5 Simple Steps to Ruin Marketing Automation

According to the SiriusDecisions B-to-B Marketing Automation Study from 2014, there are nearly 11 times more B2B organizations using marketing automation now than in 2011. With adoption on the rise, you may notice an influx of emails hitting your inbox—some good and some not so good. It takes a lot more work and dedication to make your marketing automation flourish than it does to destroy it. If you want to be a marketing rockstar, avoid these five moves that will completely destroy your marketing automation advances:

shutterstock_315954077 Operating Without a Strategy:
When making the decision to implement a marketing automation system, many people jump the gun and begin to upload assets, toy around with program building, and dump leads into the database without any sort of plan dictating how this will impact the bigger picture in the long run.

It may be tempting to send out a campaign as quickly as possible, but unless you are working off of a solid Demand Generation Strategy that is buyer-centric and drives measurable results, you may set yourself up with a disjointed bunch of tactics that alienates your buyer instead of Engages them.

Avoiding IP-Warming:
IP Warming is the process of slowly building the volumes of email that you send week over week in order to gain a good reputation with Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Failing to do this before launching a program will ensure that your emails land directly in the spam folder, or worse, not even reach your prospects at all.

Many organizations don’t understand the importance of IP Warming (or how to do it properly) so be sure to educate yourself on the ramifications of email marketing with a cold IP Address, and avoid this quick step towards marketing automation failure.

Not Syncing with Sales:
Being an administrator for your company’s marketing automation platform means that you hold the ability to impact your company’s web traffic, brand image and reputation, and most importantly, revenue via the communications you send.

When determining the best emails and content to send to whom and when, your Sales organization is your biggest ally. Not only do you want to ensure that there is a smooth transition from with lead management, but you need to work with Sales to reach agreement on who the ideal buyer before you even think about building a program. If marketing and sales aren’t aligned, marketing automation will only make this more apparent to the buyer and will show little revenue as a result.

Not Enforcing an Opt-In Policy:
Organizations that are new to marketing automation and email marketing in particular, often carry the belief that you should contact your prospects until they tell you not to. While this is a completely legal practice in the United States, countries such as Canada have implemented laws carrying hefty fines that prevent you from emailing people that didn’t sign up to be contacted (opt-in).

Getting slapped with a hefty fine (upwards of $10,000 per email!) is a great way to destroy your reputation and your ability to send emails so play it safe and provide everyone the ability to opt-in, especially if you are managing the marketing automation of a global company. You must adhere to the laws regarding privacy and email governance for each country you send communications to (and they are all different). Learn more about privacy, deliverability and data governance best practices here and always aim for opt-in as a standard best practice.

Slacking off on Your Analytics:
The last way to destroy your marketing automation comes long after your program is up and running. Perhaps you created a killer strategy with heavy involvement from your Sales team, warmed your IP address, and have a perpetual demand generation or nurture program hitting only opt-in contacts. Things couldn’t be better.

However, if you aren’t running regular analytics on the performance of your programs, content consumption, conversion rates and how they are affecting pipeline – then I can assure you that things certainly could be better. How do you know? Only the data will tell you.

Analytics are the only true way to see the impact of your marketing automation efforts. And while it may seem that slacking off on your reporting won’t destroy your marketing automation programs, it definitely won’t make things any better either.

Your marketing automation platform needs to be a tool to enable your Demand Generation Strategy. Marketing automation is powerful technology that enables a strategy but you can’t just implement it and expect it to work. A marketing automation platform is meant to extend end to end; from the initial strategy all the way to optimizing programs based on data and analytics. Being a marketing rockstar takes a lot of work. However, rebuilding programs and trying to develop an integrated Demand Generation Strategy after destroying your marketing automation programs takes a lot more.

Author: Sarah Shelnut-Rossborough @SarahShelnut is Director, Strategy for ANNUITAS