Skynet, and the five myths of marketing automation

The term ‘marketing automation’ sounds a little robotic. Conjuring up images of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and ‘Skynet’ gathering so much intel it evolves beyond the control of humans.

The interesting thing is that, in essence, the way that an automated marketing platform operates is to become a friendly version of Skynet. It will get really intimate with your customers, gathering detailed information about their preferences and behaviours – providing a seemingly very personal service to the person on the receiving end.

Instead of your ‘Skynet’ becoming so human it evolves scarily beyond your grasp, it becomes believably human to your customers. So much so, you can leave it to its own devices to feed valuable insights into every avenue of your business without you needing to oversee its work.

Now we have you thinking about marketing automation as a human member of your team, we’d like to dispel the five biggest MA myths:

Myth #1: Marketing automation makes marketers lazy

Reality: Lazy people are lazy. Clever people are innovative and creative.

The reality of suggesting that marketing automation makes people lazy is like saying that having a calculator means people can’t do maths. A calculator helps people to do complex calculations more easily and with guaranteed precision.

Marketing automation acts as a marketing calculator. It enables you to upskill your marketing team so they become a finely tuned machine. Your platform provides them with accurate information, drawn from real customer behaviours and feedback, which they then use to generate considered and highly targeted marketing and deliver it back through your automation tool.

Myth #2: I will easily see results with marketing automation

Reality: This is true. However, it requires some investment in the beginning before you get there.

We wouldn’t want to play down the effort required to get a marketing automation tool embedded into your approach. Remember to start small, set realistic objectives and regularly review what is working or not. You’ll quickly establish what works for your business, and what works for your customers and prospects. It’s at this point that you’ll start to reap the benefits.

Myth #3: Marketing automation is too expensive for SMEs

Reality: There are a number of marketing automation tools out there these days. So there is something for every budget. You may need some help to make sure what you’re buying is suited to your needs.

The more established platforms do tend to require a larger budget. However, lots of the cloud ‘software as a service’ (SAAS) tools now include ‘pay-as-you-go’ options. Plus, in my experience, the perceived costs of getting started are more than outweighed by the benefits.

Myth #4: Automating your channels removes creativity and is the biggest disaster to hit marketing in recent years

Reality: Automating marketing activity does quite the opposite – it allows you to develop more intuitive campaigns, with creative messages that directly target each of your audiences.

Because you know more about what your customers want, and this knowledge is ever-growing, you can focus your efforts on creating great content, with bespoke messages, that each of your audiences will be more receptive to.

Marketing automation makes your email marketing process dynamic, and the distribution simpler and more effective. So, in short, you have more time to spend on planning and being creative because execution and campaign management is taken care of.

Myth #5: Automation systems are impersonal and spammy

Reality: This brings us back to our ‘friendly Skynet’. The main benefit of creating automated journeys is the level of insight you can gain at each stage. This makes each communication more personal to your customers’ needs, including when your sales team follows up leads.

By approaching automation properly, you won’t blast your audiences with random messages that are not of interest. Instead, you’ll be using your platform to nurture your customers and prospects, bringing information they want to consume, at a time that is most appropriate, and guiding them carefully through your sales funnel.

Automation has benefits that go beyond eMarketing. It can also be used in the following areas:

  1. On your website to track user activity.
  2. To discover information about unknown users and progressively profile them over time.
  3. To gather customer data via web forms, and pre-fill forms for known users.
  4. On your social media platforms to support social selling.
  5. To drive event marketing.
  6. To understand your audiences’ behaviours online.

David Pickering | Head of Commercial and B2B | 30th April 2017

Do you have more questions about marketing automation or would you like to chat to our team about some options for your business?

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