The concept of marketing funnel automation has been around for decades. In the 80s, for example, instead of being added to an email campaign, marketers would enroll prospectives into snail mail campaigns if the prospectives completed a certain action, such as signing up for a cassette tape auto-pay/ship program. Today, technology has taken that same process and streamlined it into a series of marketing processes that can be analyzed and tweaked based on customer interactions. Suffice it to say that marketing funnel automation has come a long way thanks to technology. However, technology alone is not the panacea for all of our marketing woes—you can’t flip a switch and watch your bottom line grow. Instead, it’s important to view technology for what it is: a powerful tool that can be leveraged to produce optimal results from an already stellar marketing foundation.
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In a nutshell, marketing funnel automation can be extremely beneficial to businesses. However, the extent of its benefit is directly related to the quality of the content it’s applied to and how well it’s implemented. In order to successfully implement a marketing automation system, marketers must identify and make plans to overcome the challenges they will face. The most common hurdles accompanying any marketing automation implementation process include:
- Lack of content/poor quality content
- Software complexity and insufficient staff training
While budget is a valid concern and should always be considered when making a business decision, the recent marketing automation trend has flooded the market with new software and tools and this, in turn, has made finding a good marketing automation tool increasingly cost effective.
Not only are marketing automation products available at a lower price point than in the past, many marketing automation companies have started offering customizable implementation. By customizing the implementation process, businesses can get the tools they really need and not pay for the functions they don’t. This option also offers the implementation process to be handled in segmented stages based on the client’s budget.
Content Quality and Quantity
Content is king—this phrase rings true in many industries, but has solidified itself as a pillar of modern marketing best practices. The quality of content is an especially crucial point when applied to marketing automation, where a business has the ability to target prospectives with customized content (based on buyer personas) at specific steps in the buyer journey.
However, the ability to individualize content using marketing automation is not where a marketers job ends… it is also the marketer’s responsibility to ensure that there are different types of high-quality content available to be personalized, and plenty of each type, to keep up with the marketing automation leads. This output can be extremely hard to fulfill from both a quality and quantity standpoint. In fact, in a 2014 survey of nearly 1000 marketing professionals, run by the Everything Technology Marketing blog, 32.1 percent cited content as one of their top challenges when it comes to marketing automation.
Getting over this hurdle is simple, but it means devote more resources to the development of content. Whether that resource is the time of a current employee, or cash to hire a content writer or contract with a marketing automation firm.
Software Complexity and Staff Training
In order to reap the benefits of marketing automation, a business must have knowledge and skills to implement it properly and use it well. This is a common challenge for marketers, particularly those who are new to using marketing automation software and/or have purchased an expensive, shiny, but complex tool.
Instead of diving into uncharted waters and attempting to master an unwieldy software program alone, marketers should reach out to digital marketing firms, stacked with skilled professionals who understand the ins and outs of marketing automation, to help fill in the gaps. These firms can help marketers with development, implementation, and management, but can also offer comprehensive training so that staff can use the marketing automation tool into the future.
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