For years the marketing world’s been buzzing about the good and the bad of marketing automation. The general agreement though tends to be in favor of using automation to tackle recurring challenges when it comes to our marketing strategies.
Still, marketers are taking different approaches to how they use automation for their campaigns and day-to-day duties.
There are those marketing professionals that see automation as a huge time saver while others are putting in extra effort to maintain their automated marketing funnels. The good news is that everyone has it all figured out in the end and they’re willing to share their own findings and hacks.
I reached out to 26 expert marketing professionals to see how they handle their marketing automation challenges.
But first, Let’s clarify what this fancy “marketing automation” term actually means.
What is marketing automation?
Leaving all fluff and tech concepts aside, marketing automation refers to the use of digital tools to take care of repetitive or administrative marketing tasks faster and more accurately.
From email marketing to scheduling social media posts and even using smart automation to proofread articles as you write them. You’re probably already using some kind of marketing automation tool and not even realizing it.
Good marketing automation takes into account all aspects of your business, helping you take your leads through all channels and funnel stages. Companies that use marketing automation on a regular basis have reported an average of a 451% increase in qualified leads.
To help you find out if you need to move your marketing strategy towards more automated tactics, I’ve put together this brief list of how marketing automation can help:
Haven’t got these points covered yet?
Take inspiration from how these 26 marketing aces are using marketing automation methods and tools.
Jeremy Lawlor is the co-founder and chief strategist of Active Business Growth - a local SEO company that helps small businesses gain online exposure and visibility through organic Google Search.
The most lucrative benefit of marketing automation is the fact that it can act as both a huge time saver and money saver. Nowadays, if you implement your stack correctly, your marketing automation strategy can replace entire employees and streamline your business to the point where it can save you huge amounts in time and overhead.
One of the greatest challenges with this, though, is that there are many, many tools and software to choose from - and not all of them integrate together! To combat this, we document which combination of tools work best with certain clients, so that we know to use this stack again when we onboard similar clients in the future. Having your go-to marketing automation stacks for different types of clients in different industries will help you save time and money in your own business.
James Canzanella is a former personal trainer who went from unemployment to six figures with his online business. He's been marketing online full-time since 2012 and (still) enjoys lifting weights, software, listening to rock music, and relentlessly quoting popular lines from movies.
Marketing automation has many helpful benefits. First and foremost, it allows you to free up more time so that you can focus on the biggest movers when it comes to building and growing your online business. As you become more successful, you start to realize that your time is very valuable and that you can't be doing everything yourself. So automation can not only replace yourself, but it can also replace the need to outsource specific tasks. That can save you time and effort while being able to simultaneously help you make more sales. It doesn't get any more win-win than that.
There will certainly be some challenges when it comes to automation, as software tools aren't always 100% perfect. With that being said, simple tutorials are a great way to help solve those challenges. After all, automation usually comes from third-party tools that are well equipped to help you solve whatever challenge that you've got on your hands.
Another great way to solve your challenges is by simply asking for help. This could be through customer support, live chat, or maybe someone from a Facebook group. There's always a way to help you get past an automation roadblock, and I've found that if you're okay with simply asking for help? The problem becomes pretty easy to solve.
Niels is a growth marketer at 3D Hubs & freelancer for tech companies. Niels is passionate about sustainable growth loops, customer knowledge and finding the right acquisition channels for companies.
Since 3D Hubs is a B2B company with a high order value, our sales cycle used to be very long. Sales would be involved from an early stage, whenever some intent was shown. A lot of calling, outreach, and emailing. Very time consuming.
Thanks to automatic profiling and email nurture campaigns, we automated a HUGE part of the sales people's work. Marketing Qualified Leads now get an email workflow where all their objections and questions are immediately tackled. No more repetitive work for sales.
Only the most ideal companies (based on industry, company size and the job title of the contact) have the option to talk to sales. With the automated emails, we were able to email potential customers immediately (instead of 1-3 days delay). They could immediately continue their buying journey where they left.
All these marketing automation efforts replaced sales peoples’ work without a significant drop in conversion rates from leads to customers.
We’re targeting a very specific niche with particular needs. It’s important to know exactly what the customers’ problems are and which customers are the most profitable.
