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Marketing Automation Haterade

Over the last few months it seems that a lot of folks are riding the Marketing Automation coat-tails, and not in a good way. Focus continues to be one of my favorite forums for debate, partly because I think a lot of excellent thinkers in the space participate, and partly because it hasn’t gotten as spammy as LinkedIn – yet.

Anyway, you can check out the full thread here. I’m going to vomit my portion again below anyway.

Ultimately Lead Management Software will at some point shake the term that has left it open to ridicule – automation. It sounds obvious but I’ll say one of my favorite sayings yet again – in order to automate something, you first have to have something worth repeating.

What I consider to be Marketing Automation is a Godsend. The ability for an on-demand software platform to enable repeatable, track-able and relevant messaging for the purposes of identifying interest is something that simply did not exist 10 years ago. Because of the youth of this industry and the platforms that have taken center stage many are looking for chinks in the armor of an entire emerging industry. The weaknesses they uncover are anything but weaknesses in technology. Technology does what you tell it to. You’ll notice earlier I said ENABLE. The Ron Popeil message of ‘set it and forget it’ (which I will admit some tech vendors perpetuate) is simply not achievable. BUT, if you design a great campaign with repeatability in mind – a good Marketing Automation platform can execute it for you. Simple as that.

However, if you purchase MA and expect that your life will be magically transformed into some bottle popping, P Diddy style, vacation where you live the good life while your marketing robot crushes campaigns and floods your org with leads – keep dreaming peter pan.

That dream is what many of the “haters” in this space attack. It’s an easy target. I haven’t seen any marketers tweeting from St. Barths about their marketing robot lately. If anything marketers are working harder. They now have a platform that shows them just how bad they had done in the past or exposes what can now be achieved. They are working with consultants to shorten the learning curve, and spending money on content creation and email deliverability. It’s hard out there for a pimp. Whoever said differently, lied.

For many Marketers this is a harsh reality – and after paying a MA contract for a year they are discontented at the amount of work this “automated” solution is causing. That dream starts to emerge again and here comes that messianic software vendor shouting from the mountaintop about how outdated the technology they purchased is and how they have that magical manna from heaven.

Speaking of messianic software vendors, let’s not forget Salesforce.com was once called Salesforce Automation. The company smartly shortened that term to SFA and (I had to just login to verify this) has now dropped the nomenclature all together from their app home screen. In fact, if you’re a dreamforce attendee you’ll undoubtedly concur that they are doing everything they can to distance themselves from sales in general (they are a PLATFORM – say it with me). Anyway, the point is the only people who blame their CRM when their sales reps aren’t selling are competitive CRM vendors. Salesforce cut this off at the knees when they shifted their marketing and became more than a sales tool.

You are seeing this happen in the MA space right now as vendors focus less on automating tasks and more on driving revenue. Until the message is perfected however, you are always going to have those parasitic naysayers looking to feed off of some of the carcasses left in the wake of good marketing. In my opinion they can have them – if you’re the type of buyer that wants a miracle – I ain’t selling.

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