A marketing automation system will change the way you market. But are you prepared for systematic marketing and the ongoing management and maintenance of the system and data?

marketing automation

I love marketing automation tools. Having been a marketer for more than 20 years I am blown away by the capabilities and power of these systems. And, I am convinced that we are only at the beginning of what is possible.

A marketing automation platform can

  • Give you the ability to quickly and easily share data between multiple marketing activities
  • Help you gain unique insights into customer behavior and improve your ability to successfully engage with customers at all stages of the marketing funnel
  • Organize and integrate multiple inbound and outbound marketing activities
  • Provide metrics about the performance of marketing campaigns and promotions
  • Automate responses to lead activity so that you can build nurturing programs that turn leads into customers

Because I am both a systems person and an idea person I am always on the lookout for new ways to use tools and systems to boost efficiency and productivity. I first implemented an integrated marketing automation platform (HubSpot) six years ago when I was a one-person marketing department. I found HubSpot because I was frustrated by using separate marketing tools (email, events, search, blogging, social media) with no easy way to manage and share the customer data between these independent applications. HubSpot was a godsend because it did all of that and more. Plus, I did not need to be worried about the next tool innovation because HubSpot was always on the lookout for those technologies and would consistently integrate them into the platform.

But here is the potential downside with such an integrated marketing platform for a small company…

On the one hand I was thrilled to have all of that power and capability at my fingertips. HubSpot made it easy to implement campaigns and other marketing activities and would automate various steps in the process.

On the other hand I realized that managing such a system could be a job in itself — in addition to the marketing activities. It made me very productive but I quickly came to realize that each piece I added to the marketing mix added a potential system maintenance issue. (As I said, I was a one-person marketing department.) Because of that I had to intentionally throttle what I did with the platform.

Don’t get me wrong; I was SO much more productive with HubSpot but I realized that to get the best out of such a system I had to spend a lot of time with it and that meant my time utilization was different after deploying the platform. Here is some of the new system management activities that I had to incorporate into my week:

  • Understanding the interrelationships between campaigns and marketing elements
  • Making sure that the automation piece did not trip over another,
  • Regularly utilizing the dashboard to monitor campaign results and implement tweaks
  • Reading and absorbing the improvement suggestions provided by the system
  • Understanding new tool components and how to use them

As it has grown over the years, HubSpot has continued to add incredible value with new tools, new data analytics and more integration. If you have never used a marketing automation platform before and you plan to use a world class platform such as HubSpot, be ready to be disrupted. It will change your work life and the way you go to market. And be prepared to be much more systematic and purposeful in your marketing activities because the system forces you to think that way. And that is a good result!

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