Marketing automation software is a highly valuable asset for any brand, but it is not a cure-all for the challenges and concerns of modern marketers. In fact, such solutions can even serve to reveal weaknesses in a company’s marketing strategy, proving that there is no substitute for hard work.
However, there are many marketers who are not utilizing their automation systems to the fullest, and are exerting far more effort than is necessary to create and manage effective campaigns. In fact, an article from Business 2 Community stated that 85 percent of B2B marketing teams do not maximize the potential of their automation platforms, meaning that most companies are missing out on major value from these systems.
Thankfully, there are a handful of common mistakes that limit the impact of automation tools, and marketers can identify these problems in their own operations to address them head-on. Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent marketing automation mishaps and some methods that can help.
1. Uncoordinated data collection: At the core of every automation program lies a strategy to collect, organize and leverage marketing data. After all, automated processes will add no value to a marketing team if there is no customer information to put to use. However, many firms fail to create a data collection plan that really works.
Of course, the Web offers an endless stream of information to plug into an automation platform – if marketers only know where to look. According to a recent eConsultancy article from Andrew Davies, there are some techniques that can help fill a database with worthwhile information, setting marketers on the right track. For instance, gated content will encourage visitors to provide an email address and a name to find out more.
“One of the things that will become clear early on in your marketing automation journey is that data quality is everything,” explained Davies. “The quality of the data you collect via your web forms or social sign-ins will determine what you can do with those leads.”
2. Inadequate performance indicators: Without metrics guiding the marketing team, its efforts are not likely to make a very big impact, even with automation. Organizations should set some strong yet attainable objectives to strive for once they automate marketing processes, as this will create a sense of urgency and direction.
For example, a brand may be struggling with low click-through rates, but its metrics do not reflect other performance indicators such as triggered events and conversions. Automation systems can help clarify these goals with built-in trackers, allowing marketers to stay focused on the task at hand.
In his piece for eConsultancy, Davies stated that “acquainting yourself with industry benchmarks is a great way of setting some minimum level expectations for performance.” These data points are available around the Web and can provide some much-needed guidance for a company looking to ramp up its automation efforts.
3. Disconnection between departments: Finally, marketers must remember that automation is a company-wide project, involving decisions and input from across the organization. By keeping the system siloed within the marketing department, the software will not be able to collect and utilize a complete spectrum of customer data.
“Marketing automation requires a huge buy-in from several departments within a company,” wrote VentureBeat contributor Mike Templeman in an article from earlier this year. “Usually, marketing, sales and IT must all be on board to ensure that a marketing automation solution is properly deployed.”
Making the most of marketing automation can be a challenge, but with these tips in mind, a brand should be able to realize an even greater ROI from this technology.