Over the last couple of years, people have been talking about marketing automation quite a lot. My company acquired a marketing automation vendor two years ago, so we occasionally get lumped in to that category.
1. The name
Run yourself through this MarketingGrader report and if you score very high, then you should worry about automation. If not, you need to transform, not automate. Simply put, far too many companies are seeking marketing automation vendors when they should be focused on other components of their marketing.
2. Email 2.0
Email 2.0 is where you create sub-lists based on different criteria and program multiple emails to them based on events – people get different emails based on those criteria. Now, Email 2.0 does work better than Email 1.0 – the engagement is great and the click-through rates improve a lot with better segmentation. But calling it marketing automation is kind of far-fetched – it is just fancier email marketing.
3. Marketing Automation solves a very small portion of your marketing problems
Marketing automation primarily concerns itself with the Lead to Qualified Lead stage of the funnel. It works in this stage of the funnel a lot better than Email 1.0. Improving Lead to Qualified Lead has decent leverage to it, but getting those two layers above it right, has remarkable leverage.
4. A Playbook predicated on purchased lists
The marketing automation playbook for many companies is to buy a list and pump it through the marketing automation system. Constantly spamming a CIO with unsolicited messages from marketers and sales reps is unlikely to convert her into a customer; in fact, it’s significantly more likely it will irritate her.
5. Over-Reliance on email as a channel
Email marketing still works, but far too many companies overestimate its power as marketing channel.