Commentary

3 Surprisingly Common Martech Pitfalls To Avoid

There’s virtually no doubt about the power of marketing automation.

You can put lead generation on autopilot to convert more people into paying customers.

You can nurture and stay in touch with these people at scale, keeping them around longer to increase the lifetime value of each customer.

However, marketing technology not always perfect. In fact, many times there are fatal flaws that can sabotage your ROI.

Here are the common mistakes I've seen many companies make in this arena — and how to avoid them.

1. Personalizing content based on superficial details. Most automated emails start off the same exact way. At the very top, there’s a little field before the actual content that says something like “Hi [firstname,fallback=there].”

In other words, companies fall into this trap where they try to include someone’s first name or company name as a way to personalize the content. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough today.

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The problem is that your prospects are seeing this same email formula in about a dozen other emails every single day.

True content personalization focuses on everything else, like the message or offers they’re receiving, to the actual content, based on actions they have (or haven’t) taken.

It even takes into account how many emails they should receive, over a given period of time, too. You can be more aggressive in sending follow-up emails to people who almost bought, but didn’t, than you can with those who haven’t even considered buying just yet.

2. Setting triggers that are too generic.  Marketing automation excels when it can automatically make decisions for you. It should be like an extension of someone’s brain, taking in each lead’s feedback and reacting appropriately.

Unfortunately, most campaigns are set up to the only trigger based on what someone tells you. Let’s say you send an email offer for a $10 product. The next trigger is usually something like: “Did that person buy, yes or no?”

That’s obviously a good question. However, it misses the realization that the vast majority of people are not going to buy your product. So you need to dig deeper!

In this scenario, you need different sequences for:
-- People who added the product to their cart, but didn’t buy.
-- People who clicked on the link to the product, but didn’t add it to their cart or buy.
-- People who opened the email, but didn’t click on the link.
-- And everyone else who didn’t even see the email.

As you can imagine, this is a lot of extra work. But increasing all of these micro conversions will add up to a big increase in the overall sales you’ll see at the end of the day.

3. Not understanding your database math. The math behind marketing and sales is deceptively simple.

The best example I’ve seen comes from Jeb Blount’s  book "Fanatical Prospecting."

If you close 10% of 30 people, or one deal, how many legitimate prospects are still in your database? Most people think the answer is 29, right? Well, no, that’s not right.

If your close rate is 10%, it means there’s a one in ten chance. So your “prospects” don’t just drop by the one deal you closed, but also by the other nine that you didn’t close.

That means you’re left with 20, not 29 prospects.

And more importantly, it means you now need to replace those 10 people just to get back to the point where you were before!

That’s why marketing automation campaigns work well at first, and then stagnate. The existing people become less valuable over time. You need to constantly move them out and replace them with new people, just to keep up with your existing sales rates.

This leads people to think the problem lies with their marketing automation campaigns — when, in fact, it doesn’t!

The problem lies in a company’s inability to continually drive new, qualified people into the top of its funnel.

Marketing automation campaigns are relatively straightforward. However, there are a lot of levers and variables that dictate success. Start by avoiding these common pitfalls and your bottom line will thank you in the weeks and months to come.

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