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4 things to think about before implementing a marketing automation system

When done right, the implementation of a marketing automation tool may lead to a significant increase in productivity, revenue and campaign efficiency. After working with the implementation of marketing automation tools in several companies and industries, I’ve summed up a few tips for those of you who are considering to launch an MA tool for your company.

1. Scan all your data before implementing a marketing automation system

It’s no news that data management is key to a successful transition to MA. Without the good foundation of comprehensive, accurate, valid and timely data, having orchestration tools alone simply won’t do the job.

Often marketing departments who lack technical competence will give this particular task to the IT-department, hoping that they will just “fix everything.”

The first step is to understand the data structure of your company. What would it mean for exactly your company to have a 360-degree view of the data structure? Do you have both online and offline data? How many Software Development Kits (SDKs) do you have in your apps? Are they wired to a data platform?

2. Do you have the right people?

How should you structure an MA team that is geared for success? In my experience, it is about creating a good mix of technical, communicational and analytical skill sets.

Typically we have one person overseeing MA efforts as a whole. It is beneficial if this person has some technical skills or is familiar with data integration to some extent, especially in the implementation phase.

Furthermore, it’s beneficial to have a few specialists in charge of execution. It could be one person per channel, or per market, depending on what works best for the structure of your company. Specialists should be fluent in all data points, in addition to being power users of the MA platform. Good communication skills and an eye for creatives and content are also useful qualities here, as they either create content themselves or work with the marketing communications team or agency to create compelling, convincing, and clickable content.

In addition to these two core roles, it helps to have two separate resources focusing on analytics of campaigns and technical data integration.

3. Create a roadmap according to your business goals

Oftentimes a new marketing automation system comes with new possibilities. It can be new channels to communicate with customers or data points that connect you to new targeting possibilities. I have often seen a great deal of enthusiasm from different departments, who are eager to pitch ideas for new campaigns.

It is then important that a central function exists to prioritise the right ideas. Decisions should be in line with the overall strategic goals of the company and grounded in a thorough analysis. This team or person should have direct dialogue with strategic stakeholders of the company to stay up to date on the top business priorities while establishing trusting relationships with different teams in the marketing department or local markets.

Another good idea is to use a project management tool or sheet where all ideas are listed and measured against each other before execution. Here are some questions and metrics to consider:

  • How much business impact in terms of revenue will this idea bring?
  • How much effort is required?
  • What’s the scale of this campaign?
  • Are we looking for quick-wins or long term impact?

4. When implementing a marketing automation system – don’t underestimate content

We often get very excited about all the data and technical enablements in an MA implementation, which makes it easy to underestimate the role content plays. This is especially true for companies of a certain scale that don’t have a branding team or companies that work with different markets and language that makes tracking content centrally difficult.

No matter if an email is sent from an MA system or manually, the first thing that impacts its open rate is the subject line and preheader – the copy that greets them. With new ways of working and a system that many find unfamiliar, common automation mistakes often go unchecked. Take Netflix for example, a company that has an incredibly efficient automation system for their email recommendations. However – all of their preheaders are some random URLs! I wonder, had the click rate been better if their preheaders were descriptions related to the content of the email?

Is your company looking to implement a new marketing automation system or have you just recently completed an implementation? What are your thoughts on the process? Let us know!

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