Marketing Pilgrim's "Inbound Marketing" Channel

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The Trouble With Marketing Automation

In its purest sense the idea of marketing automation is a good thing. The more you can automate a process to help achieve a desired result the better. Boiling marketing and sales down to repeatable and scalable events is the dream of all marketers because we all know the pressure to get more from less these days. Automation is supposed to help people do more with less so marketers are flocking to it.

As with most theories, however, the reality of the situation soon comes to life and the chinks in the marketing automation armor can be exposed as quickly as they can be celebrated. The trouble is that while it’s easy to sit back and say “if person X does Y then we give them Z to complete the sales process” those pesky people aren’t as similar as is required for a process to be repeatable AND successful over and over again.

Yet, marketers keep trying to get more from less as they continue to push hard earned leads through the middle of the marketing and sales funnel (MoFu) with a pre-programmed string of e-mail messages with a “one size fits all” approach. Sadly, this doesn’t differ much from the idea of buying broadcast television and hoping to hit someone at the exact right time that they are ready to buy.

So what’s a marketer to do to give themselves the best chance of turning leads into closed business? How can they manage a lead in a way that gives them the attention they need and still get more with less? Here are a few tips.

Get out from behind the desk – One thing that marketers often do is spend too much time looking at their market from their own point of view. The result is an expectation of how people buy from you or perceive your brand that can be way off base. This is trouble.

Marketers need to find out where their customers hang out and then determine ways to become active participants in their prospects world rather than dictating how their prospect should interact with the brand. One of the only ways to understand this is to get into the prospect’s shoes more often.

Move away from canned e-mail messages – No matter how much you think you have “personalized” a string of pre-programmed e-mail messages to drag your prospect through the middle of the sales and marketing funnel, the chances are much higher that you will lose more prospects than you catch.

Why? It’s pretty simple. People are much smarter than you think. When they start to get messages that are irrelevant to them or miss the mark completely based on their individual needs they will eject themselves from your sales process.

Go to where your prospects live, work and play – In today’s world of social media options there is no one-way to talk to a prospect. Each potential customer does different things for different reasons and gives different buying signals at different times. That sounds hard to manage but it doesn’t have to be. One principle that marketers should remember is that “like attracts like”. If you go where one prospect hangs out online like Twitter, Facebook or any number of other online options you will find others of like mind. Isn’t it better to be among those who are in a place where they are most likely to be receptive to your message?

Remember the humans! – Statistics and marketing go together like bread and butter. They are just meant for each other. One risk marketers run due to this union, however, is to lose their humanity in their message. In today’s social world, that could be the single most disastrous flaw in any marketing automation system. Dehumanizing the brand and the messenger turns people off. Turned off people don’t like to buy.

These are just a few ideas for you to consider but we realize that any list like this is far from complete. You probably know of many more ways to keep from alienating prospects once they enter your sales and marketing funnel.

How about sharing them with us in the comments? After all, it’s the human thing to do!