Marketing automation is one of the most valuable tools at the modern day marketer's disposal.
Just to re-hash, the main benefits of marketing automation include:
- High level personalisation, meaning more meaningful engagement
- The ability to better target prospects and existing customers
- Improved customer experience
- Better email marketing
- Reduction of human error
- Stronger lead management
- Elimination of repetitive tasks that allow for more time on other projects
- Better campaign marketing: being more effective in multiple channels
- Control: automate certain marketing tasks and greater control over multiple channels
- Better insight: performance tracking and proving ROI
So given the above, why are fewer than 10% of organisations using marketing automation? (Forbes)
While individual rationale behind stalling adoption rates will differ from company to company, it’s useful to evaluate the sentiment and assess its strengths and weaknesses.
1. It's only for "big players"
Proper marketing automation does tend to be easier for large entities to access. Why? Because it needs a comprehensive supporting infrastructure; meaning companies must have a "friendly" website, social media accounts and CRM in order to really be effective. Understandably it can be cost prohibitive for smaller companies who don’t have the right infrastructure nor the budget to build new (or fix the old).
Unfortunately, new technologies are often cost prohibitive for the smaller guys, to begin with. This will likely change with time as we find new ways to do more, with less.
2. The "traditionalist" rationale
Simply put this is a motivation issue: the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Some companies are also just more comfortable with traditional sales and marketing methods and aren't interested in extending their investment in technical systems. Any investment in digital marketing tools will increase the value of your marketing outputs, however, there needs to be a clear case arguing the benefits for the cost.
Fortunately, many of the cloud based marketing automation systems actually offer companies with little technology debt the ability to jump right in at the deep end with automated digital marketing.
Regardless, with time as the industry is able to actively demonstrate the benefits and return on investment possible through marketing automation, the cost versus investment arguments will soften.
3. Resource constraints
So we have looked at how not having the right infrastructure can be restrictive, but having a comprehensive and often expensive system in place can be equally difficult for companies looking to adopt marketing automation. Being "locked in" to an existing CRM is a common complaint, however many marketing automation platforms integrate with the major CRMs.
4. The Sales-Marketing cultural disconnect
The all too common disconnect between sales and marketing teams can be prohibitive in adopting new technologies. Sales dominant organisations with a robust CRM often don’t see the need for marketing automation; in order to convince them otherwise you need to clearly evidence return on investment. Yes, money, time and labour are required investments, but it is important to quantify the benefits, define the risks of not getting on board, do the math and take your case to the key decision makers.
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