8 steps to guarantee marketing automation success

February 3, 2022 | 4 minute read
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Marketing automation isn’t a 21st-century innovation. In fact, it’s been around since the 1990s—1992, to be exact. But what exactly is “marketing automation?” What are its benefits? And what can you do to guarantee success?

Working definition

In the simplest terms, marketing automation refers to the process of automating time-consuming marketing activities. It helps businesses complete repetitive, tedious marketing tasks.

  • Automation frees up time.
  • Automating your processes increases efficiency and accuracy.
  • Automation offers the ability to personalize your marketing campaigns.
  • Automation can be used to enhance customer engagement.
  • Leads can move through your sales pipeline faster.

FYI: Your competitors are automating

1. Define your goals

Set goals by following the S.M.A.R.T. framework: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Pick your key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure them. Choose a growth outcome that is realistic. Finally, identify the tools and timeline needed to reach your goals. Ask questions such as:

  • Over the last month, have these leads increased? 
  • How do you explain stagnation in lead generation?

You might want to set a S.M.A.R.T. goal like this: “Achieve 25% more website-derived leads per month with social media advertising by the end of the year.” This is a measurable, realistic—and very specific—goal.

2. Research available marketing automation solutions

Researching existing solutions will prove critical. Whether you implement the marketing automation solution or hire someone to do it, you need to understand why it works for your business. This can help with future strategic decisions related to your marketing efforts and other technology investments. For more information, check out “What Types of Workflow Automation Are Worth Investing in for Small Businesses?

3. Scrub your existing data

It's counterproductive to automate with unorganized data. Get rid of redundant and inaccurate information. From there, organize your data so that it’s scalable, flexible, and future-proofed.

  • Make sure naming practices are consistent.
  • Keep file names short.
  • Be consistent with versioning practices.
  • Standardize categories by curating a data dictionary.

4. Map out your transition

If necessary, a marketing professional can guide you and suggest the most appropriate marketing solutions for your particular niche. At a minimum, your new solution will require a centralized marketing database, engagement engine, and analytics engine.

5. Align the automated marketing processes with the sales processes

Marketing automation must include sales team involvement. They have valuable insights about what kind of automated system would be best as well as how to improve the customer journey. They can better qualify your leads and convert them into customers.

6. Create a timeline for the marketing automation software transition

To automate your marketing processes, it’s a good idea to take a step-by-step approach. Changing everything at once is a bad idea. A better approach would be to automate specific aspects of your marketing periodically. For example, if you’re using marketing automation to bolster lead generation, you might focus on email marketing and building an online community.

7. Train your staff to use the new marketing automation software

Your team must understand the value of a marketing automation solution, what it does, and how it can be beneficial. They should also be aware that overusing automation can backfire. In addition to making decisions about marketing content used for automated processes, such as email marketing, campaigns, and analytics, changes should be data-driven.

8. Continually review results from the marketing automation effort

Automating your marketing processes doesn’t occur in a vacuum. As such, it’s vital that you monitor your investments and assess results. Using the analytics you collect from the effort will assist you with making the right changes. It will also serve as the benchmark for the types of technology or tools that you might have to add down the road.


Want to learn more about marketing automation software? Check out the following resources and take the brief self-guided tour of Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation below:

John Rampton

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #3 on the Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a blogging expert by Forbes.

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