Marketing automation—which replaces separate technologies with a single, integrated system—sounds like a busy marketer's dream come true. However, if you're like most busy marketers, you've probably looked at marketing automation technology and thought, "How do I start? Is there a marketing plan format I can use to shortcut the planning process? How in the world will I ever find the time to do this?"
We realize that finding and implementing a marketing plan format for marketing automation can be a particularly daunting task for small marketing teams. However, like any successful marketing plan, it can help make your transition to marketing automation smoother. It will also help you take full advantage of the many tools marketing automation has to offer.
Here are six basic steps that everyone can use to develop a marketing automation implementation plan, regardless of scale or complexity:
Step 1: Pick a system that's easy to deploy, easy to measure, has high potential, and provides a gateway to change.
Step 2: Deploy the marketing automation system. Start by duplicating existing marketing programs so that you can run several in parallel for a while.
Step 3: Identify improvements that can be made to the programs that you duplicated in Step 2. From this group, select a set of changes that utilize features of your new marketing automation system, such as list segmentation, landing pages, or reporting.
Step 4: Measure the results of the changes you've made by comparing the results to the goals you set before implementing marketing automation.
Step 5: Implement the more complicated marketing automation features such as lead scoring, process improvements, behavior-driven nurture programs, and revenue analysis over time. While using marketing automation to improve basics like email marketing is important, getting the full value from your marketing automation system requires implementing these tools as well.
Step 6: Keep looking ahead. As you continue to integrate marketing automation tools into your marketing programs, marketing automation will become part of your marketing planning process.