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So You're Thinking About Implementing Marketing Automation

by Jason Siffring  |  
December 3, 2014

So you're thinking about implementing marketing automation?

Don't do it... yet.

Marketing automation (MA) software can add to your workload, alienate important prospects, and cause you to add hundreds of dollars to the swear jar.

Or... it can deliver real, positive ROI.

The difference is planning.

So don't buy into a marketing automation solution until you've created a plan for implementing it. I know that's sounds obvious—like "don't build a house without a blueprint." But it's true—and too often ignored.

At Surprise Highway, when we've helped companies implement MA solutions, we've noticed that clients can easily get carried away by all the benefits that good MA software offers.

The glowing sales copy makes it seem the road to marketing automation is as simple as this:

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Jason Siffring was raised on a Nebraska farm and spent eleven years consulting Procter & Gamble, Loudcloud, and VMware before starting Surprise Highway in 2007.

Twitter: @siffring

LinkedIn: Jason Siffring

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  • by Dennis Kelly Wed Dec 3, 2014 via web

    Great article Jason. We at Boingnet are finding that many businesses are turning to agencies that have invested in marketing automation as a part of their service offering. These agencies are seeing what is working across a range of clients are are able to quickly bring value to the table, bypassing many of the headaches that you highlight in the post.

  • by Lauren Wed Dec 3, 2014 via web

    Not all marketing automation platforms are created equal. Do your due diligence in researching what each specializes in, from industries served to tangible results. While one may be really good at lead acquisition and lead management, another may excel more at customer retention and growth. Which platform you choose should directly impact your team's (and organization's) goals (i.e., win new business, improve customer retention, upsell and cross-sell existing customers, etc...). Also, you left customer lifecycle marketing automation company Right On Interactive off the list...

  • by Sheryl Williams Wed Dec 3, 2014 via web

    A great way to avoid "the freak out" is to learn from peers who are actually using the software - before you buy. You can come to to evaluate and compare software reviews and even see specific evaluations of features like Landing Pages and Salesforce integration. We've also created a Buyers Guide on Marketing Automation Software based upon 400 in-depth reviews that covers how to achieve success with marketing automation, the best products by market segment, product ratings & user feedback, plus trends in marketing automation. You can get your free copy here:

  • by IDP Sun Dec 7, 2014 via web

    I would like to add a product called 7sheep to the list. The company has been well known in Europe for years and 7sheep was recently relaunched for the US market. They have a 'complex made simple' product which combines marketing, data analysis and communication aspects of general business management. The tool also helps you with your entire project life cycle for e.g. annual (financial) reports. Well worth a look. (Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the company but have been a happy client for many years)

  • by Katherine Mon Dec 8, 2014 via web

    Great points Jason. I would add that as smartphone ownership grows, and more people are calling businesses, voice-based marketing automation is going to be an increasingly important marketing tool to connect the two in conversation.

    My company uses Marketo (track leads from web and email), Ifbyphone (track inbound phone leads back to the marketing source that originated them), and Salesforce CRM (feed lead data in from both Marketo and Ifbyphone to follow leads through to revenue to accurately measure ROI of each source). These programs help us attribute our marketing efforts, and build greater alignment with sales.

  • by GoPromotional Fri Dec 12, 2014 via web

    Thanks for this insight, great article! These are all good signs that marketing automation (when done right) could work for your business. The key here is understanding that marketing automation does not do marketing for you, but can help scale your successful efforts.

  • by Smith V. Tue Dec 16, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the great article Jason. Many of these points resonate with me as we went through quite a bit before we actually got our automation investment to work. My two cents is that identifying which tools are actually relevant for your goals and company as a whole is one thing that people need to get right straight off the bat. That and scaling up presents its own set of unexpected issues. I'd like to add another resource that I found particularly relevant to the topic under discussion. It echos a lot of your points Jason, and adds a couple more. Hope everyone else finds it useful as well. Keep up the great work, and looking forward to more.

  • by Marlena Thu Feb 11, 2016 via web

    Very good article Jason.
    Lately, Im very interested in the marketing automation topic. I even started using some marketing automation tools (ECM) Did you ever think about comparing marketing automation tools to pinball game? You can imagine that your pinball game is your website and your products - other elements on the table. Your flippers is your ECM system!

  • by OliviaU Tue Aug 9, 2016 via mobile

    Great article and thank you for the lists at the end. I'll save this as a reference.

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