In the content marketing world, you can’t swing a big stick without whacking some marketing automation tool that promised to not only drive prospects through your sales funnel, it will lovingly nurture your leads, walk your dog, and make handfuls and handfuls of fries.
People look at these new tools like a teenager gaping open-mouthed at a motorcycle, thinking, “Man, if I owned this, my life would be awesome!”
That’s what it’s like with marketing automation. Marketers look at the shiny new tools, and dream of all the customers they’ll get, wind blowing in their hair, and Sarah staring after me, wishing she never dumped me.
Unlike the teenagers, marketers have the budget to bring their shiny tool home, where they promptly leave it in the driveway. They don’t have any fuel to put in it, and they don’t have anywhere to go.
Every morning, the marketer goes outside, sits on their new purchase, and says, “Okay, now GO!” And never moves an inch.
It sits, unmoving, from lack of content. No blog posts, no white papers, no videos, no podcasts.
Oh sure, they had the best of intentions. They got their entire mailing list uploaded into the CRM, and they even sent out content fairly regularly. For two weeks.
But then life got in the way, meetings popped up, and they stopped writing and producing content. They never had a chance to open the throttle and see how fast they could go.
You Need to Feed the Beast
The problem with marketing automation is that it always needs fuel. It always has to be fed. On top of that, it needs premium fuel. Your prospects expect great content. Not good content. Not even pretty good content.
It has to be stellar. Otherwise, they’re going to get bored and go away.
Which means you’re only as good as your content, not your tools. It doesn’t matter which tool you have, or that you paid for the platinum package, with all the bells and whistles and handlebar tassels that wave in the wind. If your content sucks, it will suck expensively.
But at least you’ll be able to track all the unsubscribes and put them all in a colorful report your boss can easily understand.
As content marketing grows and matures as an industry, and people rave about big data, customer journeys, and buyer personas, it’s still about the quality of your content.
If you can’t tell a story, still confuse features and benefits, and use enough marketing jargon to make the Harvard Business Review editors smile in their sleep, no tool will save you.
Focus first on the quality of your content before you start kicking the tires of a new marketing automation tool. Because once you make that big expensive purchase, you’re the one responsible for making it go. And if your shiny new tool can’t bring in the leads and convert them to customers, the fault isn’t with the tool.
It’s an operator error.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons