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Is Marketing Automation taking the Marketing out of Marketing?

With a Marketing Automation application you can streamline your communications, enhance your CRM programme and generate more leads. It can also help you get to market quickly and will deliver a good degree of insight for future campaign planning – sound like a familiar pitch?

The fact is, any Marketing Automation application is only as good as the person or people using it. Before the Internet and email, the telephone was the preferred mass sales tool. It’s not the quality or the functionality of the telephone that dictates whether a call will be successful. It’s not the script that will close the sale – it’s the skill of the person at the other end of the line who can quickly direct the conversation towards a positive outcome.

So if you think about your Marketing Automation tool as a phone, the role it plays is significantly reduced and the dependencies that are formed from repetitive processes diminish. What I mean by that is the over-reliance and assumption that the application itself will result in a lead and that proactive marketing becomes lazy marketing.

Now I get a lot of emails – a lot! There is a growing proportion of spam and unsolicited emails from B2B and B2C entities peddling their wares. I can see they use a mix of marketing automation and email broadcast systems. Those that don’t automatically get trapped in my junk email folder are deleted, not because I’m against email marketing – I’m against bad email marketing. We’re busy people. We get lots of sales and marketing content thrown at us every day. We want communications and offers that are relevant, appealing and worthy of our attention.

How can you achieve this?

Well you can test multiple subject lines, use a variety of templates, cut your content by 50% (yes 50%), ensure your templates are well-designed and are compatible with all the mainstream email browsers and are optimised for mobile devices and tablets. Ensure the integrity of your data – I still receive emails addressed to ‘Active Image’- the name Volume traded under from 1992 to 1997 before I incorporated the company and changed the name. Don’t assume the data sitting in your system is up to date or relevant. Before ‘unsubscribing’, I used to get emails offering me discounts on agricultural machinery. I don’t own a lawn mower never mind a combine harvester.

But as a marketer myself, the biggest frustration is receiving emails that smack of sheer laziness and are devoid of thought and creativity. Emails on a Monday morning, emails on a Friday afternoon, business emails over the weekend will get immediately deleted. And with many of us receiving emails via our smart phones, they are more easily to delete there and then.

Email marketing is a numbers game and Marketing Automation tools help you manage the high volume’s you need to deliver leads back to the business. They are however, no substitute for brains -they can breed laziness and apathy, and in the long-term deliver poor ROI. Don’t fall into the trap.

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