Marketing Automation is like Skiing – need for Jumpstart


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Forrester Research recently shared some interesting insights on marketing automation. The author observed that most companies who buy marketing automation load their house list into the software, then send out an email campaign. As a result, it becomes a glorified email platform.

They say that companies fall into 3 traps:

  1. The Process Trap
  2. The Content Trap
  3. Skills Trap

While we share more information about these traps below, the conclusion is clear. If you are looking for marketing lead generation, you’ll need to really plan well. This is why we strongly advocate our Marketing Automation Jumpstart Program.

In a recent discussion with Jim Burns, CEO of Avitage, the content marketing experts and Marketo partner, he told me “Businesses should immediately connect their marketing automation to their website, so they can capture incoming leads. They should also load their house list. But they should stop there and use a service like Find New Customers “Jump Start” service.”

Here’s my recommendation: After the basics Jim advised, don’t even log into your new marketing automation software. Instead, spend 3-4 weeks or so, digging into all of the things you need to put in place to be successful with a new marketing automation platform using a service like the Jump Start. This is the only way you can avoid the Process Trap, the Content Trap and the Skills Trap.

Buying marketing automation is like buying an expensive pair of top of the line snow skis. Instead of heading over to the Double Diamond slopes, spend two weeks with a ski instructor. You need to change yourself, not the skis. Only buy upgrading your skills will you be able to get full value from your new skis. By the same token, to optimize lead generation marketing companies need to change, not just implement software.

Here’s what the expert at Forrester had to say:


The cold weather in New England is giving me the skiing itch . . . and making me think that if I get some new high-performance skis, I might finally get beyond the “advanced-intermediate” level I’ve been stuck at for 20 years. But the realist in me knows that the skis alone won’t make me a better skier, I need to spend more time on the slopes working on my technique.

The same goes for how B2B marketers use automation. Investing in marketing automation doesn’t automatically make your company better at marketing. In the research for my recent report on B2B marketing automation, I found that too many companies have invested in marketing automation platforms, only to use them as expensive email blasters. Despite the best intentions, B2B marketers fall into several traps along the way:

  • The process trap. They don’t get buy-in and support from the sales organization, so they generate more leads without changes to how sales works those leads.
  • The content trap. They don’t anticipate that effective, targeted lead nurturing greatly increases the content requirements.
  • The skills trap. They don’t have people with the skill sets to define their customer buying cycles and information needs at each stage.

Like skiing, you don’t become a “double-black” user of marketing automation on day one. Because it takes time, patience, and persistence, Forrester has developed a marketing automation maturity model that describes four levels companies can go through. In our November 18th teleconference, I talked about how companies can avoid the traps and advance along the maturity curve.

If you’re a B2B marketer using marketing automation, how would you assess your usage? Have you fallen into any of these traps?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeff Ogden
Jeff Ogden ( is President of the Tampa based Find New Customers demand generation agency. .


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