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As a smart marketer, you’ve probably considered a marketing automation solution for your business, regardless of your industry or company size. After all, the benefits are clear. Automation brings incredible efficiencies to your marketing team, making it easier to create durable customer relationships at scale and drive huge results fast. We know it can be confusing to sort through all the available solutions. And we know that every company has different marketing automation needs. But here ’s one thing we can say to anyone weighing their options: if you opt for the wrong solution, you ’re likely to regret your decision. In this ebook, we’ll explain why.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


The The Dangers Dangers of of “Good “Good Enough” Enough”


When looking at marketing automation solutions, you might be drawn to anything that provides more functionality than you have today, even if it’s just a marginal improvement. However, there’s a real cost to settling for “good enough”. First of all, what initially seems easy will quickly feel limiting when you want to do more. (We’ll dive deeper into that issue in our next section, “Basic Functionality Hinders Productivity”.) Second, your overall objective shouldn’t be to find a solution that makes the most basic things easy. Rather, your goal should be to purchase a solution that lets you quickly achieve mastery of functions that will have the biggest impact. “Good enough” solutions focus on making the basics easy by keeping things, well, basic. And basic functionality doesn’t let marketers achieve the best results. Take lead nurturing as an example. A “good enough” solution might allow you to build a basic “drip” campaign easily, but a drip campaign will never engage your database at the highest level.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

So when you’re tempted to say “this looks good enough”, consider that the basic functionality inherent to “good enough” solutions will soon limit your results. Instead, choose a complete marketing automation solution, like Marketo, that will help you achieve meaningful results fast and scale effortlessly as your needs grow.

In the following pages, we ’ll discuss the nine specific areas in which “good enough” won’t provide the results that you, as a marketer, should expect.


“Good enough” marketing automation solutions typically provide linear workflows for basic functions, such as creating email campaigns and landing pages. However, once you’ve built a flow once or twice, you’ll wish you had more power and flexibility.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

In the following pages we will describe the reasons why.


Basic Basic Functionality Functionality Hinders Hinders Productivity Productivity Lack of Flexibility

Limited Triggers

To send an email, many systems require that you first create a list, then create the email, then associate the email to the list, and finally schedule it. But what if you want to create a series of emails, but you don’t have your list created yet? “Good enough” marketing solutions force marketers to follow rigid paths— which quickly seem restrictive. Complete solutions like Marketo offer more flexibility, without added complexity.

While a limited number of campaign workflows can be triggered directly in some “good enough” solutions, many can only be triggered when a person is added to a specific list. This means that marketers need to keep creating unique lists for each workflow they want to trigger.

Every Landing Page Requires a Separate Form “Good enough” solutions are often very focused on landing page conversions, treating them as the ultimate measure of success. Not only is this misleading, but because the system uses the form itself as the conversion object, marketers must create a separate form for every single campaign. As the number of campaigns grows, this can quickly become very laborious. Complete solutions, on the other hand, let marketers use a common form across many campaigns, and are still smart enough to track unique conversions. This saves marketers an enormous amount of time when it comes to the building and maintenance of their campaigns.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

For example, to trigger campaigns based on web visits, these solutions often require marketers to create separate campaigns in a different area of the user interface, or offer a restrictive set of workflow items for different types of triggered campaigns. Complete solutions let marketers trigger workflows based on just about any criteria, all in one place, using one simple interface. Marketers shouldn’t be forced to jump to different areas of an interface in order to create different types of workflows.

Danger Ahea d!

! 4

Basic Basic Functionality Functionality Hinders Hinders Productivity Productivity Rigid Templates “Good enough” solutions often force marketers to change items like emails and landing pages individually whenever a template is changed. This means that updating something as simple as a copyright year on a form can require a lot of work. Complete marketing automation solutions let you change such information within the template, which automatically updates all assets using that template.

Limited, Confusing Interfaces When building your lists and segments, “good enough” solutions either don’t offer the ability to use “and/or logic”, or use very confusing interfaces that don’t make sense to marketers. Complete marketing automation solutions let marketers build their lists with simple Boolean logic filters, such as “((1 and 2) and (3 or 4))”. This makes it much easier to build detailed database segments that enable more relevant messaging.


Avoid the danger!

A marketing automation user interface should allow you to easily build campaigns in a way that supports your typical workflows. Most marketing automation solutions available today have a short learning curve, so more than anything, focus on an interface that lets you do things you do every day, very quickly.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Bells and Whistles: Unnecessary “Perks” of “Good Enough” Solutions

Most “good enough” marketing automation solutions focus solely on web and email channels. Web engagement is typically focused on landing pages (with or without forms), although some “good enough” marketing automation solutions let marketers set up their blogs within the platform. This is especially common among solutions that target very small businesses. The value of building your company’s blog through your marketing automation solution, however, is questionable at best. Marketers can already take advantage of the many widely used blog platforms with rich capabilities, supported by a long list of third-party plug-ins, available at a low cost. Building your blog within a “good enough” marketing automation solution, rather than an independent blog platform, means that when you outgrow your marketing automation solution, you’ll have to migrate your blog, which can be painful. Lastly, complete marketing automation solutions like Marketo make it easy to seamlessly track and score behaviors or trigger workflows based on engagement within any blog platform. This leaves you with no good reason not to host your blog on a commonly used platform like WordPress or Blogger.


