December 29, 2015

Should everyone deploy MA (marketing automation)?

DEPLOY MA end cold callingIncluding the absolute value “everyone” in the above headline is a tip-off that the answer is a big fat No. (Another Pro Tip, mouseketeers: the wordiest answer of the four multiple choices is usually the right one … because test makers don’t spend energy to craft wrong answers carefully.) But we digress.

Most marketers should embrace marketing automation (MA) – others definitely not. That big fuzzy gray area in between is where we must get tactical.

How about you? Is your brand a candidate for MA?

The easiest answer is for those marketers who absolutely should.

If you sell a high-ticket product or service. Have a long sales cycle. A complex sale that requires big buckets of information. Or anyone still pissing away budgets on old-school cold calling.

B2B or B2C? Doesn’t matter – if the buyer needs multiple touch points before deciding, marketing automation is an essential advantage. How MA gets used effectively is different, B2B vs. B2C, but we can talk about that another day.

An appallingly small percentage of firms are using MA effectively, so it’s more than an advantage for the first-in users in a category: it’s a lever for exponential growth. If competitors snooze, they lose.

Okay. Who shouldn’t?

A smaller category: mostly products and services that are easy buying decisions. Impulse sales. Low ticket items. Easy yes/no decisions. Maybe a finite list of prospects you already know. We’ll add the caution that exceptions are possible here – lottery tickets, for example. Clearly a cheap impulse purchase, but there are audiences that could be segmented and addressed by targeted messaging, say for subscription sales.

Ask yourself four questions if you find your organization in the gray area, where MA could be a goldmine or an expense:

• If your sales force could spend more time closing and less time prospecting, could the efficiency save you money? Enough money to offset any costs of the MA system? (Spoiler: Yes.)
• Can you measure the ROI of every marketing tactic? It is possible you know.
• Would you like to see deeper into your pipeline to tag anonymous web visitors, or find under-served segments?
• If you can’t identify what actions really drive revenue, should you fill out the form below? (Um, yeah.)