Why you are wrong about marketing automation

Content Marketing - Marketing Automation - Drip Marketing - Lead Nurturing - Inbound Marketing...

Great buzzwords for those of us in marketing, but is there really anything behind all of it?

Yes, but also no.

What I mean by this is there is great power behind the marketing machine, but only if you are making your content and automation decisions based on data. Too many marketers are doing things like listening to the CEO or other non-experts that tell them they need to send out more emails, or worse, they need to do a newsletter? Seriously, if you are still doing a corporate newsletter stop right now.

Ok, so that is a pretty simple example but the reality is a lot of marketers still operate this way - they are creating content  based on what internal forces are telling them they need to do to push a message, yet Inbound Marketing only works if you take the time to listen to what your audience wants. Your ears in this case are data points that are collected via the socialsphere, your website analytics, your email metrics, your automation tool and also your CRM system. That is a lot of places to gather information, but your audience is that diverse. You may think you are only targeting a very niche audience - but is that person with buying authority doing the front end research to get your brand top of mind? Is that person with buying authority that lives in Silicon Valley responding to marketing the same way someone on wall street does? In most cases the answer is no.

But here is the thing most of us don't like to hear (especially our CEOs) this all takes time. I know we go to conferences and hear stories about how company X created a really cool infographic and all of a sudden the floodgates opened and leads started pouring in and it led to to the company increasing revenue 500% in 6 months and all sorts of other crap. The truth is it does not work this way - you need to look at what your existing data tells you and start creating multiple content pieces targeting what you think the audience wants to hear (most important thing to note, they sure is hell don't want to hear a sales pitch). Create the data and put it out there and collect more data to see what is working and then create more content and constantly refine that way - then use that content and refine and repackage - wash, rinse, repeat.

Don't worry about how it fits in your nurture flow - because if you have a 20 step campaign that takes someone down a path of highly refined timed emails that you created no one is ever going to get to step 20 and if they do the content you provide them at that point is already going to be a bit dated. You need to always be creating new, fresh content - you need to stop thinking like a marketer and start thinking like a publisher. You need to develop editorial calendars that are there, but not set in stone and leave flexibility for market changes. You need a writing and editorial staff (you don't necessarily need to hire new, but you need a commitment from internal thought leaders that they will hit assigned deadlines. You need design creatives. You need to create a listening and responding machine (you can't let a blog go dormant for years like I did here).

I know none of this is earth shattering, but I see way too much marketing garbage that I had to speak out and bring this blog back to life.

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