There is no definitive 'right' way to achieve success through marketing automation, but there certainly are quite a few wrong ways. I've compiled a few of the top marketing automation mistakes people make. Make sure you aren't making any of them!
1. Being inorganic
One of the primary dangers of marketing automation is also one of its key elements: automation. A successful marketing automation program requires a light touch. It requires communications which mimic real, human interaction while retaining the labor-saving advantage of automation.
Use templates and scheduled messaging, by all means, but make sure you have a human being creating and proofing each message. Customers don't like to feel that they are communicating with a bot. Give them something of genuine value which feels like pure, personal communication.
2. Flipping the wrong personal switches
If you are irritating your customers and prospects with poor quality communication or with too high a volume of messages, then you are doing marketing automation all wrong.
The whole idea of MA is not simply to get your voice heard as often and as loudly as possible – and to stick in the audience's mind in any way you can – it is to create meaningful bonds between your organization and your prospects or customers.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. What content do they want to see? What is going to get on their nerves? How can you foster a positive atmosphere of engagement? A little empathy goes a long way in marketing automation.
3. Failing to plan
Without an objective – without a target at which to aim your marketing automation efforts – you are, unfortunately, destined to fail.
It is true that vast, long-term goals can overwhelm and get in the way of innovation and creativity, and that short-term incremental goals are better for developing forward motion, but this only gives us part of the picture.
The key is to strike a balance. Utilize short-term goals on a monthly, weekly and daily basis, to gauge your progress and assess the efficacy of what you are trying to achieve.
But, also support this with a wider, more comprehensive strategy. It is this long-term objective which will help you to shape your movements in the short-term. Too many marketing automators are losing sight of this and ending up directionless.
4. Getting the focus wrong
Successful marketing automation requires serious reach. It requires the capability to get your products, services and other offerings in front of as many eyes as possible as you seek to raise the profile of your brand.
However, reach should never be your primary assessment metric. Instead, your focus should be on reaching out to the right people and making sure your marketing efforts are effective, rather than just far-reaching.
After all, converting 20% of 2,000 leads is better than converting 1% of 10,000. Know your audience, know your messaging, and combine these two fields to achieve a razor-sharp and highly effective marketing automation efforts.
5. Ticking boxes
One of the biggest mistakes people make, in general life as well as in marketing automation, is growing complacent. Perhaps our marketing automation education followed a familiar trajectory: we heard about its advantages, we studied it, we implemented a few best practices, then we moved on.
Unfortunately, we cannot approach marketing automation in this way. The field of MA is constantly evolving and developing. In the B to B business community alone, MA adoption has risen eleven-fold in only six years.
Therefore, we must continue evolving and developing too. Maintain a solid ethos of learning and development, stay ahead of the curve when it comes to industry best practices and understanding, and remain flexible and agile enough to implement changes when necessary.
6. Ignoring buyer profiles
The beauty of marketing automation lies not simply in its potential for saving you serious time and effort, but in the way in which it can be used to profoundly connect with an audience. To achieve this in an effective manner, that audience must first be segmented using customer understanding and carefully honed buyer profiles.
A major mistake that people make when approaching marketing automation – and one which can be easily avoided – is ignoring this approach and focusing instead on mass communication.
Marketing automation, by its very nature, is always going to involve a degree of generalization.
However, we can temper this by doing our utmost to give our audience the communication they want and need. By tailoring certain offers to certain buyer profiles, marketing automation becomes far more effective in terms of results, effort and cost.
7. Inefficient use of tools and platforms
Implementing a high-quality suite of tools and the right sort of marketing automation platform can be a little on the expensive side. This is not to say that such an endeavor is not worthwhile – although, it is up to you to decide this for yourself – but it does mean that marketers must ensure they are getting the full worth from what they are using.
This means taking a careful and considered audit of your automation procedures. What do you want to achieve? Are you able to achieve this with your current platform? Are you paying for superfluous tools? Is your current suite of tools scalable to meet your needs as your company grows? Answer these questions and confirm maximum efficiency for your business.
8. Forgetting about data generation
Marketing automation is not a pit which we pour data into. Of course, MA endeavors are driven and fueled by data but they are also data generators themselves.
Each time you interact with a prospect or customer, each time you succeed in achieving a conversion from lead, or even when you fail, you generate a new set of data points which can be used to craft future strategies.
There is no such thing as bad data or data which is completely useless. Don't forget this when you implement marketing automation strategies within your own business. Harness the data you create and use it to make your future marketing initiatives ever more potent.
Okay, so now you know the biggest marketing automation mistakes people make. So, make every effort to avoid these on your journey to more efficient and effective marketing automation.