For all our automated communication efforts it’s essential to sit down with people who are handling customers needs every day. The sales people. They know the objections people have before converting, struggles they have with their current solution, and the weaknesses and strengths of our own product.
Sit down with sales to know exactly what objections to take and questions to answer in your emails.
When you have a clear idea (based on data) of who your ideal customer (or company) is, you can spend more time and effort into handling these. You can give them special treatment by, for instance, giving them the option to talk with sales or a discount code. Time and effort spent on these customers has a way higher return and makes manual effort or discounts worth it. For this to work, you need to (automatically) enrich the database with the relevant information on which you want to segment your customers.
Laurentiu Bancu is the Chief Marketing Officer at Paymo, a leading work management software for small and medium businesses. He has more than 12 years of experience in PPC, SEM, and web analytics. When he's not working, he's probably playing chess, reading, or running a marathon.
The obvious benefit is that we get rid of repetitive processes that otherwise would take a lot of time to complete. For example, we send an automated email when a lead or client performs a certain type of action on our site or app. Not only does this save us time, but the follow up is instant, increasing the chances of an interaction with the next logical step.
Automation also saves us money. As a SaaS business, we get paid on a recurring basis. It sometimes happens that credit cards are lost, expired, or changed. Subscriptions that are not paid, even for a short period of time, might have an impact on our bottom line. When a billing charge fails, the system automatically notifies the user about the issue and what needs to be done. I know that some companies have implemented a process of scanning the expiration date on credit cards, and when the cards are due to expire in, let's say, 20 days, a notification will be triggered to remind the customer to change the card.
Two of the biggest risks in marketing automation are a bad implementation and the fact that it can become increasingly complicated to maintain. And, paradoxically, it takes time. So I would rather say that marketing automation doesn’t save you time but has you invest it somewhere else.
So, how do we manage these risks? Careful planning, constant monitoring, and regular reviews of existing processes. What most people forget is that automation is not spray and pray. We plan, launch, review, and update. And, of course, depending on results, we decide how much resources we allocate to each automation process.
Karola is a growth marketing consultant, specializing in branding, growth, and social media marketing. She is currently splitting her time between a part-time CMO role in recruitment app MeetFrank, consulting the ride-hailing app Bolt on global marketing, and doing occasional marketing consulting projects.
Marketing automation helps to reach your leads and customers at the most relevant touchpoints with personalized marketing offers. You set up an automated trigger-based email flow, and will reap the rewards for months to come. Marketing automation is relevant both to B2C and B2B brands, saving hours of the marketing and sales teams' time.
I’d say the biggest challenge to marketing automation is the initial setup of all the events and their sync with the marketing automation tools. Here, the marketing team needs to work closely with product and engineering departments to make sure all the event properties are properly set up.
Another challenge is the question of “How much automation is too much automation?”. To improve your marketing results, you can test doubling or tripling the number of your marketing emails / push notification for 1-2 weeks and track whether the user activity and engagement improves. I’m 95% you’ll see an uplift in user activity.
Seb Dean is the director of Imaginaire Digital and is responsible for running every aspect of the fast-growing Nottingham based agency.
Benefits are that it allows you to target specific segments with a drip-fed message which can be customized to your workflow and made personal. This saves your staff time in terms of communicating with potential customers.
The hardest thing with marketing automation is making it seem like your communications have been written by a human, specifically for the reader. To combat this, we keep emails very short and to the point, personalizing only with the name of the recipient and company details. This no-nonsense approach to comms is how to work as a company anyway, so it seems a lot more genuine than a false email with lots of personalization.
A lifelong fan of technology, Sam has always had a deep interest in learning about the latest innovations and how they are revolutionizing the worlds of business, marketing, and entertainment. As a Social Media and Content Specialist at SeedSpark, he spends time chasing the newest trends and breakthroughs pushing the digital transformation in our personal and professional lives.
Marketing automation allows technology to handle one of the most challenging parts of marketing - finding the optimal time to put your message out into the world. As digital media continues to rise, algorithms created by tracking patterns on social media allow tools to identify exactly when and where content is going to be the most impactful.
The best part is that the entire process - aside from the initial handling of the content - is entirely out of your hands once the content has been scheduled or published. Being able to work ahead and free up time to focus on other projects enhances productivity in the workplace by leaps and bounds.
