Marketing Automation Readiness Assessment Program

Planning Your Digital Transformation

Having lived through way too many bad or complicated implementations of marketing automation technologies, we decided to sit down and dissect where and why these projects always go wrong. During our humble beginnings, we were usually called in when the business case was being signed off and the tool had already been chosen; in many cases, there was no clear plan for implementation.

So we set forth on grilling our customers about what they did during the process, why the process was so difficult, and (importantly) what made them think they were ready for marketing automation. With a little (okay, maybe a lot!) of hindsight, we started to understand all of the sticking points, resulting in the creation of our marketing automation Readiness Assessment Programme (RAP).

So you think you’re ready for marketing transformation?

In informal surveys of our customers, we found that 8 out of 10 of our customers didn’t start their marketing transformation using marketing automation experts to manage the entire process. Instead, they dove in alone: they knew that they wanted a platform, they (vaguely) knew what their requirements were, and they got caught up in the marketing machine of the marketing automation technology vendors. It’s no wonder, then, that the implementation process was often a challenge.

That’s why we believe all marketing transformation projects start with phase one of our Readiness Assessment Programme (RAP): Discovery. During this phase, we’ll get to know the context of your business: the operational capability of your digital marketing function and the alignment between sales and marketing.

The 5 – 15 – 80 rule

You can only see a small percentage of an entire iceberg from above the water. The very top part that peeks above the waterline represents only 5% of the entire object. Looking down into the water, you can see a little more (15%), but the majority of the iceberg (80%) disappears down into the depths, unseen.

When starting any new marketing automation readiness project there is a gap between what we know (5%), what know we don’t know (15%), and what we don’t know we don’t know (80%). The purpose of the Discovery phase is to confirm as much of this information as possible, within relatively tight timeframes, and in turn, to reconfirm scope and outcomes in line with any insight or opportunities we have discovered to support you.

This becomes the map for the remainder of the programme, and ensures we continue to align outcomes and expectations.

The breakdown of marketing automation readiness

Understanding the business isn’t just about business objectives. When we start talking about marketing automation readiness, we’ve got a list of things to cover such as understanding the current marketing technology landscape, mapping out the purchase funnel, and mapping the different systems to it – all while thinking about what the future of the business is and identifying the “quick wins” of a successful marketing automation implementation.

As you can see, there is a level of fundamental marketing transformation that needs to be carried out. However, you also have to prepare the rest of the business for this new world and this new way of working. Put simply, we make sure we understand your people, processes and platforms before getting stuck into the fun stuff (or bells and whistles) of marketing automation platforms.

Personas & messaging

In order to develop effective messaging you really need to understand the personas of your ideal clients. Often a good place to look is at one of your most profitable customers, as you want more customers just like them!

Developing user personas can either be desk driven (i.e. you make assumptions based on desk research) or outsourced to a specialist marketing agency who can develop your personas (and the messages that will drive them) on your behalf. Much like our jobs, personas are ever-evolving beasts and should be revisited regularly.

When it comes to marketing transformation projects and readiness for marketing automation, these personas will play a pivotal role, not only in helping you define your requirements for your marketing automation platform selection, but also helping you understand which data you need to collect through the buying journey.

Mapping the customer journey

Whether you’re thinking of marketing automation, examining your marketing technology stack, or just improving your business model, the customer journey is a key foundation for success. A customer journey map is a visualisation of the process that a prospective customer goes through in order to reach a goal within your company; that goal could be acquisition and first sale, upsell and cross sell, retention, or maybe even just education. The customer journey helps you understand the needs and pain points of your customers, and will often differ based on your messaging and personas.

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The importance of customer journey mapping

If there is one key element a customer journey mapping will bring to your business, it’s a clearer understanding of the key milestones in the buying cycle: it will identify ownership at different stages, it will allow you to identify the data points that support each one of the stages, and it will give you information on what is required in order to accelerate customers through the journey.

When we map your customer journey we’ll begin by identifying a few areas (metrics, communication methods, potential areas for automation and areas where we risk losing a deal). Beyond just helping us choose the right technology for you, this will allow us to identify the “quick win campaigns” which will help us showcase the project’s success.

Develop your customer journey

Understanding the marketing technology stack

Marketing technology (or MarTech) are technologies that marketing teams utilise to conduct, orchestrate and measure the effectiveness of their marketing activities and drive more efficient use of their marketing budget. The technology in use is often called a stack due to the fact that it interconnects.