The basic drip nurturing capabilities provided by “good enough” marketing automation solutions use the following process: send an email, wait, send another email, wait again, and so on. Typically, they send the same email again if the recipient hasn’t clicked or opened it, and send a different email if the recipient did click or open. At Marketo, we refer to this ability as basic “drip nurturing”, which any marketing automation solution, Marketo included, can do. The practice of re-sending un-opened emails has been pushed by “good enough” solutions for years, and many marketers are still convinced that this is a sound solution. However, we don’t believe this to be a best practice.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Simple Simple Drip Drip Nurturing Nurturing is is a a leaky Leaky faucet Faucet There are three primary reasons why we don’t think basic drip nurturing makes sense:

1. Re-sending the same email after an individual declined to engage is a form of “listening”, but the listening in this case is far too narrow to be useful. Using this method, you can’t deliver a relevant dialogue with a prospect or customer. 2. Content that has already been consumed on another channel (for example, content that is downloaded from your website) will be delivered again through the drip campaign. 3. Triggering anything off of an email “open” is problematic, as open rates are very unreliable.

Our own research clearly shows that basic drip nurturing does a very poor job of creating a relevant and engaging dialogue with individuals when compared to the more powerful nurturing capabilities found in Marketo—especially those that can shift the conversation based on crosschannel behaviors. And with Marketo’s new Customer Engagement engine, more powerful nurturing doesn’t have to be more difficult.

The following pages show what a “good enough” solution doesn ’t do:

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Simple Simple Drip Drip Nurturing Nurturing is is a a leaky Leaky faucet Faucet Multi-Channel Listening

Basic drip nurture campaigns blast a series of messages every week, but they can’t create a dialogue. To facilitate dialogue, the solution needs to do a good job listening for behaviors across multiple channels. Re-sending an email that wasn’t initially opened is listening at the most basic level, but it does very little to gauge specific interests, or to determine why a recipient didn’t open that email in the first place. Here’s a basic example of how effective crosschannel listening can be. Take a lead that has been initially placed within a generic nurturing program. He or she then visits our website, and over a period of a week, visits our event marketing page three times. Marketo can “listen” for such cross-channel behavior, and then push the individual into a nurturing stream specific to event marketing, making for a much more relevant dialogue. Such a shift in the conversation wouldn’t be possible without cross-channel listening. Complete marketing automation solutions can also coordinate campaigns across channels. For example, if a prospect or customer responds to an SMS message, you could follow up with an email. Based on their demographics, firmographics, and behaviors, your system might also send a piece of direct mail. Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

When a prospect signs for the delivery, this could automatically trigger a follow-up message, and alert the sales rep who owns the account. This allows marketers to start with the basics, but gives them options to engage their audience members across other channels. Complete platforms also let prospects and customers choose where they’d like to be engaged. For example, a marketer could send an email asking how the recipient would like to be contacted, and then shift the communications method accordingly. A complete solution can also shift the conversation with prospects based on changes in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, such as when a lead becomes an opportunity, or when someone’s title changes. A complete automation solution can shift the conversation on the fly, staying relevant in real time. “Good enough” marketing automation solutions cannot do this, and instead continue to send the next message in the drip campaign, even if it is completely irrelevant to the prospect at that point.


Simple Simple Drip Drip Nurturing Nurturing is is a a leaky Leaky faucet Faucet Confidently Add New Content to Campaigns

Basic drip nurture also makes it very painful for marketers to add new content to their campaigns. This is due to the linear nature of a drip program, which requires individuals to flow through a series of steps in a successive manner. The problem with a linear flow is that once a prospect or customer starts a journey, he or she can only receive pre-selected content. So if a marketer adds new content to the top of the workflow, none of the individuals who are already in the program will ever receive it. On the flip side, if a marketer adds new content to the end of the workflow, each individual must pass through every workflow step in the program before he or she can receive the newest, freshest content. A complete marketing automation solution offers nurturing capabilities with built-in intelligence, which allows marketers to deliver the freshest content to prospects. “Good enough” drip programs also make it cumbersome to add time sensitive communications, like event invitations or promotions. A complete marketing automation solution should make it easy to add and remove time sensitive communications to nurture programs. This means that marketers aren’t forced to manage their nurture campaigns separately from

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

individual batch and blast campaigns for events and promotions. When managed separately, it’s easy to send your list more messages than intended. This causes your audience to opt out, or to “mentally unsubscribe” by simply ignoring your messages.


Avoid the danger!

Basic drip campaigns are like leaky faucets for marketers—with such limited capabilities, you’ll watch your time and money go down the drain. Look for smarter solutions that build relevant conversations in real-time, and listen for cross-channel behaviors. Your solution shouldn’t monopolize your time, or force you to become a programmer.