For marketers, technology has completely revolutionized the way that business is done. With that, specific challenges have arisen. When content is generated or a post is scheduled via automation, one of the biggest challenges becomes ensuring that the content remains fresh and relevant and that any scheduled releases are, in fact, at the appropriate time.
In a sense, a marketer's responsibility shifts to ensuring that the algorithms and technology are actually "in the right" on their decisions.
Dmytro Okunyev is the Founder at Chanty –a simple AI-powered team chat. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work.
The biggest benefit of using marketing automation is using less time to achieve more things. We have a script set up on our website so that we grab potential customers’ emails and phone numbers, immediately put them in a marketing sequence and sign them up for a demo call. Overall, we do things in 20% of the time it took us before - we simply collect leads nowadays - instead of doing the whole process on our own.
Our biggest marketing automation challenge is coming up with new things to automate! We always contribute to marketing groups, we research what other Zapier users are coming up with, and we check the competition’s activities. So, the biggest challenge is actually learning how to automate everything in our marketing funnel.
Greg is the founder of Adcessible, created to develop custom automation solutions for digital marketers. He has a background in Computer Science and experience running ad campaigns for major UK advertisers.
In my view, there are two main benefits to using marketing automation: time savings and improved effectiveness.
By using machines to complete tasks that would otherwise take a human worker many hours or days, automation is obviously helping to make businesses more efficient. However, the outputs of this time saving can often be even more powerful.
If an employee no longer has to spend hours laboring over monotonous or repetitive tasks, they are likely to be more motivated and have more headspace to tackle their other, more rewarding, and more importantly, most valuable tasks. These tasks are often those that cannot be completed by machines, due to requiring a more strategic vision and therefore contribute to the overall direction of the company.
Marketing automation can also drive effectiveness. Machines can complete tasks that humans are not capable of at the scale required. This is not to say we should hand over all decision making to algorithms, but in an increasing number of cases, computers can either make more accurate decisions more quickly than us, or at least point us in the right direction before we expend any effort.
I believe all marketing automation challenges should initially be considered in isolation. While I have the basic building blocks for most of what I create ready and waiting to go, there is nothing to be gained by attempting to force a previous solution into place that’s not fit for purpose.
While there are many aspects (on the technical side) that remain the same across various use cases, every project will have different goals and measures of success - these should be kept in mind from the very beginning.
I feel there is a certain irony in platforms promising to provide personalised experiences for the end consumer not offering the same themselves to match the business goals a marketer is trying to reach.
Of course, automation and data analysis are more powerful at scale and I don’t believe every little detail can or should be taken into account, but I do think there always is more room for customization to ensure automation is driving real value.
Jenny is a visibility and marketing consultant, helping entrepreneurs with cause, advocacy, “why”-based, and socially conscious businesses build social media awareness that skyrockets engagement, sales, and aims to turn pain and life experiences into a business with a bigger society purpose.
A major part of my marketing company's strategy is automation. As an entrepreneur, I'm always looking for ways to maximize my time and streamline processes. With automation, you are able to create content consistently, which is key to building trust with your followers, as well as free up time to spend on other tasks within your business that create ROI, like building personal relationships.
There are sometimes challenges when it comes to automation, but the key is to keep it simple. I automate two major things in my business and encourage my clients to take similar action: email marketing and social media content. To avoid potential tech glitches, test your funnels first and do frequent check-ins on your automation systems to ensure they are working properly. If you don't catch mistakes early on, you could be losing out on potential sales and customer nurturing opportunities.
Austin Kelly is a copywriter specializing in email marketing campaigns that increase conversions, win back abandoned carts, and make more sales for his clients. He is also a freelance writer specializing in e-commerce, marketing, and lead generation.
When you use marketing automation, you have to approach it from an engineering standpoint. You’re doing iterative runs to see what performs best. You take the best design and run with it.
It opens up a lot of benefits doing things this way. Mainly, you get more time. Time to analyze and optimize your position, offering, and messaging. Which to me, is the core of any business.
The first thing I ask myself, is “Is this a process that’s proven to bring a ROI yet?”.
If not, I don’t do it. I create a process (a living checklist) and reserve it for a team member.
