Marketing Automation: Are You Doing it Correctly?

We’ve already made two marketing automation posts in the past here at XenLife. The first is the introduction to marketing automation and second is the best practices in the said topic. Now, in this article, let’s look at some tips to further improve marketing automation to your advantage.

Like our previous marketing automation posts, there will be different parts to this article. First, we will tackle the possibilities of a failed marketing automation venture, second, we will be discussing some tips on how to do it correctly with minimal mistakes.

Common Reasons Why Marketing Automation Fails

There is always room for error. The important thing is how one will be able to use this error to launch a new strategy, learning from the failure. So first let’s dissect several situations where marketing automation may be deemed to have failed.

Some are specific, others generic.

#1 Coding Fail

In Laura Hogan’s article from hubspot, she recalled an epic fail when they sent out a newsletter addressing subscribers with this greetings, “Dear First Name”. Apparently, this glitch is caused by coding wherein the system should have had lifted the first names of the subscribers and use it in the newsletter.

This is just an example of coding fail. This can be disastrous for big companies with a huge fan base. So what if there’s more than just the “name” in the mistake? You can stop thinking about this nightmare, we will be checking out several ways to avoid this later.

#2 Social Media Automation Mistake

It is okay to use autobot or autoresponse from time to time but it shouldn’t pass the limits. It can spell disaster especially since social media today is full of people ready to pounce at a small glitch and point it out to the world. Several companies learned this the hard way.

Here’s one from American Air.

americanairphoto: BusinessInsider

Another one from Bank of America;

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-1.11.57-PM1photo: digiday

And another one from DOminos.


#3 Off Timing

Timing is everything in automated marketing. According to study, there is a specific hour when visitors are at their peak of engagement online. However, you need to consider that it can also be possible that your target audience is active at a far different time from the norm.

Not knowing this may steal away a big percentage of engagement and potential sales away from you. An example is, you can’t or are discouraged to post at the wee hours of the morning when your target audience are engaged at 5-8am, these working people with day work will be in bed before 12 and it’s likely they won’t even see something you have posted because your timing was off.

#4 Stale Content

You don’t produce content for the purpose of just creating content or to have something to fill your blog for the day. Stale content may be viewed by readers as a poor attempt at marketing and it can look cheap on the marketer’s part.

#5 Using MA for Email Only

Well, you must admit that Marketing Automation sounds like a program for automated emailing alone. But that can be done with any simple software. However, there are varied marketing automation strategies that lie outside of sending newsletters alone.

These failures we mentioned are just a few. However, other mistakes are industry specific.

How to Do it Right

Four businesspeople in a boardroom smilingphoto: le temple du chemisier

Here are some best practices of Marketing Automation and some solutions to such failures as mentioned above.

Answering the Above Mistakes

For the coding problem, check and recheck your codes and run tests before fully using your codes on the mass public. And it is best to use two or three pairs of scrutinizing eyes for this especially if it concerns interacting with your audience and customers.

For the automated social media response, avoid it. There are many ways to use automation, but it should be used sparingly on social media where real time interaction is happening every second. Even if the automated response can be passed up as a real person replying now, there will always be some one who can detect it in the future. According to, research shows that 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Now, ponder on it.

For timing, conduct a study on how your customers behave. Or you can use your analytics to do it. Check at which time it is best to post on social media when interaction will be likely high. For newsletters, experiment with the day and time when your newsletter can get the best possible exposure. Note the percentage and compare later.

For the email-only use of your MA, you should check out the other ways MA can be useful:

  • use it for website analytics
  • use it to identify anonymous website visitors
  • Use lead scoring to prioritize sales
  • Use it to increase the number of your email lists
  • Use it to study audience behavior
  • Use it to nurture leads based on the study of audience behavior
  • Use it to create ideal landing pages
  • Use it to help you integrate into CRM
  • Use it to keep track of your marketing campaign reports
  • Use it to keep track of your ROI from different marketing campaigns.

Build don’t Buy Your List

There is an easy way to build your email list since that list is vital in your marketing strategy. This would mean buying, but that won’t last. What you need to do is to build and then continue to rebuild to combat decay.

Start Small and Simple and Scale up Overtime

When you’re new to marketing automation, chances are, you are still groping for the right ways to do things. The trick is to start simple and small (although you should have already outlined the bigger picture of your campaign from the start). And over time, scale up and improve and include more complicated things in your list.

Every strategy needs mastery. Every new software needs to be studied. Over time, when you have found your way with your MA, you can start playing with its features to your advantage.

Nurture Relationships

We’ve mentioned this so many times in our previous marketing strategy posts. Nurturing relationships is vital and is the life of every digital strategy. It is the main objective of whatever software you employ. Establish relationships among customers and use it to strengthen the relationship customers have with your company and maintain this to increase leads for sales.

Nurturing relationships is more than just the usual presence on interactive social media, it can also be done through the usual email, newsletter, through behavior study, through campaign tailoring and through valuable content.

Match your software to your industry or business

It’s not the other way around. Since choosing the right software is your first step, you have to make it right. Every MA software has their own capacity and some are tailored for a specific purpose. Make sure you’ve got the right one.

Know what deserves action

In your MA features, there will be various things that will require your attention and action. Examples are changing consumer behavior, low response to email marketing, negative Social Media responses, decreased lead after a major campaign, to mention a few. So what kind of problems are deserving of immediate action?

  1. Steady decrease of leads after a major strategy turn around
  2. Negative social media feedback
  3. Abandoned carts
  4. Contact forms that get low return leads
  5. Updates

Consider an MA Partner

Although MA has the feature of being easy to use, it’s still possible that it’s not the only thing that you are working on in your strategy. Outside help is necessary sometimes and it can bring about new insights for your company to work on.

Marketing automation may require knowledge, skills and experience. A consultant can be a good way to improve this strategy of yours and to help your in-house employees learn its basic and complicated features.

To cap it all

According to, 80% of the average sales person’s day is spent on non-revenue generating activities. So when your MA doesn’t work exactly the way you want it to at the start, don’t despair, you just have to wait and innovate. To help you focus, check this info-graph from SoftwareAdvice that lists MA features that users want the most.


As there is a growing trend of MA adaption among small, medium and big companies, the best thing to do is to start from the basics first and foremost. This info-graph can help you get started. And since everything in MA is based on behavior-based targeting, companies can be sure that somehow they have accessed a part of psychology behind consumerism.

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