10 March 2017

Is Marketing Automation Worth It?

 

It’s been well established robots are taking over our jobs. Is it really worth letting them do our email marketing, too? I mean, where does it end? Can we afford to yield yet another task to AI monsters? Nah, just playin’. Manual management of email marketing workflows can be a total nightmare, an endless time-suck from which you may never escape. This type of work is exactly how we should be using automation, threat of future cylon attack be damned.

The field of marketing automation is growing at an astonishing rate, but many worry that it’s just another marketing expense. Marketing automation can be an extremely helpful tool to streamline marketing efforts and make sense of a convoluted buyer’s journey. However, if you’re not using it right, it could end up costing you valuable time and money with minimal benefits.

Here are a few things to consider before you invest in marketing automation:

Do you have enough leads to justify the cost?

With marketing automation, it’s easier to follow up on leads and drive more sales through your website but it’s important to ensure you have enough leads in the first place. After all, there are costs associated with setting up this kind of software, and onboarding users across your organisation can be costly and time-consuming. If you do have enough leads, make sure you have a lead management process. Likewise, if you don’t have a solid content marketing strategy in place, you won’t have anything to use as part of the nurture campaigns that create conversations and drive the buyer’s journey.

Are your workflows complicated enough to warrant automation?

If you’re a small company with simple processes, it might not be worth your while to invest in marketing automation. Marketing automation is a software platform that streamlines, automates and measures marketing tasks and workflows. If you’re dealing with workflows like email marketing, landing page creation, cross-channel marketing campaigns, lead generation and measuring ROI automation software will make your life significantly easier. Workflows with enough complexity and enough opportunity for human error should be automated, as long as it’s important enough and repeated frequently. If you’re sending basic, batch emails to different list segments, you probably don’t need full-scale marketing automation.

(Click here to download our complete Guide to Lead Qualification for free)

Do you have time to set it up correctly and keep it running smoothly?

Unlike a cylon, marketing automation is not a ‘set it and forget it’ (until it rises up and wages war against you, that is) tool – it requires maintenance. You’ll receive daily reports on how many leads you’ve acquired, how workflows are progressing, and the state of running campaigns. If you don’t use this information to adjust workflows, your database will suffer. You’ll end up with inactive leads and improper nurturing. While you don’t have to be a software engineer to master the platform, it does require training and daily use to yield the best results. Is your team ready for this responsibility? Before you invest, make sure you have a team, or a person, who’s responsible for the technology and the relationship with sales. A lack of a clear plan will prevent even the best marketing automation software from working effectively.

Marketing automation can streamline complex processes and enhance the effectiveness of campaigns. To avoid becoming an ineffective marketing machine, consider what does and does not work before deciding if marketing automation is worth the time and effort.

According to Marketo, ‘best-in-class marketers that use a marketing automation platform contribute more to the sales pipeline, with 57% of sales-accepted leads converted to the sales-qualified pipeline, and the company as a whole sees 14% overall growth in marketing revenue.’

See what kind of success other businesses have achieved with marketing automation in our 7 powerful inbound marketing charts.





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