7 Reasons Marketing Automation Fails

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Stephen Kinsella

STEPHEN KINSELLA Operations Director

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Marketing automation doesn’t work for everyone. Many people have tried automating their marketing only to meet with poor or even disastrous results, causing them to swear off of it altogether. In most cases, it wasn’t because automation was a bad idea for their business; it was due to one of the following reasons.

1. Not Enough Time

One of the most common causes of failure in marketing automation is simply not giving it enough time. People hear how amazing it is, try it out and expect immediate results. When they don’t get them, they assume it isn’t working and give up on it.

The truth is that automated marketing works by accessing a lot of data, some of which can only be amassed over long periods of time. Some automated marketing requires complex algorithms to adjust and re-adjust to find the perfect balance, and some takes a hit-or-miss approach that plays the odds, and evens out over time.

When you hear of people who have succeeded with automated marketing, rest assured it didn’t happen overnight, but took months or years. Yes, some results can happen quickly, but more often than not, you have to take a long-term view.

One thing is certain: automated marketing won’t work if you don’t give it time.

2. Micromanagement

Automated marketing takes a lot of work and worry off your hands but it can take getting used to. Some people find it difficult to let go of the reins. When you’ve been in charge of marketing your product for so long, it’s hard to trust an automated process. Meddling with this process can sometimes be worse than not using it at all.

You should be putting some work into automated marketing, it’s true, but you need to draw a line and resolve not to cross it. If automated emails are being sent to potential leads, for example, you can ruin your chances by sending out one of your own as well. If you’re relying on automated methods to decide your ad spend, constantly readjusting things yourself could go against the algorithm’s determination, based on a larger set of data.

By constantly involving yourself, you can end up creating more work, not just the work that automated marketing was supposed to take off your hands, but extra work cleaning up after yourself too. On top of that, messing with the automation may just prevent the marketing from succeeding.

3. Laziness

Some people have the opposite problem. Rather than micromanaging, they put in no management effort whatsoever. Automated marketing techniques take a lot of work off your hands, but still require an input from you. We’re not quite at the point where machines can fully run themselves, which means you have to put at least some effort in to get started, and a little more to succeed.

4. Poor Quality

With any type of marketing, automated or otherwise, you’ll never reach your full potential if the quality of your work is poor. Automated marketing won’t get you anywhere if everything you give it to work with is poor to begin with.

Plenty of automated marketing results in failure, not because the automation isn’t working, but because the marketing isn’t. Automation is not an excuse to sit back; you’re still marketing to people, which means the standard of your work must be high to draw them in.

The good news is that automation saves you time that can be invested into maintaining or even raising the level of your marketing. As long as you put the work in, you will get results.

5. Lack of Research

Automated marketing needs data to function, without which it doesn’t know who to target, or with what. For certain forms of automated marketing, this data can be gathered automatically, while for others it requires more input from you. In either case, the more research you do and the more data you provide, the better your automated marketing results will be.

Too many people assume that an automated system can do all the work itself. They provide little to no input and expect great things. But in order to get anything from your automated marketing, you need to feed it something first. Do the research and it will yield results. If you don’t, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

6. No Follow Up

Automated marketing is great for bringing in new leads, but nothing beats a sales person at converting those leads. There’s only so much an automated system can do, and when it comes to convincing people to buy your product or use your service, it’s not always up to the task. You need to be there to follow up and make sure the leads it generates become customers.

Following up isn’t always literal, though sometimes it is. If your system is designed to bring in new enquiries, you need to have people available to handle those enquiries when they come in. Automated marketing has saved you time and money generating them, so put that time and money to good use by focusing on conversions.

Sometimes following up is as simple as ensuring that you have a quality landing page or even just a quality product. Automated marketing can bring people to you, but it can’t make them buy. Make sure that when they arrive, people are convinced by your sales team or the content on your site, otherwise you’re wasting your automated marketing on page views rather than profit.

7. Wrong Discipline

Finally, it’s fair to say that not all forms of automated marketing work for every industry. That’s not a failure of automated marketing as much as a fact that every business is different, and needs different tactics.

However, just because the automated marketing that a business tries doesn’t work for it, that doesn’t mean that all automated marketing won’t work. It’s a broad scope, with plenty of possibilities, so try to find something that works for you. If e-shots were a dud, there’s nothing stopping you from trying cart abandonment emails. Perhaps automated PPC campaigns didn’t work for you on Google, but they could still work on Facebook. Use the technique that’s right for you, and you’ll find a form of automated marketing that saves you time and money, and gives a great return on investment.

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Stephen Kinsella

STEPHEN KINSELLA Operations Director

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Stephen has over a decade’s digital marketing experience and 475+ client projects under his belt specialising in SEO, content marketing and local search marketing.

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