Breaking through the Barriers to Marketing Automation Success

By Natalie Power, Senior Director of Customer Success and DivyaGupta, Director of Customer Success, Responsys

In many organisations, the power of marketing automation still remains an untapped stream of revenue and opportunity. This is in spite of the proven results that automating campaigns can deliver.

Too often we come across businesses facing ‘challenges’ which impede their ability to implement an automated strategy, or that impact their success even when they have moved to a targeted approach. However, in reality, by investing time upfront to understand how marketing automation works, most of these barriers for success can be simply solved. In this blog post we have outlined a few of the scenarios we face most regularly and look at how to address them.

Barrier 1 – Insufficient training: one of the key drivers for success behind any successful marketing strategy is having trained and skilled staff, who are able to execute campaigns effectively to deliver results. Today’s marketer often has a wide and all-encompassing job remit, it may include a variety of marketing related functions such as webmail, above the line, direct marketing and even public relations. Digital marketing may only be a minor part of their role.

As a result, at Responsys, when we partner with new clients, one of our first tasks is to assess their existing level of knowledge and the amount of support they will require to execute automated campaigns. We also develop individually tailored training programs to ensure our clients are fully equipped on how to use the Responsys platform and apply the principals of marketing automation.

Barrier 2 – Lack of understanding: In our experience, the role and value of marketing automation is not only underappreciated, it is often misunderstood. Many marketers become stuck in a cycle of viewing their marketing programs on a campaign by campaign basis, and believe that automation will relinquish their control and ownership.

However, the opposite is true. Automation allows marketers to have much deeper insight into the behaviour of their audience, enabling them to execute far more targeted and personalised campaigns. This in turn provides them with greater foresight when planning their strategies and thereby, control, in maximising the success of their campaigns.

Barrier 3 – Internal resistance: Resistance to investing in marketing automation often comes from the most senior marketers. The decision makers, who have the tightest grip over an organisation’s purse strings. Educating this group of experts who may be accustomed to tried and tested ‘old school’ methods will not come overnight, but by continuing the education process while also reaching out to those in the middle management, eventually the message will hit home.

To tangibly demonstrate the value of marketing automation to business and help marketers obtain management buy-in, Responsys has created an ‘ROI Calculator’. This shows how automation works in simple terms, the results that can be achieved and the amount of time marketers can save. The ability to see the potential revenue gains or the money being left on the table by not implementing automation is often enough to convince savvy senior marketers.

Barrier 4 – Not setting the right KPIs or regularly reviewing performance of programs: Too often we come across businesses whose KPIs are benchmarked by the number of campaigns they execute rather than the quality of the results they achieve. Or there’s a lack of awareness of the KPIs that marketers should be looking at – instead of looking at just open rates, marketers need to look at click stream and conversion metrics. What’s more, marketers often think of automated programs as “set and forget” programs, but like any other program, they need to review and optimise the performance of their automated programs as well.

The Customer Success team review the key performance metrics with clients on a monthly basis and provide high-level advice on how to improve on the success of campaigns. Responsys also provides professional services like strategic planning and creative development to help benchmark and optimise email programs.

 In today’s challenging economic climate, the marketing function needs to prove its value even more within the business. Having automated solutions to qualify and manage the demand generated by marketing will help the marketing function to be more closely accountable as well as identifying opportunities to grow loyalty and increase revenue from customers and prospects. With this in mind, marketers need to wake up and realise the potential of the lucrative automated approach or risk falling behind their move digitally savvy competitors.


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