Speak to any company or business owner about marketing automation and they’ll get all excited. Marketing automation usually refers to software that automates marketing tasks, like lead nurturing and email followup.
The benefits of marketing automation are clear (here are just 2 of them):
– it saves your marketing and sales team time they can then use to find and close new business
– it helps nurture leads through their buyer’s journey until they are ready to purchase, providing the sales team with more qualified leads to close.
For most business people the word “automation” equals salvation from tedious and repetitive tasks and routines. It means that they can focus on closing deals instead of a million preparatory tasks.
There are great (and pretty pricey) tools such as Hubspot, Infusionsoft and Marketo that provide companies everything they’ll need to integrate marketing automation into their businesses.
So why do so many business fail at marketing automation?
The main reason is that they think that the marketing automation tool will actually do their marketing for them. They’ll invest in one of the major tools and spend the time setting it up and integrating it with their website and current system. And then they’ll wait for the magic to happen…and wait…until they get fed up and throw in the towel saying that marketing automation just can’t work for them.
Here’s their mistake. Think of the marketing automation tool as an engine. It can be the best engine in the world, but it won’t do a thing without fuel.
Marketing automation tools make it easy for you to blog, but they don’t write the actual content for you. The tools will make it easy for you to search engine optimize your content, but they can’t create the right titles or use the right keywords for you. They’ll make it easy for you to setup an automated email workflow, but they won’t write the emails.
Content is the fuel that powers the marketing automation engine. Marketing automation software doesn’t create that content for you. Only you can do that (or pay to have it done).
Companies invest a lot of money in building the marketing automation engine, but then either leave it empty or fill it with low grade fuel that makes it sputter instead of roar. You can use the most sophisticated marketing automation software, but if your blog posts suck, no one will want to read them, give you their contact info or view you as an expert in your field. If your social media posts are lame, you won’t get traffic from social media. If your followup emails are badly written, you’ll lose leads instead of nurturing them.
Should businesses invest in marketing automation?
I think most B2B businesses and B2C business with longer sales cycles should definitely invest in marketing automation. But before they invest in a specific marketing automation tool they should budget for content, without which the tool will be useless.
At Onrush we don’t require our clients to purchase one of the pricey marketing automation tools mentioned above. Our plans include building the marketing automation engine and providing the fuel (content). That doesn’t mean that the large marketing automation software providers don’t provide value. But companies that aren’t able or willing to make a large upfront investment in marketing automation software shouldn’t have to. They can still automate their marketing and get the content they need to make it successful at a reasonable price that won’t break their bank.