It Takes More Than Marketing Automation Technology

I remember a number of years ago getting a call from a prospect who was looking for marketing automation consultants. She explained that her company was going to be implementing marketing automation, among other technologies. She was looking for an agency to help them review the marketing automation companies, lead the selection process and eventually implement the selected product.

It was a great opportunity to be sure, but before we went further I asked, “what are the goals for your marketing automation technology implementation? What will you do once you have the technology implemented?”

My questions were initially met with silence and then she replied “you know, this is not something we have thought about”.

This scenario is not unique. Over the course of my twenty plus years in B2B delivering marketing automation services and developing demand generation strategy, I see many organizations buying technology in the hopes that it will deliver results. And, it is hard to blame them given the proliferation of martech tools and the promise that the latest and greatest can solve all of your marketing woes.

While I may seem like a doubter, I am a big believer in marketing technology so long as it is in place to enable a defined and documented demand generation strategy. Technology on its own is simply technology and I have seen far too many organizations fail to see the value of their investment because they put technology first.

It begs the question, what should an organization have in place in order to get the most from their technology investments? Here are some thoughts:

A Demand Generation Strategy

I love the definition my colleague Ginny Torok gave of demand generation in one of her recently published blogs. To be clear, demand generation is much more than just loading a list in your Pardot instance and sending out an email.

Any demand generation strategy needs to include at a minimum the following:

  • Defined buyer personas for each member of a buying committee
  • A documented view of the buyers purchase path (more on this in future blogs)
  • A buyer journey aligned content architecture
  • A lead management framework
  • Marketing and sales alignment

Looking at the list above, you can see why marketing automation technology alone cannot deliver effective demand generation.

A Content Marketing Strategy

I once attended a conference where one of the speakers was presenting on the development of a content strategy. His big take-away for the audience was “write 3,000 words per day and you will have your content strategy”.

To say I disagree with his assessment is putting it mildly as any content strategy needs to be informed by buyer insights, research and governed by a content marketing mission statement.

Additionally, your content strategy needs to define the channels and content preferences of your customers to ensure it will make an impact and it is here that technology plays a pivotal role.

Simply buying marketing automation technology will not produce content nor will it ensure your content reaches the right audience at the right time. However with a defined content strategy you can use technology to do just that.

Measurement & Analytics

“Oh sure, we have dashboards, but once they are shown at our quarterly reviews nobody uses them any more”.

This is what I heard from a client not that long ago.

They had Salesforce and Pardot implemented, but were not using them effectively to measure and optimize their marketing automation campaign performance. The core reason for this was they had no standard key performance indicators (KPIs) throughout the organization to give them insights into success. In fact, they had no measure for success at all.

Having tools to measure marketing automation performance is important, but you will only find the value from them if you have defined what success looks like and the metrics you will track to ensure you have achieved your objectives.

I remember the era when we as marketers had no marketing automation technology to lean on and had to rely on IT departments to execute. While it is good that those days are long gone, do not believe that technology without strategy will help move the business forward.

Strategy first – technology second.

At Invado, our marketing automation strategists can help you develop and implement an integrated marketing automation strategy. Contact us today to get started.

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