The #FAIL with Automation

Marketing automation has helped change the way we think and approach marketing. It serves as a catalyst to Engage, Nurture and Convert our prospects and customers and enables a strategic approach to Demand Generation. It has helped bring marketing to the forefront of organizations and highlights the roles of marketers. However, there is a downside to automation…


Automation is the downside of automation. For all of the amazing capabilities marketing automation platforms bring us, it still needs to have logic put behind it, an understanding of the target audience and the purpose of the content that will be delivered applied to it.

According to a recent post in there is still large-scale adoption in the MAP (Marketing Automation Platform) sector despite its inception over ten years ago. In fact, close to 70% of businesses are using a marketing automation platform (MAP) or currently implementing one according to a report by Aberdeen Group “State of Marketing Automation 2014: Processes that Produce” (2014).

However, just because more people are using marketing automation doesn’t mean they are getting it right. In fact, only 2.8% of Enterprise marketers feel they are effective in achieving their goals in demand generation programs/campaigns according the ANNUITAS B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Study.

Have you ever received an email post-event that very clearly should not have come to you? I get one after almost every event I attend and it is irritating and more often than not, marked as SPAM. I understand and appreciate the ease in which marketing or sales teams can connect with me in minutes, if not days or weeks to follow-up. I love that – it is part of what I do on a daily basis as well to Engage, Nurture and Convert prospects. What I object to is a team blindly sending emails that are inappropriate for me to receive. In most cases, I am a sponsor of an event, so no, I am not interested in your demand generation or lead generation services (that is part of what my organization offers) and often I am a partner of yours (we are listed on your website, not a prospect) so please, don’t try to sell me. Don’t you even look at your lists before you hit send?

Again, automation is powerful. The amazing part of automation is that you can quickly and rather easily send out messages, connect with prospects or customers and try to establish a relationship by sharing some knowledge. However, it all breaks down when there is clearly a lack of strategy and no buyer-centric view of how it should be used.

Yes, I attended that trade show or event, but it doesn’t mean I am a sales prospect. Organizations need to begin to apply a strategic lens to the use of their marketing automation; otherwise what good is the investment? If marketing organizations truly want to avoid the failures of marketing automation, they must spend the time to do it the right way and this is only achieved through developing a buyer-centric strategy first.

Author: Erika Goldwater, CIPP/US @erikawg is VP Marketing, ANNUITAS

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