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Stop Focusing on Automation and Take a Look at Content: Seven Steps to Get You Started

by Peter Baron  |  
March 18, 2014

Ah, the simplicity and magic of marketing automation to drive the lead-to-revenue process:

Step 1: Insert contact information in the database via form fill submission.

Step 2: Automatically send email to contact every X days for X days.

Step 3: Automatically pass to a salesperson to call and close once contact opens or clicks on X emails.

Voilà! Done deal. Closed the sale.

If only it worked that way. Unfortunately, more times than not, it doesn't.

Though it's easy to get excited about technology and the promise of marketing and sales transformation, here's the reality: 85% of companies that have adopted marketing automation don't use the full potential of their investment, according to the BtoB 2013 Marketing Automation Study.

The primary reason? Lack of content.

A Shift in Focus

Marketing automation is simply a collection of code designed to automate specific tasks that allow users to track and communicate with prospects at any given time in the buying cycle.

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Peter Baron is principal of Carabiner Communications, where he acts as a senior-level consultant, offering advice to clients on product positioning and harnessing the latest market trends. He is also a lead contributor to The Connector blog. Reach him via

Twitter: @peterbaron

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  • by Michael Tue Mar 18, 2014 via web

    Marketing automation is hard without content, that is for sure.

    I suggest have a lot of content in place already, then add marketing automation. Then you can piece it together like a well designed puzzle with the perfect piece of content for right process. Without the content, you will just come off as a robot, repeating the same thing over and over. This will bore anyone.

  • by Kevin Tue Mar 18, 2014 via web

    Thanks for your informative and practical article. I happen to be in the midst of evaluating several automation companies to see just how much assistance they provide, if I need it at all, and if so, who would be the best value for what they charge. Your article comes at a good time in my evaluation. I already started writing out my (perceived) personas' questions for each stage of their buying cycle. I also plan to send a survey to our customers to help better define those personas. Do you have any suggestions/resources on how to structure an online survey to help define those personas?
    Thanks again for a great article.

  • by Anupam Bonanthaya Wed Mar 19, 2014 via web

    Marketing automation is giving a method to the madness. The real meat is in the content. And Either does not make sense without the other, and the key is to tie the 2 together really well. If Content does not result in leads (Also called conversion), it does not make much sense. One thing that helps gel the 2 together is customer content in the form of proof points - testimonials, reviews, case studies, videos, photos, anything that is credible.

  • by Kimmy Burgess Thu Mar 20, 2014 via web

    I agree with Michael. I would say that marketing automation is not just hard, but it's almost impossible. Michael's advice is very good. Have some content to hold your back, then keep on adding further contents after you have started marketing.

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