There are a number of myths and misunderstandings about Marketing Automation that have some people avoiding it like the plague. This is unfortunate, as Marketing Automation already has a strong following backed by evidence-informed practice and – whether you like it or not – it is the way marketing will be done for the foreseeable future.
Automation is generally thought of as one of two things: either an amazing advance in technology that makes life easier and drives us towards modernity or as a scourge on society – a cold, indifferent technology that will surely rob hardworking humans of their bread and butter. If you’re a proponent of the latter, guess what? The same things were said about the Internet (which you’re undoubtedly using right now in order to read this article).
Despite the 8 debunked myths we’ll be exploring (starting with 4 in this article and another 4 in a future article), contemporary marketers will either have to learn to love marketing automation or leave it. It never hurts to explore and learn to use a concept early on though, so if we haven’t convinced you of the invalidity of these myths by the end of this article, it’s still worth doing more research.
Myth 1 – Marketing Automation will Never Catch On
Some ‘super-savvy’ marketing leaders (i.e., generally those selling a different marketing method) have argued that Marketing Automation is an unnecessary addition to an already great platform of tools. They suggest that paying for automation is akin to throwing away money, as there’s not going to be any real ROI.
Myth 1 – Busted!
In order to debunk this myth, it’s important that you understand exactly what marketing automation is. To put it simply, marketing automation refers to a software program or hosted online platform that’s designed to automate particular marketing tasks and processes. These tasks include email journeys, social media communications, timely pop-up notifications, etc. More importantly, marketing automation also encompasses the organisation and categorisation of customer data, as well as measuring the quality of customer communications and interactions.
This measuring and categorising means that marketing strategies can be personalised for each customer. For instance, if you’re a department store selling multiple products, you can email parents your specials on children’s products during the hours of the day that parents are most likely to read them. You can target businessmen earning over a specific income with products they’re most likely to buy, and so forth.
Unless you’re personally emailing each individual customer in order to get to know them, there’s no better way to market than personalising communications for your target audiences. Without this strategy, you’re just bulk emailing and advertising to all your potential customers, and frankly, most of them are going to see your over-advertising as spam. With marketing automation, your marketing campaigns become more effective and trustworthy!
Myth 2 – Marketing automation is too expensive and complicated.
Some people don’t even investigate – let alone incorporate – marketing automation because they believe it’s too complicated or expensive.
Myth 2 – Busted
Once upon a time, you’d need a team of clued-in software developers, genius marketers, statisticians and a boatload of money to launch an intricate marketing campaign. These days though, all the groundwork has been laid out, and simple marketing automation options are plentiful.
The software and web-based interfaces available these days are designed to be completely intuitive and easy to learn, as well as streamlined to integrate with most Customer Relationship Management solutions and website platforms. There are also plenty of short courses available to help you learn the general ins and outs of marketing automation. If all else fails, good marketing automation companies will guide you through the process, such as the highly professional team at Swift Digital, who are here to help you every step of the way.
In regards to the costs involved, automated marketing can range from being literally free if paired with other marketing tools, to hundreds and thousands of dollars; however, it’s all relative and if you choose a reputable software or automated marketing company, the benefits will almost always far outweigh the costs. Overall, given the return on investment that automated marketing offers, it’s extremely affordable.
Myth 3 – My current marketing campaign works fine, So If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
A few people are completely happy with their current marketing strategies and do not feel the need to investigate automated marketing.
Myth 3 – Busted… sort of!
If you’re using a marketing strategy that’s working wonderfully for you, delivering a fantastic ROI and making life easy, then yeah – there’s probably no reason to change things dramatically. However, if you’re not measuring your results, then you’re seriously missing out.
As an example, email marketing is generally much cheaper than publishing across television, radio, billboards or magazines, so, many business owners use this as their primary marketing strategy. However, if you’re paying per email sent, you’re losing money every time an email goes unread. With marketing automation, the data collected about your customers allows you to personalise your email campaign to each individual, increasing the ratio of opens dramatically.
If you already have a strategy that works – then why not further boost it by using marketing automation to improve its reach?
Myth 4 – Marketing automation is impersonal and steals real people’s jobs
No matter what sort of technology it is, there’s a subset of people who believe that the leap into automation is impersonal, dangerous and ultimately replaces the jobs of humans. This is not a new belief – people have had these same fears for generations. Think candlemakers losing their role with the introduction of electricity, for instance.
Myth 4 – Busted!
The thought of ‘robots’ or artificial intelligence taking over the role of humans can be a scary thought, but let’s be realistic – nothing is ever truly going to replace the role of humans. Each time a new technology broadens our scope of possibilities, new jobs are created to fill new needs, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon and move with the times.