Simple Simple Drip Drip Nurturing Nurturing is is a a leaky Leaky faucet Faucet Marketo’s Customer Engagement Engine with Smart Streams

A complete marketing automation solution makes it easy to deliver a relevant and engaging dialogue with individuals at scale—without forcing marketers to be programmers. Settling for basic drip campaigns will not only limit results, but will also put pressure on marketers to continually re-architect their campaigns as new content becomes available. Marketo’s Customer Engagement engine with Smart Streams makes life easy for marketers who want to do sophisticated nurturing in an easy way. Simply drag content into the stream, and the system intelligently delivers it to the right person at the right time. The engine is even

smart enough to know when content has already been downloaded off your website, and won’t send it to that individual again. No need for marketers to program conditional logic into their campaigns. The logic is already built in, and it’s automatic.

Lead nurture streams in Marketo’s Customer Engagement engine Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


In order to be an effective marketer, it’s critical to understand how your marketing campaigns are performing. “Good enough” marketing automation solutions simply don’t allow marketers to effectively measure campaign performance.

Each of the first three report types can seriously mislead marketers, leading to incorrect assumptions and misdirected future spend, and here’s why.

There are four different levels of reporting represented by today’s marketing automation solutions. They are: 1. Conversion-based: focused on landing page form conversions 2. Win-based: shows how many wins tie back to a single campaign 3. Revenue-based Single Source: revenue tied back to a single source campaign 4. Revenue-based Multi-Source: revenue tied back to multiple campaigns The Best Way Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


“good “good enough” enough” Reports Reports Can Can Seriously Seriously Mislead Mislead Marketers Marketers Conversion-Based Reports Conversion-based reports simply show how many individuals filled out a landing page in order to register for a webinar, download content, or participate in a poll. However, while filling out a landing page can measure engagement, it can’t tie performance directly to desired business outcomes—such as revenue. For example, if 1,500 people fill out a form for one of your campaigns, and you’re looking at conversion-based reports, you might think it’s performing well. But that report won’t tell you how many of those people ultimately became customers. If you knew that none of those 1,500 individuals became customers, you’d think very differently about that campaign’s performance. In other words, conversion-based reporting can produce some very misleading results.

Win-Based Reports Win-based reports are a step above conversionbased reports, but they also have severe limitations. First of all, “good enough” solutions typically report on wins instead of revenue because they simply can’t tap into revenue or pipeline numbers in your CRM. This is problematic because the dollar amounts of one “win” might be dramatically different from another. If one marketing campaign generated a $1M deal, but another generated a $10K deal, you’d want to run more campaigns like the first. Win-based reports, which are blind to actual dollar amounts, can’t give you that data. Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Single Source Revenue-Based Reports Revenue-based reports tied to a single source campaign are a step above win-based reports, and can measure results in terms of revenue. However, these reports tie all revenue from a deal back to a single campaign source. This often fails to tell the whole story, as today’s buying journey typically involves multiple marketing touch points. For example, a buyer may click on a paid search ad, download content off of a website, attend a webinar, and then visit you at a tradeshow before making a purchase. In this scenario, what campaign should get the credit for a win? A report tying revenue back to a single campaign would give 100% credit to the paid search ad. You might conclude, looking at that report, that you should allocate more budget to paid search campaigns. But this would fail to acknowledge the role that your content, webinar, and tradeshow had on that win. In other words, these campaigns would show $0 of revenue contribution in single-source reports, despite the fact that they heavily influenced revenue. This might lead you to decide not to repeat these campaigns in the future, which would be a bad decision.


“good “good enough” enough” Reports Reports Can Can Seriously Seriously Mislead Mislead Marketers Marketers Multiple Source Revenue-Based Reports Reports that tie revenue back to all campaigns that influenced the deal are the ideal way to measure marketing performance in today’s multi-touch, multi-channel world. Marketo calls this “multi-touch” revenue reporting, in which revenue from a won deal is spread across all the campaigns that successfully influenced that deal. In the example we discussed on the previous page, revenue credit would be split between your paid search ad, content, webinar, and tradeshow. This gives marketers the ability to more accurately measure the effectiveness of all campaigns based on the impact they have on revenue. In the past, when deals typically involved only one or two marketing touches, this wasn’t critical. Today, however, a deal typically takes between five and


10 marketing touches to close, which makes it critical to measure the impact of every touch.

Avoid the danger!

Above all, make sure that your marketing automation solution lets you measure the impact of your campaigns on revenue—every campaign that touches a deal, not just the first campaign. Today’s CEOs don’t care how many leads campaigns are generating. CEOs measure results in terms of revenue, and they want to know how their marketing spend is driving business results.

Actual example of a deal won by Marketo shows just how many touch points it often takes to win a deal

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Traditionally, marketers have segmented their databases using demographic and firmographic criteria. This criteria (including job title, company size, industry, region, language, and more) gives you a solid indication of whether your product or service will be a good fit.

your marketing automation solution. Such behaviors are incredibly powerful indicators of interest and buying-intent, so if you can’t listen for these behaviors, your ability to target the right messages at the right time will be severely limited.

