The pros and cons of marketing automation

You’ve heard the buzz and been pitched by all the new vendors in marketing automation. Should you dive in or not? There are definite pros and cons. I’ve been a marketing automation advocate, but lately started questioning my lack of questioning. Which doesn’t mean I’ve wavered in my enthusiasm for automation, I just believe you should go in with your eyes open, knowing the potential pitfalls. Then make sure you plan to assess and tweak your programs.

Here are the pros and cons when you look at the promises of marketing automation.

Build a list of people you can groom into prospects and convert to customers. 

PRO: yes you can do this, and do it easily at low cost of entry with the carrot of great content.

CON: you will get a lot of people who will sign up and never ever convert, or worse, waste valuable sales time with no intention of buying.

It works for you 24/7, while you sleep. 

PRO: yes, it does.

CON: because it’s all automated, you may not pay a whole of attention. Are you using references in the content you send that become outdated, or controversial due to recent news? Are your links up to date?

Track users throughout the buying cycle. 

PRO: yes, you can.

CON: sometimes data links break, or a customer talks to someone else in your company and are either no longer interested or made a purchase that your automation cycle doesn’t know about. At either of these points you are now sending irrelevant information.

Send relevant emails based on user behaviour.

PRO: um, yes, it’s possible.

CON: people rarely follow a linear path. This is where you need to keep testing assumptions, interrupt the cycle.

Groom ‘suspects’ into ‘prospects’ and into real leads. 

PRO: yes, it’s possible.

CON: what if your email cycle is too long for some people and they go buy from a competitor? Again you need to test your assumptions and interrupt the cycle with a direct sales email or call.

These are just a few pros and cons I came up with. I’d be interested to hear what you think. Either share a comment or email me.