This is our latest guest blog post written by a consulting partner to Silverpop. Malcolm Friedberg is a Principal at Left Brain Marketing. He is a former CMO with 20 years of marketing experience. He’s built marketing departments from the ground up, managed seven-figure marketing budgets and developed programs for a wide variety of media. He first became involved in marketing automation when he was running marketing for a leading financial services company and invested in an early marketing automation platform to support his 60+ sales reps. Since that time, he's consulted for numerous companies including Motorola, Apple, Amadeus Technology and BrightTALK. I'm excited to have him as a partner, to have him contribute to our blog and to have him as one of our key 'profs' for the B2B Marketing University series. Malcolm's post, today, ties to a series of posts focused on the building blocks for developing more buyer-centric B2B demand generation programs . Welcome, Malcolm. ~ABN
To say that Marketing Automation is new to most marketers is like saying that Everest is a mountain. While factually accurate, the statement fails to capture the myriad of ways that make that particular mountain so intimidating.
Like first-timers ascending Everest, this 'newness' is causing a number of challenges for marketers. There are many reasons for this: the requirement of developing integrated sales and marketing processes; the opportunity to use analytics; and the need for better database segmentation to name a few. While some marketers may have exposure to a few of these 'new' areas, most are lucky to have in-depth experience with one. In short, marketing automation requires new skills and new ways of thinking.
I frequently have the opportunity to speak with marketers that are automation first-timers, and I break down the challenges into two areas.
- Tactical issues: First, there’s a variety of tactical issues, including learning a software application. This requires both an understanding of how to accomplish immediate tasks, as well as expanding your knowledge to master other functionality. I often analogize to Excel. My 5% usage may be fine for my spreadsheet needs, but not for the technological infrastructure that supports a marketing (and sales) organization.
- Strategic issues: Second, and probably more daunting, is the range of strategic issues that new users are confronted with as they begin to integrate marketing automation into their existing marketing activities.
At the beginning of every new (professional or personal) experience, one often feels as if (s)he is staring straight up the face of a very large mountain. And even if you have the seasoned perspective of seeing that mountain as a series of small climbs, figuring out how to get going isn’t always easy. As a consultant, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I encourage people to get outside help. Hiring a consultant can help ease your pain as you begin this trek. But regardless of whether you get direct assistance, collect tidbits from colleagues and white papers or invest hours in trial and error, it’s well worth the investment of time and energy to prepare yourself.
So, in the spirit of a Survival Guide for climbing the marketing automation mountain, here’s a short list of items to pack―and things to consider―for the journey.
Item #1 - Get a good map
Marketing automation is a journey. It is a process that will take you months and possibly years to master. And like all intelligent cli