Marketers who use marketing automation increase sales and pipeline contribution by about 10%, according to The Forrester Wave: Lead-to-Revenue Management Platform Vendors.

A Lenskold Group report states that about 63% of companies outgrow their competition thanks only to marketing automation.

Marketing automation aims to make your business seem available 24/7. It’d make your customers feel that you are instantly available, quick to respond, and more. On the management and marketing end, automating workflows helps reduce your efforts, automate your funnels, help systemize your operations, and give you more wings to fly.

Given all the benefits that automation can have for your business, there are a few things it won’t do for you. As such, setting your expectations right and understanding the principles of marketing automation give you a good start.

Marketing automation doesn’t mean your business is now bound to get lazier; it only means your business now gets smarter.

Here’s what marketing automation won’t do for you.

marketing automation

Marketing automation doesn’t relieve you of work

Sales funnels need work. Automation of any kind needs plenty of work upfront, and continued work in the form of testing, analysis, tweaking, or even redoing from scratch.

Even for workflow setups that are successful, you’ll still have plenty of work to do. Duplicating funnels for new offers, optimizing your existing automation setup, working on integrations, deployment and testing of technology, and a lot more.

Marketing automation isn’t a way to get lazy; it’s only a way to improve efficiency.

It’s not a “set it and forget it” task

Say “marketing automation” and people tend to jump several steps ahead and think “So, I’d never have to do this manually ever again”.

Agreed that there are a lot of things marketing automation can do. For instance, there are CRM systems that eliminate the need for you to fill in gory details about every new customer you’d enter into your CRM.

There are bots powered by artificial intelligence that can chat with your potential customers who visit your website.

But marketing automation isn’t “set it and forget it”. Take the simple case of sending out an email digest with your latest blog posts to your email subscribers.

Normally, RSS-to-email campaigns work on auto-pilot. But you can’t just sit there and let it run.

You’d have to test subject lines, you’d have to stay on top of your open rates, and track whether or not your subscribers are reading your emails at all.

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It won’t replace you or your team

You could bring in all the marketing automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and bots across various functions of your business, but we aren’t at the stage where all this technology will replace you or your team.

You could have an artificial intelligence powered bot to man your live chat, but if customers actually need to connect with someone real, you’ll have to show up. You could have machine learning glean insights from data, but you’ll finally have to make decisions based on that data.

Marketing automation simplifies your business, but it won’t replace you (or your team).

Marketing automation is no secret sauce

By the time you read this, almost everyone else would have hard about marketing automation too. They’d be reading all about how to make sales funnels that work by themselves leading to a powerful sales setup or they’d be learning all about building lead funnels that help businesses automate lead generation.

Marketing automation—and any resultant stack of technology used—is no longer secret sauce.

What can work in your favor is your strategy, how you intend to use marketing automation, and how committed you are when it comes to tinkering, experimenting, failing, and learning from implementing your strategy.

It’s unlikely to save you money

I’ll be upfront and honest about the state of affairs with marketing and with marketing automation: most small businesses and individuals don’t get to execute regular digital marketing the right way, let alone getting marketing automation right.

There are a lot of moving parts, testing, experimentation, and implementation when it comes to setting your marketing on auto-pilot. Business owners also have to take a leap of faith and get many things in line (including their thoughts, beliefs, and actions) just to stay on the winning path.

Because of this, workflow automation will only cost you more—in time, efforts, and resources—instead of less (which is the usual premise).

If you do get it right, however, automating your workflows easily saves you money. It’s no accident that about 68% of small businesses are using marketing automation today if it weren’t for all the benefits and significant cost savings.

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