Five ways marketing automation is ruining your customer relationships

Five ways marketing automation is ruining your customer relationships Shaun brings more than 12 years of global business leadership and entrepreneurial experience to his role as CMO of ProsperWorks. Shaun earned his degree from Stanford University and along with leadership positions at acquiring companies has founded two highly successful companies: Bazaar Advertising Solutions (acquired by Epic Media Group) and DNA Games (acquired by Zynga). Most recently he ran online revenue at DocuSign, the #1 SaaS eSignature platform in the world.

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With a plethora of marketing tools available to help automate mundane tasks, it has become easier to be less hands-on when it comes to executing marketing tactics.

On average 49% of companies are currently using marketing automation, with more than half of B2B companies (55%) adopting the technology. While these tools can be useful, developing customer relationships with a human touch and customisation is still important.

Here is a list of common mistakes businesses often make when automating their marketing strategies and leaving behind personalised customer communications:

Lack of relevance

Does your company send out weekly emails and/or newsletters to keep your customers updated on the latest company offerings? If this is the case, then you need to make sure you provide information that not only benefits your company but also caters to the interests of your customers. Nearly 74% of online consumers get frustrated when they receive content that has nothing to do with their interests.

97% of B2B buyers said they give more credence to content that includes peer reviews and user-generated feedback

Engage them by providing useful information and solutions that are relevant to their most current issues. For example, an accounting firm should send out weekly tips on how to account for and track expenses of various types.

One week can be dedicated to travel related expenses and all the different rules regarding write offs, then the next week’s focus can be on providing a list of both expensable office costs. By including relevant information you’ll significantly increase the power and consumption behind your messaging.


You probably get promotional emails from companies on a regular basis, some of which you like and some that are rather annoying. Make sure that your company doesn’t fall into the second camp, an easy thing to do as 73% of marketers believe that email is the core to their business.

A study done by Marketing Sherpa shows that most consumers like to get email at least monthly (85%) or weekly (63%), but not daily (15%) or more often. Make sure to set your frequency strategy based not on one promotional goal but rather on a mix of market goals and relevant promotions that you expect to share with your customers.

Don’t simply send out multiple promotions for the sake of staying relevant. A decrease in subscribers is not worth that one extra promotion that you are trying to jam into your marketing schedule. Keep your customers engaged but within a reasonable cadence of frequency.

Lack of relatability

97% of B2B buyers said they give more credence to content that includes peer reviews and user-generated feedback; they want to feel comfortable and informed.

Here is a list of common mistakes businesses often make when automating their marketing strategies and leaving behind personalised customer communications with and using day-to-day references they can identify with. Make sure that you are not getting over-technical in your emails, newsletters and pitches.

Better yet if you can segment your customers into groups, create tailored communications for each respectively. Having the right content is important but making sure it is presented in the right language and tone for specific customers is just as vital, as they simply won’t spend time on anything they don’t quickly relate to or easily understand.

Bad design

While many think that design and visual aesthetics take second place in importance to the information that you are sharing with potential customers, you need to realize that visually appealing content makes customers much more likely to read it, be interested and respond.

Researchers have found that coloured visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80% and content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. Invest in using a graphic designer to make visually appealing content.

The cost to do this is minimal when compared to the benefit of increased open rates, time spent with content and the impact that your messaging will have on potential customers.

Great setup but no maintenance

You sent out automated marketing messages, pitches, alerts and articles to potential customers but don’t stop there. Follow-up and maintenance is just as important as the initial plunge, and just because you’ve engaged a customer does not mean they will stay interested and subscribed, especially if you do not continue providing fresh and relevant content for them to use.

About 44% of marketers say they are not fully satisfied with their marketing automation systems. Why? It is hard to master and even harder to maintain.

Use a marketing management program such as Marketo to stay on top of your customers and know exactly when to follow up to maintain the relationship through relevant content. By making sure to serve up content and communications on a regular basis, you can be sure that you will be setting the groundwork for a strong relationship that will lead to long term customer appreciation and loyalty.


Invest in the time to strategically think about how you communicate with your customers and don’t let marketing automation turn your company into a rigid marketing machine.

The extra time you spend working on tailoring your communications and taking lead of these five areas to watch out for, will help make sure that your company creates long-lasting and profitable customer relationships.

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