Marketing automation is awesome… except when it’s not.

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I’ve heard a few horror stories lately from colleagues about top-of-the-funnel leads lost as a result of marketing automation “glitches”. A handful of our middle-of-the-funnel campaigns also recently stalled because of internal corporate martech challenges. As we all know, neither integration nor implementation ever go exactly as planned. The challenge is what to do in the meantime.

Don’t give up on evolving technologies like marketing automation

Many years ago, a client introduced us to the concept of the “too-hard pile”. Ever since then, we’ve become more mindful of what’s hard for a client. Since our most successful campaigns directly integrate into existing client systems, we’ve become more adept at finding simple solutions to keep the innovation while making the client’s work less taxing.  Innovation isn’t easy, but it’s a great differentiator for a brand in the marketplace.

It’s going to take awhile

We are all working toward the promise of the fully automated marketing machine that properly scores leads, tracks touches, and delivers relevant content, offers, and product to prospects and consumers. In reality, it’s not as easy as it seems, and there are A LOT of moving parts. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So let’s start by giving the martech people solid, detailed strategies upfront, and the time they need to get it working. And the latitude to let it evolve as we go. But let’s stop losing sales opportunities in the meantime.

Sometimes you need to revert to your old school tools

There are all sorts of reasons why campaigns can go off the rails.  While the martech team is working through its challenges, sales and marketing still has goals to meet. Quarterly and annual goals of leads, demos, opportunities, pipeline, conversions, and sales. In the interest of time, sometimes you have to go old school. Step back to move forward. Embrace a workaround.

We’ve been creating campaigns since before email and the internet. Over the years, the technology has changed, but not the strategy.  Personally I love the endless new ways we have to connect with prospects. I love being able to see real-time results and tracking immediate sales. But when tech fails, we can still rely on old school to get things done.

How do you get to the workaround?

Stay focused on your goals. The technological tactics change, but the basic strategy remains.

Stop blaming. Start doing. Parlay your blaming and complaining time into problem solving and execution time. Yes, executing “manually” will take longer. But it will get done quicker if you and your team just digs in and does it.

Embrace the workaround. Be a problem-solver.  There’s always another way. Encourage your team to find it, and do it.  And reward them for making it happen. Version one is better than version none.

Send it manually. Do a manual email drop. You can still track results (like open rates and click-thru’s) and keep the process moving. Retain the data to upload into your CRM software if doing so will help you get to your end goal. If not, let it go.

Test communication channels you haven’t tried or used much, like text messaging, phone calls, ManyChat, FaceBook, LinkedIn, or even direct mail. You may find that going outside the system actually produces some surprisingly good results.

Get outside help. So you have 300 leads from a trade event. If you don’t have the internal bandwidth to handle them manually, get assistance from Fiverr, UpWork, or your agency.  Have them do the heavy lifting, then get the team together to do strategic work, like manual lead scoring. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to get done. One sale would likely more than cover the time and outside cost. Plus, the leads will help your whole team meet their target goals.

Do you need some workaround support?

We’ve been moving campaigns out of the too hard pile for over 25 years. Reach out to us to chat about your challenges at

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