Do NOT Invest in Expensive Marketing Automation Software…
…IF you haven’t figured out your target segments/buyers, don’t already have a content strategy in place, haven’t designed the processes and frameworks that will support it, and don’t possess a committed resource to own the platform and program execution.
You literally need all of the above to justify an often expensive marketing automation software investment. If you’re lacking just one, then you’re simply wasting money.
From what I’ve seen, many marketers are feeling like they HAVE to commit to marketing automation software because their peers are doing it, and it seems like a the logical next step for an expansion-stage company’s marketing engine — even if the groundwork isn’t laid out to actually support or leverage those tools.
Yes, if you are at the expansion stage, it likely IS time to start thinking about nurturing, inbound marketing, and lead scoring. But, again, if you haven’t nailed down the fundamentals (segmentation, strategy, and resource allocation) of marketing yet, then you should put the marketing automation software vendor selection process on hold for now.
Many of the companies that I work with are only using their marketing automation software for e-mail blasting prospects (all prospects getting the same messaging at the same frequency, regardless their segment, role etc.)
ACKKK! If this is how you are using your platform right now, you shouldn’t be paying five-figures a year for that software.
Quite honestly, you could use an e-mail marketing provider that is much less expensive, and will deliver the same results. For instance, ExactTarget (our recommendation, and what we use at OpenView), ConstantContact, MailChimp, and Vertical Response are all viable options.
I’m not just telling you this for my health, either. At OpenView, we practice what we preach.
In fact, OpenView has been using ExactTarget for our e-mail marketing strategy, which is primarily fueled by our weekly newsletter (If you haven’t signed up, please do! It’s fabulous, I promise). A couple months back we decided that its as time to elevate our relationship marketing strategy, and to do so, we would need to invest in more advanced marketing automation software.
However, after much consideration and vendor evaluations, we decided to hold off. We know our segments, our buyer personas, and we’ve got a ROBUST content engine (have you seen OpenView Labs or our blog?!). However, we lacked the framework, processes, strategy, and ultimately the full-time internal expert resource to execute the program. We are hunting for that person now — someone who will manage OpenView’s relationship marketing program, as well as work directly with our portfolio companies to develop their relationship marketing/nurturing strategies. But until that person is on board AND has built the necessary frameworks, we just won’t invest in top-of-the-line marketing automation software because, quite simply, we would be throwing a significant chunk of change out the window.
OK, now it’s time for a shameless plug.
If you or anyone in your network would be a good match for the Direct Marketing Associate position referenced above, please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is the LinkedIn job description. Thanks!