Techcrunch reported recently on a survey revealing that almost 70 per cent of marketers are either unhappy or marginally unhappy about their automation software. This is a large number, but one that we see daily, and here’s our take on it:

70 per cent of marketers are unhappy because they actually under-estimated the complexity of Marketing Automation (MA), and with that, its full potential. Too often, we come across businesses who have invested in MA off the back of an impressive demonstration. Customers know they need and want MA, they understand its central place in the future of outbound marketing, but they consider it a purchase rather than a process.

It’s no different from the redundant CRM functionality or entire software suites that sat on the shelf before Salesforce came along.

So where are the patterns similar and why have a lot of marketers gone wrong again?

Firstly, we are all guilty of being naïve and optimistic buyers of platforms, as we try to embrace new technologies and methodologies, but with existing skill sets.

Secondly, MA is much more than just a marketing technology. If we think that, we have fallen at the first hurdle, as this mindset underestimates the potential to drive change and new thinking through MA.

Thirdly, as is ever the case with more complex technologies, marketing departments have underestimated their investment in MA support services and training, or have not been painted a realistic picture.

So, what can we conclude from this, and how do we realise the potentially huge benefits of MA as soon as possible?

Put simply, the adoption of MA needs a project management approach – with milestones, objectives and continuous improvement tweaks along the way. The process needs to be managed through its various stages, from the very outset of specifying the platform with the outcome in mind (again, see the article for the Datanyze pie chart to see the numbers of platforms to choose from. It’s overwhelming to see how this market has proliferated, but there are clear choices for different problems and businesses.) We need a different mentality to MA than we might have towards CRM. Though MA, Web and CRM sit at the heart of the marketing department, it is the MA that will fundamentally drive most change with how we connect with prospects and customers.

In summary, implemented properly, MA can fundamentally change the way businesses go to market. It is way too important a strategic business investment to implement any other way, so why not check out how CleverTouch can help you optimise your MA platform correctly.