Marketing mistakes to avoid: A guide to successful marketing automation 

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Marketing automation has become more than just a buzzword — it’s now a mainstay in the lives of most brands and businesses.

And for good reason. It promises to streamline marketing efforts and provide businesses with valuable insights into their customers. And it does that while reducing manual tasks. 

It’s easy to see what the buzz is all about. 

The problem is that not all companies have been successful in implementing marketing automation. 

Why? Where did they fail? How can you make sure you don’t head down the same road? 

Let’s take a closer look at the most common marketing mistakes companies make and explore how to avoid them. We’ll also go over the benefits of successful marketing automation and give you tips and insights that make it work for you.

1. Lack of strategy

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The first and most common marketing mistake is the lack of a clear and coherent strategy. 

Many companies invest in marketing automation software and platforms without a plan for how they will fit into their overall marketing efforts. This leads to a situation where the automation system becomes the focus of the strategy, rather than a tool to support it.

To avoid this mistake, your business needs to have a clear understanding of its marketing goals and objectives before investing in automation. That sound easy enough, but it’s harder than you think. Spend time defining exactly what you want to happen before investing in an automation platform. 

Then, make sure the automation system is designed to support these goals and that all stakeholders are aware of how the system will fit into the overall marketing strategy.

What does this mistake look like? We see it when there’s an absence of a plan for commercial data, as well as the insight and value that this can (and must) add to the automation activities. 

A lot of companies know they need a plan, but the problem is that they don’t have the tools, skills or resources to figure out what that plan is. The absence of a plan for commercial data creates several difficulties concerning the choice of a data model, the choice of systems that need to support automation, unclear integration requirements, unclear partnerships between marketing and IT, as well as demands to suppliers. 

All of this reduces the possibility of success and lengthens processes. And that’s a buzzkill because marketing automation should ultimately lighten your workload, not increase it. 

2. Challenges with deployment

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The second marketing automation mistake is underestimating the challenges involved in deploying a marketing automation system. 

Many companies assume that once the system is purchased, it’ll be easy to set up and use. However, deployment can be more expensive and take longer than expected, and the need for technical skills and resources is often underestimated.

To avoid this mistake, companies should carefully evaluate the costs and resources required for deployment and ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise in-house or through a trusted partner. 

Marketing automation is a game changer, but it’s not something you just walk into blindly. 

You need to set realistic expectations for deployment timelines and be prepared to invest the necessary time and resources to deliver a successful implementation.

3. Poor cooperation between Marketing and Sales

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The third mistake is poor cooperation between marketing and sales teams. 

Often, these teams work in silos, with little communication or alignment on goals and objectives. (Hanging out around the coffee station doesn’t count as alignment or communication.) 

This leads to a situation where the marketing automation system is not effectively integrated with the CRM system, resulting in lost opportunities for customer engagement and revenue growth.

To avoid this mistake, marketing and sales teams need to align on the goals and objectives and have a clear understanding of how the automation system will support these goals. 

Plus, invest in training and education to ensure all stakeholders understand how the system works and how it can maximise revenue growth.

4. Lack of content

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Content is king. There’s another buzz-worthy statement we hear all the time in marketing automation. And it’s true — content is the driving force behind content marketing, which is a crucial part of any successful marketing automation strategy. 

However, many companies underestimate the amount of work required to produce compelling content that’s relevant and personalised for their audience. 

Even in situations where a clear strategy and communication plan exists, it’s challenging to provide the necessary content to support an intelligent dialogue that gives customers more value. And that, by the way, is the purpose of content — to provide value to every customer. 

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers. Sound great, but only 41% have a content marketing strategy in place. Sounds less great. 

This lack of a content marketing strategy is likely due in part to underestimating the amount of work required to produce high-quality content.

5. The glorified emails syndrome

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Many companies fall into the trap of using their marketing automation system primarily for sending emails that lack relevance and personalisation. This approach doesn’t represent true omnichannel automation, which involves a value-enhancing cross-channel execution with the customer in the centre.

According to HubSpot, the average open rate for marketing emails across all industries is just 21.33%. This low open rate comes from many emails lacking relevance and personalisation. It’s email for the sake of email. 

Companies that rely too heavily on email marketing and fail to integrate other channels risk alienating their customers and missing out on valuable opportunities for engagement.

That’s where marketing automation goes omnichannel. It’s vital to meet a customer exactly where they are in their journey. From SMS and paid media to email and push notifications, businesses that go beyond just sending emails are the ones that will succeed. 

6. Value model for Marketing

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Just as sales are critical to pipeline management, it’s equally important for pipeline management to have access to marketing. However, many companies lack a robust model for measuring, managing, forecasting, and improving the marketing pipeline. 

Without a clear model for lead generation — including the volume, flow, and speed through the marketing pipeline — it’s difficult to assess the effectiveness of marketing automation efforts.

According to a survey by DemandGen, 65% of B2B marketers say they haven’t established lead scoring or a formal process for prioritising leads. Without a standardised approach to measuring and managing leads, how will you accurately assess the effectiveness of marketing automation efforts?

7. Marketing is focusing on the wrong key figures

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It’s tempting to focus solely on the systems’ pre-existing key figures, such as open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rates when assessing the effectiveness of marketing automation efforts. However, this approach doesn’t give you that clear, complete picture that you need to understand the value of your marketing automation platform. 

For example, should marketing activities result in sales, and should marketing expenses be included in the equation? 

Without including these factors, it’s difficult to assess return on investment (ROI), which makes it challenging to continuously improve marketing automation efforts and optimise the use of the automation system.

By recognizing these challenges and taking steps to address them, businesses can implement a successful marketing automation strategy that delivers real value to their customers and helps them stay ahead of the competition.

When you’re ready to take marketing automation to the next level, contact us for a free demo and see the power of omnichannel marketing automation and how personalised communication is the real game changer.