There’s a quote that’s common amongst software developers. I believe it applies all too well to marketing automation.
“The real problem is that programmers have spent far too much time worrying about efficiency in the wrong places and at the wrong times; premature optimization is the root of all evil (or at least most of it) in programming.” - Donald Knuth
Bec fell into SEO in 2008 by accident when her then employer confused her with someone who had website editing experience. After learning and navigating her way through the worst website in the world, she decided to specialize in SEO and later, inbound marketing and automation. She's been in the digital marketing space for 12 years and her goal at Mash Media is to help her clients tell their brand story, using data, content and the latest developments in SEO and automation.
Marketing automation is a fantastic way to keep your customers engaged without adding extra workload on the business. Selling online has opened up a huge amount of business for so many retailers, but the upkeep of databases, customer journeys and email campaigns needs to be optimized.
Automation does this by reducing staff costs - someone who in the past might have managed a database and manually emailed segments can now be done with some amazing, but simple to use software. It can also optimize the sales experience for the customer - targeted email campaigns with products and services they actually want to see.
Some challenges of marketing automation can be getting set up. Understanding the technology and what is possible, as well as implementing it. Working out how to best segment your lists, what to send to them and what data to retain is a huge question before you start writing your automation or funnel recipes. While it's easy to learn, sometimes it does pay to have an expert weigh in, especially when dealing with things like privacy.
Kevin is the co-founder/CEO of GrowSurf. He has experience in growing startups through heavy use of marketing automation (sold previous company to WeWork) and is currently building referral marketing SaaS.
The benefits of using marketing automation as a strategy is that it can really scale your business growth. The goal is to have a well-oiled, optimized machine that puts your marketing and sales funnels on rails. Once you've identified your customer personas and why prospects reach out to you, you can start using software to create personalized experiences that are truly engaging.
This means that you should have already done the heavy lifting of talking to customers, and understanding the language and product/service benefits that clicks with prospects, only then is it time to start automating a lot of the tedious processes.
In my last business, we spent months setting up automated flows in Infusionsoft, designing specific magnets and funnels per each customer type. The software became the backbone of our business, and without it there was no way we could have grown as much as we did.
We handle marketing automation challenges the good ol' fashioned way: talking to customers to understand the true problem, then analyzing how we can save time but keep that core essence of speaking directly to the customer. Most of the time, this means understanding in-and-out the needs of your customers and prospects, then crafting marketing assets and automations based on that.
The logistics, such as setting up Zapier or email webhooks, is the easy part. Making sure we get the right message across to the right audience is the true challenge. This requires us to constantly be engaging with customers directly, which acts like oil to our marketing machine.
Mark Webster is Co-founder of Authority Hacker, an industry-leading online marketing education company. Through their video training courses, blog, and weekly podcast, they educate beginner and expert marketers alike. Many of their 6,000+ students have taken their existing businesses to the forefront of their industries or had multi-million dollar exits.
Creating a marketing automation front loads all your work. It means you can more or less set and forget. While the prep work behind doing this might take a while, it means once you've set everything up you can sit back and watch the sales come in!
This is great if you're looking to diversify your revenue streams without having something constantly distract you - no need to worry about writing the next sales copy or creating your next mailout - this is all handled for you in advance so you can focus on other things.
One of the biggest challenges with automation like this is creating scarcity. When you're running a campaign 24/7 with ads and promotional material, it makes it much harder to make your offer seem unique, especially if you're offering some kind of discount or promo code. For us, it's important to create genuine scarcity. We don't want to be promoting a limited time offer if the user can simply re-enter the automation with a new email address, for example.
For that reason, we go the extra mile to ensure that all our offers genuinely are one-time only and we're not lying about it. Sometimes this means creating extra steps to prevent duplicate signups etc. which I think really adds to how genuine our marketing automations are.
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, proposal software for creating beautiful, high-impact proposals in minutes. Having helped his customers at Better Proposals win $120,000,000+ in one year only, he’s launched the first Proposal Writing University where he shares business proposal best practices.
The biggest benefit of using marketing automation is that you spend less time on tedious, repetitive tasks and you have more time and room to be creative. For example, we no longer have to manually add leads from our website’s lead capture form to our email marketing software.
