MarTech Success #2: What’s Hindering Your Marketing Automation’s Effectiveness?

I’m not going to start this post by clamoring on about the value technology holds for marketers. The need for tech has a consensus; the focus now lies in right ways to leverage it. This is the second post in Integrate’s ongoing MarTech Success Series that marketers can reference to successfully implement and utilize marketing technology.

According to a recent Lattice eBook (which you can download at the always great Funnelholic blog), SiriusDecisions Co-Founder, John Neeson, stated that 50% of marketers admit they don’t leverage marketing automation to its full potential.[1] A later chapter provides even more sobering numbers:
  • 75% of marketing automation adopters claim they’re not receiving full value from it
  • Less than 10% of organizations are deploying marketing automation tools to address programs later in the buying cycle
  • 62% of marketing automation owners state that the use of technology did not equate to an increase in sales[2]

This doesn’t evidence a failure in marketing tech; after all, CSO Insights states that companies with advanced lead-nurturing tactics drive 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. The poor performance numbers simply illustrate that newly adopted technology solutions aren’t being properly used or incorporated into existing processes.

Considering the tens of millions of dollars being spent on these systems annually, increasing marketing tech effectiveness is a priority that’s understandably gaining momentum. Of course, to do this, we must first identify the problems. In the same eBook, ANNUITAS CEO and Principal, Carlos Hidalgo, provided what I consider a great high-level synopsis of the challenge most marketers face: “Without the right processes, organizations will continue to struggle in terms of technology success.”[3] I couldn’t agree more. But simply telling you to “Check your process before you wreck your tech” isn’t going to help much. So I’m going to break down this idea by outlining a few major issues hindering marketing automation effectiveness as well as some possible solutions.

Taking the “Airplane” approach to tech adoption

airplane-xlargeIf you’ve seen the movie “Airplane”, you know how about one out of every twenty jokes is actually funny — it throws out everything it can and hopes for a laugh. Many companies take a similar approach when they buy a new technology; they invest in an enterprise solution, immediately try to implement the technology companywide, and then wait to see what works. The result is novice-level understanding of the technology across the board and highly ineffective results. Why? Because no marketer has the time to learn the in-and-outs of a new tech and then properly implement it in an effective way.

Solution: CMOs should first dedicate specific resources/individuals to become experts on the solution and test it on a small, focused scale before implementing it companywide. Those initial individuals then become champions of the solution and can guide expansion and the requisite procedural shifts in an effective way. This has become known as the Crawl, Walk, Run Approach at Integrate and our CMO, Scott Vaughan, has written about it at length.

Leaving the Ferrari parked in the garage

Marketing automation systems are machines that run on fuel: customer data. Inbound traffic is awesome, but it rarely provides enough fuel to take the Ferrari out for much of a drive. Most companies understand this and that’s why they leverage numerous media partners to fill the pipeline with leads. But when you’re dealing with 20 or more partners, it’s difficult to manage campaigns effectively: ensure media partner compliance and proper content dissemination; analyze and optimize media partner campaigns; manage invoicing and accounting; etc. The inefficiencies inherent to these top-funnel processes affect bottom funnel (that is, marketing automation) effectiveness for numerous reasons; primarily, it makes it incredibly difficult to both 1) coordinate the distribution of content along the buyer’s journey, and 2) optimize media investment according to customer insights derived from marketing automation.

Solution: CMOs should seek to centralize media partners into one place to provide a holistic view of lead generation program performance. This will deliver the necessary perspective to shift and develop processes that properly align the acquisition of customer data with their newly invested marketing automation systems.

Shoveling crap into a Ferrari

This happens ALL THE TIME. Organizations drop tens of thousands of dollars upfront on a marketing automation platform and then load it up with unusable data — which increases costs due to contact volume. Invalid formatting/values, unverified email and physical addresses, duplicate data, missing fields…all these issues make it incredible difficult for marketing automation systems to do their job. Many companies employ people who primarily scrub spreadsheets of such poor data to circumvent this problem, but that just slows down lead velocity, again undermining marketing automation performance.

Solution: Lead validation solutions complement and can directly integrate with your marketing stack. It’ll pay for itself simply by eliminating wasted volume in your marketing automation platform while also supporting overall performance.


[1] Craig Rosenberg (ed.), The CMO’s Guide to Technology (eBook), Lattice (2014), 9.

[2] Lattice cited states form SiriusDecisions and Frost& Sullivan/Bulldog Solutions; Ibid., 23.

[3] Ibid., 27.

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