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Call the Doctor, Please: Marketing Automation is Sick

It’s Monday. Last week on Friday I got sick. Really sick. I never get sick and I hate being sick – the aches, the fever and resultant sweating, the sore throat, the stuffiness – the complete and utter incapacitation. I’m not talking a head cold or hangover, I’m talking SICK. It sucks. I entered bed on Thursday night and just never really left… for the entire weekend.

Sometime on Friday afternoon I managed to crawl and retrieve my ipad, that then replaced my phone, which I had been relying upon for intermittent communication with the outside world – mainly demands for medicine or small, easy to swallow Jell-O based foods. The ipad gave me access to on-demand movies that I stream to my TV, watch 5 minutes of and then fall back into a Theraflu induced coma. I think this weekend alone I probably wasted 40 to 50 bucks on movies that I know the opening credits to very well but have never seen anything past the 10-minute mark.

Technology had failed me. My friends on Facebook aren’t that interesting at 11am on a Friday – they are working or on a beach somewhere which means they don’t want to talk to my leprous ass. Yelp reminds me of how un-hungry I am. I’ve grown sick all over again about the money I’m throwing down the toilet on Vudu. I can’t talk on the phone because my throat hurts, besides, who talks on the phone these days anyway? Basically, I’m in a dark place.

I start to think about work, which started me thinking about Marketing Automation, which started me thinking about disease, which started me thinking about being sick which led to me crying (ok, not really but I really do hate being sick). Then it hit me. I knew I was getting sick the previous Tuesday. I woke up and was like, “man, why are my glands swollen?”. I didn’t feel bad; it was just something that I noticed. Then Wednesday came; a Wednesday followed a VERY Loooong company dinner on Tuesday night that led to a VERY painful Wednesday morning. That can’t be good for the immune system. And by now my throat was a little scratchy. By lunch that day everything was back to normal, no problem right? Well by the time Thursday rolls around now my neck is a bit achy, this seems to be a pattern this week. I plow through a client training that morning during which I talk for about 5 hours straight and now my throat is scratchy again, my neck hurts, and head is a bit light. Uh oh. Maybe sleep will help. It didn’t.

This takes us back to the present. But what I’m now marveling at as I lay in my tomb of a bed, sweating, head throbbing, hemorrhaging money on Vudu, is why didn’t I see this coming and take better care of myself on Tuesday?

I’m a big believer in holistic medicine. To grow up in my house as a child was to NEVER take traditional medication. My mother the ex-hippie believed as I do that homeopathic remedies are a very viable alternative, and have a ton of benefit. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t reach for the hard stuff when I’m in the throws of pain, I’m just saying there are great alternatives if you pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is what I should have done Tuesday. If I were smart, I would have listened to my body’s early warning signs and stayed home, gotten rest and taken some of the lovely vitamins and homeopathic care my mother bestows on me several times a year. I didn’t. Because I don’t have time for that crap right? I run businesses, I change the world, and I’ll sleep when I’m dead and all that crap. Well deep into my second day of the death flu, I knew that I had gone terribly wrong in ignoring what my body was telling me.

The parallel I drew while laying in my dungeon of sickness was how all of this relates to the sate of Marketing Automation software. The symptoms are there. The warning signs have presented themselves but marketers ignore them, because they know best. It isn’t until that contract comes up for renewal, or until the CEO asks for some metrics about ROI around marketing’s latest purchase is the true health of the system is revealed.

The biggest hurdle we face in implementing and designing processes around marketing automation software, are the marketers we are dealing with. That’s crazy to think that the biggest obstacle is not the brand new, fairly untested technology platform but instead the people who purchased that software. The process they have in place is sick; it’s wheezing and dizzy. That was the reason for the purchase. Marketing Automation was supposed to be the brand new hypoallergenic house that enabled them to move in and create a better way. Instead they moved in the same sickly process as they had before and it has contaminated the whole place. No one saw the signs at first, some swollen glands here, and a sneeze there. But soon the whole place was coughing up a lung and now we might have to burn the whole thing down to sterilize it again? And what’s going to happen next time? We’re going to go shopping for a new piece of software and then… that’s right, we’re going to move that same sickly process back in and ignore all of the same warning signs all over again.

The point? Being sick sucks, and make no mistake, most Marketing Automation implementations are sick. The key is to spot it early and avoid some black plague style cleanse. The key is to bring your process back to health first and then once you’ve designed something great, use Marketing Automation to make it repeatable. Even better design that healthy process through the eyes of the MA system you are going to use. There’s a thought. A healthy sales and marketing funnel is a happy funnel. And, when it starts out healthy, you’ll be able to see when symptoms of sickness are arising – and address them early. Trust me you want to catch things like this early, if not you’ll end up alone in a dark room watching the first 10 minutes of Shrek the Third whimpering and wondering how you got there.

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