August 6th, 2012 by Laura Monn Ginsburg
Marketing Automation Platforms: Know Your Full Investment
Have you ever purchased something that was supposed to make your life easier but found that it only made it harder? Sure you have; we all have. Almost electrocuting myself while washing the electric ice cream scoop (it was a gift, I swear) that was still plugged in is a perfect, if only slightly embarrassing, example.
Outside of the kitchen, if you’ve ever invested in a Marketing Automation Platform, you might have found yourself asking the same question I was with the electric ice cream scoop–”If I’d known it was going to cause me this much trouble, would I have considered using it in the first place?” Maybe not.
Now, I’m not suggesting that Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) are necessarily or inherently difficult to use. The big players in the MAP space pride themselves on the usability of their solutions and have put a lot of effort into streamlining the automation process and their products that support it. It’s not that a MAP is hard to use as much as it requires dedicated users who truly know how to use it, as well as a dedicated company that continues to see and support the value of the system.
In a February post, the Marketologist cited a recent Marketing Leadership Roundtable’s finding that “resource constraints” was the biggest factor holding companies back from investing in a MAP. And with good reason. While MAPs can make a marketer’s life infinitely easier, they can only do so if all cylinders are firing. The same post suggests that “If you are considering solutions, it is important to keep in mind that the monetary investment in the technology must be paralleled in your investment in people.” Putting a MAP in place requires an enormous ongoing investment (in people, content, internal goodwill, etc.) that can’t be overlooked.
Considering the full investment behind a Marketing Automation Platform is imperative. Without the trained staff and content necessary to support it, a MAP can become little more than a glorified mass email machine just as easily as an electric ice cream scoop can become a door stop.