How to make marketing automation work

These days it seems that every conversation with a prospective client at some point comes round to marketing automation – either people looking to deploy it, or people who have deployed it but feel they are not getting the most out of it.

This week, however, I had one of those light-bulb moments. Instead of the normal technology-lead definition of why they wanted to automate, the client defined their need as being "I want to run just a few year-long campaigns that I can tweak, rather than create a multitude of individual tactics that are all different". I found this refreshing as it immediately signalled that the client had a vision of why they wanted to transform their marketing and that while Automation would undoubtedly play a key role in their plans, so too would better planning, better measurement, investments in content etc.

I've written about this before, but it continues to surprise me that so many people latch onto marketing automation with the mistaken perception that all their marketing challenges will be resolved by the sprinkling of a little technological pixie dust over their marketing campaigns. But it's simply not that simple – marketing is a system of interconnected parts that all need to be, at the very least, adequate before you will see the improved results you and your business craves. 

But it's not all doom and gloom. By paying attention to some of these connected areas you can vastly increase your chances of success, often with some relatively small changes. I know this from first hand experience having lead the deployment of ‘marketing automation’at IBM and having worked with several clients in this space over the last year.

In a few weeks I'll be leading a one day workshop with B2B Marketing where I'll distill much of what I've learned into a set of pragmatic steps and exercises that you'll be able to apply to your own marketing operation. We will look together at the key areas you'll want to address beyond going on the vendor's training course:

  • What are you really trying to achieve, and how will you know when you've got there.(Clue: You're not deploying a marketing automation project.)
  • What constitutes a ‘good" lead’?
  • How do you make an assessment of the health of your marketing data?
  • How do you design a lead nurturing campaign?
  • Have you got the content you need?
  • How should you approach lead scoring?
  • What are some of the cultural and organisational issues that you need to plan for?

Full details and enrolment instructions can be found here. This workshop is aimed at B2B marketers who currently have (or will have) a key role in the successful deployment of marketing automation – either as a project leader, or campaign manager or leader of the marketing function. I hope you can make it.