With one press of a button – how to succeed with marketing automation

Press a button and voila it’s done. We are hooked on the promise of technology that helps simplify our lives – that takes the work out of work.  Like the electric stationary bike my friend Bart’s dad rode every day. He explained: you see you just sit on it and it exercises for you. It seems logical, but automation is not always going to get you what you desire if you don’t use it correctly.

Marketing automation is amazing. It offers a variety of features, step savers, “robust” reporting and a panoply of solutions for small to enterprise-sized organizations.  And let me tell you many marketing automation solutions are truly altering the way we do business. The only issue is, like Bart’s dad, we assume these tools will do the work for us. That if we merely push a button our marketing will be done.  This is far from reality.

Marketing automation (i.e. Hootsuite, HubSpot, eloqa, Act-on, etc.) offer a means to organize, pool and enhance your efforts. They can take your strategy and help you streamline the implementation and easily learn what works and help you iterate to get the right combination of integrated activity.

So before you invest any money and a couple weeks’ worth of your time to get started, consider these 5 tips to marketing automation success:

  1. Have a strategy- Marketing automation tools only work if you know what your goals are and what integrated set of marketing tactics you will use to achieve those goals
  2. Allocate resources – Identify 1-3 people in your company who will take the time from their regular jobs to become proficient in the platform. They should have a propensity to enjoy learning new software, enjoy tinkering and playing around to master new software and skills and seek the joy of mining metrics to gain insights and ideas
  3. Give them time – While marketing automation will simplify the implementation and management of your marketing strategy, it still takes time to make the system continually work for you. Make sure everyone is in agreement as to how much time each week these individuals will allocate to working the marketing platform. This can’t be in addition to all they already do, make sure you are creating realistic space for them to learn the platform and then manage it.
  4. Give it time – first you will have to invest time in setting up the system, learning the system and then learning from the system.  Be very realistic. Unlike a microwave, you don’t simply plug it in and push a button.
  5. Have a budget – marketing automation can be inexpensive. But it won’t create content for you, design anything, format or print materials. So you need to be realistic and have the funds available to invest into content creation, graphic design, print and digital ads, etc.

Remember, marketing automation is like putting a Ferrari in the hands of a sixteen year old.  If you don’t know how to drive it, you are certain to crash.