It’s Not You, It’s Me_5 Signs Things Aren’t Working with Your Marketing Automation Platform

Entering into any relationship making that big or not so big commitment can be fraught with anxiety whether this is the right choice. No one wants to be in a relationship that isn’t working. And the same is true when evaluating your marketing automation platform.

You could be wasting valuable time with the wrong tech partner. But how do you know when it’s time to pull the plug? Like many of us, it’s hard when you’re in the relationship to see the signs and red flags. Often, we benefit from an outside perspective. Let’s look at some clues that your relationship with your marketing automation (MA) platform might not be working out.

1. Too High-Maintenance

It’s 10 a.m. and a last minute email needs to go out in the next 30 minutes, but your high- maintenance MA system mockingly stares back at you: offering limited email templates, requiring HTML expertise to customize. Plus, it doesn’t maintain a dynamic email list, which means you’ll need to go in and manually update it yourself.

Don’t let a high maintenance system hold you back. Here are a few ways marketing automation tools should make your marketing life easier:

  • Building your emails and landing pages should be simple and not require help from IT or outside consultants
  • Templates should have responsive design built in. Your MA tool should make viewing content on all sizes of devices foolproof for you
  • Easily design your own custom templates the way you want and not be limited to just the stock ones provided
  • And when it comes to the complicated stuff, like creating nurturing programs, your platform should be easy like Sunday Morning – such as the ability to build workflows with a drop-and-drag tool.

If you are feeling saddled with a very high-maintenance marketing automation software platform; if you miss simplicity and want to have the freedom to choose your own path, it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

42% of Marketers say complexity of the system is the most significant barrier to marketing automation success. – Ascend2, “Marketing Automation Trends Survey” (2016)

2. Language Barriers

Unless you have the technical language proficiency to read and/or write HTML, JavaScript and/or CSS (and more), you’d better not pick a marketing automation platform that requires programming knowledge. That is, of course, unless you have time dedicated to learning those languages or have a team of IT techies at your service to serve as your interpreter.

If the language barrier is already an issue and you’re about to experience a literal “communication breakdown,”it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

Marketers list “complexity of the system” as one of the most significant barriers to marketing automation success. – Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Trends Survey (2016)

3. The Frustration Factor

The clock is ticking, and in the middle of setting up your email something goes terribly wrong. You submit an online support ticket, wait patiently for what seems to be days, and never hear back. You then decide to call tech support for help and when they finally pick up, they take down your information, and then explain that a technician will call you back when they become available (usually when you are away from your desk). You can’t save the screen you are working on due to faulty HTML programming and you’ll lose your work if you exit. It worked before and you only changed a few words! ARRRG…why is this so difficult to use?

If you feel like you’re always playing a frustrating waiting game because you need significant tech support, it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

86% marketers consider “ease of use” as the most important criterion when evaluating automation tools. – Regalix “The State of Marketing Automation” (2014)

4. Money: Hidden Surprises

We’re talking about those unforeseen, but actually-seeable-if-you-look-really-closely things that can be avoided. These little surprises might show up as financial charges for things you thought were free, or built into the price. Or your total cost of ownership might be a lot higher than you expected once you add in the cost of consultants to help in system design, architecture and maintenance.

Also: Pay attention to your database. As a growing company, you should be excited about new contacts, not dreading the new cost associated with storing them. Are you charged for how many people you have in your database or only for your active contacts? Are you warned if you are about to go over your threshold or are you just charged? Surprise!

If you are getting too many ongoing unpleasant surprises – it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

44% of marketers are not fully satisfied with their marketing automation systems, the top 3 reasons being that the software takes too long to implement, is difficult to learn and is too expensive. – Autopilot, 2015

5. Everyone Needs Support (He’s just not that into you.)

Last but not least, do you feel supported? In a healthy and positive relationship, you should feel nurtured and supported:

  • You don’t want to have a vendor who comes only when called to fix something broken. Instead, you should have a vendor who proactively notices and reaches out when things are looking off.
  • Did your vendor’s customer support help you get thoroughly trained on the product’s capabilities?
  • Did they ensure everything functioned correctly from the get-go, setting you up for quick success?
  • Does your vendor really understand your organization’s needs and goals? Are they committed to helping you be successful and see ROI on your MA investment?
  • Do they stay in touch and ensure you are using all the features of your marketing automation platform?

If your customer support makes you feel like you’re skydiving without a parachute, it’s probably a sign that it’s just not working out.

Act-On’s onboarding process and their university taught more about marketing and marketing automation than I ever could have imagined. – Kevin Rice, Technology Coordinator, Quantum Learning Network

Moral of the story

It’s simple: If your current marketing automation platform is causing you or your marketing team stress in any of these ways (or ways we didn’t mention) it might be time to start looking at other solutions. And, yes, there are other solutions that are right for you.

Don’t settle. You deserve better. Want to learn more about how marketing automation vendors stack up when it comes to customer service and ease of use? Read the latest reviews from G2 Crowd.

In fact, we know just the perfect match for you…Even your mom would approve!