Strong processes unlock marketing automation benefits

Last week I wrote about choosing the right people to select and manage marketing automation technologies. Today I’m looking at the importance of establishing best practice procedures.

Establish strong processes 

The right processes help marketers realise the full potential of marketing automation platforms. Without strong protocols for everything from data hygiene to campaign creation, marketing teams will struggle for success, whatever tool they choose. So after identifying the right people for your marketing team, processes need to be established. 

Marketing data

Consider the current state of your marketing data. Where does it come from? Who has access to it? Do you have enough email data that fits the desired customer profile? Is it marketable? Increasing attention needs to be paid to the legal requirements for permission-based marketing and opt-in rules, which vary by country. There also needs to be a process for how you manage your data inside and outside the marketing automation tool, how you load lists, where the data gets loaded, how the data gets cleansed and how suppressions are run. Having a comprehensive understanding of the state of your data plays a vital role in making marketing automation work and the level of success you will experience.  

Program implementation

Marketing automation is only one tactic and the implementation of the end-to-end process should include how the program feeds into the overall demand generation engine. Think about the current perceptions of the brand and the existing engagement strategy for your customers and prospects. Who is responsible for marketing program strategy and implementation? What processes are in place for managing events, email campaigns and lead generation efforts? Who creates programs, which programs flow into others, and how do they cascade? And then there’s touch governance: you must ensure that a customer or prospect isn’t getting touched by a multitude of programs at any given time. A full process map needs to be developed to identify the desired customer journey; who will receive what content, the calls to action and routing options. Has content been localised and translated to maximise the customer experience of the brand?


You can’t improve upon what you don’t measure, so ensure that all parties agree on how success will be quantified and the key performance indicators. Definitions of contacts at different stages of the marketing pipeline (enquiries, pre-qualified leads, marketing qualified leads) need to be documented for sales as well as marketing functions. Metrics can cover data quality indicators, through to click-throughs and openers, through to pre-qualified leads generated. Leads can be automatically scored based on a contact’s interactions and journey.

Due diligence at an early stage lays the foundations for a smooth transition to the new technology. This helps to ensure maximum multilevel benefits once it is deployed.