How to Implement Marketing Automation for Your Small Marketing Team – An Incremental Approach

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Marketing automation—which replaces separate technologies with a single, integrated system—sounds like a busy marketer’s dream come true. However, if you’re like most busy marketers, you’ve probably looked at marketing automation technology and thought, “This looks awesome, but I have so much going on right now—how would I ever find time to implement a marketing automation system? And I just can’t afford to bring all my marketing activities to a full stop while we implement something that could take a long time to ramp up.”

We realize that implementing marketing automation can be a particularly daunting task, especially for small marketing teams, and we’re here to help! Like any successful marketing strategy, having a plan can help make your transition to marketing automation run more smoothly—it can also help you take full advantage of the many tools marketing automation has to offer.

An Incremental Approach to Implementing Marketing Automation

In David Raab’s “Marketing Automation: One Step at a Time” white paper, he outlines a practical way to get started without a lot of stress, pain, or downtime. The process is so simple that we could explain all six steps in a video that runs less than two minutes:

Here are the incremental steps the video addresses:

Step 1: Pick a system that’s easy to deploy, easy to measure, has high potential, and provides a gateway to change.

Step 2: Deploy the marketing automation system. Start by duplicating existing marketing programs, such as a “Hot Leads Outreach” program, a tradeshow campaign, or your customer newsletter.

Step 3: Identify improvements that can be made to the programs that you duplicated in Step 2. From this group, select a set of changes that utilize different features of your new marketing automation system, such as list segmentation, landing pages, or reporting.

Step 4: Measure the results of the changes you’ve made by comparing the results to the goals you set before implementing marketing automation.

Step 5: Implement the more complicated marketing automation features such as lead scoring, process improvements, behavior-driven nurture programs, and revenue analysis. While using marketing automation to improve basics like email marketing is important, getting the full value from your marketing automation system requires implementing these tools as well.

Step 6: Keep looking ahead. As you continue to integrate marketing automation tools into your marketing programs, marketing automation will become part of your marketing planning process.

Interested in learning more about David Raab’s incremental approach to marketing automation? Download the whitepaper, and learn more about Act-On Software’s marketing automation toolkit by visiting our website.

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  • http://www.brightcarbon.com Joby Blume

    Isn’t the problem that ‘Tackle the Hard Stuff’ is where all the value lies? Because up until that point one is paying for marketing automation but only using it for email marketing – which can be handled more cheaply by other systems. OK, maybe some marketers don’t have the ability to create landing pages, or to segment lists – but I think most people running AdWords or sending email blasts would have this.

    I agree with David Raab’s steps – it makes sense to implement quickly and tweak as you go. But all the challenge is in a single step – and that’s where guidance is needed. Arguably, it makes sense to start planning and preparing for step 5 well before one gets to it – as companies need an awful lot of good content to make marketing automation work.

    I think perhaps a Step 0 might be helpful too – make sure you actually have enough leads that you need marketing automation. There’s no point automating marketing if sales want any lead as soon as it comes in.

    I wrote about my failure with marketing automation with my last employer here – http://www.brightcarbon.com/blog/marketing-automation-a-failure/ – David Raab and others had a number of interesting comments to make.

    • Donna Raines

      Joby, thanks so much for your feedback and insights. Yes, marketing automation can be a complicated process and utilizing all the features offered by the platform is something that proves difficult for many marketers. However, step 5 isn’t necessarily one step (as this simplified overview might suggest). David Raab actually breaks it down into smaller steps in his white paper. The success of marketing automation isn’t based solely on technology, but also on the plan put in place by a marketing team. Without strategy, marketing automation can’t reach it’s full
      potential.

      In regards to your point about sales leads, we understand your pain. At Act-On, we stress the importance of universal definitions of a marketing-qualified lead and a sales-qualified leads that have been agreed on by both marketing and sales. Knowing who is in charge of what prospects at what time is an important part of the organization’s success as a whole.

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