Marketing Automation Mythbusting: Pardot is a Set-it & Forget-it Tool

“You automated everything so well that we’re just going to let it run and leave it alone.  That’s the point of automation, right?”

My team just wrapped up a project to build a series of big, bad Engagement Studio programs.  This customer was particularly fun to work with because their whole business is powered by the Salesforce platform – sales, service, operations, finance, and of course, marketing. 

Not only were we able to build a solid communication cadence for them, we also leveraged connected campaigns to build some stunning dashboards in Lightning showing how each marketing touchpoint influenced sales for the month.

So those words above, from the mouth of that customer, hurt my heart a little there.  Okay maybe more than a little.  Here’s why:

1. Successful programs never go in the “forget it” pile

Automated programs can free up time and resources in a big way.  If you whip up an Engagement Studio program to manage routine, repeatable communications, you don’t have to think about it every day.  How awesome is that?

But you shouldn’t not think about it for FOREVER. Monthly check-ins to monitor performance help ensure everything stays on track and is working as designed.

2. You should constantly one-up yourself

The best marketing automation strategies are those that evolve.

People change. Platforms change. Tactics change. The competition changes.

The beauty of a platform like Pardot is that you can automate repetitive tasks and free up time to ask “what’s next?”  Not to settle into the slightly improved status quo.

3. The technology changes constantly

Continuing with the theme of change, can we talk about how the Pardot product team is on overdrive releasing new features lately?  As this awesome new functionality is released, reviewing how it can be leveraged to support your company’s efforts is key.

Repeating Engagement Studio programs, for example, would have totally changed our thought process on how we designed the solution for this particular client if it were available 3-4 months ago.

4. Sometimes data will change your mind

When a program has run for 30, 60, or 90 days and you’ve run through a full sales cycle, you will have extremely valuable information to inform future efforts.  You’ll know more on what is enticing opens, soliciting clicks, and most importantly, what’s actually converting into actual closed won opportunities.

Think “let your conscience be your guide,” Jiminy Cricket style… except strike conscience and insert data.

5. Content has a sell-by date

Comedians can’t tell the same jokes over and over.

Chrissy Teigen can’t do headband of the day for the rest of her life.

And that chunky lemon milk in your fridge?

Okay I’ll stop, you get the idea.  You need fresh copy and design from time to time too, yo.

6. “Forgetting it” means you’re missing valuable opportunities in the now

“Newsjacking” events and anchoring to time-sensitive things can work wonders (WONDERS!) when paired with automated programs.

One of our other clients, for example, frequently sends out emails with the call-to-action to book a meeting with sales.  When we link this to an actual event – like a tradeshow, community gathering, or other milestone – the open and CTR metrics more than double.

This is a huge opportunity that is utterly squandered if you’ve filed marketing under “forget it.”

(PS SalesLoft is my newsjacking crush – their ridiculous antics at Dreamforces past are such a smart way to do big things with a not-so-big budget.)

To Sum It Up: Set It, & Don’t Forget It

Ongoing maintenance – whether that’s by an in-house resource or by a consultant – is a must for any successful marketing automation programs.

Someone’s gotta make sure you’re efficiently leveraging the latest and greatest features of the platform, that your messages are hitting home, that you can pivot and seize opportunity, and that the data confirms you have a winning strategy.

Have strong feelings about this too?  Random musings to share?  Let’s hear it in the comments!


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Andrea is a 12X certified Salesforce MVP and the founder of Sercante. When she's not Pardot-ing, she can be found playing with her German Shepherd Murphy, making homemade gin, or traveling with her hubby Buck.

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