For more information like this article about how to properly use marketing automation in your inbound marketing, see our  Marketing Automation Information page .

red F All too often, marketing departments get caught in the marketing weeds. Marketing automation is supposed to help untangle you from the weeds by relieving you of tedious and mundane analytical and marketing tasks. However, it’s easy for marketers to fall into the death trap of getting obsessed with marketing automation campaigns so much that they forget what inbound marketing is all about in the first place.

Here are 10 signs that you are failing at marketing automation. If you read one of these and say, “Hey, that’s me,” don't worry -- it’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing. It means you're not in denial. You just might need to reset your focus, and remember why you're doing your job in the first place.

So without further ado, here are the 10 signs you're failing at marketing automation .

1. You have to hire help just to work the numbers.

Think quality over quantity. If you're running multiple systems and need a team of interns just to pull all the information together in Excel, that's not good. Marketing campaign optimization must be done in as close to real time as possible. If you are running your marketing analysis like a big ship that takes forever to turn, then you're going to miss out on incremental opportunities.

2. You're using multiple systems and software packages to make it work.

This may be the reason why you have a team or interns on hand…just to tie all your different marketing platforms together. Marketing can be hard. However, that doesn’t mean the systems and software you use to market your products/services and measure success have to be difficult to use. Before going down the rat-hole that can be marketing automation, review and assess you marketing software and systems infrastructure. Make sure you're set up for success before you even try to be successful.

3. You are more focused on testing instead of overall traffic and lead flow.

We’ve all heard stories of marketing departments churning out a ton of A/B and multi-variate tests in hopes that the few visitors and leads that visit their website will convert into customers. There is something inherently wrong with this approach. More often than not, marketers forget that you need traffic first. If you are not amped up about the optimizations you’ve made to your website and/or your marketing to increase overall traffic and lead flow, then chances are you have missed a critical step.

4. You think a drip campaign is going to spit out awesome leads and customers.

Not much has to be said here. Just because you have set up a drip campaign with a sequence of offers that you *think* will result in the highest possible conversion, doesn’t mean that will happen. After you have optimized your overall marketing efforts so traffic and leads are flowing (sign #3 above), take some time to review the leads you have generated. Are they in line with your target market? What information are you missing in order to do this analysis? What information is your sales team missing in order to convert these leads into customers? 

5. You haven’t written a blog post this week.

You can’t expect that whitepapers, ebooks, and webinars alone are going to convert traffic into leads and leads into customers. Just like testimonials help build the trust of leads and prospects, a blog can serve as a sounding board for members of your company to offer their opinions on your industry, current events, and the next wave of the future. Writing a blog post will allow you to flex your intellectual muscles and show your prospects and leads that you know what you’re talking about. Sometimes this can be stronger than a testimonial.

6. A majority of your traffic comes from paid media.

It should come as no surprise that visits to your website from organic sources like organic search, social media , and direct traffic convert into leads and customers at much higher rates than paid media. If more than 50% of your business depends on paid media, it’s time to reassess your marketing approach and shift some of your investment from outbound marketing to inbound marketing. Paid media is not bad, but if you don’t have a firm grasp on inbound marketing, chances are you're paying too much to convert leads and customers than you should be. Not only will this help your bottom line, but it will allow you to potentially shift dollars into web analytics and better marketing automation tools to make your job easier.

7. You don’t know what sources are responsible for driving leads.

If you are so consumed in your marketing automation that you aren’t paying attention to lead sources, you should STOP your marketing automation. Go back to the basics, and make sure you have a firm grasp on the levers you have at your disposal to drive traffic to your website and leads to your database.

8. You purchase “leads” from a database company.

This sign doesn’t even make sense. How can people be considered leads if they've never even heard of you before? Gone are the days of purchasing lists and pummeling them with crappy automated messages. Not only is it probably the most ineffective thing you can do, but people here at HubSpot equate this practice to killing kittens. Now, do you really want to do that to kittens?

9. Your marketing automation system doesn’t integrate with your CRM.

A marketing automation system is supposed to make marketing easier. A CRM system is supposed to make managing leads and customers easier. If they can’t talk to each other, then you are making a lot more work for yourself. Before deciding on marketing automation and CRM platforms, make sure they can integrate with one another, and make sure you have the budget to make it happen. You will thank me later for this one.

10. Your marketing stops once the lead is handed off to a sales rep.

Here at HubSpot, we take pride in our lead generation and sales processes. Before a lead turns into a customer, it is the responsibility of BOTH marketing and sales to see that the lead is worked. Therefore, it's critically important to make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Also, if you determine that certain leads are not a good fit, don’t waste your time working them over and over again.  Keep them for a rainy day, or cut them from your database all together.

Can you relate to any of these signs? What are your words of wisdom for other businesses interested in setting up marketing automation systems?

Image Credit: geishaboy500


Originally published Sep 1, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


Marketing Automation