Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation
According to recent stats, 74% of marketers say that the biggest benefit of using automation technology is that it saves them time. Instapage stats show that you can save over 6 hours a week by using automation. Additionally, 78% of marketers say that automated marketing is the biggest factor that improves your revenue.
However, it’s important to note that there are pros and cons of marketing automation. So, let’s go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of automation and how it is best used.
What are the pros of marketing automation?
It’s expected that the marketing automation industry will be worth about 8.5 billion US dollars by 2028. It’s considered to be the way to go for many businesses because of the benefits it brings to the table. We’ve compiled a list of the most significant ones below.
Marketing automation lets you save time, decrease costs, and scale
Basically, you save time by automating the most repetitive, time-consuming tasks. It’s perhaps the most obvious benefit that also allows you to spend your time on the most important tasks.
Email campaigns and follow-ups
In this era of technology, you can still send highly personalized emails and responses while having it all automated. Marketing automation software like Encharge.io or SalesBlink enables dynamic content to email outreach campaigns as well as an autoresponder when you get sent an email back. Using these tools enables you to:
- Remain consistent by maintaining your email’s look and feel sent to your customers and prospects that improves recognition and allows people to recall your brand
- Automatically send follow-up emails to the right people
- Send the right emails to the right audience at the right time with personalized content
- Track link clicks and emails open statistics for every individual email
- Use different email templates to offer a more personalized experience
There are countless marketing automation platforms available such as HubSpot’s Marketing Hub that you can use to perform all of the points mentioned above within a very short period of time that otherwise can literally take weeks or even months.
Marketing automation tools also allow you to maximize your inbound marketing efforts. Using social media automation tools, you can schedule all your posts for the day, week, or month on all the social accounts you have created. This is a must if you are posting a lot of content.
Decrease cost and scale processes
When you empower your marketing team with automation tools, it allows them to automate almost repetitive tasks that would normally be done manually. It enables them to spend more of their time on high-impact tasks to improve revenue. This, in turn:
- Reducing the need for additional staff
- Automatically collects data or analytics that would have been done manually
- Streamlines marketing operations
According to Business2Community stats, it’s critical for every business to use the right technology to collect and organize their data. Utilizing the power of marketing automation solutions also allows you to scale your campaign operations as your customer base grows. In short, it becomes easier to maintain large amounts of data and to monitor all your customers.
Improving operational efficiency can increase ROI
Improved operational efficiency
Automation also improves your operational efficiency greatly. For example, if a website visitor required a consultation, a marketing automation service like a chatbot could be used to ask for all the needed information like their contact info, what kind of consultation is required, and automatically send it off to the right department to handle further. According to the Instapage stats, you can reduce your marketing overheads by 12.2% with automation by:
- Improving your response time
- Shifting your priorities
- Promoting your overall engagement
- Remaining most relevant
Studies show that over 65% of people eventually buy the services or products they need and by automating the right areas of your marketing funnel, you can:
- Collecting the most relevant data to understand your prospects most effectively.
- Identifying the latest marketing trends and classifying customer data to target the right audience (lead scoring).
- Enabling you to understand why people leave or buy from your website (weaknesses and strengths).
- Operating hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.
- Improving your relationship with your customers (lead nurturing).
- Measuring and creating new marketing initiatives.
- Offering personalized content to offer the right customers (CX or customer experience).
- Aligning sales and marketing teams for better collaboration
- Increasing sales productivity (conversion rate).
Note: You can learn how to create a comprehensive automated marketing campaign/strategy here. [Link to B2B marketing automation strategies and examples to drive more sales]: One of our previous articles.
Source: Marketo Blog
Marketing automation tools improve the relationship between marketing and sales
With the automated marketing workflows that we have mentioned above like lead scoring, lead nurturing and personalized experiences, automation provides the sales team a clear indication of which leads are the closest to convert into a sale. In simple terms, the sales team will have more time to devote to qualified sales leads, which the automation tools reached out to, nurtured, and scored their engagement. The alignment between marketing and sales can improve through:
- Improved communication with better awareness and insights into prospects, leads, and customers by providing clear visibility of each customer profile to both teams.
- Allowing both teams to keep the data clean as it changes continuously. When your marketing and sales team work together to tidy up data, it prevents miscommunication regarding the current and future business states.
