Adams & Knight Marketing Blog
POSTED BY: Brian McClear

Don’t make these mistakes when implementing marketing automation


You’ve spent months choosing the right marketing automation platform for your office. Brought together the right team. Aligned your goals with must-have features. Reviewed all likely contenders. Examined the pros and cons of each one. And (finally!) agreed on a platform.

Now, make sure you get the most from all your hard work with a full implementation process.

Just 38 percent of organizations think their process is effective. That means an astounding 62 percent feel like they aren’t doing a good job meeting the needs of their own user groups.

So how can you ensure that the new tech you’ve chosen is adopted and put to good use by your group of content marketers, developers and other stakeholders? Avoid these common mistakes.

Don’t wait too long to start implementing.

Research shows the earlier your users get to know a new product or system, the better. In fact, experts say onboarding should begin as soon as possible. Why? Because it creates a sense of ownership early on, and, in general, reduces the chance it will be abandoned.

Don’t forget to address the big picture.

Communicate early and often with all employees about the new marketing automation system. Let them know why it’s been purchased and what benefits the organization hopes to achieve . . . and how it will affect different groups and make jobs easier. This will provide your staff with a big-picture context and (hopefully) an eagerness to jump in and start learning more about it.

Fight the urge to offer one-size-fits-all training.

In a recent study, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) found 92 percent of training is conducted in traditional classroom settings, yet only six percent of millennials, the largest segment in the US workforce, values this type of learning. It also found that about 70 percent of instruction is now blended learning, which includes both in-person and online tactics.

To best address the range of learning preferences for each group tasked with using the new platform, tailor your sessions. First, review the features and tools that are most relevant to their daily workflows. And then, offer tutorials for the “real” tasks they do every day so that the training time is well spent and proves the worth of the platform.

Don’t ignore key features.

Research shows when companies invest in new tech, often just 20 percent of software features are used, while 50 percent of features are hardly ever or never used. And the rest are used only now and then. To avoid this misstep, cover the features that are most valuable to each group. Then offer supplemental training for other value-added tools (and tricks!) in follow-up sessions.

Don’t forget to communicate.

In a past blog, we stressed that users not only want to know what features are available, they also want to know how to use them best.

As part of a well-rounded communications plan for the new platform, consider sending regular emails. In each one, promote a single feature that aligns with the goals of a specific user group. This way you’ll get employees using the platform as well as building their acceptance and confidence — and boosting ROI for it! Also, segment your email list into distinct users to tailor your message and call to action, to, for example, power users versus non-users. 

Don’t forget to keep track of results.

Recognize that different stakeholders have different goals for the platform. For instance, individual users may want it to streamline their day-to-day tasks, managers likely seek greater efficiency and the c-suite is usually focused on what ROI is earned from the platform.

According to, “Most organizations do a good job tracking who completed what training, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.” In fact, a recent learning measurement study, found that only about eight percent of companies measure different types of learning with an eye on business results.

Knowing metrics like who is using the platform and who isn’t . . . or who uses it a lot . . . or hardly ever . . . as well as how they are using it . . . and the results gained from it . . . can provide needed insights for evaluating and revising your training and utilization approach.

Don’t miss a chance to celebrate successes.

Especially of those who adopt the platform early on. Not only are these early adopters comfortable with change, they can typically help other groups understand the importance of change and influence others within your organization to use the new platform.

Don’t forget to survey employees about future wants and needs.  

Once the platform is fully adopted and implemented into day-to-day processes, don’t rest content. Explore ways to maximize use and re-train over time. Interestingly, Microsoft learned this key lesson when it asked users what features they wanted added to Office. They found 90 percent of the requests were already there!

Thanks to the ever-changing landscape for marketing technology, it’s important revaluate the platform. At least once a year, survey users to examine their needs and match them up with features of your platform. Often capabilities you didn’t focus on initially may become more relevant and beneficial to your users as time (and progress) goes on. By keeping in tune with evolving needs, you can explore new applications and expanded uses of a platform you already have . . .and avoid investing in another new tool.

Of course, no plan is foolproof. But steer clear of these mistakes and you’ll increase the chance your marketing automation platform is accepted and implemented within your organization. And ensure all your efforts were well spent.

For more tips on implementing a marketing automation platform at your organization, contact Brian McClear, SVP, Marketing Technology at

Related Articles



Learn more about some of the marketing capabilities related to this article.
Marketing Technology


Digital Marketing
Marketing Analytics
Social Media Marketing