Why you do Not need marketing automation

You have probably received the e-mails — the junk disguised as real personal interaction. They’re often friendly and casual and might refer to a product you purchased or content you’ve downloaded. They generally address you by name. But they are not delivered by a friend — or a person, for that matter. They are the product of marketing automation software designed to replicate the human touch. And to a degree, they are every marketer’s dream.

Automation tools would be the darling of today’s marketing mix. They simplify among the toughest and time-consuming sections of advertising — lead nurturing — so that content supply and direct conversion occur with minimal intervention. Put simply: you can connect with prospects and move them along the sales funnel with nary a cold call. It is understandably desirable.

However, the reality of marketing automation is a whole lot less dreamy, even for companies that spend a whole lot of time creating and publishing articles to be used in their advertising and lead-generation efforts. Most companies we work with may surely benefit from alternatives to make their jobs easier. But we necessarily recommend against marketing automation. Here’s why.

Marketing automation is a misnomer

There is really nothing automated about preparing a marketing automation system that functions optimally, and it requires plenty of ongoing work to keep it churning. So while parts of this job are automated, as many are very hands free, including:

  • Selecting the ideal system: There are dozens of marketing automation systems on the market. Your internet development and marketing team will have to work together to research and pick a system that meets your requirements and can work in tandem with your content-management system.
  • Feeding it with leads: Do you have an existing list of prospects to begin with? No? Is not that what a marketing automation system is for? Well, no, really. A marketing automation program takes existing leads and enables you nurture them. Finding those leads in the first place is another job.
  • Setting up workflows: you will want to make lead-nurturing workflows corresponding to your client profiles — a succession of e-mails, social networking articles, newsletters, or otherwise. Then you’ll need to ascertain how you are going to implement lead scores. Does a lead capture a point for opening an email or for responding to it? Your workflow and direct scoring will depend on a plan that matches specific customer profiles to targeted actions.
  • Matching content to workflows: you’ll have to make the actual content for each workflow — blog posts, newsletter stories, etc.
  • Setting up metrics monitoring: What open speed are you planning for in your e-mails? What click-through do you want to accomplish in your calls to action? And what proportion of respondents do you want to convert into paying customers? You are going to want to plug these aims into the system so that you can examine how well your efforts are working.
  • Analyzing the information and implementing changes: If you do the rest of the steps well, you will create a whole lot of data that will provide you actionable insights into what is working and what should change. Then you will want to tweak your campaigns to make sure they’re converting as many prospects as possible.

For an automated system, that is a great deal of labour-intensive work. In actuality, many businesses find themselves in need of coaching as well as extra staff because of the increased workload.

And then there is the cost

The upfront and ongoing workload is not the only issue with marketing automation systems. They also carry a significant price tag.

Our customers typically do not have the tools a system like this requires. And according to the stats, they are not alone. Although companies spend more now on marketing automation systems than they do on advertising, 37 percent of marketers say .

The Truth Is, high-touch marketing functions

Despite our work building sites which produce digital processes more efficient, we think there’s value in the human touch. We believe in picking up the telephone (or showing up a Google Hangout) to speak to prospects and clients.

A recent effort by , manufacturers of the content-management system eZ Publish / eZ Platform, exemplified how well-targeted high-touch campaigns can work, even on a really small scale. After investing in contact lists which weren’t yielding results, the marketing team decided to try out a high-touch approach. “We wanted to do something different and we had a hunch this could work,” said Roderick Thomas, spouse success director at eZ Systems.

The effort targeted 40 individuals at digital bureaus: five prospects in each of eight selected businesses. Over the course of four weeks, eZ delivered a string of private e-mails, themed gifts, and postcards for their targets. Every delivery has been followed by a telephone call. A few of the packages were hand-delivered.

The effort infused technical sales copy with fun pop-culture references. “These are real people, after all, so we weren’t afraid to be as creative as possible,” Mr. Thomas said.

In the long run, it led to two encounters, an outcome Mr. Thomas was content with, especially because one assembly was the product of a delivery he made {}.

Doug Plant is ‘s customer engagement manager. He enjoys working on web projects since the return on investment is very easy to recognize, working with eZ Publish since it’s so effective to deliver on, and working together with the Mugo Web team to provide wonderful tools to clients.

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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