5 Marketing Automation Myths Put to the Test

There are five key resources in marketing. No more, no less. Answering the central MRM question, ‘What needs to be created, by whom, using which technology, under which budget, in what timeframe?’ gives us the five-M paradigm: Materials, Manpower,  Machines, Money, Minutes.

Marketing automation systems can improve the use of each of these resources. But this kind of technology is still often mistrusted. How can technology do a better job than I do? Here are five common misconceptions for each marketing resource, and the reasons why Marketing Automation doesn’t take over your job, but helps you do it better:

Myth#1 – Our marketing material can’t be automatically generated

A comment often heard… And not uncommonly fueled by agencies. Although automated publishing does have some technical and creative limitations, it also has a wide array of not only financial, but also qualitative advantages.

Where creative concepts demand out of the box thinking, the brand guidelines demand consistency and the legal department requires adherence to rules. Automated publications are template-based productions, not only having the brand guidelines embedded in the template, but often already have the mandatory legal information such as disclaimers or publication numbers included.

We dare to say the creative limitations are seldom inflicted by templates used for automated publishing. The creative limitations were there already, documented in the brand guidelines, but they were very easy to miss. Templates enforce creative limitations without having to go though the brand manual, page by page, all 120 pages long.

To what extent does creative freedom overrule the brand guidelines or is creativity so important to risk legal compliancy? We all know the answer to that one.

Myth#2 – Management wants transparency to replace me

Although transparency on the usage and results of invested resources might scare some marketers, they are a blessing to the marketers who have created that control and transparency already:

  1. Executives at firms that measure marketing are more satisfied with marketing.
  2. Companies that measured marketing results were closer to their plans.
  3. Measuring firms raise budgets by double the amount of non-measuring firms.

Conclusion: measurement and transparency continues to be one of the best ways to create support for marketing at the executive level and is one of the best ways to request additional budget. Accountability seems to deliver the key to the board room.

Myth#3 – Marketing technology kills creativity

Almost 80% of the daily activities of a marketer are repetitive by nature. How about that for a creativity killer? Marketing technology allows you to reduce this percentage of time intensive administrative obligations. It reduces re-entry of data, it reduces errors and corrective tasks, it reduces the MS Excel copy/pasting activities which have become such a integral part of the daily marketing life. Ultimately, marketing technology enables you to spend more time on the creative process and strategic thinking.

Myth#4 – We don’t have budget for this project

This statement is either a result of “no business case” or “no owner”. In our experience it is likely there will be budget made available when there is a proven and positive ROI and a mandate.

The business case heavily depends on the hierarchical level of project initiation as described in the Marketing Operation Maturity Model. Internally trying to sell the features of software tools will get you less management buy-in than predicting the contribution to a potential sales increase or proving benefits to the shareholders. Reality is that marketing budget allocation is often campaign-driven, allocated to operational execution and not to the management of that execution.

Besides that, fragmented organizations are reflected in fragmented budgets. How to source a marketing infrastructure that supports overall Operational Excellence? It is all a question of Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) creating future benefits versus Operating Expenditure (OPEX) running the business as usual. A SaaS (Software as a Service) model will lower the costs to entry, but the ROI within single campaigns or departments is still not always possible.

Myth#5 – I am too busy to enter data in a marketing system

Most marketers these days can be pretty occupied  managing and mastering a growing amount of campaigns, segments and reports to the management. It is not uncommon that to support these activities a growing list of MS Excel sheets and systems needs to be maintained. A new tool does sound like more work.

But there is a big difference between being busy and being busy with the right things. This myth is often just a statement – sourced by frustration – on the current amount of data entry required for IT point solutions, oneoff MS PowerPoints, financial overviews etc. It really is an argument that supports the need for a centralized marketing platform.

Generally speaking, if you look at the entire process a central platform will reduce overall data entry and increase data accuracy. It is possible, however, that certain sub-processes, especially in the start-up phase of a campaign or production, requires more attention. But the time investment made at the start-up will pay itself back tenfold during the execution of the campaign, where coordination efforts and miscommunication will reduce dramatically.

This is an excerpt from the BrandMaker/MRMLOGIQ Whitepaper “Operational Marketing Excellence”, available for free downloading at BrandMaker.

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Author:Romek Jansen

Chief editor at MarketingGovernance.com. Founder of MRMLOGIQ.

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