How to tell effective stories with video: focus on pain points and benefits
August 27, 2021
My first job out of college was in the sales and marketing group of a small high-tech company in Connecticut that sold shop floor automation systems to major Fortune 500 manufacturers. It was long hours and heavy traveling for low pay—but superb experience. At the ripe age of 21, I found myself touring plants and giving technology presentations at GE, IBM, General Motors, Ford, Grumman Aerospace, and many other major manufacturers.
Our systems used bar code scanning technology (relatively new at the time) to allow automation of inventory control, material handling, time and attendance, and production management operations.
I found that some companies looked to our technology to help them automate a process that wasn’t working well in its current manual form. By converting the manual process to a more automated version using this new scanning technology, they hoped to overcome some of the challenges they were seeing in their current manufacturing processes.
Unfortunately, applying technology to these flawed processes didn’t always result in success. And this resulted in a conclusion that I soon labeled my “First Law of Process Automation.”
That sounds so logical; it almost seems too obvious to even bother stating it. But I saw many companies trying to overcome flawed processes by simply applying technology to them—hoping that the automation of the processes would somehow resolve those flaws.
They often didn’t.
What I quickly realized was that applying automation to a flawed process, while perhaps offering some improvements in productivity, will also serve to simply automate the flaws. And those flaws will continue to reduce the full potential of the process and cause issues.
Three decades later and I’ve since concluded that my First Rule of Process Automation isn’t limited to manufacturing. It can also be applied to marketing automation.
Allow me to clarify my point: marketing automation tools can be extremely valuable platforms that significantly improve your ability to attract new prospects, build your mindshare, and nurture customer relationships over time while boosting your ability to accurately measure your marketing results and ROI.
But that doesn’t stop my First Rule of Process Automation from being equally applied to marketing automation: if you automate a flawed marketing process, you’ll likely end up with automated but flawed marketing.
So it’s vital to evaluate your marketing processes to identify where those flaws exist before you implement your marketing automation system. Map out your entire customer relationship lifecycle to determine exactly what your potential customers want to hear from you (they’ll typically respond better to useful insights and knowledge versus a constant barrage of offers) and how often (it may not be as often as you think).
Marketing automation often falls flat when you lack the resources and commitment to produce the necessary content. A 2013 study by the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Group identified the top 5 challenges that thwart content marketing efforts.
Mapping and preparing content to your marketing automation initiatives and campaigns are critical to your success. Most marketing automation systems offer a mapping process to assist you in this planning effort. Don’t ignore this important step. And ask yourself these key questions:
These are just some of the important questions you can use to help you plan for your marketing efforts. They are especially critical if you plan to move to a marketing automation system. You may also find that it will serve your planning process to survey or interview your customers to get valuable feedback on their preferred content, delivery vehicles, and frequency. Where direct access to customers is difficult, consider getting feedback from your field sales organization and/or channel partners.
Marketing automation systems can be highly effective in helping you build and manage more impactful, efficient marketing initiatives. But don’t ignore my First Law of Process Automation—as marketing automation systems do not automatically guarantee your marketing success—especially without careful planning of your content marketing efforts.
We take pride in a team loaded with smarts, wit, and ideas. If you'd like to have a smarter, wittier inbox filled with ideas each month, subscribe here to the MarketReach Blog, and we will let you know when there is something new you might like!