Are Marketing Automation Vendors Making Promises They Can’t Keep?
Last month, The Annuitas Group ran a pair of blog posts about 9 Things Marketers Need from Marketing Automation Vendors and Consultants. There’s some great stuff here, and they’re saying some things that really need to be said about a fast-growing, and still maturing, industry.
But one point on their list is especially important: Automation vendors need to think about whether terms like “quick,” “easy” and “30 days” really belong in their marketing vocabularies.
This Has All Happened Before
I have seen other groups of technology vendors make similar promises, and it rarely ended well.
In the 1990s, vendors pushed their content management and document management products as drop-dead easy, turnkey solutions. They weren’t.
A decade ago, the same thing happened in the CRM market. Failure rates on CRM projects climbed as high as 70%, and many companies canceled or scaled back their CRM projects.
In both cases, customers had a bad habit of letting the technology drive their purchasing decisions, rather than thinking first about their business processes and change management issues. The vendors did nothing to stop them. A backlash was inevitable.
Is the marketing automation market headed down the same path? It’s too early to tell, although an often-cited statistic from SiriusDecisions – that 85% of marketing automation users don’t think they’re taking full advantage of their systems — is cause for concern.
Addressing The Frustration Factor
Customers need guidance to push down that frustration factor, and vendors need to provide that guidance.
Before a company can take full advantage of a marketing automation solution, it has to make sure its sales and marketing teams are speaking the same language. It needs a lead scoring methodology, closed-loop reporting processes, user training and enablement, and all of the other things that contribute to a successful solution.
Vendors can help with all of these things. The best vendors, in fact, excel at helping customers with change management and business-process issues. Yet it’s impossible to reconcile change management best practices – all of which take time and care to implement – with the fast-faster-fastest marketing mantra being used to sell the technology.
This will all work itself out in the end. It always does. The big question is whether all of the vendors making promises today will be around to keep them tomorrow.