The term “marketing automation” is a bit misleading, because the only thing that’s actually automated is the delivery of content. Automation systems can send messages at a scheduled time, respond to customer requests, or trigger an e-mail in response to certain conditions (such as a prospect signing up for an event, subscribing to an email list, downloading a report, or making a purchase).
But all of this doesn’t happen as magically as “automation” might suggest. Implementing marketing automation requires you to develop buyer personas, know where to find the right prospects, and create lots and lots of content that’s tailored to each persona and what they want from you at various points in their customer journey.
Is marketing automation right for you?
I’ve worked with a few companies that invested in marketing automation systems, and helped them develop content. Here’s what I learned along the way:
- It won’t work without a plan. If you’re not willing to do the “pencil and paper” work to create buyer personas and map customer journeys, stop now. Marketing automation will be a colossal waste of time without them.
- It requires commitment to content development. Think website landing pages, e-mail auto responders, follow-up e-mail messages, white papers, reports, webinars and so on. Multiple pieces of content will be required for each interaction.
- It’s not right for everybody. If your business opportunities are extremely unique from one customer to the next, it may be difficult to create content that is highly relevant to more than a very small handful of prospects. Your time may be better spent doing personal outreach with content developed specifically for that (one) prospect.
- It seems to work best for companies that can cast big nets. If there is a relatively large market for your product or service, customer “pains” are fairly similar across the board, you are not severely limited geographically, and you know who your prospects are and how to reach them, there will be greater potential for return on an investment in marketing automation.
- At some point, it all comes back to people. No matter how successful your marketing program–automated or not–people want to do business with other people. Instead of thinking about how marketing automation might shrink your workforce, think about how those human resources can be redeployed to further improve your customers’ experiences.
Need help with content for your website, e-mail marketing or blog posts? Whether you’re automating your marketing or not, well-written content that is published on a regular basis will separate you from your competition. Call or email us for a no-obligation consultation: 503.680.1279 or [email protected].