Marketing Automation Truth

Elbow grease is not included with marketing automation. Do the work.

Marketing automation is not rocket science, but it is not third grade arithmetic either. Many businesses get sold on the idea of marketing automation, yet fail to either implement it or take full advantage of it.

When I was offering my free lead generation and marketing automation consultation to business owners as well as mid-level marketers that were shopping for a marketing automation platform I noticed they all had somewhat similar misconceptions about marketing automation. This is why many small businesses I worked with migrating them from HubSpot to WordPress were leaving HubSpot. Th expectations did not match the reality. That’s why I wanted to get a few things straight to make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Marketing Automation Is Not Marketing Autopilot

Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot do not get you leads. It is a tool that facilitates lead generation and nurturing, but you must do the work. It is really like a car: it will get you from point A to point B quicker than walking but you must drive it and you must put gas into it. It is a tool!

This means that yes, you do have to blog, create emails, create other content, talk to people in social media, and other marketing activities. There’s a reason why 93% of companies using inbound marketing increased their lead generation (source). They did the work!

If you were given HubSpot for free, without spending a minimum of 10 – 15 hours every week (or paying someone to do it for you) on producing content, promoting it, analyzing data, engaging in social media, and other marketing related activities – you will not get leads!

This is true regardless if you’re using marketing automation platform or not. You must do the work if you want leads.

Many of the clients that I switched from HubSpot to WordPress were primarily using HubSpot as a CMS to have a website. Some were lucky to create a few landing pages, and maybe (huge maybe!) they had a few lead nurturing emails setup. They did not blog, they did not engage in social media, they did not use data HubSpot collected to help generate more leads.

Don’t think that going with a cheaper alternative like WordPress for marketing automation will solve your lead generation problems. You will get all necessary tools to generate more leads, but you have to do the work!

Marketing and Automation

Here’s what I tell everyone I talk to about marketing automation:

Marketing automation does not improve quality of your marketing, it improves efficiency of your marketing.

[Tweet “Marketing automation doesn’t improve quality, it improves efficiency of your marketing.”]

The “automation” part facilitates activities and processes that you should have in place.

For example, everyone struggles with lead nurturing emails because they don’t know what emails to write or how to schedule them. They’re lost. The reason is, you cannot automate nothing. And when you try to automate nothing, you wonder where’s the ROI?

In this example, you need to have a sales process (or sales cycle) in place first. Lead nurturing is designed to warm up leads, to move them from one stage to another – closer to sale. If you don’t know what you sales process is you won’t know how to effective nurture your leads. Sending out time-based autoresponders is not lead nurturing. You need to understand where the lead is in your sales process, hence cater lead nurturing campaign to help move the lead to the next stage.

The point is this: you have nothing to automate.

Your lead generation problem is not automation, it’s marketing. If you can’t generate leads without marketing automation, you will not be able to generate leads with marketing automation.

Just because WordPress marketing automation is cheaper than HubSpot, and other platforms, does not mean it will help you generate leads. Elbow grease is not included.

Photo by Steven Vance/cc

This post was generously sponsored by ProjectArmy, providing small businesses with effective marketing solutions they need, with cost certainty and free marketing advice.

  • John Bravo

    This post makes a very good point. Marketing Automation needs something to automate! For someone starting out I recommend a simple communication flow triggered by a new customer / prospect sign up via a web form. It’s a really simple starting point for new businesses.

    I’m using Simplycast btw which I find really easy to use and has a low price option for start ups.

    • Viktor Nagornyy

      Thanks for commenting John, but you should mention that you work for Simplycast. You’re not a customer.

      • Davide Ortisi

        Hi Viktor. After paying you $1,700.00 to build a new website for my small business you disappeared with my money. I have sent you dozens of emails and skype messages but I never got a reply from you. It has been more than 45 days now. I would appreciate if you could explain here what type issues are preventing you from answering. Thanks, Davide O.

  • Evelyn

    Hi, Just a couple of points I ran into… your “continue reading” link didn’t seem to work. I don’t see anyplace to sign up for your blogs or other info? No “subscribe” option..

    • Viktor Nagornyy

      Hi Evelyn, thanks for stopping by and mentioning the issue with continue reading. I just took this new design live about a week ago. Did not see that issue for some reason, so thanks for pointing it out. Fixed now :)

      As for subscribtion option. I haven’t had the chance to add new optin box yet, will add soon. In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to receive blog updates here

      Again, thank you Evelyn for taking the time to comment and let me know about issues.

  • FrankWL

    I fully agree. The old words “A fool with a tool is still a fool” is probably ‘truer’ than ever, especially in times where we have access to hundreds of pieces of marketing technology (see chart at My personal favorite combo for small businesses and freelancers or consultants is a combination of WordPress and Contactually. Especially this group has to rely on a working relationship to its customers and leads. Contactually is not so ‘fat’ as a fully blown CRM and offers a good way in to a marketing automation mindset. More info: (Disclaimer: I am a fan of Contactually, so I am an affiliate ;-)

  • Viktor Nagornyy

    You’re right Frank. Many forget about building relationships and focus on generating more and more leads with old mentality of “sell, sell, sell”. But it’s not that easy anymore. People crave value. Leads charge value for their attention and contact information.

  • Activ Hub- China Digital Intel

    Nice post Viktor, I agree. We still need to explain to potential clients that software doesn’t run itself, it still needs some input from them. I wish we could phase out the word AUTOMATIC from the term and come up with something else, move away from the set and forget mindset that seems common.

    Or are we just faced with a group of lazy marketers who want max $$ for zero work and so are sucked in, much like the old SEO scams which sort of offered the same massive rewards for little effort?

    You are good at what you do mate, have read several of your posts and love the way you gain insight behind your posters!! :>)

    • Viktor Nagornyy

      It’s the sales rep’s job to ensure they explain exactly what their platform does, so the clients can effectively use it… unfortunately, I’ve worked with clients who would complain about sales reps lying and them getting screwed. I won’t call out any names, this applies to all sales people.

      Sale does not stop after payment is received, it continues throughout the lifecycle of the customer and ensuring customer’s success.

  • Viktor Nagornyy

    Glad I can offer feedback.