The concept of automation being too impersonal is a valid concern though, and it’s true – an automated email, event or advertisement will never be able to compete with the personalisation of a phone call or door-to-door salesman, but it certainly comes close. The ability to engage clients based on shared characteristics can be honed to a point where you’re able to address their age, gender, location, role within their job or life (such as parent), their previous purchase history, likes and dislikes, their opinion of your company, how they’ve engaged with you in the past and so much more. By doing this, a well-managed campaign will be able to make each customer feel uniquely nurtured.
Myth 5 – Marketing Automation only works for email marketing
Many business owners believe that marketing automation can only be used for email marketing and that it’s a very limited means of marketing.
Myth 5 – Busted!
When marketing automation was in its infancy, it was primarily email only, but this now couldn’t be further from the truth. While email marketing is still one of the primary strengths of marketing automation, these days you can also utilise the power of marketing automation for:
- Engagement Scoring
- Event Management
- Landing Pages
- Lead Generation
- Lead Nurturing
- Management Activities
- Metrics and Analytics
- Online Surveys
- Paid Advertising
- Sms and Mobile
- Social Media Marketing
- Video – and even more!
So as you can see, there are a ton of channels that marketing automation is relevant to beyond email marketing. Of course, the real bonus is that with marketing automation, the results of all these marketing strategies can be measured! Once marketers and business owners realise that marketing automation adds so many benefits to other channels, as well as streamlines processes and draws in so many leads, they are hooked.
Myth 6 – marketing automation is lazy and lacks creativity
Some people suggest that marketing automation is a lazy shortcut and that there’s no room for creativity, meaning that only inexperienced or slothful marketers use it.
Myth 6 – Busted!
This myth is one of those misunderstandings that marketing automation experts just shake their head at. Firstly, marketing automation does make things easier by allowing auto-scheduling of content, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s for lazy marketers. There’s a whole lot of scheduling, monitoring and measuring metrics, as well as strategising needed to perform quality marketing and follow up leads. In fact, the extra leads that marketing automation produces will ensure you’re kept super busy.
Dedicated marketing automation professionals don’t just click send and then sit back – they are continuously aware of what message their content relays to the audience and they monitor and reply to the responses. They develop methods of better personalising each future message and reviewing the results of past messages in order to hone the ability of the automated marketing strategies being used.
Secondly, the increased opportunities that marketing automation creates and the streamlining of monotonous tasks ensures you’ll have plenty of freedom for creativity. Think of it like this; if you were an artist and happened to have a personal assistant running around doing all your housework, laundry and bill-paying, how much more time would you have to think of and create beautiful works of art? If this same situation applied to your work using automated marketing, you’d have an amazing opportunity to focus solely on the aspects of your work that really mattered – such as effective campaigning, strategic marketing and impact measurement – and not have to spend all your time coding etc.
So as you can see, marketing automation isn’t lazy and doesn’t block creativity; however, it does make the task of marketing much, much easier. For those of you who actually do want to be a bit lazy (and let’s face it – everybody does sometimes) or who don’t feel they have that creative streak, you can just use the multiple pre-built templates most platforms offer and customise them for your company.
Myth 7 – Marketing Automation is just ‘Set and Forget’
Many old school marketers claim that marketing automation is just a set and forget tool that leaves customers hanging. Similar to the above myth, they say that this allows automation marketers to charge exorbitant amounts of money for doing very little work and that the results leave customers ignored and angry.
Myth 7 – Debunked!
As the answer for myth # 6 explains, you simply can’t be lazy and effectively run a marketing automation campaign – it’s just not feasible. Constant awareness and attention is needed for marketing automation and if your marketing strategy doesn’t include following up on customer enquiries and responses, well then, it doesn’t matter what type of marketing it is – it’s going to fail.
As an example of why you can’t just set and forget marketing automation, think of it like A/B testing, where you send out multiple versions of an email or test multiple website pages to see which one your customers respond to better. Automated marketing relies on this type of testing to ascertain what your customers are engaging with and why, so you can ensure you’re hitting the mark with them. Meaningful interaction with customers is the key and it has been shown over and over again that this increases conversion rates – a marketer’s role is a fluid one that requires constant engagement with the results and the customers.
Myth 8 – Marketing Automation is spam and only draws in dud leads
Finally, the last myth is that marketing automation is just spam and only draws in unprofitable leads.
Myth 8 – Busted!
There is a chance some people may be using marketing automation to send spam, but marketing automation in itself is nothing like spam – which is unsolicited, generally unwanted and a total waste of time. Of course, it stands to reason that the quality of the content distributed by marketing automation is completely up to the person using the platform. If you’re sending junk, you’ll get junk in return. If you’re only sending relevant material to people who have opted-in and ensure you include an unsubscribe option in all your correspondence, you’re not sending spam.
In regards to the quality of your leads, you’re able to funnel your information down to your audience based on what they like, what they need and who they are (for instance), so you’re targeting customers with exactly what they want to be targeted with. Research has shown that there’s over 450% increase in qualified leads (i.e., the ones you definitely want!) when using marketing automaton – you truly can’t go wrong!