The Dead-Honest Truth About Marketing Automation

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 that’s necessary!

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 – it will be a waste of money and you will not get leads!

This is true regardless if you’re using marketing automation platform or not. You must do the hard, necessary 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. It wasn’t HubSpot’s fault, it’s just a tool.

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.

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, helping small service businesses attract and convert ideal clients with effective marketing solutions.

Viktor Nagornyy, Host

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9 Comments on "The Dead-Honest Truth About Marketing Automation"

August 11, 2014

Glad I can offer feedback.


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!! :>)

August 10, 2014

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.

June 27, 2014

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.

June 15, 2014

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 😉

June 12, 2014

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..

June 12, 2014

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.

John Bravo
June 9, 2014

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.

June 9, 2014

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