Marketing automation — generally known as software tools to help you automate repetitive tasks — can appear to be down right intoxicating. What marketer wouldn’t want his or her programs to execute automatically and deliver seamless reporting? What show organizer wouldn’t like to send exhibitor communications routinely and easily with little or no intervention?
Sound too good to be true? It could be. Or you could follow our rules of engagement to help you optimize your results. Just like any technology project, it can be daunting to undertake. Massive, complex systems can be really powerful and help you stretch and build your marketing muscle. However, it’s not something to enter into because it’s a hot buzzword or because your sales rep is promising you the moon. You, and your organization, have to have several things in place to make it work and run properly and recognize its implementation as a successful addition to your technology portfolio.
- Executive support - If your top-level executives are not behind this project, save yourself the frustration of even trying. Like most of your projects, you have to have buy-in at the top for it to work properly.
- Established processes - If your sales and marketing efforts are haphazard and are run by the seat of your pants, automation is only going to speed up your level and quantity of mistakes. Have a concrete definition of who your targets are and what you want from them before you start.
- Good data – Make sure your contacts are fresh, current and are willing to receive communication from your organization. If you have a CRM system, it’s just like that. If you only have billing contacts, that won’t help your marketing team very much. Or if you only have the logistics contact, that may limit the returns and value your efforts will provide
- Time - This is a big one. No matter how simple a tool may seem to be or how easy your rep tells you it is to use, there will be training, and internal change. And this takes time. Don’t set benchmarks for yourself that are unattainable. Look at what you can automate quickly and easily, and start with those smaller campaigns before you build into larger-scale nurturing programs.
- Teamwork – You will undoubtedly want and need time and effort from all of your teams to get the most of a marketing automation system. Sales, IT, etc. will all need to give you their thoughts and ideas for how it could work in terms of your current systems and what types of campaigns can be automated given your current operations. You need to be sure their feedback is included in your planning and implementation. If the tool only helps marketing, no one else will care. Sell your internal stakeholders on how you can help make their lives easier.
Have you automated any of the campaigns for your event(s)? What tools do you use? What are some things you’d like to see automated in your daily routine?