Hidden at the back of my kitchen cupboard is a humungous, powerful magimix food processor. It’s all-singing-all-dancing, so sophisticated that I have no idea what half the parts do.
When I bought it several years ago, I was on maternity leave and had a bit more time on my hands. I had fantasies that I was going to use it to whizz up incredible delicacies, effortlessly churning out cupcakes and ice creams, breads and sauces. A true domestic goddess.
Needless to say, it’s been out of the box four times at most.
Where did I go wrong? I got a little carried away by the technology, believing that it was so good – so powerful – that it would immediately turn me into a cooking star. I mistakenly believed that I was going to be as good as the technology.
In reality, of course, the magimix is just a tool. If the person operating it doesn’t bother taking it out of the box; buying the ingredients; learning about its capabilities; looking up recipes…. And if they just happen to be a terrible cook…. Sadly, the cupcakes and ice cream, bread and sauces are going to fail to materialise. (As indeed they did.)
It’s a mistake many companies make with their online marketing, as well.
Over the past few months, I’ve encountered too many business owners who have decided to up their online marketing game, but get too caught up in the question of which marketing automation platform to use.
Some get seduced by top-of-the-range platforms like Hubspot, Marketo and Infusionsoft. They see the demos, and suddenly visualise their companies sending out sophisticated email sequences, giving their audiences exactly the right content at the right time, carrying out detailed analyses of their data – ‘crushing’ this online marketing thing, as my American friends would say.
They imagine they are going to be as good as the technology.
Unfortunately they don’t always internalise the work involved to power these beasts and make the best of them. The magic doesn’t happen on its own – you need to develop the right content, churn out enough of it, set it all up, continually test and optimise.
As a result, they end up using Hubspot to send out an email shot every month – a bit like using your Lamborghini to do the supermarket run (or using my magimix to cut up some vegetables).
They are lumbered with platforms that cost them a fortune and which are completely unsuited to their needs, but feel they’ve invested too much to give them up.
Others endlessly agonise over which platform to use. This is the major decision, as far as they are concerned – either because the technology scares them, because of the investment involved, or simply because they think that‘s what online marketing is “about“.
But here, too, the technology is a red herring – worthless without the right strategy, skills and manpower in place.
Now, I’m not saying that the technology is not important. It is. Pick one a marketing automation platform that isn’t sophisticated enough for your needs, and you‘ll be held back. Pick one that’s too complicated, and you’ll drown.
But you need to keep your eye on the ball. Figure out your online marketing strategy first. Who are you going to target? What are you going to say, to help them and engage with them? What types of content are you planning to develop, and who’s going to do the work?
Pick the right technical tool to do the job second.
Not only will you end up with a better match, you’ll end up with much more powerful marketing – and hopefully, at the end of the process, the business equivalent of all those cupcakes, ice creams, breads and sauces.