Align your marketing automation team with cutting-edge technology
3 minute read
Many marketing leaders embrace the possibilities of new technology. But marketing automation is not only about technology — it is about the people and team too.
Marketing automation has been around for a while, but some companies are still struggling to make it deliver real business value. If you’ve got a clear strategy and organized, actionable marketing data, it may be a lack of the right skills, processes, and ways of working that is slowing down your marketing automation team.
Marketing automation is not only about technology
We usually speak about marketing automation in the context of technology. IT infrastructure, software, and data are crucial here, but that’s not all there is to it: even more importantly, marketing automation requires changes in an organization’s teams, resources, marketing processes, and ways of working.
Marketing has traditionally been an ad hoc discipline, where new ideas, needs, and actions tend to pop up with short notice. In theory, the digital world enables quick action, but when it comes to marketing automation, impromptu needs easily lead to one-time solutions, which do not contribute to creating a comprehensive, scalable system.
Modern marketing requires developing IT environments and systems, and marketing professionals need — besides the ability to think creatively and in business terms — a certain level of technical understanding. They also need to be able to think beyond separate campaign messages, and instead consider wider logical processes that combine personalized messages, channels, and goals.
Deploying the technology is only one step of the journey in making great marketing automation. This step is — or should be — followed by continuous processes that aim to make it a significant factor in the company’s success.
Find a common language with the tech team
The essence of marketing automation is data. To harness it for achieving business goals, both technical expertise and a business mindset are required. Cooperation between marketing and tech teams is essential, however, does not automatically create the perfect solution.
Marketing professionals have the right mindset for setting business goals. They will identify the need for a welcome journey or steps for activating passive customers, but understanding the data or technical solutions required to achieve them might be their weakness.
Discussing these ideas with the tech team might not be helpful either. Tech people might not understand marketing activities and goals and therefore struggle to provide viable technical solutions.
Both teams benefit from thinking from each other’s perspectives. Marketing is often forgotten when IT solutions and architecture are discussed. Marketing automation requires an owner who can work as a trustee and oversee the continuity and development inside the organization, and create processes that support the marketing technology.
Invest in people
Companies may have a good understanding of what marketing automation is and have valid goals and reasons for implementing it. The plans are wonderful — companies want to provide holistic customer experiences and create influential customer journeys — but often their success is blocked by organizational hierarchy or internal processes that do not support the development of marketing automation.
Marketing automation tools aim to make marketing more efficient, and reducing manual work is one crucial step toward that goal. However, it’s easy to underestimate the time required to properly introduce and teach a new system. One workshop for the team is never enough. Companies that successfully utilize marketing automation usually have at least one person dedicated to overseeing and supporting the use of the system.
To adapt to this new way of marketing, your marketing team needs time to learn the required skills and mindset. When too little effort is spent on training, it leads to blocked progress, unorganized practices, and inefficient use of tools.
To sum up, it is important to understand your organization’s readiness before proceeding with new technology. Identifying potential issues in resources, processes, or skill levels before you get excited and up to your elbows in your marketing automation project helps you get the most out of your investment.
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