Marketing automation – key questions to answer first

, 3 min read

Over the past weeks, one question came up again and again: how do you successfully implement marketing automation in a company?

First of all, there is no generic answer to that question. Customers, markets and target group segments are simply too different. On top of that, the level of digital maturity of the company plays an important role: we are talking about much more than the “simple” introduction of a software solution. I will say more about this later.

During my last meeting with Inka Lamprecht, Director of Marketing & Communications of the Schöck Group, I had the opportunity to discuss this topic with her in some depth.

Marketing automation continues its advance

Current statistics clearly show: marketing automation is a rapidly growing field. More than 51% of the surveyed companies are already using it. Approximately 58% of B2B businesses are planning to introduce a relevant solution in the near future.

These are impressive numbers. And they mark a promising development.

Regardless of the euphoric excitement over the automated generation, qualification and “sales-ready” transfer of leads to the marketing department, however, the topic raises considerable challenges to businesses and their partners.

The challenges are great – and diverse

Inka and I identified a range of challenges in our further discussion. Among them:

  • A flood of technologies: It is easy to get confused by the vast amount of software solutions available. At present, more than 3,500 providers worldwide develop and/or sell so-called “advertising technology”. Marketing automation may only be a subsection of their field, but this does not exactly make the choice easier.
  • Business models of the providers: IT and business consultancy firms, (digital) agencies and technology providers are the primary planning and implementation partners in the market. There is no question that a lot of competent businesses are doing excellent work in this field. But a conflict is gradually emerging from this situation: the sales strategy and business model of these providers focus on quick sales – of consultancy sessions, implementation measures or simply the latest update of their software.
  • Expertise in enterprises: Those looking to launch a marketing automation system first need to be aware of their options. Without this essential background knowledge, it is impossible to develop the right strategies or find the right partners/solutions. Keeping the company expertise at the state of the art is the most fundamental task at hand. In a technological environment that is developing and advancing at breakneck speed, this raises a genuine challenge for the responsible parties.

A holistic digital strategy is key

Marketing automation cannot be a goal in and of itself. It certainly cannot be considered an easy way out of tedious everyday tasks.

Instead, one primary goal should take priority:

future-proofing your marketing efforts and improving your value creation throughout the entire organization by automating and interlinking systems.

These things do not happen overnight. And they cannot be done on intuition alone.

A holistic digital strategy is a MUST-HAVE.

Inka and I agree on the most essential factor in this effort: gaining greater clarity, transparency and orientation before the actual consultancy and implementation phase begins. Ask yourself the right questions.

What can marketing automation do for me? What can’t it do? What do we need to achieve our goals? And how do we consolidate this with the current structures that exist in our company?

If these questions are answered successfully, your marketing department will (finally) get to avail itself of a great opportunity:

shedding the prejudice of “funny pictures”. Instead, it can develop into a department that tangibly contributes to the success of the company for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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