marketing consultant was called in to unite all the stakeholders around a solution that would get better ROI — changing to a less complicated system. All told, the fallout was estimated to cost the company over $50,000. Had the situation been nipped in the bud, it may have only cost them $3,000 in early consulting, training and implementation.
Marketing Automation Fail #4: Failure to Choose the Right Automation Software
There are a plethora of marketing automation platforms on the market, so it can be difficult to sort through the different providers to find an all-encompassing tool.
When researching different marketing automation tools, it’s important to think about your needs and objectives. This will be an important part of finding a tool that delivers. Before moving forward with a platform, be sure to ask your provider these questions:
– What integrations do you offer?
– How flexible are the reports?
– What metrics can you track?
– What is the true cost? (Beware of hidden fees!)
– Is support and training included?
– Are there limits on the number of contacts in my database?
With thousands of marketing automation tools and tech providers on the market, evaluating these different platforms can be overwhelming. These questions will help you narrow down your selection, so you can ultimately make an informed decision.
Marketing Automation Fail #5: Putting Sales On Autopilot
You may get leads delivered effortlessly using premium content accessible by filling out an automated form. However, as Jen Spencer at Sales Hacker points out, you need to make sure these leads are groomed before handing them over to sales. She recalled how her colleague once received a news sales contract for a company they already had a contract with. They wondered why downloading a free eBook would prompt an audacious sales contract to go out as the very next step, without any lead nurturing. They also had the feeling that they meant very little to this company. “And just like that, thanks to one great piece of content, a poorly architected marketing and sales handoff, and a bit of laziness, we were shopping for a new vendor,” she concluded.
Marketing Automation Fail #6: Lack of Planning & Content
Before coming over to Bright Carbon, Joby Blume worked for a company that went belly-up shortly after failing to get results from an investment in marketing automation. “Our objectives for using a marketing automation product weren’t clear, and weren’t fully thought-through,” he said. They had a tool to automate their process, but they didn’t have a process. The sales department was hungry for leads, but they had very little content to help qualify and warm up these leads. You can guess where this is going. The end result was traffic without conversions. Blume adds: “We quickly discovered that marketing automation is a beast – it devours content. If you don’t feed it, it dies.” There was poor communication resulting from the closely guarded secrecy of the sales department and the marketing department’s inability to provide prospective customers with the valuable information they really needed to make a purchase decision.
Marketing Automation Fail #7: Putting Campaigns On Auto-Pilot
In celebration of their 1,000th Twitter follower, The Montreal Canadiens NHL team promised to send out personalized videos from different team members to thank their fans. However, Twitter users saw this as a prime opportunity to create a public uproar. Some followers openly criticized the team, making the “thank-you” appear downright stupid. The Patriots suffered similar insults recently when they promised to make a virtual jersey containing all the Twitter handles that retweeted their message.
Marketing Automation Fail #8: Failure To Act
This marketing fail could be YOURS.
If any of these descriptors fits your organization, it may be time to call Mod Girl for an audit and course correction:
– You’re utilizing a small fraction of your software’s overall capability.
– You haven’t seen more than 10% revenue growth six to nine months after implementation.
– Your team has expressed some frustration in the amount of time or energy required.
– You have a lot of data, but suspect you’re not making the best use of it.
– You don’t know your cost-per-customer-acquisition.
– You need a team of interns to manage your data into workable content for meetings.
– Your marketing automation software doesn’t integrate with your CRM platform.
– You are using multiple systems and data sets from different programs to measure your marketing success.
– Your email drip campaigns are not producing new leads or referrals.
– Most of your traffic is still coming from paid media.
– All “automated” leads are handed over to a sales rep… where they often amount to nothing.
Are You Failing to Prove Marketing ROI?
The average CMO has approximately 45 months after implementing a new marketing automation system to deliver serious ROI and value to the higher-up executives, so if you’re in the hot seat — don’t panic.