For all the discussion around marketing automation lately there are still some widely held misconceptions, according to a an Oracle Marketing Cloud and Demand Gen report.

Marketing automation is fast becoming a competitive necessity for many companies.  The report finds that, while many organisations have found success implementing the strategy, a lot of marketing automation systems are still in their infancy and are yet to realise their full potential.

The study and subsequent report are based on Demand Gen’s own research, as well as input from industry experts. By dispelling five common myths surrounding marketing automation, the authors seek to highlight its benefits and explore what it takes to unlock the technology’s full potential.

“Marketing automation solutions are designed so marketers can attract, engage and convert buyers across all marketing channels,” the report reads. Eighty per cent of those using the technology saw an increase in leads, with twelve per cent achieving lead increases of fifty per cent or more, according to data in the report.

Even more tantalising is the possibility that many marketing automation strategies aren’t yet at full potential, with 59 per cent of companies not yet fully utilising their market automation technology.

“Companies that have not yet deployed marketing automation — or that have deployed, but are only using basic functionality — are in good company. Even those that have already implemented the technology are not as advanced as is often portrayed,” according to the report.

The report outlines five fallacies that organisations have bought into, which may be preventing full utilisation or adoption of marketing automation strategies.

  • Myth 1: Marketing Automation Is Too Difficult To Deploy And Use

While more sophisticated and interconnected systems are more valuable to an organisation, marketers can realise value without rolling out all capabilities from the start. Focusing on primary objectives and implementing a system via the ‘crawl–walk–run’ approach means marketers can see initial returns and then progress to a more sophisticated system.

“Over time, the marketing group can tap into more and more functionality to support increasingly sophisticated, multidimensional programs and campaigns … By adopting this phased approach, marketers stand a much greater chance of immediate adoption and long-term success.”

  • Myth 2: Marketing Technology Is Overwhelming And There Are Too Many Choices
A simplified decision tool helps prioritize technology purchases Courtesy Oracle
A simplified decision tool helps prioritise technology purchases. Courtesy Oracle

Multitudes of marketing technology solutions are currently available to marketers today, but the report warns marketers not to be too dazzled by the latest-and-greatest tools before first developing a solid mastery of the core.

To prioritise their technology choices, marketers need to assess how well any given technology supports their goals. Rather than clambering for cutting edge tech, marketers need to assess potential technology in relation to goal obtainment, and “select the technologies likely to yield the most measurable impact”.

 

  • Myth 3: Marketing Automation Is Only Focused on Outbound Campaigns

In spite of thoughts to the contrary, marketing automation can support the full spectrum of engagement scenarios. Marketing automation can support outbound and inbound campaigns, gleaning insights from campaign reporting to fuel further interactions that trigger response and movement along the path to purchase. This allows marketers to integrate outbound and inbound campaigns enables them to connect with more empowered and informed customers throughout the customer journey.

  • Myth 4: Marketing Automation Enables The Marketer To Dictate The Buyer’s Journey

Marketing automation provides effective tools to gather intelligence that buyers leave behind on their journeys. However, the report notes, “It’s important to understand that the use of marketing automation does not equate to presetting programs that drive desired behaviour.”

Acknowledging what marketing automation cannot do is necessary for successful implementation and operation, the report cautions. “While this technology can free marketers from many mind-numbing tasks — and actually reduce required resources — while supporting the full spectrum of engagement scenarios, it cannot change the new buyer-seller dynamic.”

Marketers who accept this are better able to utilise systems to attract buyers and guide them at every stage of the buying journey.

  • Myth 5: Organisations Need An Expansive Content Marketing Team And Resources To Use Marketing Automation Effectively

Marketing automation is incorrectly seen as a tool only for those with expansive resources, the report said.

However, “marketing automation by definition reduces resource requirements by automating many of the tasks associated with attracting, engaging, and nurturing prospects and customers,” according to the report.

Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications, said in the report that “Marketing automation is like any other tool; the results companies generate by using it depend on their proficiency with the tool.”

Organisations with limited resources can still generate impressive results, particularly if marketing automation is integrated with content marketing. “The bottom line is to employ a step-by-step approach to producing and delivering content, aligned with buyers’ needs and priorities,” the report said.

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