The Human Factor in Marketing Automation

There are thousands of marketing automation tools out there; from social media monitoring to CRM’s and inbound tools. Each has it’s benefits and drawbacks. Bringing them all together in the right mix is a heady challenge for senior marketing management. When you do, you’ve got a MarTech Stack. Finessing that stack and getting it into a place of productivity is yet another challenge.
Why Teams Reject New Marketing Tools
There are amazing technologies available to marketers today. It’s key to realize however, that at the end pf the day, they are all only about moving and managing information. For marketing teams, this means workflow. In our experience with implementing and working with marketing managers, the biggest barrier to successful implementations of marketing technologies is always people.
Teams get comfortable with their workflows and it’s critical to them. We’ve found two main reasons that employees prefer their workflows and have trouble adopting new tools or may put up resistance. The first is the trust they’ve built with existing tools if it seems to work for them. The second is the fear of displacement. In that they feel an automation tool will replace their job through efficiencies. And subsequent to that, the associated stresses of learning something new and how it might mess up the other tools they use.
Consider the Human First
When looking to implement a new MarTech tool or revamp your stack, it’s key to look at your staff and their workflows first. It’s been an immutable business rule for decades that a senior management person needs to champion a big new tech project. But it also helps to have a few of the team members who will be using the tools, to be champions as well.
In a recent client environment, they were using Slack as a primary collaboration tool. Another department was using Jira tools. They needed to work together more. Senior management pushed Slack on to the other team. Then they tried a third tool. In the end, nothing happened. People work with what they are comfortable with. It only changed when they deleted Slack entirely and had to get IT to ensure it wasn’t accessible through the network. The result was frustrated marketing teams and the loss of a lot of working knowledge when they didn’t export a lot of the Slack content. When we were eventually called in, we spent 80% of our time working through the people issues and only 20% solving the technology problem.
Try Experimenting
Most tools offer some degree of trial or a free, more feature limited version. Sometimes, it can be useful to take a project and assign a team to use a potential tool for that project and see how it works. Then do a good debrief afterwards. Building a culture of experimentation helps team members to be more flexible in their workflow habits as well as reduce anxieties and adoption fears if you decide to implement.
What’s been your experience?

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