5 Reasons Marketing Automation Fails

Marketing automation works.  Engaging and nurturing leads with a real-time, personal process keeps attention, builds trust and wins business.  Our team has built many successful marketing automation systems and campaigns.  It becomes a vital asset to the business of our customers.

But, not all marketing automation works.  Typically, a company hears about the promises that marketing automation brings and then proceeds to try and make it work.  Here are a few reasons why failure happens and how you can avoid them:

1. Lack of Talent

If you only have traditional marketing people on your team that are adept at advertising or PR campaigns, then this is the number one reason for failure.  Marketing automation is hard, not easy.  It requires a combination of skills including IT, developers, copywriters, analysts, copyeditors, project managers, graphic designers, web developers, video editors and creative strategists.

It is an expensive payroll to bring all these roles together.  It is hard to find this all in one person.  Choosing self-service rather than full-service may already doom your project to failure if you don’t have the right talent.

2. Poor Marketing Strategy

We approach our marketing automation projects with strategy first.  A marketing automation campaign roadmap needs to be well established to define what the buying process looks like.

Putting a bunch of forms together that do a bit of lead scoring is like driving a race car at 35 to the grocery store every day.  It was designed for so much more.

3. Fear Of Failure

The likelihood that your marketing automation campaign will immediately convert leads to customers is rare.  We are dealing with human beings and seeking to get to their motivations and decisions.  The goal is not to launch something perfect.  The goal is to launch something that is measurable and connects.  In so doing, you can continue optimizing and refining.

If we see a major drop in a lead process for downloading content, then we address that step with both art and science to drive the next step.  Marketing automation teaches you what works and connects.  It is an iterative process which requires commitment.

4. Silos Of Marketing And Sales

When the salesperson engages and with what message is a critical component.  If there has been a tradition of marketing and sales working separately – the former creating demand and the latter closing deals – then this has to be quickly overcome in the project scope and implementation.

Sales team members need to be brought into the project for launching a campaign and understand the experience prospective buyers are undergoing before they call for a meeting.  They have to be able to read their digital footprints in the team CRM system, not just the analog outbound sales activities.

5. Leadership Gap

Give me a leader over a marketer any day.  This is a critical component to making marketing automation work.  There is a team of talent that has to be managed, business processes to be defined and systems that need engineering.  A creative, technical, business leader will drive success.

We have seen too many junior people try and take the reigns and they are the root cause of failure.  The vision, strategy and execution all have to come together for success.

Beyond Features And Benefits

Note that there was not commentary on the features and benefits of individual marketing automation software systems.  Marketers like to look at those because it takes the lens off of ourselves.  After all, technology cannot fight back.

We can interchange marketing automation campaigns between systems easily and make them work.  The systems today are remarkable and are far above the thresholds for effective strategy for results.  It is unlikely the features will be exhausted in the array of different software available today.

It comes down to whether you can drive any of these systems, connect with the buyer and create a buying experience which is personal, relevant and timely.  Avoid the failure points and ensure your team, whether in-house or via partnership, can take this powerful instrument and make music rather than noise.

Feel free to comment below.

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