“Good enough” solutions typically offer the ability to create lists or segments based on demographics and firmographics. However, their ability to segment based on behavioral criteria is very limited. Most “good enough” solutions don’t offer any behavioral segmentation. Others can only segment by clicks on specific emails, or fill-outs of specific forms. What a “good enough” solution can’t do is segment based on cross-channel behaviors, including those that occur outside of

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


A A Behavioral Behavioral Database Database is is a a Powerful Powerful Tool Tool for for Marketers Marketers Segmentation For example, most “good enough” solutions can’t create the following types of segments:

likely to respond, making your marketing efforts more relevant, and more effective.

• Leads or contacts from a specific industry who have visited the company website in the last 60 days.

In fact, according to the 2013 Marketing Sherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, targeting campaigns based on behavioral triggers is the top tactic used to increase email engagement.

• Leads or contacts at companies larger than 1,000 employees, who have clicked a specific link in an email in the past two weeks. • Leads or contacts who have shared content on a social network in the last two weeks. • Leads or contacts who have participated in a social poll in the past 30 days. • Customers who have visited the company’s knowledge base more than three times in the last week. • Prospects (not customers) who have visited the company booth at a tradeshow in the last 90 days. • Prospects (not customers) who have visited the company’s pricing page on the corporate website two times in one day. Using a sophisticated marketing automation solution, you can add behavioral filters (or triggers) to your demographic and firmographic filters. Adding behavioral filters makes it much easier to target leads or contacts who have recently engaged. In other words, it becomes easy to aim campaigns at those who are most Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Top Tactics to Increase Email Engagement 39% Automatically send email based on triggers

37% Segment email campaigns based on behavior

36% Dynamically personalize email content

(e.g. first name in subject line or geo-location content)

28% Segment email campaigns based on sales cycle



Allow subscribers to specify email preferences via a robust preference center

Avoid the danger!

Most marketers agree that behavior is the most powerful indicator of interest. To drive the best results, ensure that your marketing automation solution fully supports behavioral segmentation. 15

“Good enough” solutions offer basic lead scoring. Some lead scoring might be better than nothing, but “good enough” lead scoring has four major shortcomings: 1. Associating a single score with each lead or contact in the CRM 2. Generic scoring criteria 3. Scoring based on a limited set of behaviors 4. Single score that doesn’t separate interest from fit

In the following pages, we will dig more into each of these shortcomings.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


The The 4 4 Major Major Shortcomings Shortcomings of of Generic Generic Lead Lead Scoring Scoring 1. Associating a Single Lead Score with Each Lead or Contact in the CRM

First of all, “good enough” solutions have a single lead score associated with each lead or contact in the CRM. However, if you have multiple product lines, or multiple business units, a single lead score won’t meet your needs. If a lead is very interested in Product/Service A, and not very interested in Product/Service B, a single lead score won’t indicate where his or her interest lies. Furthermore, a single lead score won’t let you automate workflows specific to one product or the other.

Let’s say you want a lead to be assigned to a specific sales rep who covers Product A, and you want to push that lead into a nurturing campaign specific to Product A. With multiple lead scores, you can simply set up a workflow, which is triggered when a specific score reaches a specific threshold. This isn’t possible with single lead scores.

Lead score workflow in Marketo

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


The The 4 4 Major Major Shortcomings Shortcomings of of Generic Generic Lead Lead Scoring Scoring 2. Generic Scoring Campaigns

The second shortcoming with “good enough” lead scoring is that the scoring campaigns are typically generic. For instance, there may be a system-wide score associated with “filling out a form”. This doesn’t give you the ability to create different scores for different forms, which is something most marketers want to do. For example, a form fill related to inquiries or late-stage content should score higher than form fills related to very early-stage content. But that level of control is either difficult or impossible with “good enough” solutions, which either don’t let you customize scoring criteria to this level, or require marketers to add special code to individual web pages in order to create unique scoring actions.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


The The 4 4 Major Major Shortcomings Shortcomings of of Generic Generic Lead Lead Scoring Scoring 3. Scoring Based on a Limited Set of Behaviors

The third shortcoming is that “good enough” solutions limit lead scoring to basic behaviors such as form fills, landing page visits, email opens, and clicks. As you can see, such behaviors are concentrated across only two channels: web and email. Today’s prospects, however, are living a multichannel lifestyle. They are not only engaging with your content on the web, but they are also sharing it across social networks. They are not only attending your webinars, but they are also learning about your company at in-person events. All these interactions are important parts of gauging interest level, and therefore they should all be incorporated into your scoring model. Complete solutions can score such engagements because they can listen for behaviors across a greater number of channels. The result is a more complete, more accurate measurement of interest. “Good enough” solutions can’t do this, as they are typically limited to website and email interactions. Furthermore, “good enough” solutions don’t take into consideration the timing of such interactions. For example, if someone visits your pricing page three times, a “good enough” solution will simply score it based on three generic page visits. If the “good enough” solution is capable of scoring unique pages differently, it will apply the unique score three times. However, three visits to the

