I spoke with a business owner recently who expressed his frustration with marketing automation software. I’ll call him “Joe” to protect his identity. Joe had purchased a well-known marketing automation tool last year with the hopes of improving his lead generation, building his pipeline, and growing his revenue. Joe runs a small manufacturing firm and he doesn’t have a lot of marketing resources. In fact, he is the marketing department. But that’s just one of the hats he wears. Joe is also the CEO and the sales rep.
When Joe made the decision to purchase marketing automation software he was shown a demo that knocked his socks off. He learned how the software could help him build landing pages, deploy lead capture forms, create call-to-action buttons, manage email campaigns, publish blog articles, manage social media interactions, nurture leads, and measure the ROI of his marketing tactics. He was so excited to get started and he couldn’t wait to transform the way he marketed his business.
It wasn’t long after paying the first month’s bill of a twelve-month subscription that Joe started to suspect that he had made a mistake. He realized that there were a few things he needed that didn’t come with the software subscription: creativity, writing skills, marketing experience, and time. His frustration grew as he tried to learn how to use the software, and it didn’t take long for any marketing-related task to fall to the bottom of his to-do list. Soon, he found himself half way through the year and the marketing plans of his dreams was still just that – a dream.
Marketing Automation Software is a Tool
The fact of the matter is, the marketing automation software packages on the market today can be leveraged to drastically improve a company’s marketing performance. They are powerful tools. But they are just that: tools. Just because I have a wrench in my toolbox doesn’t mean my wife trusts me to fix our plumbing. Likewise, just because you have marketing automation software doesn’t mean you have the expertise and time to effectively execute a marketing strategy that can produce a meaningful and measurable ROI.
Before you make the same mistake Joe did, take some time and evaluate your marketing objectives, requirements and available resources. Do you have the skills required to execute your marketing strategy? Do you have the time? I asked Joe what he wished he had in addition to his marketing automation software.
Joe said he felt he like he was “winging” it and didn’t have a marketing plan. He needed help crafting a marketing strategy custom fit for his specific target personas.
Joe said it took him countless hours to learn even the basic elements of the software. He needed someone who could teach him how to use it and better yet, someone who could make sure it was set up and working effectively. This includes integrating it with his CRM.
Content + Strategy is Essential
Content is the life blood of a marketing initiative. Joe found himself with lots of ideas and little time to create. There were even instances where he had time, but then couldn’t come up with any ideas. He needed help brainstorming content ideas and mapping out a content calendar. Then he needed writing, editing and designing resources to create blog articles, case studies, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, etc.
Content is only part of the equation, though. Joe didn’t want a stand-alone whitepaper or case study. He wanted his content woven into a well-thought out campaign with strategically placed call-to-action buttons, landing pages and social media promotion.
Joe knew that if his marketing generated leads, not all of them would be ready to buy today. He would need help building automated lead nurture email workflows and building triggers for his follow-up at the most appropriate time in the future.
Joe’s final realization (and recommendation) is that a good marketing plan is not something you can set and then forget. It requires consistent oversight – measuring and monitoring KPIs and then adjusting the tactics to maximize performance.
Quite frankly, this is way beyond what a simple marketing automation software tool could ever dream of delivering. Joe didn’t make a mistake when he purchased his marketing automation software last year. He made a mistake when he didn’t find a marketing agency that he could partner with to keep his marketing dream from tuning into a nightmare.