The Quickest Way To Get Started With Marketing Automation

Marketing automation presents multiple benefits such as time-saving and cost reduction. However, they can also cause setbacks when used without a strategy. 

Companies' common mistakes when adopting automation is focusing on multiple processes at once while trying to create "perfect systems," also known as "overengineering."

What is overengineering?

Simply put, overengineering refers to “the act of designing a product or providing a solution to a problem in an overly complicated manner."

Here, marketing practitioners spend more time improving specific automation features and not on critical aspects necessary to run the process. Several researchers also refer to it as finding solutions for problems you don't have yet.

At Funnelbud, we work with multiple clients that experience this dilemma. We have found that iterative processes often yield better results.

This article will show you why this is the case and which methods your business can adopt.

How Do You Know That You Are Overengineering?

   1. Must-have vs. good-to-have features

One of the sure signs of overengineering is when you find that you are creating functionalities that are just nice to have but are not essential at this point. They might be helpful, but only at later stages.

For instance, you need email sequences in the early stages of marketing funnels. However, it's probably too early to develop processes to handle client rejections.

   2. Planning

When you are overengineering, you will discover that you are spending a lot of time meticulously planning the next stage of your automation process. Yet, you are barely executing anything for weeks, even months.

Benefits of using iterative processes instead

  • Saves time

Iterative processes help you to get more done in less time. Instead of continuously adding new features and testing them, you can start with a few essential elements. Then, get them working as you build on it over time.

With that, you can get the campaign moving in just a few weeks rather than the months it would take to do the former.

  • Generates a greater return on investment in a shorter time

Overengineering slows down the rollout and project execution. So, you cannot immediately benefit from your automation process. Yet with more iterative methods, work gets done faster, and you can generate greater returns on investment much quicker. 

Downsides of overengineering

  • Leave out critical automations

Overengineering often comes with too much focus on specific features, additions, or improvements. As a result, it becomes easy to forget some critical automations that can be detrimental to the campaign's progress.

  • Delays in project execution

Overengineering causes massive delays in execution. You spend most of the time planning and creating new features instead of utilizing those already in place to generate results.  

  • Creates complex systems for employees

Often, including extra features and functionalities is aimed at making the system better. However, it can instead become more complicated for your staff. With so much to process and learn, the system could easily become unusable, often leading them to abandon it altogether. 

  • Huge maintenance costs

Including multiple automations so soon often comes with the promise of time-saving down the line. Yet, this may not always be the case.

Instead, the extra features will cost you more to maintain, upgrade and adapt within the team. You may also need to hire more skilled personnel to handle them or incur training costs for your existing employees. 

Quick tips to get started with marketing automation faster 

Analyze your marketing and sales plans

Always review your sales and marketing plans and know your target audience. That way, you know which functionalities they will need at each stage. Based on this data, you can only focus on essential automation features that help you achieve those specific goals.

Integrate it with feedback loops and support

Always maintain contact with your clients to find issues or inconsistencies in your versions as you move forward. Build a continuous feedback system like supporting emails, surveys from your customer, poll questions, etc. 

That way, you can ensure that the system is on track and ready for the next automation feature as and when the need arises.

Automate in versions

With this route, you use an iterative process where you start with a basic minimum viable method. Sooner or later, different bottlenecks would arise due to various reasons like an increase in leads, among others.

At these points, you can then create specific functionalities that act on those bottlenecks and partially or fully automate them. In doing so, you provide only what is necessary, thus reducing execution time and saving resources. 

Iterative process (Example 1)

Based on our clients' results, Funnelbud highly recommends an iterative step-by-step process as explained above. 

For instance, this client shown below was able to get their campaign running in just a few weeks rather than months because they worked on each automation only as needed.

Phase 1

Phase 2

As with this client, the iterative method would help a business focus on core needs and thus maximize returns on investment within a few weeks.

Overengineering (Example 2)

On the other hand, clients who adopt the opposite method tend to spend a long time developing their systems. For instance, an IT and Communications client shown below that developed their entire system before they started execution.

Nature of business operations

However, the best automation plan also often depends on the nature of your business operations. As shown with our clients, small to medium-sized businesses work best with iterative processes. 

It is mainly because they work with significantly smaller teams, making it easier to follow. Also, they have less money to invest initially, so running step by step becomes a better financial option.

On the other hand, larger companies with more employees and more complex communication routes may follow the opposite approach. Such teams require transparent processes from the start to improve collaboration.

Final thoughts

Adopting an iterative process can help you get started with marketing automation much quicker. You spend less time and resources building extra functionalities that your young system may not even need. 

However, when dealing with larger teams, a more comprehensive approach could work to ease collaboration.

The marketing automation experts at Funnelbud can help you get started with automating your systems. Reach out today or get a free demo of the system.

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About the Author

Gaurav Jagiasi

Gaurav, the youngest Project Manager at FunnelBud, has extensive experience working with lean startups and emerging businesses. He enjoys advanced strategy planning and implementation; and automating complex processes into robust, scaleable systems. Gaurav studied Systems Engineering and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

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