You may have heard the common statistic being thrown around that says that more than half of all companies using marketing automation are not using it to its full potential. So how do you get more out of your marketing automation system? Here are a few common scenarios and how to overcome them.

Scenario: Just doing drip email campaigns.

Solution: Create sequential lead nurture email campaigns driven by buyer stage.

Traditional drip email campaigns are a waste of a marketing automation system. You need to be running intelligent lead-nurturing email campaigns, not just a series of email blasts. Instead, market intelligently with emails that take buyer stage and solution interest into account. If you’re only doing drip email campaigns, you might as well skip the upgrade. Nurture email campaigns allow you to send more relevant messaging that carry greater individualized value.

Scenario: Scoring on only demographic OR behavioral lead values.

Solution: Combine demographic and firmographic data with behavioral data to score, qualify, and advance leads.

Marketers have been using demographic and firmographic data to segment their email lists for years. The beauty of marketing automation is that it combines demographic data with behavioral data that allows you to rate buyer fit as well as buyer interest. If you’re using just one or other, you’re wasting your time – and most likely your sales people’s time as well.

Scenario: Using offline methods to clean up a messy lead database.

Solution: Use a data washing machine to automate data hygiene tasks.

Everyone knows the value of clean, structured data. Marketing automation can help you get there. Here’s how — wet up your contact washing machine, and automate it. U.S., usa, United States of America, USA, U.S.A., united states. You can make jobs to process these automatically and result in one clean “United States” field.

Scenario: Spending too much time on marketing automation maintenance.

Solution: Automate exception reporting and alerts.

Once marketing automation is, well, automated, you’re in maintenance mode. Spinning that plate isn’t hard when you set it up right. Set up error reporting for leads stuck in the pipeline. Consider new leads without email addresses, new leads without proper demographic scoring, disqualified leads with blank “Disqualified Reason” field, e mail bounce rates, duplicate leads, competitors, and so on. The list is limited only by the time you have to automate reporting and alerts.

Scenario: Spending too much time setting up campaigns.

Solution: Build it right the first time and scale from there.

Creating a new campaign (landing page, emails, list, and reports) should take no longer than 15 minutes after the initial setup. Employees working with and managing marketing automation should have a fiery hatred of doing redundant work. Our recommendation? Use tokens to scale programs efficiently. (There’s a joke about developers—they’ll spend five hours writing a program to automate a 15 minute task (related distraction). These are the kind of people you should have set up your marketing automation platform and integrate it with your CRM.)

Scenario: Not personalizing landing pages, website, or emails.

Solution: Make content dynamic.

Wherever possible, tailor your content to your target audience. Use dynamic calls-to-action, dynamic thank-you snippets in emails, and dynamic suggestions for additional resources. Make sure you never suggest a white paper or webinar someone has already downloaded, a blog post they’ve ever read, or an offer they’ve already taken you up on. (Hint: You can automate that.)  

Scenario: Doing things the same way over and over again.

Solution: Make your marketing automation set-up flexible so it’s easy to experiment.

If you aren’t trying new things, you’re not getting your money’s worth out of your marketing automation system. Testing everything is the one true path to getting the most out of it you can. The “gotchas” in implementing and scaling a marketing automation system are innumerable. There isn’t a document big enough in the world to encompass every aspect of a flexible, scalable marketing automation setup. Here’s a freebie: Make sure you decide on your input field type first and forever, and never change it.

Some common themes about the true value of marketing automation:

  • Marketing automation is a beautiful thing because it allows you to personalize your content dynamically to specific users.
  • Marketing automation is a beautiful thing because it’s automated. That means scalable. That means you should set it up once and then let it run. You aren’t getting the most out of your system if you’re not using the “automated” part. Which is fine if you don’t want to automate your processes–but then you probably don’t need a marketing automation system.
  • Marketing automation implementation is only as good as you make it, so make it flexible. And intelligent. And scalable. And automated.

Did I mention automated?

Image credit: LadyDragonflyCC