Before we answer that question, there is a sting in the tail of any marketing automation platform and that is having the skillsets, resources and experience to harness all the capabilities in the software and use them to their full advantage. If you can do that, then the ROI is very strong and the short answer to the question is “It is absolutely worth it!”
If however you don’t get past the training wheels stage and end up using it primarily for email marketing then the answer is generally “No, it’s not worth it”.
This seems like a very superficial answer to what can be a difficult question, after all there is a lot more that goes into determining an ROI than simply how many features are being used. But with the commoditisation of email marketing over recent years, there are a lot simpler, cheaper and just as effective ways to achieve the same results.
It might seem like a silly analogy, but why would you buy a V8 supercar to drive to work and the shops on a daily basis? That’s what too many organisations do with marketing automation platforms. They get sold on the big promise of what they can do, they have all these ideas but then the reality of how big a job it is to bring those ideas to life hits. So, they start off small with plans to grow the use of it as their skills grow, but that progress never seems to come for a number of reasons.
The primary reason that we see for this lack of progress is staff turnover. Learning how to use the software takes considerable time – you don’t just pick it up overnight. But then people with those skills are in high demand so if they leave, you’re left with a skillset hole that can’t be quickly plugged.
The second biggest reason is underestimating the amount of resources needed to fuel a marketing automation platform. By resources, we’re talking about content and data – and just like the V8 supercar, they need a lot of fuel to function.
The point is that if you haven’t already invested in marketing automation, there are a lot of things to consider before you even start looking at features. And if you already have marketing automation software, don’t be surprised if you’re struggling to make full use of it.