Updated: May 26
The area of marketing automation is growing at lightning fast speed with widespread recognition. Even those in non-Marketing related fields know what you mean when you mention Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua and other marketing automation platforms (MAPs). Designed to make marketers’ lives easier through the automation of repetitive marketing tasks, MAPs increase efficiency and cut down on human errors when executing on email campaigns, social media marketing, lead generation and more.
So, every company and marketing department should jump on marketing automation as quickly as possible, right? Not so fast. All too often, companies adopt a marketing automation (MAP) solution provider without first ensuring that their marketing organisation has the necessary infrastructure in place in order to be successful.
And if the underlying infrastructure isn’t in place, you don’t have much more than an expensive email solution. Many times, thousands of pounds are invested without understanding this fundamental principle and marketers are forced to live with some very expensive mistakes.
Is your marketing infrastructure ready for prime time?
Some serious considerations need to be made before investing in a marketing automation solution and one of the most important ones is to get real about your organisation. You may have a large team with the bandwidth to operate a MAP and it will probably benefit your company. However, if you’re a small company, perhaps a start-up, you probably have one person in charge of marketing and that person would simply be overwhelmed trying to manage marketing automation as well as the other tasks for inbound and outbound.
Something that any reputable marketing automation company will tell you before you even think about what you need in a MAP is to develop a solid foundation and strategy. And you should make sure that you have robust content in place before initiating any automation. Do you have any gaps in your potential delivery of content for personas across the life cycle? Make sure nothing’s missing in the full buy cycle of a customer’s journey or you’ll be wasting big bucks cranking out old data sheets.
In the world of one-to-one marketing, having relevant conversations with buyers is crucial and the only real way to do that is through omnichannel communications. But what if your data is sloppy or not comprehensive? You’re simply not going to get authentic communications. Data hygiene is an important factor in determining whether or not your marketing group is ready for automation. Why make the big automation investment if you’re working with dirty data? It just doesn’t make sense. Clean your data house, keep it maintained and then you can start to entertain the idea of automation.
These guidelines will help you determine whether or not you should consider marketing automation for your company. But it’s always good to be honest about where you are and where you’re headed. Start-up marketing departments really don’t need automation because they just don’t have the traffic, volume, engagement, audience and conversions at the beginning. With growth, all new things can happen—including marketing automation—but be sure you have the internal chops to maintain it before making such a large investment.
TRAC Marketing is a UK-based company that provides marketing automation consulting and solutions for small businesses. Speak to our marketing automation consultants today to learn more about putting marketing automation to work in your company.