Avoid These 6 Common Marketing Automation Pitfalls

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There’s no better time than the present for businesses to take advantage of marketing automation. In fact, the space as a whole has seen a 50% increase in growth over the past year and revenue from 2009 to 2015 clearly shows the growing embrace of platforms like Eloqua, Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot and others by marketing teams large and small.

marketing automation revenue

Despite marketing’s embrace of these platforms, there are a few common pitfalls that prevent marketers from reaping the full benefits these platforms can provide. Here, we’ll explore these mistakes and help you understand how to avoid them so you can set your marketing team and automation system up for success.

1. Failing to develop a clear, focused strategy

No single marketing platform will solve all of your marketing pains without some serious effort. The word “automation” may sound to some like it will take care of everything for you, but marketing automation is not a panacea.

If you throw disorganized, dirty data into an automated system, it will give you terrible, useless results back. So, before diving into marketing automation, your goals, planning, strategy and data need to be airtight.

2. Failing to align sales and marketing

According to a report by SiriusDecisions, businesses that use marketing automation without proper alignment between sales and marketing experienced reduced (and sometimes even negative) return on investment. In order to fully utilize everything a marketing automation platform can offer, ensure that:

  • Sales and marketing employees agree on marketing and sales qualified lead definitions.
  • A manager has been assigned to develop plans for how sales and marketing will work together and that that person remains in constant communication with the two departments.
  • Marketers are working to continuously collect feedback and opinions from the sales team when creating new lead nurturing campaigns.

The right marketing automation software will support all of your efforts, but only if you have the right team assembled to implement them.

3. Not following-up with new leads

When a lead submits their contact information to your company, they actually expect to receive a welcome email from you. If that’s not the case, new leads will feel ignored.

According to StreamSend, welcome emails receive approximately a 50% open rate, which is about 85% higher than the open rate for newsletters. Chief Marketer also notes that leads that receive a simple welcome email have about a 35% greater long-term brand engagement than those that don’t.

Not sure how to write a perfect welcome email? Check out this resource to help you get started.

4. Asking for too much personal information

Companies can easily get carried away with soliciting too much personal information from leads, which can exhaust or, even worse, frighten them away. Of course, collecting as much information about your leads as possible can be valuable for further communication, but data should be collected overtime, not all at once.

Pace yourself. Make use of progressive profiling capabilities offered by most marketing automation platforms. By continuously asking your leads for smaller snapshots of information over time, you can still collect all of the valuable data needed without overloading them with seemingly never-ending forms.

5. Using just a few features of your marketing automation tool

Using just one or only a handful of features in your marketing automation platform is wasteful. According to SiriusDecisions, about 85% of B2B marketers do just that. Of course, not every single feature is warranted for use depending on the software you use and your goals, but marketing automation should not be used to fill a niche – it should be incorporated into your entire set of marketing efforts.

Marketing automation software includes tools like lead management, social media, email marketing, CRM, closed-loop reporting, content marketing, contact washing, landing pages, query strings; the list goes on and on. Below is a list depicting the typical features of marketing automation software and those relied on by marketers the most:

marketing automation feature usage

What features are you failing to take advantage of?

6. Not producing relevant, up-to-date content

When it comes to marketing automation, content is king. In other words, if the marketing automation platform is the engine, marketing content is the fuel that keeps it running. Be sure to keep your engine running smoothly with a good mix of company and product related content along with informative eBooks, white papers, infographics, research reports and more.

In the end, marketing automation can and should be a crucial component of your company’s long-term digital marketing strategy, but truly getting the most out of that investment takes time and careful planning. Don’t fall into the pitfalls of misuse.