Moreover, we can set our social media schedule to run automatically instead of being there to create 5 posts every day. Because of this, we can put more focus on creating new kinds of content, exploring different platforms and ideas and overall, thinking creatively instead of boring ourselves to death with repetitive tasks.
The biggest challenge that we have with marketing automation is that for it to work properly, you need to create a mountain of content. You need to push something out every day to feed the marketing automation machine. We cope with this challenge by hiring extra content
creators for our team and outsourcing work to contractors and freelancers whenever necessary.
Johannes Rastas is an Affiliate Marketing Manager at Supermetrics - a reporting automation tool for PPC, SEO, social and web analytics. Passionate about marketing, statistics and content, he’s also actively looking for new affiliates for their Supermetrics Affiliate Program.
In our affiliate marketing team, we use marketing automation for building dashboards and reports. The main benefit of reporting automation is that it saves our time by removing the need to manually copy and paste data from multiple sources. We need to be able to show internally how well our team is performing financially and how much sales our affiliates bring to us.
And we also have to track where our affiliates come from so that we can allocate our resources as effectively as possible. We pull our data, for example, from Google Analytics and Google Ads and then create a report on Google Data Studio. By using our own Supermetrics tool, we can do all of that on one platform without having to import any CSV files. The automation also eliminates human error and allows us to avoid the boring manual part of transferring data.
As an Affiliate Marketing Manager, it is part of my job to reach out to potential affiliates who could join our affiliate program. While automated emails are ideal for sending out newsletters and other activation emails to our existing affiliate base, automated outreach emails are quite a different story.
Convincing someone to dedicate a moment of their time to consider your partnership offer and actually sign up requires a more personal touch. This is why I have chosen to refrain from using automation in outreach but embrace it in other functions where it has proven to deliver the desired results.
Robert is a co-founder of Art of The Gentleman. He specializes in organic traffic strategies with email and SEO. Robert is compassionate about customer lifecycle marketing, e-commerce community building and conversion rate optimization.
More sales - whether a customer is visiting us for the first time or they abandoned their shopping cart, we send personalized automatic emails tailored to their situation to help them.
Better engagement - if we haven't been in contact with someone for an extended period of time, we will send a re-engagement flow to check up on the subscriber and see what's new with them. This flow allows us to build customer relationships and retain our current customers.
Feedback - after someone has made a purchase from us, we send a few automatic follow-up emails to gain feedback on their overall shopping experience with us.
One of our biggest challenges with email marketing automation is a higher unsubscriber rate due to the amount of emails one subscriber could receive. In the past, some of our subscribers have gotten +4 emails in one day. The way we handled this situation was to find the root-cause of the problem, create a draft of a few different types of solutions, implement the best solution, and record the outcome to make sure the problem is being addressed.
Joy Corkery is Content Marketing Lead at Latana, a brand tracking tool. She has over 7 years of experience devising content strategies for B2C and B2B brands.
Marketing automation has been very beneficial to us as we build our brand, especially email marketing automation. We gain leads by producing gated content discussing different areas of brand.
Recently, we published a guide entitled The Ultimate Guide to Brand Tracking. What we learned was that the people downloading the guide didn't know very much about the topic and but wanted to learn more. So, we created a lead nurturing flow that would educate them in this area, while also placing Latana as a thought leader in their eyes. This helped us increase the probability of selling to these leads.
One of the key challenges we face with marketing automation is integrating various tools into one another. We are handling this challenge by looking into other automation tools, with a possible change over to Hubspot. That's just one example of the types of challenges we face. However, how we overcome them is usually the same.
Our marketing team is very active in the marketing community and have made good contacts with whom we swap tactics with. If something is not working for you, it's very likely someone else has gone through the same problem and has a solution they can offer.
Lindsay Kirsch is the founder of Simple, Scalable Systems and an expert in workflow design and marketing automation strategy. Lindsay works with clients on identifying opportunities to save time while increasing their revenues.
Marketing automation allows you to take repetitive tasks, such as scheduling client meetings, and create an automated system to support the management of those tasks.
This allows you to free up time, effort, and energy so that you can focus on other key areas of your business.
Marketing automation also allows you to provide a more delightful customer experience. Rather than waiting for the response of a customer support, a customer can find help at the time of their need using chatbots and our help desk software.