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

pricing page in a single day should be treated differently than three visits over the course of a few weeks. Similarly, if someone downloads five or more content assets in a single week, this should be scored differently than if someone downloads five assets over the course of a month. The concentration of such behaviors over time matters when it comes to measuring interest. Complete solutions let you add the dimension of time to your scoring model. To address the above example, you could create a scoring activity that looks for five or more visits in a single week, and scores those visits appropriately. A complete solution would also let you create a unique workflow based on this behavior, such as sending an alert to the sales rep, or sending a specific email to the prospect. Had the behaviors occurred over the course of a month, you probably wouldn’t want those workflows to be triggered. “Good enough” solutions don’t let marketers respond so specifically.


The The 4 4 Major Major Shortcomings Shortcomings of of Generic Generic Lead Lead Scoring Scoring 4. Single Scoring that Doesn’t Separate Interest from Fit

The fourth shortcoming is that “good enough” solutions do nothing to determine whether your lead is a good fit. To determine fit, you need to score based on demographic and firmographic information, including job titles, industries, company size, and more. Say you’re a company in the education technology space. You’re selling your product to higher education institutions, rather than directly to students. But curious students end up on your company’s website, filling out forms (and listing their job title as “student”), downloading content, and visiting pages. If you’re using a “good enough” solution, all of these activities are being scored, and these leads are going to seem “hot” to your sales reps. A complete marketing automation solution can filter students out of such scoring actions, while a “good enough” solution can’t discern the difference. The ability to score on demographic and firmographic information can also ensure that a VP at a large company in your target industry will score significantly higher than a manager in an industry you don’t target.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Complete solutions also let you create separate scores for interest and fit, if you so desire. This way, a sales person might see a very high interest score based on a high level of engagement, but a low fit score due to title, company size, or industry. In such cases, your sales reps can avoid placing a live call to this individual, and can instead focus their energy on calls that are more likely to lead to wins.


Avoid the danger!

Go with a solution that provides fully customizable and flexible scoring capabilities, and can take into consideration both interest and fit, so that the scores are meaningful to your company and your sales team. If you have multiple products, business units, or divisions, it’s likely that a single lead score won’t support your needs.


One of the biggest benefits of a marketing automation solution is the ability to create automated workflows, which can be used to respond to prospect behaviors in realtime. Automated workflows can score leads, trigger follow-up activity from sales, normalize data, and more.

While they were able to quickly create basic workflows with their former solutions, they soon found themselves unable to build workflows that responded to lead activity in a more sophisticated way. Let ’s review the reasons why.

However, despite similarities at the surface level, there are significant differences between “good enough” and more complete marketing automation solutions— especially when it comes to workflow. When you “look under the hood” of a solution, you should be looking for workflows that you won’t outgrow. New customers who come to Marketo from “good enough” solutions will often describe workflows as an area they outgrew the fastest.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


All All Automation Automation Workflows Workflows Are Are Not Not Created Created Equal Equal Difficult-to-Create Workflows in a “Good Enough” Solution

“Good enough” solutions let marketers create basic automated workflows that are typically initiated when a name is added to a list. But what if you want to create a very specific trigger? And what if you want the automated workflow steps to perform a variety of actions, based on other factors? Here are some workflows that are difficult (or impossible) to create with “good enough” solutions: • A series of workflow steps triggered by a lead’s visit to a specific web page a specific number of times. • An automated workflow which is triggered when a prospect downloads a piece of content, and a different workflow which is triggered when a customer downloads the same content.

Creating such workflows in a complete solution is fast and easy, and each requires only one campaign. To create these workflows in a “good enough” solution is usually impossible—at best, they would require many individual campaigns and many different lists to accomplish the same result. And creating that many campaigns and lists isn’t easy to do.

• Workflow steps based on conditional logic. For instance, your trigger might be “when a new lead is created”, but you might want the next steps to be based on conditional criteria. For example: “if title contains ‘President’, add 20 points to score”, “if title contains ‘Manager’, add 10 points to score”, or “if title contains ‘Assistant’, subtract 15 points from score”.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


All All Automation Automation Workflows Workflows Are Are Not Not Created Created Equal Equal Easy-to-Create Workflows in a Complete Solution

If you’re looking for a marketing automation solution that provides power and flexibility when creating automated workflows, you need a system that can do the following: 1. Encourage the use of real-time triggers,

which fire off workflows the instant a prospect or customer exhibits a certain behavior. 2. Support the layering of real-time triggers

and filters, firing off associated workflows only when various prospect or customer criteria are met.


Avoid the danger!

Think about the type of workflows you want to automate, rather than the type of workflows a potential marketing automation solution can support. Look six, or even three months down the road— you might outgrow a “good enough” solution much faster than you’d think.

