The three top reasons why marketing automation might fail (and how you can prevent this)

Marketing automation is one of the most valuable software solutions the world of technology ever offered to businesses. It’s a vital step forward to both streamlining your company’s processes and making your life all-around easier. Unfortunately, it is not one that you can implement during lunch break and move on with increasing the ROI.

As is the case with many other services, marketing automation needs supervision, custom tailoring to fit to your company’s needs and a period of getting to know its mechanics. It’s a gift that comes with certain requirements. Chances are if you don’t have these requirements in mind and think that you hardly have to move a finger (or flex your brain)… well, you’ll see marketing automation failing for you.

A lot of businesses encounter numerous problems with marketing automation software. The reasons are been various, but we can safely say the reasons listed below are the most common ones.

If you wish to avoid failure and instead utilize marketing automation to its fullest, here are the three main things you should look out for.

1. You failed with planning

Setting a specific set of goals and expectations is no stranger to marketing automation. On the contrary, it’s mandatory for you to lay down a prognosis on how automation software will help you streamline your company’s processes. Before you start utilizing it you need to know what you actually expect of its usage.

  • How will it complement your business?
  • What will be the most optimal way to use it?
  • Maneuvering between different types of software, which one fits your business the best?
  • What milestones have you set yourself when using it?

Using marketing automation in a chaotic, unplanned way is just plain bad and might even be harmful for your business. The power of knowledge (and technology) lies in the opportunity to have it help you reach certain milestones faster, better and with a greater precision.

You should always start with your business plan – evaluate the current and future goals, how do you plan to grow in the next months, what kind of functionality would you need more – membership websites, affiliate program, landing pages or lead scoring? Just then you can start searching around for the best marketing tool for your needs and evaluate all the opportunities based on your business expectations.

Another problem thatfalls in the planning category (and possible failure related to it) is implementation time. Software, even so the marketing automation kind, isn’t a tool that is immediately ready to skyrocket your business. It requires some time to get going and your team needs some time to get used to it, so bear this in mind.

Check this report by VentureBeat on the missing features and marketing fails

2. Using the wrong software

Compatibility is sadly a concept that eludes a lot of people, even so when it comes to technology. Just because a piece of software is there and promises easiness or success doesn’t mean it’s actually compatible with your business’s specifics.

Why would you use big business software if you are a small business? Its features and requirements are so much different than the way your small company operates. Not to mention the costs which are at least double or triple the amount of money you will pay for a humble small biz oriented software.

The same applies for people who have a brick and mortar business but for some reason struggle to utilize e-commerce software which requires you to have an online shop.

I’d also like to mention the harmful tendency of our minds overestimating our capabilities. Sometimes we think that we are more knowledgeable than we really are and strive towards complexity that we can’t really deal with. I’ve seen many business grow infatuated with the idea of having a really complex system. At the same time they would’ve enjoyed similar benefits with a software that is simple, equally functional and requires less implementation time or a quicker learning process.

3. An unprepared marketing team

It’s time to mention perhaps the most important reason why your marketing automation strategy might fail: your company’s marketing team. After all, it’s these guys (and girls) who are responsible for applying marketing automation software to your company’s functioning.

As I said before, implementing marketing automation doesn’t mean that it “just works” and you don’t have to do anything about it. It’s up to your marketing team to have the company’s goals taken into consideration before software implementation. Your team needs to perform preparations and lay out a theoretical roadmap before even commencing with software usage.

The situation is even worse if your marketing team lacks technological knowledge. This will lead to two things, both of which are equally dangerous in terms of company strategy.

First, they will be slow in terms of learning the software and the features it offers. Something which would’ve taken a work day can now stretch to a work week, crippling your business processes.

The second scenario is misunderstanding the piece of software and utilizing it in a poor way – either not using all of its features as intended, or failing with the conclusions and practical implementation of marketing automation.

Edit: VentureBeat recently published a new report with the reasons why businesses are not leveraging their marketing automation software. Even though more enterprise focus, all of the points are true for small businesses too: 1. Poor training, 2. Poor integration, and 3. Poor fulfilment.

In conclusion

The bottom line is that before commencing with marketing automation usage, you need to do a lot of things. Analyzing, planning, comparing and evaluating both the software and your team’s capacity can be merged in one: getting your business and migration strategy right.

And if that’s a bit tough for you, you might want to consider hiring a Marketing Automation consultant. An experienced professional will help you utilize automation software to its fullest so you can finally witness the promised business growth.