One of my favorite, growing features of marketing automation platforms is predictive sending and predictive content. This allows you to anticipate and send content to a user at the time that is most likely going to be viewed by them. This allows marketers to target key audiences with the right information and the right time.
As a workflow design expert, when a marketing automation challenge arises, I take a step back to assess the overall workflow strategy. This includes identifying outcome requirements, current processes and where the process gaps exist.
While it's easy to set up one-off automations, creating a system that works together cleanly and efficiently can be a challenge. Without the overall strategy in place, your automations will likely end up being a spiderweb of confusing automations.
Carmine Mastropierro is the founder of Mastro Commerce, a copywriting agency that helps businesses generate traffic, leads, and revenue through copywriting. He has written for Neil Patel, GoDaddy, SocialMediaExaminer, and other publications.
My agency uses marketing automation for many different processes including lead generation, email marketing, and content marketing. They allow us to automate funnels, distribution, and other tasks that ultimately save time and energy. These also increase engagement and the number of leads we are able to generate with as little hassle as possible.
However, there are challenges that appear such as creating and optimizing automation workflows. After all, marketing automation is a tool and that means you need to use it properly for results. We’ve found the best way to solve this issue is by first determining what needs automating. We like to ask “What tasks could be automated to save time?” and then we brainstorm sequences.
For example, promoting blog posts is often time consuming but doesn’t need to be done by a human. So, you could create a sequence that publishes new articles to social media, as a newsletter, and syndicates it elsewhere.
Julia is a freelance PR consultant who has worked with more than 100 small businesses on a variety of corporate messaging, digital marketing, and public relations programs.
Marketing automation can take years off your online life by assisting in your planning and scheduling. Like other tech tools, it streamlines your processes and creates an efficient communications program.
Creating marketing programs or content in bulk is a massive time-saver, especially for social media content, blog, and emails, and promotions. Having your marketing scheduled and automated allows you to work on other areas of your business and to dive deeper into creating engagement opportunities for customers.
The challenge with marketing automation is not the technology itself, it is the idea that we can 'set it and forget it.' Scheduling is a great way to manage your social media content, blog, and emails, and promotions, however, there is more activity and action that has to take place once scheduled.
Once a post is scheduled, there needs to be activity around responding to the engagement that the post creates and that is where relying only on marketing automation gets tricky. So yes, use as much automation as you can, but be prepared to jump in to provide the personal touch on a regular (possibly daily) basis.
Companies need to be aware that when there is breaking news or trending stories, they may need to intervene and stop an email, promotion or post that has been scheduled. Many brands have been scolded online and caused bab publicity for themselves for continually pushing out content on a day that major news makes that content look out of place or out of touch.
For example, pushing out content that is of a humorous nature on a day of mourning or national crisis is not a good look. Yes, use the automation tools to the maximum capacity but be certain that you are still keeping an eye on the tone and timing of the activity that has been scheduled.
Additionally, when a customer experiences a negative interaction with your company, product or brand, they may need a detour away from whatever marketing is scheduled. It is not wise to keep sending the same automation sequence to a dissatisfied customer. Nothing infuriates an already upset customer more than getting a bunch of sales pitches after they have complained about their product.
Companies should maximize the opportunities that automation brings, but be very engaged in the activities around those messages and the responses from customers and the broader community.
Sammy Kiley is a Senior Marketing LifeCycle Automation Specialist at LogMeIn, responsible for the prospect and trial email nurtures for their LastPass product. With a knack for analyzing and reporting, she's passionate about leveraging data to create smarter, more personalized email experiences. Outside of the office, Sammy enjoys boxing, exploring Boston, and searching for the best frozen mudslide.
The real power in marketing is when you're able to deliver the most relevant content to the right people throughout the entire customer journey. Marketing automation helps you do that at scale: From establishing your company as a thought leader by sharing relevant resources to new prospects you've met; to helping trialers understand your product/service with demos and resources that will encourage them to use your product/service; alerting sales when someone who fits your ideal target audience is taking actions that show they're ready to be contacted; and maintaining a great relationship with your customers to make sure they're having the best experience possible. That's not something you can do manually!