3. Create conditional workflows that, when fired

off, perform differently depending on which criteria is being met. Again, this is an area where some of the most significant differences exist between “good enough” and complete solutions, but it’s also one of the most subtle to grasp. Unfortunately, many marketers discover all of this post-purchase, after they quickly outgrow the basic workflow capabilities that “good enough” solutions provide.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Marketing automation solutions track many lead activities in real time, gathering data which can inform sales when a prospect is actively engaged. This data can prompt a call back at exactly the right time, and also provide context to drive a more relevant conversation. Most “good enough” marketing automation solutions simply push either all or a portion of this data to a sales rep, using an interface that typically resides outside of the CRM. In theory, this sounds great. In practice, it leads to less productivity, which encourages sales reps to ignore the data altogether.

Here’s why.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Sales Sales Intelligence Intelligence & & Productivity Productivity Don’t Don’t Always Always Go Go Hand Hand in in Hand Hand “Good enough” Intelligence Floods Your Sales Reps with Useless Information First of all, not every email open, form conversion, or web page visit is useful information for a sales rep. “Good enough” solutions deliver all of this information (and a lot more) to the sales team. This creates a surplus of information that sales reps must monitor, much of which is useless. The result is that sales reps quickly learn to tune out the noise. While some “good enough” systems filter these activities, presenting only prospect activities to sales, these systems tend to define “prospects” very loosely—often, any lead who fills out a form is defined as such. Even with this kind of filter, you’re still creating a major headache for sales, and encouraging them to ignore your data.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Sales Prefers Intelligence Within the CRM The second problem with broad sales intelligence is that it isn’t presented within the CRM, which is where sales reps spend their time. Sales intelligence delivered within the CRM is presented within the context of a list of leads, a lead or contact record, or sometimes even within the account or opportunity record. Forcing a sales rep to use a completely separate application often means that it isn’t used at all.


Avoid the danger!

Be wary of tools that bombard your sales reps with potentially meaningless, isolated activities. Instead, look for a solution that lets your company define the precise behaviors that are meaningful to reps. Your solution should present sales with a prioritized list, based on a holistic view of a lead’s overall behaviors, as well as other factors that determine fit.


Sales Sales Intelligence Intelligence & & Productivity Productivity Don’t Don’t Always Always Go Go Hand Hand in in Hand Hand “Good enough” Solutions Can’t Prioritize Follow-Up Activity The third and biggest problem is that real-time lead alerts aren’t presented in order of priority, which means that sales has to waste time on alerts of low value. Complete marketing automation solutions let marketers customize which activities should be presented to sales reps, based on relevance to the rep. The marketer, or the rep, can determine whether a specific activity represents a potential buying signal, or is a strong indicator of interest, and create a specific alert for that activity. For example, you might create a unique alert for when someone visits your website’s pricing page twice in one day. You could create a second alert for when someone downloads late-stage, product specific content—early-stage content

wouldn’t trigger the alert. In other words, the marketer (possibly working with the head of sales) can determine the types of behaviors that are “interesting” to a sales rep. Most importantly, a complete marketing automation solution can present sales reps a prioritized list of their leads, based on who is most likely to buy. The prioritization should be determined by lead score (which takes into consideration demographics, firmographics, and behavioral criteria). This means that when your sales reps fire up their laptops each day, they’ll see a prioritized list of leads—those with the most buying potential will be at the top. Your reps won’t waste time monitoring a real-time feed of mostly meaningless, isolated activities.

Marketo Sales Insight—stars show lead quality, flames show urgency Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Visual depictions of a sales funnel, showing the rate at which prospects are flowing from stage to stage, can help you identify areas of opportunity and boost results. Both “good enough” and complete marketing automation solutions offer tools to analyze funnel performance, but “good enough” funnel tools have five major drawbacks:

Let ’s dig into these drawbacks in more detail.

1. One-size-fits-all funnels with predefined stages—generic funnel is often irrelevant to many businesses 2. Hard-wired rules that transition prospects from one stage to the next— if these rules don’t apply to your funnel, they’re useless 3. Inability to analyze leads that leak from the funnel 4. Lack of trending funnel metrics 5. Lack of any real connection between the top of the funnel and the bottom Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Static Static Sales Sales Funnel Funnel Depictions Depictions

One-Size-Fits-All Funnels with Pre-Defined Stages “Good enough” marketing automation solutions have fixed funnels with pre-defined stages that are typically very broad, such as Lead, Prospect, Opportunity, and Customer. This becomes a problem if there are other stages that your company wants to track. Let’s say you’re a software company that wants to track how your freemium model is working, so you want one of your funnel’s stages to be “trial”. With a “good enough” solution, this isn’t possible. Or maybe you want to track stages after the sale is made, allowing you to analyze your upsell or cross-sell performance. Or maybe your funnel is simply more complex than the basic stages. Complete marketing automation solutions let companies use a default funnel, or define a funnel that reflects their own business model. This enables marketers to accurately measure, and ultimately optimize, how quickly prospects flow through the funnel.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Hard-Wired Transition Rules In a “good enough” marketing automation solution, the rules that transition prospects from one stage to the next are hard-wired, and are often connected to meaningless triggers. For example, a “good enough” marketing automation solution moves a lead to the “prospect” stage when someone fills out a form—in the real world, filling out a form does not automatically make someone a prospect. These types of meaningless transition rules give marketers an inaccurate view of their sales funnel. Complete marketing automation solutions let the marketer define what moves a prospect from stage to stage—based on behavioral, demographic, or firmographic triggers. For example, leads may convert to the prospect stage when they reach your specified scoring threshold, indicating both a certain level of engagement, and also their “fit” for your product or service.

