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“Marketing automation is booming. Industry revenues leapt by 50 percent in 2014, closing at $1.2 billion for the year. We can expect to see continued aggressive growth in 2015. If your business is considering implementing a marketing automation solution, you’re in good company. When done well, marketing automation can bring in impressive returns on investment (ROI) through greater numbers of qualified leads that have been thoughtfully nurtured along their journey toward becoming customers. When handled poorly, however, marketing automation can backfire, blasting a badly timed one-note message to all prospective customers and turning them off in droves. The key to success is not so much the technology itself, although that of course plays an important role, but rather the strategy and thoughtfulness behind the implementation. Take care to avoid these five common pitfalls to ensure that your marketing automation initiative succeeds.

1. Thinking That the Technology Will Automatically Improve Your Strategy

 Any time you welcome a new technology platform into your company, it’s tempting to assume that simply by doing so you’re improving both your strategy and your daily businesses processes. Good software (and smart, experienced software firms) can help you refine your strategy, but doing so requires a considerable amount of time and careful planning on your end. Are your marketing and sales processes thoroughly documented and well understood by everyone on those teams? You’ll be surprised what you find upon conducting an assessment, and this knowledge will empower you to make the most out of your new marketing automation system.

2. Blasting everyone with the Same Content

 If you’re sending the same message to everyone at the same time, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to increase sales. Marketing automation allows you to better understand who your customers are and how interested they are in your products and services, and you should target your messages accordingly. If you blast all your customers with the same message, you risk turning off prospects who might have developed into viable leads. If you take the time to craft tailored approaches to different categories of leads, you will see better results and gain valuable insights about your customers and what matters to them.

3. Not Offering Compelling Content and Valuable Resources

 Simply broadcasting an update about your company or sharing an article here and there isn’t enough to maximize the impact that marketing automation can give your company. Along with taking the time to clarify your strategy and understand who your customers are, invest in a content strategy that offers compelling, relevant, and timely content to leads at key stages in the pipeline. Not only are you giving them an incentive to consider your products and services, but you’re also building trust with them by demonstrating your expertise and authority in the industry.

4. Not Taking Advantage of All the Bells and Whistles 

 Marketing automation goes far beyond automated e-mail campaigns. You can build custom landing pages with exclusive offers for people who clicked on an ad they saw online, get a 360-degree view of every instance in which a lead has engaged with your brand, and spot trends that lead to increased sales. Customers use many channels, not just e-mail, to learn about the companies they want to do business with. Make sure your strategy takes this into account.

5. Not Taking Advantage of Analytics to improve Your Strategy

 This last common mistake is a close corollary to #1. Many companies, believing in the power of technology to improve strategy and processes all on its own, fail to leverage the best that it can offer when it comes to analytics. After you have implemented your marketing automation solution, invest some time and thoughtful attention into regularly reviewing your analytics so that you can understand where your efforts are having the greatest impact. Use those insights to refine your strategy on a continual basis. Otherwise, you’re missing perhaps the biggest opportunity for ROI.”

Source: “5 Common Marketing Automation Mistakes and How To Avoid Them” by Rose de Fremery for Inside-CRM,