Understanding what technology is in place is important to building a best practice marketing automation implementation which allows you to turn data into actionable insights. The challenge, however, is that the martech landscape continually evolves with hundreds (if not thousands!) of technologies across multiple categories. With so many choices out there, it’s essential for marketers to understand which tools they need to reach their business goals. Performing a MarTech audit will allow marketers to understand the current stack, and identify any gaps which may require additional technology.

With so many choices out there, it’s essential for marketers to understand which tools they need to reach their business goals. Performing a MarTech audit will allow marketers to understand the current stack, and identify any gaps which may require additional technology.

Marketing automation platform research & selection

If you’re not outsourcing your project to a marketing automation consultancy, you may want to start thinking about a requirements definition document before you begin the marketing automation platform selection process. The document should outline the core capabilities that the platform must have to enable the marketers who will be using it to meet their business objectives.

There are two critical parts to this document:

  1.  Understanding which short, mid and long term functionalities are required
  2.  Understanding which integrations are required to other systems to ensure a connected model

Once you have this document, you should be able to make a marketing automation platform selection and, twinned with a good marketing automation roadmap, you will be able to reach marketing automation success in no time! (Plus when you’re negotiating your contract without the marketing automation platform vendor you’ll be able to avoid risking too much budget in year one).

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Sales & Marketing Alignment

New organisations benefit from not having historic conflicts and therefore launching a new automated model is easy, but for those who are starting to transform to a marketing-led organisation from a sales-led organisation the challenges are significant – and in a lot of cases, they are ignored due to their difficulty. Including your sales team as part of the marketing transformation project is critical to its success – after all, the benefits of using marketing automation technologies also help them!

Here is where the “sales automation” buzzword growing comes in: what does it really mean? It’s about helping the sales team keep lead statuses up to date, manage a growing account base, and (importantly) close opportunities faster.

Having helped the likes of Sommet Education and Fidelity deploy marketing automation transformation, we’ve developed a way to manage business change in organisations of all sizes: it comes down to communication. We’ve got experience in helping other teams, business units, regions and even board members get up to speed with the value that marketing automation can bring, whether through marketing automation training or requirements gathering.

Developing a business case for marketing automation

Let’s admit it: writing business cases is extremely boring and we all hate doing it. But they’re absolutely necessary – and we can save you the headache of writing it with our winning formula for putting your business case for marketing automation forward to your management team.

As marketing technology and strategy experts, we have over 15 years of experience in building clients business cases. A typical business case will cover:

  • Summary of the business case and alignment to the business objectives
  • Benefits of utilising marketing automation to the business as a whole
  • Scope of the project (including platform selection and services)
  • Key dependencies and governance for the project
  • Identification of project team, timeline, and budget (including cost benefit analysis)

We’ll write your business case personalised to your business specifications, including the intricacies of Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and CapEx versus OpEx for MarTech, backed up with all the right detail to get it past even the most eagle-eyed CFO.

Best practice marketing automation implementation

If you’ve been through any strategic technology deployment within a business you’ll know nothing ever goes as expected – there is always a hiccup or two. That’s why Gartner recommended using marketing automation experts for almost every tool in their 2018 multi-channel marketing hub report.

Using an marketing automation consultancy is not just about getting the technology into the business and connecting it to other critical business critical systems to reap the rewards of marketing automation – it must also be about developing the maturity of automation campaigns within the business.

When you choose JTF Marketing as your implementation partner, we develop a detailed marketing automation roadmap (based on our proprietary framework) that will demonstrate the activity needed to ensure the team and business can “get ready for automation.” We’ll support the entire requirements, research, and selection process of tools using strategic vendor partnerships to maximise your budget and avoid unnecessary costs. Once the tools are chosen and available, JTF Marketing will map the entire implementation project.

The project will consist of key phases to reach a successful platform implementation: technology deployment, education and training, governance models and campaign / content development or management (based on your specific needs).

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Download our transformation guide

Get maximum ROI from day one – download our “Marketing Automation Transformation: From Dream to Reality” Executive Summary and find out how far beyond email campaigns your automation can take you!

Our project success stories

Our customers know that data doesn’t tell the whole story. We help our clients prove the impact of their marketing investments and the value of their marketing strategy with actionable insights that help them drive results across the entire business.


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