Marketing Automation Platforms – Not a Silver Bullet

Marketing Automation ‌• September 20, 2012

Businesses look to technology primarily to solve problems. People often go into the buying process expecting the software or service they are purchasing to be a silver bullet, something that’s able to solve all of the problems they have (and maybe even some they don’t know that they have). There is the occasional offering that is worthy of this optimism, but they are very much the exception and not the rule.

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) are a prime example. Before investing in any marketing automation tool, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I defined my Total Addressable Market? (i.e., the world of prospects that are a fit for what I’m selling?)
  • Do I have the proper coverage in terms of the right companies and contact roles within this market?
  • Are my Sales and Marketing teams completely aligned? Do they work from a shared definition of a lead? Are they in agreement on how the funnel works?
  • Do I have relevant and compelling content that will spur the market to respond? (and a team capable of continuing to create this relevant and compelling content?)
  • Do I have the people and processes to follow up with responders in their moment of interest?
  • Can I track and monetize inbound and outbound lead sources all the way from initial response to Sales Pipeline/Win/Loss/Defer?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you are not going to achieve the ROI that you are expecting from a Marketing Automation Platform.

To put in another perspective, I am hopeless at art. You could give me the best equipment in the world (brushes, paint, canvas), and I still won’t have a clue what to do when I see the blank canvas. I can work tirelessly, and will still end up with a poorly drawn stick figure.

Marketing Automation Platforms are also a blank canvas. Without the people and processes to execute on the items above, the best tools in the world won’t be a silver bullet to accomplish your goals.

Underwhelmed? Imagine this was your Marketing Automation Platform investment…


Sam McCue
Inbound Marketing guru, avid fisherman, and all-around backcountry enthusiast.

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