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Setting up a successful marketing automation program can be a wily beast. At the heart of the system is the marketing automation software you choose to run everything. While it is relatively easy to sign-up for a platform like Marketo, import a list and start sending emails, it takes a considerable amount of additional effort to use it at its full potential. This is where a lot of companies fall short due to a lack of resources.

We see a similar situation all the time with Google Adwords. It is pretty easy to sign-up, choose some keywords and write some ads. In a few hours you have new traffic coming to your site, great right? No, if you are not actively optimizing keywords, split testing ads, testing landing pages and measuring the ROI from each conversion, then you are wasting your money.

Here are some common issues we see with the set-up and management of a new marketing automation program:

1. Not Defining and Tracking the Revenue Funnel: You get the most out of marketing automation when you define your revenue funnel and then develop strategies to push more leads from the top of the funnel to the bottom. All too often, we see the revenue funnel and the lifecycle of a lead not defined or not tracked. The ability to track your lead statuses and see how many people are at each stage in revenue funnel is huge for helping to determine where to put marketing dollars. Should you buy lists, attend and sponsor events, create more content, hire more lead development or sales reps etc..

2. Not Reviewing Lead Scoring: It is common for new users to look at examples on the web or use the Marketo scoring templates, however many fail to look at how lead scoring is actually performing and if it is really doing anything to help. It is beneficial to set up your demographic and behavioral scoring in a spreadsheet and review the scores with sales and marketing to see if they really make sense.

3. Only Blasting out Emails: It’s fun to send out emails and start getting the results but that barely scratches the surface of a marketing automation platform. There are much less expensive tools for sending emails and conducting a basic drip email campaigns. You need to invest the time to develop a strategy and the logic behind a lead nurture program that triggers messages based on a persons behavior, delivering content that is more timely, personalized and relevant.

4. Poor Organization: Campaign folders, program folders, asset folders, smart campaign folders, archive folders etc… There are a lot of components inside of marketing automation programs. You need a documented organizational structure for everyone working inside of the platform to adhere to, particularly as marketing activities grow. Left unchecked, it can become a nightmare to sort out.

Marketing automation platforms are very good at selling their services, probably because they are using marketing automation! However, there is a great deal of onus on the end user to really maximize the value. Got any other common missed opportunities? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Ben Castelli

Ben Castelli

Ben is an optimist who brings high energy and a calming force to the agency. That is why we call him 'The Captain.' Ben is motivated to serve others, which is invaluable in his role as Agency Director. His ability to get shit done, constantly learn new things and create systems and structures for the agency is inspiring to everyone around him.