Is Marketing Automation a Winning Solution for your business?
Marketing automation sounds like a perfect solution for someone who doesn’t have the time to focus on their marketing, doesn’t it? It says it right in the name! It’s Automatic. But, is it?
What Marketing Automation IS
Marketing Automation means using a software or platform that will automate marketing tasks for you, sometimes across multiple platforms, like social, email, search, web, and even text. For instance, a social media platform like HubSpot or SproutSocial is a form of marketing automation. Load up all your social posts for the month, and the platform will take care of posting to multiple social pages, without you having to navigate to each social platform and post there.
What Marketing Automation ISN’T
Marketing automation isn’t a plug-n-play solution. Marketing Automation doesn’t “do it all for you”. Marketing automation is a way to automate the steps of a campaign, not build the campaign for you.
Here’s an example: Acme Products sends out a sale email to their customers. 30% of the list opens the email. 70% don’t. Acme has set up their marketing automation so that the 70% receive a follow-up email 3 days later. And of the 30% who opened the email, 5% clicked on something, so the marketing automation platform is set to send another reminder to the 25% who didn’t.
Most marketing automation has templated “funnels” (or flow charts) built in for easy implementation. However, the campaign itself: What are you selling? What’s the message? What’s the benefit? Who’s the target audience? That’s not built in. That still requires a knowledgeable marketer or team of marketers to develop a strategy and build the tactics that will be used in the campaign.
Marketing Automation PROS:
- Eliminates a good deal of repetitive tasks once the platform and campaigns are set up
- Built-in tools to quickly and efficiently develop campaigns across multiple platforms (i.e. social media, email marketing, digital advertising, content marketing, landing pages, etc)
- Automation platforms typically include some sort of sales tracking or CRM feature to help quantify your ROI and nurture leads
- Usually includes a dashboard that brings all your metrics into one place
Marketing Automation CONS:
- Requires a good deal of time and effort to get a marketing automation platform set up and ready to use
- Cost: Serious investment in the software (varies by platform, some can be $10K or more per year)
- Not a replacement for marketers, branding, or creativity
- Requires a dedicated employee or team of people to run (the cost of the platform isn’t the only cost)
The bottom line: before you get blinded by the allure of marketing automation, make sure your marketing has a team of knowledgeable professionals behind it to help make marketing automation a win-win.