Why Marketing Automation Fails: 5 Common Pitfalls to Avoid
Not long ago, marketing used to be an art, based on creativity and guesswork. Audience segmentation was not a priority, personalization was not a best practice, and a one-size-fits-all approach served as the default strategy for lead generation. Everything changed with the arrival of marketing automation. Marketers now had access to a world of data and insights to conduct analysis, segment audience groups, and target them individually.
But despite the advancement in marketing technologies, modern day marketers don’t have it easy. They continue to rely on guesswork when launching their campaigns, and find it difficult to get their messages heard. In fact, a recent study revealed that up to 85% of marketers believed they could get more out of marketing automation.
Have you ever wondered why your marketing automation is not yielding the desired outcomes? Here are five possible reasons.
You are not timing your messages
It’s important to reach your audiences at key decision-making moments in their journey. If a contact signs up for a free resource (e.g. e-book, whitepaper, research report, etc.) it’s important to nurture the prospect before you target them with a product pitch. It’s also important to consider whether you’re sending your messages at the right moments. As a thumb rule, you must abide by the standard 4-stage customer journey to map your messages with the right customers at the right time in their lifecycle.
- Identify: A prospect is looking for information, and you are looking to find those interested in what you have to offer. This is when your prospects find out about your brand for the first time.
- Nurture: Prospects are looking to solve their problems, and you are looking to discern their interests. This is when your prospects decide to learn more about your product and become leads.
- Convert: Prospects are ready to buy your product and you are ready to sell it to them. This is when the purchase happens.
- Retain: Your prospects are now your customers and they want to keep getting value. This is when first-time buyers repeat this process to become regular customers.
You lack a proper cross-channel presence
Consumers are not limited by channels in today’s age of omni-channel marketing. They engage with your brand on their terms and use the channel that’s most accessible to them. As a marketer, you should be capable of operating in a cross-device, cross-platform environment and be prepared to reach audiences wherever they are.
But it’s not just about being present on multiple channels. To drive conversions, you should also understand how your buyers prefer to engage and design your messaging and user experience to provide a continued, consistent, and personalized experience across channels. Certain buyers prefer certain channels and you should be able to provide the optimal channel for your buyer profiles. For example, millennials prefer using mobile, while senior audiences prefer to use email or direct mail. You have to know your audience and communicate with them accordingly, wherever they are. Marketers not providing an optimal cross channel experience are paying a heavy price − according to a study, 69% of mobile users delete emails that aren’t optimized for small screens.
You are not personalizing your messages
It’s common for marketers to strategize and overthink their marketing automation campaigns, investing a great deal of energy in newsletter designs, templates, and information volume. What ends up happening, however, is that your message’s core value proposition is lost. As a result, audiences don’t respond well to your campaigns and your efforts fail to deliver on the expected outcomes. As per a recent report, 74% of consumers prefer to receive commercial communications via email, but the average clickthrough rate for B2B marketing emails in Q2 2013 was only 1.7%.
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As a matter of fact, many marketing messages sound like robots. It is important for audiences to connect with your message at a human level. You can overcome this challenge by keeping your marketing messages short, simple, personal, and relatable. Instead of blasting your subscribers with sales pitches, send curt emails that remind audiences. Don’t forget to segment your audiences and personalize your messages to drive higher engagement.
You are not thinking beyond email
One of the major reasons why marketing automation fails is that its capabilities are not fully used. An email campaign may do wonders for your lead generation efforts, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to tapping the full power of marketing automation software. Automation can help you score contacts and move them automatically through a CRM. You can do multi-channel marketing, sending text messages and automatically adding people to social media campaigns. When all capabilities of a marketing automation platform are used together and strategically planned out across the customer journey, marketing automation can be an extremely powerful tool.
It’s important to understand that marketing automation platforms are more than just email management tools. They enable marketers to use and combine every marketing channel required to connect and engage with prospects. In the hands of most marketers, advanced marketing automation technologies simply devolve into email automation systems. That’s why a good understanding of how your target prospects communicate should precede implementing a marketing automation platform.
You do not have access to proper data
Bad data impacts marketing automation platforms in insidious ways. Not only does it significantly impact key metrics, it has a fallout on other business areas as well. Substandard data quality results in imprecise targeting, incorrect personalization, and lower overall lead quality. For email automation alone, bad data wreaks havoc on sender scores, deliverability, CTRs, bounces, and opt-outs.
The problem is much more serious than it looks. According to research, anywhere between a quarter to a third of database records go stale each year. That’s why bad data eats up as much as 12% of revenues. That’s just for direct financial costs. When bad data moves from your marketing automation platform to your CRM and eventually to other databases in your organization, things can go from bad to worse. The only way to reduce the negative impact is to have a robust data management plan that covers every stage in the data lifecycle.
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