If You Start It, You Should Finish It

Marketing Automation

Every Saturday morning, I take the twins to Run Club. This involves the three of us running 2k around the local park. This week, twin 2 was really not feeling it and wanted to give up at the half-way point. It was when twin 1 delivered their motivational moment, proclaiming: “If you start something, you should finish it.”

A while back I wrote a blog that compared Marketing Automation to Gym Membership, pointing out that so many people start the journey with good intentions only to quickly give up. While I do see a lot of people utilising the technology near to its full potential, there still remain a large proportion of marketers who simply don’t get past level one.

Stuck At Level One

I define level one as the basics, normally email marketing, but maybe with a bit of inbound tracking and lead scoring – but definitely no automated trigger programmes or sophisticated funnel management.

The cynical side of my brain believes this to be attributed to the ‘too difficult’ factor. It can be such a struggle to get to level one that the thought of embarking on the next phase of the journey is too much, so it gets put off… indefinitely.

The logical side of my brain believes it to be the lack of an ‘operationalised’ plan. If people knew exactly what steps to take and the results they would achieve, nothing would hold them back from striding into the next phase of their journey.

The Operationalised Plan

An operationalised plan is not a set of objectives – this is simply what you want to achieve. Neither is it a marketing calendar – this is simply a schedule of things you are doing. The operationalised plan is your charted route to get you where you want to be. It sets out how you reach out to your target market, engage with them, nurture and qualify interest and generate sales opportunities.

The ‘operationalisation’ is the key bit as this not only defines what you are going to do, but how you are going to do it. This is where your marketing strategy connects with your action plan. It takes the key direction of audience, message, media and objectives and operationalises this into actions, processes and measures.

It maps out the prospect’s journey: from seeing your PPC advert or receiving that first email, through their navigation of your website, what content will be served up, how you track their digital footprint and at what point do you deem them to be a marketing qualified lead.

By describing this journey, you define the marketing process required, and then you are ready to operationalise this within your marketing automation platform.

Eating The Elephant One Piece At A Time

I am not sure it is politically correct to talk about eating elephants, but you get the point. If you try to bite off more than you can chew with marketing automation, you will fail. You will be overwhelmed and lose your way.

If you have a solid plan with an intended destination, you will also be able to identify areas to automate and improve, one phase at a time. This drives you forward: it gets you to your goals quicker and without being over dramatic, it will make you brilliant.


Gary is the Managing Director of Cremarc, a specialist B2B marketing company that helps organisations to deliver effective marketing through storytelling, marketing automation and cleverly designed account based marketing. We have a number of workshop and coaching offerings that help people to maximise their investment in marketing automation.