Marketing Automation - it’s a tool, not the total solution

Marketing Automation - it’s a tool, not the total solution

There is no secret formula that works for every client because each client’s situation is unique. Even if two businesses selling the exact same product opened across the street from each other - their marketing needs are different.

While it’s true that similar deliverables and techniques can be utilized for most clients - each still needs to be tailored for their specific customer and needs. You can’t simply pick a marketing plan off the shelf and say this is it. Various factors come into play, such as budget, competitive landscape, unique selling points, and the overall strategic positioning.

Marketing automation is a tool (know what you’re building)

There’s a lot of talk about marketing automation - and it’s a wonderful thing. It systematizes the process of marketing - automating much of it - or providing prompts when customer interaction is necessary. However, the problem left out of many discussions is that to properly use a tool (such as marketing automation) you must have a solid grasp on what you’re building. You need a plan. If you’re building a house you don’t simply grab a hammer, a saw, and some wood and start building.

Marketing automation requires strategy and a plan too

As I mentioned, there’s no single solution that can be applied to all businesses. But that doesn’t mean the lessons learned from one can’t be applied to another - even if in a separate industry. Developing and managing a direct mail campaign will be similar regardless of the business - what will be different is the messaging, call-to-action, and the follow-up. These are all derived from the marketing strategy and positioning. Are you an underdog competing against an established market leader? Are you creating a new category of product or service? Are you concentrating on an under served niche? Each of these situations will deploy different tactics to win marketshare.

I’ve written before, Strategy Comes First, then you build a marketing plan and then you execute. It’s the execute portion of where marketing automation comes into play. It simplifies and standardizes the implementation of your marketing plan’s strategy.

So before you choose a marketing automation provider, make sure you have your strategy and plan in place. Then using one of the many SaS online tools for managing your marketing will be easier to use effectively. You’ll simply be designing mini-campaigns and implementing automatic actions along your funnel that turn prospects into customers. Just don’t fool yourself into believing that merely signing-up for marketing automation is the solution to your problems.

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Dec 11, 2013

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