Why Marketing Automation Can’t Be “Set It and Forget It”

Written by: Jackie Gonzalez on 10/24/16 9:59 AM

Untitled-2-01.pngEnterprise marketing organizations are past the point of considering marketing automation optional. The availability of marketing automation software is the primary industry development that makes account-based marketing (ABM) on a large scale possible.

While marketing automation is now increasingly seen as a necessary part of any large company’s marketing mix, most businesses still aren’t seeing the kind of results from it they’d hoped for.

Most surveys that measure the success rates of marketing automation find a majority of companies either unsatisfied or only marginally satisfied with their results. Only around a quarter of businesses are genuinely pleased with what they’ve achieved using marketing automation software.

For a marketing approach that was only a few years ago heralded as the next big thing, those results aren’t very promising.

The 25% of businesses happy with their results suggest the problem probably doesn’t lie in marketing automation itself – rather, the businesses struggling most likely have an execution problem.

With marketing automation (and most other types of marketing technology), you can’t simply buy the software, prop up a few automated campaigns and think you’re set. If you’re not treating it as an ongoing process, fruits of your labor may be lackluster.

It takes a while to get marketing automation right.

Successful marketing automation involves some trial and error. Your first campaigns won’t be home runs. No matter how much work you’ve put into trying to understand your audience, none of us can accurately predict what they’ll respond to.

Of course you already have marketing data from all your past campaigns that you can use to help you craft marketing messages and content more likely to land with your target audience, but each time you branch into trying out something new you’ll be faced with figuring out much of what you’re doing as you go. As with most new technologies or marketing approaches, you shouldn’t expect to get marketing automation right on the first try.

You have to pay attention to what works. 

That’s what data’s for. Everything you try in your marketing automation campaigns that doesn’t work provides you with needed data to decide your next steps. Yes, it’s frustrating to face subpar results at any time, but you have to figure out some of what doesn’t work on the path to learning what does.

Marketing automation makes it more important to learn how different marketing activities work together in a progression. If your marketing data previously only showed you how individual activities worked in a vacuum, now you need to work on connecting the dots to better understand the full buyer’s journey

The more you manage to do that, the better you’ll be able to craft automation campaigns that follow the path your prospects want to take.

Change your marketing plan and campaigns accordingly. 

Obviously, understanding what works isn’t enough. Your marketing automation campaigns should evolve based on every new piece of knowledge you gain. As soon as you have enough data to properly analyze and understand which parts of a marketing automation campaign worked, which parts failed, and why, start making changes.

Determine the next-best message.

As marketers, we know the buyer’s journey is non-linear. Even the best nurture programs will sometimes fall short of providing the best experience for your audience. One way to combat this is by using your knowledge of the customer experience to define the next best message. With Hive9, you can determine if your prospects are on the path to revenue. If not, you can create rules to encourage them to take the path toward purchase by generating the most relevant message for their persona, immediately.

Expect continued changes over time.

You’ll never reach the point where your marketing automation can be put on autopilot. Even if a day were to come where you think you’ve got it figured out and now you finally know exactly what works (although, don’t count on that happening) – new trends in technology or consumer behavior will change how the buyer’s journey looks and your customers behave. It’s inevitable.

Expect it and plan for it.

Marketing automation allows you do more with less work, but the need for work doesn’t go away. You and your team will continue to need to monitor your marketing campaigns, analyze the results, and continually craft new and better ones.

Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Topics: Hive9, Marketing Automation