Back in the 1990’s, one of the first digital marketing agencies came up with the concept of “advertising as a service”. Advertising that was ultra-targeted, so relevant, and useful that consumers would not recognise it as advertising but instead see it as a valued service. Marketing automation is the same channel through which you can realise that dream.

Many years of progress has meant that the benefits of marketing automation are no longer just the preserve of large enterprises. The basics are available to any company that does business online, yet a third of companies are yet to adopt it. Marketing tools, including email, web, social, and text messages, are not limited to people at HQ working on large strategic campaigns. Tools and technologies can be used to benefit marketeers and sales people who work at any point in the customer journey across the business.

There are many benefits to be gained and all kinds of marketing automation tools are available today. However, there are also a significant number of challenges in implementing a Marketing Automation system. So where does it go wrong? Consultant, Stephen Manley at HSO lists the 5 biggest pitfalls for you:

1. Too little knowledge

Are you planning to get started with marketing automation without sufficient knowledge of technology and processes? Then there is a good chance that your campaign will not have the desired result, so research carefully and be well informed about the software that is available. Think carefully about your goals, what data you want to collect and what content you need. Make sure that the management team is informed about the benefits and opportunities that marketing automation offers. Finally, investigate what you need in support of other departments, such as telemarketing and IT.

2. Insufficient integration with CRM

If you work with a separate marketing automation and CRM system, with separate databases, there is a good chance that you will not get a complete customer profile. Transferring data takes time and information is often lost. Plus, the results of your marketing activities become difficult to measure if you have insufficient insight into the final conversion.
You can happily link most marketing automation systems with CRM, but this can lead to extra costs and technical challenges. There are also CRM platforms that offer all tooling for marketing automation, think of Dynamics 365 for Marketing . The big advantage of this is that both Sales and Marketing have a complete insight into the customer journey and the status of a lead or prospect at all times.

3. Insufficient attention for strategy and cooperation

A marketing automation strategy, for example focused on inbound marketing, must be part of the complete marketing strategy. If you don’t think about the desired results and how to make your campaign measurable before setting up the campaign, then your campaigns usually will not have the result you were hoping for. You can then hardly account for your budget. Also involve your office staff in your campaigns, after all, their activities are part of your strategy and it is important that the team is aware of content that your contacts (have) received.

4. Insufficient support from the IT department

Without support from the IT department, setting up your marketing automation tool is usually not possible (completely). You are most likely to need support with integrating your automation tool into existing software and applications, such as CRM. Therefore, make sure you inform your colleagues in good time, so that they can respond to questions about integration, information exchange, access, security and so on. Also, think of help with, for example, privacy legislation (GDPR). Often the IT department has knowledge about this.

5. Too little cooperation between marketing and sales

Unfortunately, a lot of knowledge and contact information is often lost when transferring a lead from marketing to sales. A pity, because you both have the same goal! Moreover, the marketing automation activities do not have to stop once sales has taken over the lead. During the sales process you can continue to send your contacts targeted content or invite them to events. In this way you make the customer journey together complete and successful, plus integration of your systems proves once again to be indispensable, so that both teams have an integral view of leads, prospects and customers at all times. Don’t just rely on technology as a warm transfer from marketing to sales is essential, so good communication is also a necessity.

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