How to Set Realistic Expectations for Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

Gartner reports that companies using lead nurturing as part of their marketing automation strategy generate 451 percent more qualified leads than companies who don’t. Although that is an amazing statistic, you shouldn’t expect that you can buy a marketing automation solution today and generate an exponential increase tomorrow.

Marketing automation is a discipline just as any other form of marketing is. It requires a full understanding of the technology, the techniques, and the consumer behaviors that drive higher levels of engagement. Setting clear expectations over time helps you judge your performance and pace your implementation. To set realistic expectations, keep the following ideas in mind:

  • Marketing automation is a continuous process. Becoming proficient at marketing automation takes a lot of time, although the effort required to begin is small. Focus on getting up and running today, and then focus on improving over time. Don’t try to be perfect at each step. Instead, improve at each step by getting a little better than you were before.

  • Time is required to be successful. Whatever your goals may be, success will take time no matter what solution you choose. You have to spend a lot of time on the front end before and during implementation, and less time as you become more proficient with your tool.

    Consider spending a few weeks to set up your tool, and a few hours per week for making improvements after you’re set up.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) is a limiting factor. Your CRM is a major part of what you will be able to accomplish with a marketing automation tool. If you have an in-house CRM, make sure that you understand how your in-house capabilities will define your integration requirements.

    If you are using an off-the-shelf CRM solution, you need to understand your product’s limits and connection types, have access to your CRM administrator, and know that he or she is ready and able to help.

    Your CRM connections will likely be the most complicated piece of your setup, as well as the most limiting if your CRM can’t support the connections you need or the programs you want to run.