Why Marketing Automation Fails

Yesterday we talked about the benefits of marketing automation and why more marketers should be doing it. However, have you ever heard of the Domino’s Pizza marketing automation fail? The Pizza company’s auto response on their Facebook page was set to apologise even though customers were providing positive reviews, prompting readers to point out the automation fail.

So, if automation in marketing is risky, could the risk be worth the benefits? We say yes, but let’s point out some of the more common marketing automation fails and how to address them.

Common Automation Fails


Marketing automation fails are not just about tech issues. There’s a lot more to it than a marketer can understand. Usually, the recipe to a successful marketing strategy and use of marketing automation may include planning, study of audience, product worthiness, sales pitches and high-quality content. A dash of luck and good timing doesn’t hurt either.

Here are some of the common reasons why your marketing automation isn’t delivering what it’s supposed to.

#1 Bad Timing

You can automate your mail, posts and other jobs all you want but you still need the right timing to have any effect on customers at all. Bad timing can ruin otherwise perfect content and well executed campaigns. Bad timing issues may include:

  • Wrong choice of hour/time to send out emails
  • Wrong choice of hour/time to post content
  • Campaign launched same day as a bigger campaign from competitor, yours was eclipsed

These cases of bad timing can be prevented through careful study of the analytics as well as becoming aware of your competitors schedule. For start up companies, timing is everything. You can’t go against the bigwigs unless you have a very big plan and finances to spare. If you’re competing with a bigger company send out your emails or post your content either before or after.

Timing can be helped by team brainstorming as well as interpretation of the analytics.

#2 Bad Users

Although marketing automation is made to take certain tasks off the hands of the team, it should still be a human-initiated plan. How does marketing automation have bad users?

Bad users might be team members who are:

  • Unaware of the whole system
  • Members who make decisions based on their personal context and not based on the company, product and team’s sake
  • Improperly trained team members

The remedy for this is to make sure that your whole team understands your goal and purpose in using the technology as well as how the technology itself works. Hold a training shift that lets you and your team understand how the technology works to the smallest details. Most marketing automation software vendors offer this service. Knowing the technology is only half the battle; make sure your teamknows the goals of the company.

#3 Wrong Systems

There are poor systems and there are advanced systems in marketing automation. However, no matter how advanced your system is, it can be worthless unless it’s moulded to the needs of your product and business. How can a system be wrong?

  • It lacks some important features
  • It isn’t fitted to the needs of your business

To avoid this failure, outline your business needs before choosing a software package. Then pick a few choices to compare and keep budget in mind.

#4 Missing Features

You might have an automation software that is best for email automation but it might not have any other useful features. Don’t make any sacrifices; spend some more time finding the right software for your company.

#5 Unrealistic Expectations

Dreaming and aiming big is a must, but goals should be reasonable. Set a detailed timeline with your team, listing down the possible goals that you will achieve every week, month and year. Include possible plan B’s for every milestone setback.

#6 Wrong Process, Planning and Preparation

Your company’s strategy may vary depending on the service or product you are selling. You can implement automation within the sequence of your strategy but make sure it affects the right actions and is executed at the right time. For example, you have to gather leads before you can fully automate email marketing, or you have to know your analytics before scheduling your posts, campaigns and pitches.

#7 Bad Content

Content is a big part of digital strategy today, however, no matter how advanced your software is, you can never get ahead if you design your content poorly. Make sure it’s high quality and tailored to your audience and send it out to your vast audience through automation.

Never blame automation for everything that fails in your campaign. Often other factors may play a bigger role in your marketing campaign outcome.

#8 Small leads

How do you perceive email automation? It’s the feature of marketing automation that sends out a marketing pitch in emails tailored to your audience. However, what use will the pitch be if there is no audience or lead to send it to? Automation is conceived with the idea of easing the burden of sending emails to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. This will be of no use if you only have 50 in your company subscriber list.

So, first combine lead generating strategies to gather an audience. After that, organize your leads, form segments and include your automation strategy.

#9 Undocumented Processes

You may meet success while employing marketing automation in your strategies but it could lead you to fail if you haven’t documented anything. You may need to redo everything from the start for your next product or campaign. Documenting also help when comparing which parts of automation work best. Although some software may document and record your every move, it’s still best to take note of the whole process separately.


So there you have it tech folks, some common automation failures and a couple of hints to avoid them. Keep in mind that while there are thousands of helpful articles on the internet to give you ideas about how to use automation, it’s important to develop a strategy of your own, combining it with tried and tested ones for a successful overall strategy.


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