How to Steer Past Marketing Automation Roadblocks

If it feels like you are running around in circles and not getting anywhere with your marketing automation efforts, you’re not alone. It takes time and effort to start seeing results. It also takes a well-established strategy to ensure that you are not hitting roadblocks on your path to success.

To be successful, your campaigns need time to plan, prepare and implement. There are many curves along the way, from the initial planning stages all the way to the execution and post-launch phases. Once you eventually launch, there are additional challenges ahead – scoring, measuring, reporting and monitoring the success of the campaign. On-boarding is no small challenge. Neither is education, which is typically required when implementing automation on a company-wide level. Without a strategy in place to pull everything together, you will battle to even get your plans off the ground. All in all, it is no wonder that so many digital marketing efforts end up failing before they have even begun.

In this guide, we will be taking a look at some of the biggest roadblocks getting in the way of successfully implementing marketing automation within your company. By identifying some of the more common obstacles, we hope it becomes a little easier to navigate the waters and find your way to success.

Common Marketing Automation Obstacles

Some of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of marketing automation results include the following:

1/ Doubt.

In this instance, you may be trying to pitch marketing automation software to a company that has no clue what the platform offers or why it is would be worth considering. When there is doubt and a strong level of distrust of anything new and different, there is often a misconception that lead generation is a job for sales teams rather than marketing teams. Marketing teams may focus all their efforts on branding, marketing material and identity, without thinking too much about lead nurturing. Sales teams may moan about having to do everything themselves with no help at any point in the process. Companies who fall into this category may have a very outdated website, they may value trade journals and print marketing. They may have separate companies to handle each aspect of marketing.

The biggest challenge in this scenario is two-fold. On one hand, there is a lack of knowledge of digital marketing tools and the benefits that they have to offer. On the other hand, they have a culture that spends a great deal of time in effort in getting the right marketing messaging across. This somewhat old-fashioned company will need a few reassurances before they are able to think about marketing automation tools. Some points to focus on include the following:

  • The need to understand that marketing rules have adapted over the years. Leadership needs to be taken up to speed on the current generation of marketing that has moved into the digital space. CMOs could consider planning a workshop session after learning more about automation tools. An outsourced supplier or specialist can often help to explain things in a way that reduces fears and doubts.
  • Marketing and sales leaders can then set mutual goals that include metrics for sales-ready leads, leads that convert to qualified sales and leads that close new business. Both teams and leaders should also look at how they can align responsibilities and campaigns in the best way possible. CMOs and CEOs will also need a commitment from the C-team to move forward towards a new way of doing things across the board. If there are constant delays caused by lengthy decision-making processes and approval, it will be far harder to move forward.

2/ Ignorance.

In this scenario, the company or team may favour batch and blast programmes. They may put a lot of focus on email marketing, counting clicks and opens without thinking about lead scoring, visitor tracking and various other elements that automation offers. They have a decent database and they are active on social media. Webinars are very popular with this group. They may also see email as a stand-alone thing rather than part of a omnichannel strategy. They tend to create mass email blasts that are never personalised or segmented.

The biggest challenge with this type of person or company is a lack of awareness of what integrated marketing automation has to offer. Some of their main challenges may include:

  • Outdated technology that is not able to track site visits, page views and other data, a lack of lead scoring and drip marketing, and no lead tracking. Low hanging fruit is ignored in favour of harder to achieve metrics. This approach may not be obviously losing them sales, but their conversion rates are telling.
  • They have a cookie cutter database with no customisation, personalisation or segmentation at all. They may target one or two customer groups but no list segmentation is done, which means that personalised email campaigns cannot be sent.
  • They may have good content and plenty of opportunities for engagement, but their marketing efforts are not integrated in any way. An integrated approach would help to convert more leads, using their following to drive engagement on a deeper level.

This roadblock is easy to navigate once the idea of lead nurturing has been embraced. When the results are noticed and tracked, it will become even easier to consider automation. A demonstration or expert workshop to introduce the tools and benefits is the best way to get around this obstacle.

3/ Maintenance.

In this scenario, the company or team may have launched an automation system, only to assume that the only maintenance required from here on out was a few blog posts, a newsletter and a few social media posts. As metrics start to flounder, they blame the tools for the failure rather than trying to look at why there was not sufficient content to proceed with lead generation and other strategies.

Although this company has done everything right initially, they are killing their own success with a lack of content fuel. Without regular maintenance, no automation campaign will be able to thrive. Primary challenges for this type of roadblock include the following:

  • A lack of frequent content. Irregular, limited content does not provide sufficient magnets or lead nurturing content to appeal to customers. As a result, audiences do not visit the websites or bother to keep reading emails as they have quickly lost interest. Their website is also losing ranking as it is not updated enough. Even the best automation tools cannot work without a constant flow of content.
  • A lack of relevant content. When content is published, it is either very hard-sell or not focused enough to provide genuine value. Posting personal or pointless information on a B2B blog is never a good idea, but constantly trying to push the latest deals on every channel is not helpful, either.

The best way to navigate this roadblock is to set up a blogging schedule with regular, well-written content that is relevant and engaging, with lead magnets, content upgrades and other lead nurturing strategies incorporated into content. An omnichannel digital marketing approach would also work well so that there is a flow across each channel. As an ongoing strategy, a lack of maintenance cannot be used as an excuse for automation failure. Without ongoing effort, even the best strategy will not get off the ground.

If you’re looking for help getting started, we are always here to make the process as pain-free as possible. Contact Grapevine today for help getting your marketing automation strategies off the ground.

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