Should we be using Marketing Automation? Pros & Cons
Marketing automation is a process that enables B2B technology teams to take a step back and allow software and other tools to handle part of their marketing processes. It’s an excellent strategy for lead generation and nurturing, and almost every high-earning B2B technology company uses it in one way or another.
However, it is important to remember that marketing automation is not guaranteed to work, and your company should avoid replacing all human interactions with automated processes. Still, it can save your brand a lot of time and effort if you get it right.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the pros and cons of marketing automation in the hope of educating readers and making sure you understand the upsides and downsides before you implement automation into your strategy for 2019.
The pros of marketing automation
Saving time and reducing investment
There is no getting away from the fact that automating some of your marketing practices will help to save a lot of time and money. It will allow your team to spend less time dealing with administrative issues, and allow them to focus on more important tasks.
Perfect for lead generation and nurturing
Using marketing automation, it is possible to generate and nurture leads without having to interact every single time the potential buyer moves a step further along their journey. Your team can design automated workflows that will keep your company in the mind of the researcher or buyer consistently.
Makes split testing easy
A/B testing or split testing in the process of running two or more variations of your web pages at the same time. A percentage of visitors will see the first variation, and the rest will see the second. Your team can then take a look at the results and use analytical tools to work out which version of your page performs best. Marketing automation takes the hard work out of that process.
Allows you to start with personalisation
Personalisation is definitely high on the list of our forward thinking marketing team clients at the moment, and lots of marketing automation platforms (such as HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot) allow you to begin to implement elements of personalisation, such as Call to Actions that adapt on the fly based on the behaviour of those visiting your website.
Want to now more? Read our Guide to Marketing Automation for B2B Tech Companies
The cons of marketing automation
It isn’t free
In most instances, marketing automation tools are not free to use (and can be quite expensive), and that means marketers may have to convince their bosses that an investment is worthwhile. That can put pressure on the marketing teams who are often expected to produce impressive results fast.
Automation requires trial and error
Segmenting audiences for marketing automation is somewhat of an art form, and it is unlikely that B2B tech teams will get it right straight away. That means marketers often have to engage in a process of trial and error so they can refine their approach and achieve the best possible results. Automation doesn't mean it will run itself completely!
A time investment is required
As trial and error is a significant part of marketing automation, initially, your marketing team will have to make a substantial time investment. Sure, automation can save time in the long-run, but during those early days of onboarding and setup, it requires a lot of care and attention whilst the team come up to speed in marketing automation best practices.
It can be quite complex
Lastly, it’s important to note that marketing automation is quite a complex process that requires many different insights and a vast amount of information to get right. If your team does not have access to the right information, automation can could ruin your chances of success, and it could have an adverse effect on the number of leads you generate.
Don't forget about people and process
Any experienced marketers reading this who have been involved with scaling marketing efforts globally will know that technology is only a small part of the picture. People and process are critical, and just because you have invested lots of money in clever marketing automation technology, it doesn't mean it will run itself. We always use the analogy that a marketing automation platform is the engine, whilst the people and process are the fuel and team that keep things running.
As you can see from both the pros and cons in this post, marketing automation can be somewhat of a double-edged sword when it is first put into place. However, those who refine their approach, work hard, and remain focused on their goals could save a fortune and drastically increase the number of leads and sales their website encourages in the future.
Don’t let the cons put you off, marketing automation is the future and B2B companies that fail to jump on the bandwagon could put themselves at a significant disadvantage in the coming years.