- Providing you with a single place to store content that both teams can access. They’ll have clear visibility into the content that’s available and being used.
- Enabling you to integrate your marketing automation technology to the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to allow marketing and sales to complement each other.
Aligned marketing and sales teams churn less and close more deals. According to recent stats, an organization with a powerful marketing and sales alignment closes more deals with 67% effectiveness and performs better by 58% to retain customers.
What are the cons of marketing automation?
Just like any other thing, automated marketing isn’t all about sunshine and rainbows. It also comes with some downsides and you must keep them in mind to avoid negative impacts. Here we have compiled the most important ones that can help you a great deal while creating your automated marketing strategy.
Evaluate and polish your operational processes before implementing solutions
One of the biggest downsides of getting started with marketing automation is that you need to really have your processes figured out first. Automation doesn’t mean that everything will execute by itself. If your processes are disjoint and there is no collaboration between the marketing and sales team, then a marketing automation system won’t solve any problem.
Creating effective, high-quality automation can be difficult to get right and 16% of marketers believe that it’s their biggest challenge.
For example, if your automated lead nurturing campaign isn’t moving your leads closer to converting into a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), all the efforts of your sales team will go in vain. If you polished your lead nurturing campaigns and made sure that they worked before automating them, you will have a lot more success.
New automation tools may have a learning curve
A new platform could include a lot of customization and the learning curve could be steep. Undoubtedly, it will take some time to learn how to automate marketing tasks properly.
According to stats, 55.6% of companies can’t use marketing automation because of a lack of expertise.
Evaluate your ability to integrate tools and the time it will take to do so
Keep in mind that automation software generally connects to one or more systems like your email solution, CRM, and WCMS (Web Content Management System) and integrates with your current tech stack.
Finding the right tool for this purpose can also be a challenging task. You want to make sure that you choose the marketing automation system that you can easily integrate with the current apps your marketing and sales teams are using. The stats show that 20% of the companies find it difficult to choose the right automation tool for their company.
A great indication that an automation platform will integrate with your current setup is if it has Zapier or Integromat support. Tools like Zapier make it a lot easier to automate communication between apps that don’t officially connect to each other. Data can pass from one app, through Zapier, and into another app without any custom coding.
Messaging fatigue can be caused by automation
Because marketing automation usually sends the same or similar message to prospects, it might reduce the personalization of your brand. It can also cause communications to be misconstrued as spam that most people delete right away without even reading, turning off potential consumers.
Moreover, even a single error in your messages can cause catastrophic consequences because it’ll be sent to tens of thousands of people. Not only will it diminish the effectiveness of your automated marketing strategy, but it’ll also leave a bad impression on your brand.
The stats show that only sending emails to your subscribers who have already opened any of your sent emails in the last 6 months can decrease the total number of emails you sent going into the spam folder. You should also take care of the subject line of each email because stats also show that emails with personalized subject lines will have a 26% more chance to be opened.
When should you use marketing automation?
Since we have gone through some of the pros and cons of automating your digital marketing, let’s touch on some of the scenarios where a marketer could benefit from automation.
- If you want to send triggered emails automatically based on the actions of your prospects and leads
- If you would like to automatically send transactional emails for every purchase, download, or signup that happens on a landing page or your app
- Your small business has a limited marketing and sales budget and you want to maximize your efforts
- If you want to increase both inbound and online sales by sending out targeted emails through engagement campaigns to nurture leads
When should you not use marketing automation?
As mentioned earlier, marketing automation isn’t the best solution for every organization. Here are a few scenarios where automation would hurt more than help.
- If you need to analyze marketing data deeply to upgrade your current strategy
- If you need to respond to emails that need a unique or too specific answer where the autoresponder can’t offer the required or relevant response
- When you need to respond to your following on social media. For example, if someone asks a question by commenting on one of your posts, then your response mustn’t be automated.
- While you should automate content and blog post scheduling, you mustn’t automate content creation. It must be handmade, original, and crafted by a real human being that will help you to reflect your brand.
- If your company is at the early marketing stage
- If your company won’t have enough data
If you want to dive deep into the marketing automation examples of best practices and best uses then consider reading this comprehensive guide [Link to Marketing Automation Examples of Best Practices and Best uses].