Marketing Automation Plans Don’t Have to Be Big to Deliver Big Results
Marketing automation is a hot industry topic right now. Possible opportunities to automate entire tasks bogging down teams and budgets make it especially interesting.
Some marketing leaders seek to gain new capabilities from automation. Others want to enable employees to hand off existing tasks to automated alternatives. In either case, automation has incredible value for modernizing marketing operations and workforce.
But most marketers are struggling to bring together the what, when, and how of automation. Visualizing what to do and how to do it is challenging. Timing transitions to avoid disruption adds immense complexity. Developing replacement methods to avoid unintended consequences stop some marketers in their tracks.
How should marketers adopt automation? Think small.
Size Matters With Automation
Marketing leaders don’t usually think small, but those succeeding with automation are doing exactly that. They’re exploring how automation can replace small tasks. Automation doesn’t have to be huge to have huge impact.
Tight focus, readily available tools, and low-effort implementation form their recipe for success. Keeping it simple takes minimal input and results in immense improvement.
However, the real victory is the compounded impact of their successes, each returning additional time previous spent while reinforcing human-centric know-how. Every subsequent small addition has tenfold-increased impact value.
The Right Tools Simplify Life
Not all tools are created equal. And different tools automate different things. The trick is to find the right tool for each task, resulting in quicker, headache-free automation, rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
For example, I leveraged the IFTTT app to connect my Feedly account to Google Sheets. Now, when I bookmark an article, IFTTT adds the URL to a spreadsheet, saving me hours gathering articles, processing spreadsheets, and scheduling in Hootsuite.
In contrast, I installed FeedGrabber on my website to pull articles from defined publishers. Now my website includes timely articles when they appear on publishers’ websites, a feat I could never achieve manually.
Each situation was unique and required the right tool to simplify my life.
Fine Tuning Makes You Great
The value created from automation gets even better when you fine tune your solutions.
FeedGrabber eliminated hours updating my website, but I soon realized fine tuning my sources and configurations delivered improved results. I was able to hone my articles’ relevance and content mix across publishers, with minimal tweaks.
Not only did my results improve, but so did my personal brand. My site more clearly reflected my expertise, and colleagues began to compliment me on shared articles. It made me personally stand out which was beyond expectations.
Exploring automation doesn’t require large effort. In fact, too much at once most likely hinders success and worsens frustration. Instead, select a few small tasks to automate and learn as you experience their impact and compounding effects.
When you feel you have a good handle on small automation, start to think bigger. Consider larger, more complex tasks and blocks of time to replace with automation.
Seek out automation practitioners to introduce you to more sophisticated tools and a whole new universe of possibilities. With the right guide, opportunities are endless.
But don’t forget to think small as you continue to grow. Even the smallest improvement can catalyze your next big thing.
Ask these questions
- Which of my tasks are repetitious and time consuming?
- What out-of-the-box automation would provide instant value?
- Where should I focus first to get started?
- What larger tasks could be good candidates for automation?
- Who can help me understand what to automate and how to do it?
About John Fildes
I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.
I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.
All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.