There are nearly 11 times more companies with marketing automation today than there were in early 2011[i]. And yet, 85% of B2B marketers using a marketing automation platform feel that they’re not using it to its full potential[ii].
So, a staggering number of organisations are not using their marketing automation tools to their full potential. But, what could be the cause of this colossal waste of opportunity? Well, any marketers out there with an automation platform will be able to confirm that it wasn’t as easy as ‘plug and play’. In fact, it’s a great deal more complex than that – and this is only the installation phase. From here, marketers have to overcome an extremely steep learning curve with regards to planning, strategy, and the tool itself. And of course, this all has to happen in addition to the regular day-to-day activities. Suffice to say, there are multiple reasons why marketing automation tools are so underutilised, but there are solutions. And, with so many inherent benefits in marketing automation, these solutions are worth utilising.
From purchasing our first marketing automation platform, to generating regular results and ROI took about 18 months. Yup, a year and a half was spent just getting to grips with the new tool, creating content to power it, and nurturing leads from the top of the funnel right though to sales. So, the best advice we can give to anyone who has just purchased a marketing automation tool is, dedicate someone within your team and get them trained up… fast. Let them learn every process and procedure first so that the platform can be used effectively, and then let them pass on their knowledge to colleagues. The other alternative of course, is to bring in a specialist. Recruit a marketing automation specialist who can hit the ground running and make sure not a moment is wasted. The only issue with this approach is that marketing automation is a top-heavy investment, and once everything is up and running, it all calms down. At this point though, you’ll still be stuck with a member of staff you no longer need.
Include strategy as part of planning
For organisations that have not reached expert level yet, there may be a ‘fear’ or at least reservations about using the tool in multi-channel activities. However, this is where there needs to be a little dose of ‘in at the deep end’ administered. To increase your knowledge levels quickly, be sure to add marketing automation support into as many campaigns and projects as you can. This will make sure that you are constantly learning, and will also ensure that you reach and clear any hurdles as early as possible. Additionally, look to utilise as many of the platforms features as you can. For example, try to go beyond the standard landing pages and blog posts, and look to implement lead scoring and automation workflows too. By forcing yourself and your team to face these challenges head on, you’re ultimately building confidence in your use of the platform.
It’s only difficult at first
There will most likely come a point when you are so frustrated with marketing automation that you’ll want to throw the whole lot out of a window. But, don’t fret. This happens to us all, and it’s only usually in the early stages. As mentioned previously, marketing automation is typically top-heavy. This means that once the system is up and running, the content has been created, the workflows have been decided, and the lead scoring has been set, then the platform will basically run itself. Only when you venture into your next campaign will you have to upload more content, and even then it’ll be much easier. So when you start to get lost in the nitty gritty of the tool and feel like it’s never going to get better – just know that it will. And, when it does, your marketing operations will run smoother and more efficiently than ever before.
If like the most marketers, you are short on time and resources, then there is still a way you can get the best from your marketing automation tool – simply outsource. That’s right, there are specialists and industry-leading marketing agencies that have the capacity and expert staff in-house to generate the best results with your platform. By choosing this option, you can ultimately avoid the steep learning curve and the initial unrest, and simply have someone else getting up and running. If you partner with a multi-channel marketing agency, they’ll not only manage your marketing automation, they’ll also create the content for you too. So as you can see, there’s a lot to be said for this approach too.
To find out more about generating the best results from your marketing automation platform…