The Not-So-Obvious Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation
With companies like Hubspot and Marketo pushing their marketing platforms ever more, I decided to take a look at the pros and cons of marketing automation software in order to better explain it to both myself and PBG’s potential clients. Here’s what I learned:
1) You can reach more than a single channel
I’m not sure if marketing ever was a single channel, but what I’m trying to say is that the Internet provides more channels than ever to contact potential customers. There are videos, pay-per-clicks, virtual events, ads, chats, and who knows what else. The task of reaching your audience is daunting, hence the help of automation software. Such SaaS can provide you everything from database management, lead scoring, analytics and reports, social marketing, landing pages, and more. That means instead of having to learn each individual aspect of Internet marketing, you have the ability to use a single platform to easily do it all.
2) It aligns with your sales team
“Sales and marketing” are often grouped into that single phrase because they work best when they work together. The difficulty, though, is making them work together. Marketing automation consolidates your sales and marketing platforms, creating a feedback loop where the quality and quantity of leads can be adjusted by the marketing team depending on the needs of the sales team.
3) You can see the whole funnel
Marketing teams now have metrics and indicators for their success. Instead of taking credit for sales’ success and blaming them for sales’ failures, marketing teams have clear insight into which marketing techniques generate the most leads and, in turn, sales.
4) It saves you money
Decreased labor cost, increased efficiency. Enough said.
1) It’s a slippery slope from easy to lazy
You have to remember that your target audience is not just a bunch of users. They’re human beings. You can spend as much time as you’d like trying to craft auto-responses and messages, but at the end of the day you still can’t beat the one-on-one personalization that old-school marketing offers. That means you may be able to generate leads and Facebook interest, but you still have to put in the effort to make calls, respond to emails, etc.
2) It costs you money
The part about decreased labor? Yeah? That only comes after you spend hours upon hours migrating your data, training your staff, building your processes, and integrating everything with your CRM system (if you have one, which you probably should at this point).
In the end, the pros of marketing automation software definitely outweigh the cons. But as an executive, you should be sure of understanding what marketing automation is before fully investing your money — and your company — into it. Marketing automation may be the key to unlocking future revenue, but you still need to know how to turn it in the lock.