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Making the most of your marketing automation platform

How do you solve a problem like MOPs? In today’s digital world, your entire team needs to know how to make the most out of your marketing automation platform. With this in mind, Lucy Gillman sat down with

MarCloud Consulting

’s founder and CEO Tom Ryan to discuss how you can get it right (and what you’re getting wrong).

About MarCloud Consulting

Let’s start at the beginning: who is MarCloud Consulting? MarCloud is a Pardot and Marketing Cloud consulting company, working with those who are “at the forefront of the technology.” As founder and CEO, Tom’s primary responsibilities encompass business growth, company direction and supporting his team. “A lot of my job is enablement,” he adds. “The team we’ve got are the ones who know the tech and come up with all the great ideas. Through enabling them and making them feel like they can innovate and be creative, that’s where we get forward thinking. We don’t restrict people in their solutions or approach.”

Through sharing knowledge and free reviews, MarCloud seeks to establish a floor within B2B of the basics of marketing automation platforms. “We’ve found that sharing and enabling information is reciprocal. People sometimes work with us on fresh implementations but often want to work with us once they’ve established the knowledge where a tool is no longer scary,” Tom continues.

“My team don’t just want to work on the basic stuff. We want to work on the big, complex projects – global integrations, big campaigns with millions of data. That’s where the fun is,” he elaborates. “By establishing a floor, it enables people to get to that stage quicker. This means we get more of the projects that we actually enjoy. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Finding your best marketing automation platform

As Tom advises, when looking for the marketing automation platform that works best for you, start by looking at your CRM. “The whole idea is to align sales and marketing. Have a look at what sales are using – hopefully it’s not an Excel spreadsheet which we’ve seen before,” he adds. “If the CRM isn’t fit for purpose, look at getting a new one that’s going to scale with you.”

When it comes to the type of marketing automation platform, does it


to be B2B tailored? As Tom outlines, this depends on your CRM, marketing goals and budget. “You can adapt and go for the broader tools. They’re still powerful. But they tend to be more multi-channel compared to B2B. B2C creeps into the SMS world, Whatsapp, Instagram, proprietary platforms etc. But a tailored tool focuses on the core B2B style approach: lower volume data and higher value deals.”

B2B tailored tools allow you “to get really granular with the data,” bridging that all important gap between sales and marketing in a seamless, integrated way. To add to this, B2B specific tools have a B2B community around them; this allows for customer input and a continued development in line with what the industry needs.

Data: The key to using your marketing automation platform to its fullest potential

When it comes to making the most of your platform, data’s the name of the game. As Tom outlines, data mostly comes from two central sources:

From the individual: People interacting with your website, filling in forms, etc which goes directly into your platform.
From your CRM: This may be integrated with various platforms and tools, as well as manual input from sales.

“The core, fundamental use of marketing automation is to lean on that data, bring it all together and consolidate it. This enables you to send that right message to the right people at the right time. That’s the end goal – a tailored, bespoke communication,” he continues.

For Tom, time’s up on ill fitting messaging. “You say the word Marmite and an hour later it appears on Instagram. That’s not shocking for anyone,” he quips. “If your marketing automation platform is out of touch with your customers’ day to day, you’ll stand out for the wrong reasons – they’ll think: ‘they’re a really old company who don’t know what they’re doing. This is so off the mark.’ You’ll be written off from a marketing perspective until you fix it. In this way, marketing automation has never been more important.”

Where you’re going wrong

So, you’ve got the tech. Now what? Tom outlines four common mistakes when it comes to marketing automation:

  1. Planning. Don’t just adopt a new tool without a plan of action. It’ll remain untouched – wasting your time and money.
  2. Lack of integration. Data is the core of marketing automation. As Tom puts it, “the more integrated your systems, the clearer picture you’ll have of what’s going on with any one individual at any given time.”
  3. Training your team. It’s all well and good having the latest tool, but what’s the point if your team doesn’t know how to use it? At best, you’ll get 10-20% out of your platform. At worst, it’s a complete waste of expensive tech. Remember, “you don’t know what you don’t know.”
  4. Audit. “If you don’t audit the system every quarter, you’re going to fall behind,” Tom cautions. Salesforce, for example, releases updates three times a year. Audit or risk missing out on crucial updates.

Ultimately, “marketing automation shouldn’t be complicated.” Focus on delivering the fundamentals – effective communication that makes an individual want to engage with you and consider working with you. Keep it simple. How can you use marketing automation to deliver that bespoke message?

Look internally before externally

In 2022 it’s harder than ever to cut through the tech stack noise. The ‘latest and greatest’ tool pops up one after another – and the allure of shiny new tools is seemingly endless. Set aside simply slapping plasters on problems; “the martech stack is huge. It can get to a point where you see a problem and you know there’s a solution out there. But you’re not looking internally: Is it a process issue? Do we already have a tool that’s a solution? People don’t realise what they’ve got. Audit the system to identify where the problems are so you’re not addressing symptoms rather than getting to grips with the root problem.”

As Tom continues, a good example is around analytics and reporting. Don’t look at external tools. Think about how you can bring everything together within your tech ecosystem. 

People maketh marketing automation

Shortlisted as martech agency of the year at last year’s

B2B Martech Awards

, Tom knows all about what it takes to create a stand-out team. “It’s always going to be the people,” Tom states. “If you bring together a bunch of passionate, tech loving people, then you can’t go wrong. They’re going to give you the best solutions and options. They’ve got that emotional attachment that makes the quality of work jump up. Clients look forward to calls, the team are driven to provide the best solutions and it promotes a collaborative environment that allows innovation.”

What more could you ask for?

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