Why marketing automation is not a day at the beach

A few months ago, I attended a free educational event hosted by a marketing-automation vendor. The half-day event was full of great tips … but there was one marketing message that I found to be misleading.

Namely, slides showing a marketer chilling at the beach, drink in hand. Because with all the time marketing automation would save you, you’d have more time for the relaxing things in life. Like drinking margaritas on the beach, presumably on a Tuesday while less tech-savvy marketers are toiling away on new landing pages.

Yeah, right. I wish.

If you are the lucky (hands-on, tactical) marketer who is in the trenches using marketing-automation software, it is not going to decrease your workload. It’s going to increase it – considerably.

Instead of creating one monthly email newsletter, you’ll be creating dozens of nurture emails, along with all the segmentation and logic that tells them when to fire. You’ll be in charge of fixing things you never had to worry about, like how your leads travel through the entire sales funnel, and all the little places data can get lost or corrupted all along the way. You’ll be doing more testing and optimizing and metrics reporting than ever before.

You’ve been warned.

Marketing automation is not going to lead to playing hooky on the beach while your boss praises your brilliance in absentia.

But here’s why it can be worth the extra work.

It allows you to be more scientific, specific and effective with your marketing efforts than before:

  • So you can stop sending thousands of people email they don’t want in favor of sending hundreds of people a message that’s actually meaningful.
  • So you can stop referring to people who filled out a form as “leads” until they actually engage in behaviors that indicate a willingness to buy.
  • So you can measure how much your leads are contributing to pipeline and revenue, proving your value to your company’s bottom line.

Marketing automation is powerful. It can help you be a better marketer. But it ain’t gonna earn you extra beach days. Nope, not this summer. Sorry.