Marketing Automation Success – What does it take?

cloudtime.org is a great reference

What does it take for marketing automation success?  The first part of the answer is to define ‘success’ for you and your organization.  Ideally, success was defined during the purchase process.  Success might be defined by any of these:

  • Revenue growth
  • Specific closed loop ROI (with associated definition of ROI)
  • Leads (with associated definition of a lead)
  • Audience engagement
  • Customer retention rate
  • Renewal rate
  • Reduction in churn

This list is not all-inclusive, but the point is that you need to define success and be able to measure whatever the definition entails.  Isn’t measurement one of the major goals of MA to begin with?

Based on my experience with purchasing, implementing and growing marketing automation use in a global electronics manufacturing company, these are some key success factors for marketing automation success:

  1. Make sure your key stakeholders are on board and excited about what MA can do for them.  Key stakeholders might vary with your organization, but should start the executive team; CEO, CFO, CMO, VP Sales, etc. and their associated teams.
  2. Have at least a preliminary plan written down and shared.  Note the ‘written down’ part of this step.  If the plan is in your head or someone’s head, be wary because the details of any plan in the head are usually absent.
  3. Own the owner.  You need to have one person who owns the MA tool and is responsible for it’s success.  This person is your champion and, ideally, s/he loves technology, is curious, fearless, innovative, creative and has a thick skin (shouldn’t all marketers have thick skins?).  Reward this person for success!  If you try to add this tool to the litany of other tools the webmaster or other marketing person owns, it will be very difficult to get any traction with your new MA tool.  Don’t rely on an outside vendor for success.  Nothing against the outside vendors, in fact, they are a very valuable resource, but they can’t replace an in-house MA champion.
  4. You will need the expertise of an outside vendor, especially if you plan to integrate MA to other systems in place.  The expertise of outside vendors will speed up your implementation and education of the users.
  5. Communicate.  Communicate. Communicate.  Let your whole company know how this tool is contributing to the goals of the firm.  Be careful not to report vanity metrics or metrics that seem to be bragging about yourself or the team.  Talk about how a certain campaign increased sales for example.  Even better, highlight the success of one of the stakeholders because of their use of the tool.  You can’t over-communicate the success of the MA tool.  As marketers, you could treat it as an internal product launch with a positioning statement, value proposition and associated messaging.
  6. Measure everything and customize the presentation of results to fit the respective audiences.

One last point, the definition of success does not have to be defined at the beginning and never change.  As you implement your MA system, integrate it, users become more sophisticated and the C-suite starts to pay attention, the definition of success might change and that’s OK.

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