Why you need a marketing automation strategy
Too often, we see marketers implementing marketing automation
platforms without really thinking through the marketing automation strategy and
the impact on the business.
In most cases, it’s simply time – there’s an urgency to get going
with the set-up and transfer of data into the new platform to ensure lead
volumes aren’t lost. But that’s like
putting the cart before the horse, you don’t necessarily know what you need and
why you need it – therefore the set-up can easily be incorrect, missing vital
features or not aligned with the way the business is structured and organised.
The risk is that you end up with a glorified email dispatch and
website tracking platform, where you’re not reaping the value of your
investment – and you still can’t answer the big questions about revenue
contribution or funnel performance that you thought you’d be able to.
As with most strategic investments, you need to take a step back
and think about:
- What is the strategic imperative for success from this platform?
- Who are the key stakeholders who need to use or get value from it?
- How will this platform integrate with our current processes – will
it enhance them or supplement them?
- What new processes or change will this bring?
- How do we manage that change within our organisation and across
- What is our roadmap for success?
- How do we train and engage the relevant parties?
Even if you’re already on the path and
have implemented your marketing automation platform you can always revisit
these questions. In this post, I’ll cover them off in turn.
What is the strategic imperative for success from this platform?
Buying a marketing automation platform is a big investment, both in time and money. At a high level, not only do you have the capability to do more, you need to feed the machine as well with cycles of content and communications to maximise the value.
But having a big old platform isn’t just about automating what the marketing team does on a day-to-day basis, it allows for better connectivity into the CRM and therefore into the business. This enables more complex reporting methodologies, greater visibility and better control across disparate teams – especially if digital transformation and global alignment are key initiatives.
Who are the key stakeholders who need to use or get value from it?
There are always the obvious parties, such as marketers who will
value a marketing automation platform.
For them, it gives them greater control to create and produce marketing
activities quickly without input from IT, as well as track performance more easily.
But there are other less obvious stakeholders too, such as the senior management team (SMT) looking to see gained efficiencies, better visibility and a return on their investment.
More often than not, new stakeholders join the party too. The implementation of such a platform brings
outside support, and once implemented and teams are excelling, there’s scope to
extend to business analysis teams and/or marketing analysts.
How will this platform integrate with our current processes – will
it enhance them or supplement them?
The introduction of a new platform
is often about transparency, consolidation, integration, security and/or control.
When one of these changes, each brings new ways of working. In some instances, processes will be adapted
or changed, and in others new processes created. Understanding the business
impact from the introduction of a new systems is critical to the strategy.
The best and most practical way to
start is look at the functionality of the platform and map existing processes
to it, then evaluate what processes need to change, what new ones you need and
how these might be implemented both from a technical point of view, but also
from a behavioural perspective.
processes or change will this bring?
New platforms bring change.
People need to learn the system, adapt or refine their processes and the
way they work. Not everyone is up for
that and often we see barriers, even though the benefit is obvious in the long
Start by looking at internal processes that will be transferred, or changed, by the system and evaluate the impact that might have. Then also look at the new processes needed to administer the system on a day-to-day basis.
Most people are happy to incorporate new ways of working if they
can see the obvious value, but if they have to change what they do massively,
then you’re asking for significant amount of learning – and some people won’t
be up for it.
Consider the impact on your team of the solution you choose, how
they adapt to change and how you might manage that change moving forward.
How do we
manage that change within the organisation and across the teams?
Inherently, people don’t like
change, but by getting them involved in the process it can often manage
expectations and get early buy-in.
Individual personalities and the organisational culture will also impact
the success of the implementation, ease of onboarding and user adoption.
We’ve mentioned the need to
identify and map the processes that might change, new processes coming in and
then apply a governance model. We’d also
strongly recommend an educational programme that helps stakeholders understand
what’s going on, involves them in the thinking and provides a learning
environment to develop and succeed with adopting the technology.
deliver a roadmap for success?
With all technology implementations,
there’s a roadmap for success. Clear
planning of intended outcomes, mapped out over time help provides the
visibility needed for the business, management and key stakeholders who will
benefit from the implementation.
Bringing the relevant stakeholders
on board to ensure that the roll-out isn’t delayed is a critical path –
especially since a marketing automation platform is so closely aligned with
business systems including the CRM and business analytics systems. That roadmap should be well thought through
within your strategy and have the buy-in from information services, digital
teams and management.
How do we
train the relevant parties?
You won’t be successful without training and therefore it needs to
be incorporated into the adoption strategy.
The training should take different formats, including in-house training,
one-to-one support, certifications from the vendor and an internal champion or
advocacy programme. Thinking this
through now will accelerate the success of the implementation and increase user
For now, these are the high-level strategic drivers behind the
marketing automation strategy. There’s
the deeper level too relating to how the demand generation will work, the role
of lead management and how digital reporting will change – but this more about
the implementation strategy and is unique to each and every business.
We’ll happily help shape your marketing automation strategy, why not talk to us today?
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