The Biggest Misconceptions About Marketing Automation

When a new business technology starts gaining popularity, there are inevitably some who will want to dive in headfirst and start implementing it, while others will be more hesitant. Misconceptions about the technology are sometimes part of the reason for this hesitation. This is the case with marketing automation.

Both the enthusiastic and hesitant have a point, however. When deciding whether marketing automation, or MA, is right for your company, it’s vital to understand how it works and what potential benefits and risks are. 

Here are six misconceptions about marketing automation, and the realities behind them:

It’s impersonal and un-engaging

When some people think of automated marketing, they picture spammy, robotic-sounding emails. The reality, though, is that MA gives you the ability to create highly personalized campaigns. Your MA software won’t make your messaging sound robotic, either. It’ll give you more time to write creative, compelling copy.

MA programs help you collect data about leads and customers, and then use that data to send marketing materials that cater to their unique preferences, needs and lifestyles. In this way, automation can make your marketing even more personal.

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You can set it and forget it

Although automation allows you to make some aspects of your marketing more hands-off, it isn’t something you can just set up and then forget about. For your marketing strategy to be successful, you need to monitor your automation and continually tweak it. There are also some aspects of your marketing that will still require manual operation.

Automation software handles some of the more repetitive parts of marketing, giving you more time to focus on creative and communicative work. Automation technology will also provide you with valuable feedback about your campaigns that you need to consider carefully to get the most out of MA.

Most companies aren’t using marketing automation yet

Marketing automation relies on relatively new, advanced technologies. Because of this, some business leaders view it as something they should consider in the future, but not now. They believe their competitors aren’t using it, and that it’d be better to wait until the tech becomes more mature to get involved.

The truth is, though, that 50 percent of companies are now using MA in some way. The B2B space has seen the adoption of MA increase especially rapidly in recent years. The number of B2B companies using it grew by almost 11 times between 2011 and 2014. Automation is already transforming the marketing sector, and companies should start exploring it if they want to keep up with the competition.

Marketing automation will fix all your problems

Some marketers and business leaders are under the impression that automation is a cure-all solution that will take a failing marketing department and turn into a revenue-generating machine. Automation’s role is a little more subtle than that in reality.

Adding automation to a poorly devised marketing strategy with lousy content won’t make it effective. It can, however, make a good campaign more efficient. It can also provide you with feedback you can use to improve an underperforming campaign. The marketing team will have to go in and fix the mistakes the data uncovered, though.

It causes you to lose control of your campaign

Even if you use MA software, you still have full control of your campaign. Your platform will not send out messages without someone programming it to do so, and you can change the way it operates at any time. Most MA software is highly customizable. Plus, you’ll get to see data about all the contacts your software has made with leads and customers, so you don’t have to worry about customers getting emails from you without you knowing about it.

It’s too expensive and complicated

There’s also a perception among some marketers that deploying an MA system would be too expensive, time-consuming and technically complex. While now might not be the right time to launch MA for every company, today’s marketing technology is user-friendly, and the benefits often make the initial investment worthwhile.

Some MA programs might require companies to install hardware on their networks, but businesses also have the option of using cloud-based software, which doesn’t need the installation of hardware. The ROI of deploying MA will vary from company to company. The American Marketing Association provides a template to help businesses calculate what their return could be.

Is marketing automation right for your company? To find out, you’ll have to look at your current marketing campaigns, your future goals and the ways MA could help you achieve those goals as well as the financial consideration involved in implementing MA. 

As you do so, be careful to watch out for common marketing automation misconceptions.

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