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The CMO’s 5-Step Guide to Marketing Automation Success

March 23, 2011 By Stephan Dietrich
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With a positive, consistent brand experience so tightly linked to customer loyalty and steady revenues, marketers can no longer ignore the critical role marketing automation software plays in developing and executing highly targeted cross-channel campaigns.

However, because implementing marketing automation technology is a relatively new undertaking for many organizations, there are several steps CMOs must take to encourage a smooth transition and ensure that the expected benefits are delivered as quickly as possible.

1. Talk to Your Peers
Before you dive into the implementation process, one important step is to talk with peers who have recently implemented similar technology. Get feedback on the process: What worked, what would they have done differently, and what lessons did they learn? The results of this research provide a good platform for a discussion with the vendor and/or implementation partner well ahead of time. Being armed with good questions will set you up for success and make sure you avoid the same pitfalls your peers may have fallen into.

Industry analysts are also valuable resources, not only in the initial vendor identification stages, but also on related implementation best practices.

2. Know Your Organization
It may sound simplistic, but one of the most significant, yet avoidable, reasons why marketing automation implementations fail comes down to one thing: lack of preparation.

Before the implementation begins, a critical first step is getting down to the core of how well you know your own business. For example, how in-tune are you with its workflows, reporting requirements, data structure and overall willingness to embrace change? The personality of your business is often just as important to communicate as the details of your technology infrastructure. Only with this information will the vendor be able to understand your hot buttons, where they can anticipate push-back, which skill sets need to be developed, and where there may be no room for flexibility.

Next, create a comprehensive picture of your organization's technology infrastructure, including what systems different business units rely on, such as sales or product management, and how those different groups need to interact with the marketing automation platform. Don't forget about global business units or outside contractors or partners who may need the system as well. Without creating this holistic view up front—not only representing current needs but also future requirements—you risk losing time, resources and ROI.

 

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