Complete solutions let marketers build funnels that are completely aligned with their business models, making it a much more credible and valuable tool.


Static Static Sales Sales Funnel Funnel Depictions Depictions

Inability to Deviate from the “Success Path” Marketing automation solutions that are just “good enough” only reflect the funnel’s “success path”—a linear progression through the funnel. These solutions can’t reflect other paths or detours that are critical to track. For example, if you know where leads fall off the success path, you can identify “leaks” in your funnel, and decide how to “patch” those leaks. An inability to deviate from the success path means that marketers can’t track funnel paths in these scenarios: • Recycling paths—when sales reps “recycle” leads that aren’t yet ready to engage in the buying cycle. • Disqualification paths—when leads that aren’t potential customers, and never will be, somehow reach a sales rep. • Nurture effectiveness paths—when leads that are being actively nurtured re-engage and enter the buying cycle. • Deal loss paths—when leads become opportunities, but either don’t close, or are lost.

Lack of Trending Funnel Metrics While it’s useful to see how leads are flowing through the funnel over a specific time period, it’s even more important to understand how the conversion metrics are trending over time. This way, you can find out how your efforts are impacting funnel performance, and whether your efforts are moving results in the desired direction. Static funnels show results at a single point in time. If you want to look at prior results, you’re out of luck—unless you remembered to dump that specific piece of data into a spreadsheet. Some “good enough” solutions allow marketers to modify the timeframe of their funnel reports, but the marketer still has to select a specific date range, record the results in an external spreadsheet, and then select the next date range, and record the results, and so on.

Having a funnel report that shows trending metrics provides marketers with deep insight into the performance of their marketing funnel over time—no time-consuming, manual data entry required.

Complete marketing automation solutions let marketers track success path stages (like Lead, Prospect, Opportunity, and Customer), but also enable them to track these other paths. Marketers should optimize their funnel performance by adding efficiencies along the success path, but also by minimizing leakage, and improving re-engagement. Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Static Static Sales Sales Funnel Funnel Depictions Depictions

Lack of Real Connection Between Top and Bottom of Funnel Many “good enough” solutions do not actually integrate with the CRM opportunity object. This creates a disconnect when it comes to funnel reporting. If a solution produces campaign performance reports that only present the number of customer wins and the lead “source”, that’s a clear sign that the solution doesn’t integrate with CRM opportunities. Instead, a “good enough” solution is simply combining the win data provided by the CRM with the associated lead source, and presenting that data within the marketing automation application. Now let’s think about how this applies to a funnel report. Let’s say you run a funnel report and specify the current quarter as your timeframe. What you will see at the top of the funnel are the number of leads generated, and perhaps the number of prospects generated (based on a generic metric like landing page visits).

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

At the bottom of the funnel, you’ll see the number of new customers that were generated in that same timeframe. However, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll discover that the bottom of the funnel metric is simply a running tally of closed won deals in the CRM that closed during the report timeframe. There’s no real connection between the number of leads generated and the number of closed won deals during that quarter. Let’s say your business typically has a oneyear sales cycle, meaning that the leads and prospects at the top of the funnel won’t result in wins for another year. That means the wins you are seeing at the bottom of the funnel were likely generated by campaigns not represented during the report timeframe—they have nothing to do with the lead activity currently happening at the top of your funnel. Therefore, the conversion rates being presented from one funnel stage to the next are meaningless, as the wins at the bottom of the funnel are not actually the result of lead activity at the top of the funnel. Rather, they are two isolated data points that are, in fact, disconnected completely.


Static Static Sales Sales Funnel Funnel Depictions Depictions

Lack of Real Connection Between Top and Bottom of Funnel

An accurate funnel should show leads and prospects generated at the top, and then present the number of opportunities and wins for those specific leads and prospects at the bottom. This way, the conversion rates are more meaningful and accurate. Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Modeler


Avoid the danger!

