Of all the new technologies that have screamed onto the B2B marketing scene, probably the most influential is everyone’s favorite mainstay: marketing automation.
Still a relatively “new” platform (at least by comparison), it’s seen widespread adoption by marketing teams. But despite the ubiquity, few are those who actually know how to successfully implement and utilize marketing automation in day-to-day operations.
Even fewer are those who know how to do it well.
This ignorance can swiftly lead to catastrophic effects
Marketers who don’t understand how to use automation won’t collect the data they need to demonstrate campaign performance to executives. Not only will they be unable to illustrate the wisdom of the marketing automation investment itself, they’re unlikely to receive staff and budget for future projects if they can’t show decision-makers irrefutable ROI from their programs.
This means that every forward-thinking marketer will embrace a technical learning curve – one that extends beyond their individual skill set to transform their team’s abilities.
The department’s toolbox should include marketing automation as a necessity, but also CRM and reputation management solutions. These are not considered optional tools, but industry standards; any marketing team who fails to incorporate them will operate at a distinct disadvantage against competitors.
Think I’m wrong? Consider the following
A lack of data capture and aggregation tools will lead directly to a lack of customer insight, leading to one-note, generic campaigns that feel impersonal and meaningless to recipients.
The absence of metrics will make it impossible to know how leads are responding and which campaign elements and channels are effective or detrimental. Instead of tracking project activity from initial email to purchase through marketing automation, marketing teams will operate on guesswork and assumptions – and will lack the evidence to show off their best results to the decision-makers who can fund future campaigns.
Marketers who do buy some tools but fail to integrate them will leave data scattered in different systems instead of being combined to qualify leads. Meanwhile, competitors will have the power to engage those leads on a very personal and resonant level, playing to their interests, solving their problems and overcoming purchase objections.
Smart teams who do invest in the right technologies are on the right path…
However, too many fail to lay the right groundwork. Marketing technologies are only as intelligent as the users behind them; without a solid foundation of strategies, benchmarks and training, those users often apply old tactics and behaviors to the new platform, which then delivers similar results.
…But only with proper strategy
Marketing teams must sit down and build out their strategies to derive all possible benefits. How can resources be maximized? How can the new tools save money, streamline processes or reach a greater number of leads?
After answering these questions and devising an implementation strategy, the next step is training. To get the full worth of a marketing automation investment, team members must know how to use all of the platform functionality.
All too often, a non-technical team gets comfortable with one or two basic features and settles into a pattern, ignoring the rest of the platform. Usually this takes the form of using marketing automation as a blast email system instead of exploring all of its rich potential.
Dynamic landing pages and lead nurturing programs can drive revenue, brand visibility and customer engagement; marketing automation reports can inform SEO strategies by identifying lead sources, capturing search behavior data and helping tailor both keywords and content with greater precision.
Teams that let their technical inexperience stop them from using all of the systems are sabotaging their own efforts and wasting the investment. By hammering the wrong tactics, marketing teams face damaging their brand, or worse — irrelevance.
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