The (Inconvenient) Truth about Marketing Automation

As a B2B Agency that has helped lots of customers successfully deploy marketing automation, we’re fully signed up to the benefits that marketing automation can bring.

For lead nurturing, helping sales and marketing alignment and driving up lead quality, marketing automation can be awesome.

Somewhat ironically, one of the biggest successes of marketing automation has been the software vendors’ ability to create an aura – or to an extent a myth – that has led B2B marketers to think it is a panacea for all of their lead generation challenges.

So, before investing in the technology (and let’s be clear here, marketing automation is just that; technology) take time to pause and consider a more rounded perspective about what it is you’re trying to achieve and whether marketing automation is the silver bullet you’re looking for.

1. Marketing automation is technology, not a strategy in itself

Strategy always needs to precede delivery. Marketing automation is an enabler. So make sure you understand the difference between strategy, tactics and enablers, and develop them in that order. That way, if your strategy determines you need marketing automation, it’ll be more likely to succeed than if you approach it the other way around and build your strategy around marketing automation.

2. Marketing automation isn’t a plug and play lead generation solution

Again, it is an enabler; a smart and powerful enabler, granted. But don’t expect to see leads flying in immediately.

See marketing automation as an effective way of nurturing prospects until they are ready to talk to you. Then, when leads do come (which they will, in time), you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And particularly about how much easier it is to convert prospects that have engaged with your content, where your message resonates and they have already decided that you are a good prospective supplier.

3. Traditional channels still have a role to play

You may not be able to automate lead scoring from non-digital interactions, but in B2B markets, people still buy from people.

Using targeted direct mail or telemarketing to reach prospects that score highly but have not made an enquiry can drive powerful results and increase lead generation.

So don’t be a digital-only snob, use what’s effective, not just what’s trendy.

4. It’s not magic

If you have a poor proposition, increasing awareness won’t solve your problem.

Even with a good proposition, you need to look attractive to your prospects. It’s the way of the modern world, with B2B buyers completing more of their supplier evaluation online prior to engaging with Sales, you need to ensure that you make the cut.

Investing in content, design and marketing assets is essential to build your credibility and for marketing automation to be a success. Cutting corners is a false economy.

5. It is automated, not automatic

The software vendors are guilty of over-simplifying what is really involved and downplaying the challenges.

Not just with getting to grips with the technology itself – that bit most marketers can do. You need the right strategy, top level leads to feed into your marketing programme, great content, strong creative and the ability to analyse and fine-tune your campaigns.

6. Marketing automation might not actually be the right solution

We are sold on the value of content in B2B marketing, nurturing and lead generation.

However, you don’t necessarily need a full-blown, enterprise-level marketing automation solution to get value from your content.

There are many email marketing platforms that have basic lead scoring and trigger based activity. Whilst not as powerful as genuine marketing automation platforms, for some businesses these are a more practical, cost effective way to start your content distribution, lead nurturing and inbound-marketing journey.

Growthlabs can demystify marketing automation and help you cut through the hype. We understand modern B2B marketing and a wide range of marketing technologies. Moreover, we take a pragmatic approach to developing the sales and marketing strategy you need, ensuring your budget achieves more.

Google Partner B2B Marketing