3 common pitfalls when choosing Marketing Automation

3 common pitfalls when choosing Marketing Automation

Pamela Hinojosa
Nov 2020
Pamela Hinojosa
A computer

Do you know the pitfalls of choosing a system?

Technology in sales and marketing is evolving faster than ever!

Today, we have access to tools and data that help us streamline, measure and optimise our work in ways we could only dream of before.

But rapid change also means that the work is becoming increasingly complex and difficult to master.

Companies are crying out for systems that can simplify their daily work and, above all, give them a competitive edge.

But when it comes to choosing the right solution, many feel overwhelmed by the ever-expanding tech map.

pitfalls in system selection
Without a structured approach, it's easy to get carried away.

New systems are appearing all the time, but which ones can add value to your business?

It's no wonder that companies shy away from renewing their technology stack (technical toolbox), and instead choose to continue with the same old tired systems, or perhaps worse, choose the latest/best known in the belief that it's a safe bet.

With the complexity of the market, it is more important than ever to make informed decisions about new technologies. Marketing Automation (MA) is no exception.

Here are the 3 most common pitfalls when choosing a system.

Not having a clear purpose for the system

A big misconception about Marketing Automation is that it is a ready-made solution with an on/off button, which can show results as soon as it is turned on.

But it's not that simple...

An MA system can NOT replace your creative thinking, or self-creating engaging content.

The instruction manual also does not come with a ready-made strategy.

However, the tool can effectively automate repetitive tasks that we would otherwise have to spend an enormous amount of time and resources on.

Another advantage is that the work will be more data-driven.

Data-based work in system selection
MA makes it easier to be data-driven!

To succeed with your MA strategy, you need to have a clear idea of what can be automated. And how and why it will add value to the organisation.

There are many risks in not having a clear plan before you start looking and comparing systems.

A common example is choosing a tool that turns out to be far too complex.

This tends to result in increased user frustration and thus low utilisation rates.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are cases where the system is unable to perform the desired activities due to a lack of functionality.

In other words, planning is the key to choosing an MA system, as it will lay the foundation for future efficiency.

Planning of system selection

One recommendation is to start from the customer's perspective.

Look at the customer journey to identify the moments during which the customer is receptive to automated communication.

Then map your internal processes and activities to define which parts can be automated.

Once you have a good overview of what needs to be done, you can start looking at what features and data you are missing to make the desired changes.

Don't forget to evaluate the different system options and their functions in relation to the current and future objectives of your business.

The ultimate goal is to find a solution that meets current needs, but is also flexible and scalable enough to grow with the business.

Ignoring the existing internal digital ecosystem

We often see companies considering investing in MA looking at how they can modernise and streamline various activities.

BUT it forgets to take into account how it will affect the existing internal ecosystem. This is one of the pitfalls of system selection.

There is a risk of disrupting processes that are currently working well, but also of not being able to fully exploit existing data and system functionality due to poor integration between systems.

MA platforms often rely on several other tools to operate at optimal levels.

You won't usually get maximum impact from your campaigns unless you have a holistic approach and ensure that your systems are well integrated with each other.

Interacting different systems and their data
List which technologies can be integrated against each other and what may be required.

Non-integrated flows can also lead to data leakage and a fragmented customer experience.

It is possible to add a stand-alone MA system to your existing system flora, but the overview is easily missed.

The most common integration tends to be between the MA and the CRM system, but there are a number of others for which it can be just as crucial.

Examples include its CMS, file servers that store downloadable content, analytics platforms, and other digital marketing services such as social media, advertising tools and more.

A well-integrated technology stack can help you get the whole picture and gain valuable insights into what drives traffic and what converts inbound traffic into customers.

For example, say you want to warm up your leads. Then you want to know where everyone is in the process and how they're behaving in the different channels; whether that's online or offline.

From a cost-effectiveness perspective, it can also be beneficial to know which channels/campaigns are most profitable and generate the most customers.

Not taking into account the level of internal competence of the organisation

Hooking up an MA system may sound easy. We find that companies often lack the in-house skills required to carry out a thorough implementation...

...and above all to operate and maintain the system.

Many people find it difficult to set up well-functioning flows and campaigns, which is often not due to a lack of functionality, but to the sheer complexity.

We've looked at a recent study by GetResponse in which 2,500 marketing professionals from around the world were interviewed about what they perceived as their biggest challenges in an MA implementation.

More than 35% responded that there was a lack of knowledge in setting up different types of automated flows, such as rules and lead scoring.

Another 27% responded that there was a general lack of internal knowledge and skills in the subject.

Meeting between colleagues
Have a clear picture of internal competencies and whether training or new acquisitions are in place.

Different systems require different levels of technical expertise, which is hugely important to take into account when choosing a system.

It is therefore useful to make a thorough inventory of the knowledge available within the organisation beforehand. As well as how much you are prepared to do yourself, and how much you are prepared to bring in externally.

This becomes even more important when looking at the pricing models of system providers.

There are many who offer low prices, but instead have very high support and maintenance costs.

Danger ahead!

Find out how much support is included in the different contract options, and how they handle support cases.

For example, most vendors do not offer local support technicians in all countries, which can lead to communication difficulties and/or long resolution times.

Another crucial factor is the amount of existing content available to drive the various campaigns.

MA systems need to be constantly fed with new relevant content to drive traffic and engage your potential customers.

Content for system selection
As we hopeless marketers say "Content is King!"

This is about looking at who will produce the content. And also calculate how much time/resources this will require from the business.

Also think about whether this is something you want to do yourself. Or whether it might be more profitable to bring in that expertise externally.

In summary, we can conclude that there is much to consider and take into account when faced with the choice of an MA system.

Make sure you don't fall into any of these pitfalls when choosing a system!

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