Marketing Automation for long has been pitched as an easy to handle, Do it yourself (DIY) product. But what many companies using these platforms are realizing is that the reality is quite distant from the make believe truth.
Wikipedia states, DIY is a term used to describe building, modifying, or repairing of something without the aid of experts or professionals.
Having read the above definition, do you see Marketing Automation platforms fitting the bill?
Well the answer to the query is subjective and depends on the size of company using the platform and the marketing automation platform itself.
For most marketing automation platforms, if the user is a start-up or a small organization, which may not be looking for multiple modules and has a simple implementation requirement, their platform could still be a DIY tool.
But in the case of large organizations, where the teams are larger and the processes more complex and require more modules and features, the implementation of these marketing automation systems can never be a simple plug and play.
Marketing automation players like LeadFormix, have a modular architecture and despite the breadth of features they offer, it is easy for companies, big or small, with limited or extended resources to easily adapt to the system. But even here companies need a bit of handholding to use all functionalities and benefit from the entire range of offerings.
So how does a large organization get value out of its investment in a Marketing automation platform, which promised them increased ROI and improved revenue performance management, but is far from being a DIY tool. Especially when getting any value out of the tool involves a continuous process of hand holding, strategizing, education, exploration, resources, effort and time to accomplish.
Statistics show that most enterprises take at least 8 months to realize any ROI from their Marketing automation investment. This is one of the primary reasons why most Marketing Automation vendors today are aligned with consultants and large agencies to ensure a smooth transition and reduce the time for enterprises to get the desired value out of their marketing automation investment.
In this age of customization, a solution that may work for one enterprise may not work for another. Which is why the culture of customizing products to meet the needs of a specific client has become the norm.
And this is true for marketing automation platforms as well. Apart from customization to specific product modules, which Marketing automation vendors can handle, customers are increasingly looking for ways to customize marketing processes like scoring of leads, prioritization and routing of leads through the CRM systems to the right sales person etc. Since with each new need the complexity of setting up the processes increases, having experts who know their way around becomes inevitable.
This is where a marketing automation consultant or a marketing agency tries to add value. With their experience, best practices and tried and tested templates, these consultants can considerably shorten the time required for enterprises to realize value from their marketing automation solution.
Product Vs Solution approach
True value-add Consultants and Agencies are focused on establishing Demand Gen Solutions rather than just looking it as a marketing automation implementation. They also ensure that it is not the question of marketing departments getting used to the tool but it is about configuring the tool & establishing workflow processes which fits the organization’s style.
Another trend that is catching up is that of a product partnership between agencies and marketing automation vendors. Since many of the companies opting for marketing automation solutions are used to their marketing agency’s product interface it makes sense for marketing automation vendors to customize their dashboards and allow co-branding of their products with the agency.
This not only ensures better co-ordination between the agency and marketing automation vendors but also elevates the customer experience for their clients, providing them a single well fitted solution that is easy to use and familiar to them.
The current equation between the customer, marketing consultant/agencies and the marketing automation vendors, works out well for all involved. It ensures, the marketing automation customers get the value for their investments and for the vendors it is easier to show the promise their product brings to the table.
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