By Adam Benson, Outsource Director
I’ve reviewed marketing automation implementations inside companies many times as part of our strategy work only to find the system has been relegated to a very expensive one-dimensional email delivery platform.
Email is the one function most people can make work relatively easily and there are some useful statistics to be gleaned, but all the other benefits are being missed, making the ROI horrific.
So here’s a very quick list of things to consider if you are planning on implementing a marketing automation platform (or want to get yours working better):
Be clear on WHY you want the system in the first place. What problem do you think it will solve and what are the benefits to the marketing department, the sales teams and the wider business? Get this wrong and it can be job-ending.
Include senior managers in the discussion early. They MUST be advocates of the marketing automation concept and appreciate how this will make their sales teams jobs easier and improve sales results. Depending on your size, include the CEO too. It’s not a cheap purchase in many cases and they will want to understand what they’re signing off on and why.
Get your data in order before you turn on the system. These platforms can’t perform if poor-quality data is loaded into them. Don’t underestimate the time and cost of validating and opting in data correctly. Fixing bad data later is usually a false economy.
Know your buyers. Why do they buy? How do they buy? How do you create context and build relevancy with them over time? Remember: right message to the right person at the right time.
Get your content right and have a plan to keep it coming. Marketing automation platforms are hungry beasts that need fresh, engaging, and relevant content all the time. Limit the amount of third-party syndicated content you use. It’s hard to be a thought leader if you’re not being original. Content (or marketing assets as they’re increasingly known) can extend to webinars, infographics, white papers, studies, physical events, and everything in between. If you can read it, watch it, download it, register for it or attend it, it’s a marketing asset.
Start with building simple campaigns before launching into branching, logical, multi-asset, lead-scoring ones. It’s easy to get tangled up in knots segmenting data and building complex campaign flows initially.
Be excellent at your spreadsheet of choice if you don’t have a data team, data scientist or analyst working with you. Know how to query the data coming out of the system. Even the best platforms still require data to be imported and exported, and manipulated outside the system to get true insights.
Measure everything and test changes. Small percentage improvements at each campaign stage across multiple campaigns will add up to big numbers over time.
Keep communicating milestones and success internally. You don’t want support to wane just as all your hard work is coming on-stream.
If you’re relatively new to marketing automation, or feel your platform should be achieving more, come along to our latest complimentary boardroom breakfast event in Sydney where I’ll explain the anatomy of marketing automation platforms and how to make sure they work for you.