You need a visual representation of your sales funnel and stage-by-stage conversion rates, but it must accurately represent your typical buyer’s journey, and stage transitions must be based on meaningful triggers. Otherwise, it’s not only useless— it’s misleading as well. Go with a complete marketing automation solution that lets you map out your own funnel—including paths that fall outside of the success path—and define transitions that truly reflect movements from stage to stage.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


One of the biggest dangers of selecting a “good enough” solution is the fact that you’ll need to go through a rather painful migration from one system to another. This can be easily avoided by selecting the right solution up front. While a complete solution isn’t necessary for every company, many companies do underestimate their future growth and needs, as well as how quickly those new needs might arise. The result is a decision based on what will be “just good enough”, along with the assumption that, once their needs grow, they’ll select a more complete solution. However, there is significant cost associated with such decisions.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution



Migrations Are Time and Resource Intensive The migration path from one system to another is often painful—you can’t just export a flat file from one system into another. Customer behavior records, database segmentations, emails, landing pages, templates, workflows and more—all of it has to be migrated, or (more likely) re-created in another system. The migration from one system to another is often more complicated and time-consuming than implementing a marketing automation solution itself. The decision to start with a “good enough” solution, and re-evaluate once you’ve outgrown it, often comes back to bite companies. Having outgrown the capabilities of their “good enough” solution more quickly than anticipated, they’re forced to embark on resource draining, timeintensive migrations.

Career Implications No marketer wants to be associated with a “good enough” solution that his or her company quickly outgrows, necessitating a major project to “undo”. Make sure that you, as a marketer, think long-term (at least two years ahead) as you determine which marketing automation solution fits your needs best.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

If you want to get ahead as a marketer, choose a system that will set your company up for success over a three to five-year period. Certainly don’t base decisions on the next six months— or even the next year. Lastly, the difference in cost between a “good enough” solution and a complete solution like Marketo is often around five cents per record. Is it really worth sacrificing capabilities and future success based on such a small difference? Consider the difference in results you’ll be positioned to achieve—from a revenue perspective, they’re likely to far exceed such a small variance in cost.


Avoid the danger!

Don’t make a career-limiting move. Make sure you select a marketing automation solution that meets your needs today and tomorrow. Choosing a solution you’ll quickly outgrow, even if it takes a year, has major implications for your efficiency, your resources, and even your career.


Buy from a company that has your back. You want to partner with a company that puts you, as a marketer, on a pedestal— a company that understands marketers, and will be invested in your success. In other words, choose a company that puts you, as a marketer, first.

Choose Marketo.

Dangers of a “Good Enough� Marketing Automation Solution


Don’t Don’t Just Just Select Select a a Product— Product— Select Select a a Partner Partner Join the Marketing Nation When you select Marketo, you join a nation of more than 40,000 fellow marketers, ready and willing to help you achieve mastery over your tasks. Marketo users are passionate marketers who love to exchange ideas and best practices with other marketers. In other words, Marketo users look out for one another.

Experience Our Active User Community The Marketing Nation is a thriving, growing, active community. A quick peek into our online community site is enough to convince anyone that joining the Marketing Nation gives you major advantages. Marketers get assistance and give advice on topics beyond the use of Marketo, as best practices spanning the entire marketing function are discussed on a daily basis. Want to know how to improve landing page conversions? Ask the community. Want to know how leading marketers are segmenting their databases? Ask the community. You get the idea.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution

Benefit From a Complete Partner Ecosystem That’s Growing Fast Marketo LaunchPoint is the most complete ecosystem of marketing solutions, bar none. With over 250 solutions represented, marketers can easily and effortlessly extend the capabilities of Marketo. Do sophisticated data cleansing and deduplication with Ringlead. Drive calls-toaction within videos with Vidyard. Integrate direct mail into your cross-channel campaigns with Marketsync, or SMS with StrikeIron or Twilio.

In addition to being the most complete partner ecosystem of any marketing automation company, it ’s also the fastest growing, by far. So if you don ’t see a solution that fits your needs, it’s likely that you soon will.


Whether you choose to partner with Marketo or not, we hope this guide provides you with some insight as you select a marketing automation solution— especially into aspects that aren’t always obvious to those new to the technology.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


About About the the Author Author

Michael Berger Director of Product Marketing, at Marketo Prior to joining Marketo, Michael was a Marketo customer at a small technology company that was ultimately acquired by a major publisher. Prior to bringing in Marketo at his former company, he was using a “good enough” marketing automation solution that he inherited upon joining. While he was excited about the functionality of the “good enough” solution at first, after six months he realized that it wasn’t meeting the company’s needs, and was truly limiting their ability to achieve success. He replaced the “good enough” solution with Marketo, and never looked back. In fact, he liked it so much, he decided to join the company! Much of the content in this guide is taken from Michael’s personal experience in dealing with the limitations of a “good enough” solution.

Dangers of a “Good Enough” Marketing Automation Solution


Marketing Software. Easy, Powerful, Complete. Marketo (NASDAQ: MKTO) provides the leading cloud-based marketing software platform for companies of all sizes to build and sustain engaging customer relationships. Spanning today’s digital, social, mobile and offline channels, the Marketo® svvolution includes a complete suite of applications that help organizations acquire new customers more efficiently, maximize customer loyalty and lifetime value, improve sales effectiveness, and provide analytical insight into marketing’s contribution to revenue growth. Marketo’s applications are known for their breakthrough ease-of-use, and are complemented by the Marketing Nation™, a thriving network of more than 190 LaunchPoint™ ecosystem partners and over 40,000 marketers who share and learn from each other to grow their collective marketing expertise. The result for modern marketers is unprecedented agility and superior results. DG2LG-01142014

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