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How to Succeed With Marketing Automation Tools

Pardot reported that 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation tactics for two years or more. Then why is it that only 4% of all businesses in the US with 20 or more employees are currently using marketing automation?


Many businesses simply don’t know where to start. They’re overwhelmed and paralyzed by the number of tools out there.

If you’ve found yourself in doubt asking yourself questions like:

  • “What’s the real difference between these tools?”
  • “Do they integrate with our existing systems?”
  • “Am I even sure we know what we need? What if those needs change?”
  • “Do I even have the right people at my organization to effectively use these things?”

You’re not alone, and to be honest, there’s a lot of marketing technologies in the world.

We see other businesses take the opposite approach to the paralysis. They are all-in. They buy all the bells, whistles, and bright shiny objects, but then they realize they aren’t getting a positive return on the investment. Why? Because they didn’t fully align the technology systems to the people and processes in place—and more importantly, to the overarching strategic needs of the business.

If CMOs fail to recognize that effective execution can only be born out of a clear strategy, unsurprisingly, the customer experience will end up suffering. Just like an effective story can’t be concocted in a silo, your strategy has to reflect the needs of your customers. Your customer is the hero. Your strategy is your plan to enable this. Once you know the plan you can start to put the people, processes, and platforms in place to execute successfully.

Here are three ways to start successfully implementing marketing automation tools with simplicity, clarity and alignment:

  1. Define the Customer BuyWay

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you trying to communicate with?
    • Who are my buyer personas?
  • What messages resonate with them?
    • What is it that drives them to advocate for your brand?
  • How would they prefer to receive messages?
    • What channels or mediums?
    • What’s the timing of those messages? ex. Do they binge on information or prefer a long trickle?

Marketing automation technologies make it possible to send tailored messages to your intended audiences, but you have to identify the audience first. Not just who they are but what they want, what they need, and how they behave and interact with your brand.

At TopRight, we call this the Customer BuyWay.

The Customer BuyWay leverages both qualitative and quantitative research to understand the multi-channel, multi-device purchase process that is today’s customer lifecycle.

Unlike the “Buyer’s Journey,” the Customer BuyWay places a much higher emphasis on the notion of a brand advocate. We don’t want to create a group of half-hearted people who had a good experience, we want to create an experience that delivers on its promise and creates true advocacy.   

Marketing technologies can undoubtedly help marketing efforts scale, but in order to do so, it’s important to understand who you are trying to communicate with and how they want to be communicated with. Then it’s possible to automate marketing to the intended audience successfully.

  1. Train the Right People the Right Way

Who do you have on your staff? Who will be implementing the marketing technology and focusing on running the day-to-day automation where it’s possible and beneficial?

It’s important that you have a well-equipped team to take on this task. The reason for this is simple: a marketing automation journey represents a new learning curve for people in your organization, and it may be a very steep and transformative curve for some of your marketers.

The stress of transformational change is accompanied by a sharp decline in performance at the individual and team level. We refer to this phenomenon of declining performance as the “Valley of Despair,” which is characterized by a steep fall in productivity, followed by a rise to, and beyond, previously established performance levels.

Most marketers aren’t technologists. So looking into how steep the learning curve will be for your team is important. Are you going to need to hire a new team to take these needs on? Will your IT team take on a portion of the burden? You’ll need to know what your current staff can take on and where the gaps are.

It takes time to properly implement a marketing automation platform, and that’s why it’s so important to understand the logistical needs and time it will take. Good things take time, so be patient and don’t rush a good thing. Marketers that use automated tools can improve efficiency, save time, and do their jobs more effectively.

  1. Identify and Define Your Goals

The next step is to clearly identify and define your goals. You shouldn’t just purchase marketing tools because “everyone is doing it.” It’s more important to understand that each company’s needs are different, so their reasoning for buying a marketing automation suite will be different than yours. Just because “Competitor XYZ” is using a particular tool doesn’t mean you have to be. 

Your strategy should guide the goals for what you’re hoping to accomplish. If you have a clear plan in place- defining your goals and needs become just a simple effort of alignment.

The best strategies are, at their best, great plans. To truly transform, you have to be effective in your tactical execution. Defining, aligning and optimizing the people, processes and technologies that operationalize your marketing efforts is critical to bringing your story to life, actualizing the strategy and achieving measurable growth objectives.

To bring your marketing operations into the 21st century with simplicity, clarity and alignment, check out the whitepaper below to learn more about how you can overcome marketing mayhem.


Click here to download the whitepaper now, or fill out the form below.

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