Look Before Leaping into a Marketing Automation Subscription

You’re ready for a marketing automation system to replace simple email blasts for your life science product company. You’re excited to get started with a system. Before diving in, determine how you’ll use it and what resources you’ll need to get the most out of your investment – before starting the subscription. Adopting marketing automation is more than a tool change; it takes a mind shift. Without changing your business process, your MA system will be underutilized. Fortunately, by avoiding a few common mistakes you can maximize the potential of marketing automation.

1) Not developing your company narrative in advance.

MA is most effective if used to deliver a serialized story about your company and products. Each email contributes to the narrative, helping to build credibility and eventually persuading the reader to take action. Develop a set of narratives for your company and individual products. Elements of these narratives can be mapped to individual emails in a campaign. The number and timing of your emails should take into consideration the length of the typical sales cycle. A simple drip-based email campaign may share the same content but differ in timing and complexity compared to a behavior-based nurture campaign. Remember the widely repeated marketing adage that a prospect needs to see a message seven times before responding to it.

 2) Not having enough content.

Remember producing your first newsletter? If your company was like most, the first couple of editions were easy to fill with great articles, but it got more difficult with time. Your blog may have had the same issue, with progressively more time between posts. MA takes the time out of sending emails, but it doesn’t automate content generation. Those emails need persuasive content to engage readers and compel them to take action.

Create a flow chart of your email campaigns and the kind of content and collateral needed to convey the narrative. Inventory your collateral currently available and under development with special attention to top-of-funnel collateral such as white papers that you’ll need immediately when you start your campaigns. Don’t forget content that can be derived from customer-authored journal articles and conference presentations. Your most credible advocates are your customers and their most credible statements are in peer-reviewed journals.

3) Under-resourcing your marketing automation initiative.

It’s easy to imagine that MA will free up time for your marketing organization; it actually does the opposite. Developing software expertise as well as building, testing and deploying the workflows and tasks within a MA system takes time. Integration with your CRM system takes time. As mentioned earlier, MA devours content, which takes more time to write.

Identify in-house or consulting resources to manage the system and make sure that enough time and budget are allocated.

For complex, high-value life science products, marketing automation is an essential tool to help nurture prospects over long sales cycles. With planning, you can make the most of your investment in marketing automation.