When faced with marketing automation challenges, I've learned to always take a step back and remember to think of the big picture. How does my current issue fit into my long-term goals, as well as the larger business goals? I also have a group of incredibly smart team members who I can talk to about any problems I'm facing and new ideas I have. It's helpful to have people you trust who will listen to you talk through your smallest to wildest ideas.
Kevin Pike is Founder & President of Rank Fuse Interactive. With 15+ years of digital agency experience, Kevin has developed and executed effective SEO, SEM, and content marketing campaigns for hundreds of local and national brands across the US.
The two biggest benefits to using marketing automation for any business is time savings and consistency in marketing messages to all prospects and customers. For example, automating an email drip campaign based on an individual's engagement with your brand saves time and potentially having to hire more resources to manage marketing communications manually. Furthermore, you can spend more time on polishing your messaging and UX and be confident everyone is getting the same brand experience.
Automation can present its own set of challenges as well. When challenges do arise, my advice is to be patient and understand it's a process that will never end. Similar to content marketing or advertising, marketing automation platforms need to be managed and optimized regularly.
If you are not introducing new and creative ideas, you're also likely not using the analytics and insights automation tools provide. The key to success in any marketing automation challenge is persistence to define a process while remaining adaptable to evolving business operations and customer journeys.
Andrus Purde is the Co-founder and CEO of Outfunnel. He’s a startup enthusiast with marketing and business background on a mission to align if not the disciplines of sales and marketing, then at least the tools.
I think the most important benefit from a marketer’s perspective is saving time on manual/routine tasks. There are multiple processes you can automate with the right tools. For example, you can create your newsletter lists in a way where you define the segment once and any time you want to send out a mailing, an up-to-date list is already waiting in your email tool.
There are lots of things marketers can automate to help their sales colleagues:
The only thing you need to make this happen is the right tool stack and mindset.
What you cannot automate, though, is one-on-one human interaction, and keeping just the right amount of it is still one of the biggest challenges in the field.
Another huge challenge that affects the industry is the overabundance of tools available on the market and their increasing complexity. In some cases, you really need those powerful enterprise machines that keep the engine going, but let’s face it - for the most SMB companies, simplicity and ease of use are the key factors that affect user onboarding and, consequently, the actual use of the product.
Jake is the VP of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, a fulfillment company founded and run by eCommerce entrepreneurs. He is an active contributor at Forbes and is always curious to learn about marketing and its intersection with new technology.
Automation allows us to create auto-replies and save our team sales and support teams valuable time when leads have FAQ-type questions that can be easily answered in our blog.
Probably the biggest weakness of relying on automation is that it's not going to answer everyone's questions. I think that's why it's critical to have real sales team/support members on standby to help assist in the event that someone has a specific issue that a chatbot can't resolve.
Dina is the Sr. Marketing Director at Confirmit. She loves how insights from marketing technologies tell a full story. Dina is a Certified Marketo Expert and you can connect with her on LinkedIn.
The benefit of using Marketing Automation in our strategies allows marketing to generate and nurture leads for sales in a timely manner. We do this by personalizing content based on pain points and using Marketo to quickly switch gears at each stage of their research. Marketing Automation platforms are comprehensive which grow as your organization grows. Marketo allows us to integrate data sources from other marketing technologies which give a complete view of the buyer profile and journey.
Marketing automation does come with its own set of challenges. We handle these by taking a holistic approach to all implementation. We are always asking why something is being added or changed in Marketo and how that will impact the big picture. I have also implemented a quarterly review process. This encourages us to review our system approach and ensure we’re making the right moves for the future.
If you were still debating whether to go forward with marketing automation or not, you might just have your answer now. As you’ve noticed, the benefits clearly outweigh the challenges.
Marketers are using automation as a way to streamline their business and save huge amounts of time and money. It’s also a smart way of cutting down on manual work and reaching more relevant leads and catering to their needs as soon as possible.
However, to handle its challenges, professionals are in return allocating extra time to the maintenance and review of their automated systems. Beyond the initial setup process though, things will begin to settle and managing marketing automation becomes a regular must-have routine that you’ll gradually learn to customize to every individual.
So what are your next moves?
I’m also using this opportunity to thank every contributor for sharing their thoughts and challenges! 🙏
Content marketing guru at Mailmunch. I’m passionate about writing content that resonates with people. Live simply, give generously, stay happy.