It’s not really surprising that more and more marketers are moving towards a degree of automation. You might be thinking about automating the production of your marketing materials, the content review and approvals process, or the execution of your activity. Whatever ‘marketing automation’ means to you, there’s no doubt that it can deliver huge benefits.
Automation can save you significant time, reduce your admin, improve your targeting and accuracy, and optimise regulatory compliance – the arguments for automating some of your processes are definitely compelling.
But there are so many potential solutions out there – and with automation offering so many benefits in so many areas, even the definition of marketing automation is not always clear. Not all marketing automation platforms are created equal – so here’s our guide to the 7 things to avoid when choosing one.
- Not really knowing what type of automation you need
As we mentioned above, ‘marketing automation’ is a far-reaching term, and can mean different things to different people. Sometimes people use marketing automation to refer to the automation of processes like email marketing, via systems like Eloqua or Salesforce.
It can be used to talk about the automation of marketing processes such as briefing, reviewing, proofing and approvals. And it can be used to describe solutions that enable marketers to create, update or publish documents efficiently.
There are excellent solutions out there in all three categories – but the first mistake people make is being unclear about which one they need. Decide what you’re looking for and your search will instantly be made simpler.
- Not having a clear idea of your priorities
Even once you’ve decided what marketing automation means for your business, and the type of solution you’re looking for, you need to drill down further into your objectives and priorities.
Precisely because many marketing automation tools can offer so many benefits, when you’re choosing one it’s vital to stay focused.
What’s most important to you? Do you need a smooth process for creative briefing, improved regulatory compliance, the ability to streamline document updates and creation, better brand consistency or increased collaboration between your teams or offices?
A marketing automation platform can deliver all of these, and more – but the selection process is much easier if you have a clear idea of your priorities.
- Not thinking enough about your end users
Who is your marketing platform for? Who is going to be using it – and what do they need from it? These are all crucial questions when it comes to choosing a solution, and not considering your end-users is something you definitely need to avoid.
If you don’t have an in-house design team, chances are you spend a lot on external design agencies. A platform that enables even those with no design skills to create professional, on-brand materials can be a real plus. And it should go without saying that your chosen solution needs to be user-friendly (and have expert support available when needed).
Think about who will be using your automation platform and seek out their views on what they would like to see in the solution you pick.
- Failing to build a strong business case
However compelling the arguments for marketing automation, if you’re looking to invest in a solution, you will need to get buy-in from your leadership team. And while the benefits may be obvious to you, they may need spelling out to those who are more removed from marketing processes.
Highlight the time and money you could save by using agile artwork creation and smart templates. Explain how automation can help you get products and services to market faster, improving your hit rate when it comes to winning new business. Demonstrate the direct cost savings you can achieve by updating your suite of marketing collateral yourselves, and by using smart document management to ensure you only print what you need.
Showcase the ways that better brand compliance positively impacts your brand, and highlight the benefits of marketing automation for teams beyond marketing; sales and compliance can improve performance and increase efficiency too.
- Not making your search bespoke to your business
Your organisation will have its own distinct needs and idiosyncrasies. Whatever platform you choose needs to be appropriate for your business. For instance, your teams may work remotely – either temporarily, in response to COVID-19, or permanently – and you need to ensure this doesn’t impact your ability to produce marketing content.
- Failing to explore the other benefits a good marketing automation solution can deliver
It’s clear that marketing automation can have huge benefits when it comes to the production, approval and distribution of brand-compliant, professional marketing collateral.
But assuming the benefits of automation stop there is to under-estimate the capabilities of today’s best solutions. Choose wisely and your martech can help you to improve ESG performance in your marketing supply chain, for instance. Explore the potential of a marketing automation platform from all angles, and not only will you strengthen your business case, you can reap benefits you may not have thought of.
- Not considering the supplier alongside the solution
Don’t forget, when you choose a marketing automation solution, you are buying not just the solution but a supplier. Does your supplier have a strong track record and history of delivering automated solutions? Can they share testimonials and case studies that evidence satisfied customers? Do they provide training and ‘plain English’ client support?
Ensuring your chosen supplier can support you in your automation journey is vitally important.
Avoid the mistakes and reap the benefits of marketing automation
It’s evident that automation can benefit Marketing teams in many ways. Choosing the right solution is an essential step in making sure you reap the rewards of your investment in automation – avoid these seven mistakes and your selection process will be made far simpler and more successful.
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