marketing automation

Why Marketing Automation Tools Aren’t Improving Your Marketing

Gee RanasinhaMarketing

There’s an entire world of business automation and productivity applications, designed to help organizations large and small become better at sales. Or communications. Or marketing. Or customer relations. Or whatever.

Streamline a business process, or ten. Become more efficient. Get more productive so that you can focus on what matters.

Open up your web browser and within seconds you can find 1001 articles or sales pitches (which, today, are unfortunately often the same thing) about how you can improve your business marketing.

Over the past few years, the marketing automation software industry has exploded. Today there are thousands of marketing automation software products and services out there that can help reduce the inertia of getting back to prospects or clients. Or keeping a regular visible social media presence. Or monitoring your brand’s – or industry’s – visibility and sentiment in the virtual world to create an online temperature gauge.

In other words, there’s no longer an excuse for not getting more things done. Your office can now be with you 24/7, and what you can’t take with you can often be automated.

Don’t Have The Time, Or Don’t Have the Will?

We’re just finishing up a marketing project for a start-up based in Europe. We’ve created corporate ID, logos, and brand guidelines. We’ve designed and built their website, CRO‘d and SEO‘d it until it bled, and created a blog. We’ve devised lead generation and lead nurturing programs, and created systems to allow them to measure reach and effectiveness.

We’ve implemented a couple of marketing automation tools for them. Set-out a structure and formula for their content marketing initiatives. We’ve scoped out the most appropriate online properties for the audience that they’re looking to attract. We’ve also created alerts for various keywords important to the business, to allow the company to be aware of what’s being said and have the opportunity to promptly participate in the conversations.

However the client came back to us saying that, after thinking about it for a while, she doesn’t have the time to use any of it.

She says that she doesn’t have the time to blog on a regular basis, or to interact on social media channels. She doesn’t have the time to look at the custom website analytics summary that shows how visitors are coming to her website, and what search keywords they used that got them there.

She’s too busy to see which content, publicized on which social media channels, get the most traction; and the best days and times to interact. Those nicely-designed personalized email communications will never get sent because she has no time to inform her customers about new products, or promotional offers.

Marketing Automation Isn’t Only A Question Of Time

Sure, I understand that there are tons of things that a start-up needs to be on top of at the beginning. However, I’m guessing that creating awareness – leading to interest – that hopefully leads to sales has to be up there on the priority list. If there are no sales, there’s no business.

No matter how low the barriers to entry are reduced, there’s a simple reason why marketing strategies, initiatives and tools (whether automated or not) don’t work for the way that you’d like them to.

It’s not about features, easy-of-use or how to roll-out the process across your company. It’s not even about price, or cost (which, as we all know, are two very different things).

It’s because, at the root of it all, you don’t want to improve your marketing. Why? Because you’re frightened.

Without the excuse of being too busy, you don’t have any excuses. Without an excuse you’re opening-up yourself to the prospect that the whole project could fall down like a house of cards, and you won’t have anything to hide behind to convince others – and yourself – that it wasn’t really your fault.

That scary feeling in the pit of your stomach is preventing you building that new website. Or make that presentation at the local small-business association meeting. Or recruit staff. Or create a direct mail campaign.

On the one hand you want to give it your best shot. On the other hand you want to keep something back, so that you can blame something other than yourself in the event of failure. I’m guessing that this particular business owner has made the investment in marketing services so that she can reassure herself that she “did all she could” when, some time in the future, she’s looking into why her business failed.

On The Edge Of Security Is Where The Magic Happens

Until you confront the fear that’s holding you back, there isn’t a productivity-enhancing automation tool in the world that’s going to help you. Make that deal with yourself to accept the possibility of failure, and to do whatever’s necessary (regardless of comfort) to make sure failure doesn’t happen – even if it exposes you to what you perceive to be shame, ridicule and embarrassment.

Do what you know needs to be done.

Once you stop letting Fear run your business you may find – like I did – that, actually, you don’t really need all those productivity tools after all.

It’s not about automation, Big Data, Inbox Zero, or Getting Things Done.

It’s about making a commitment.