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Self-service vs outsource – which comes out top in the battle for marketing automation success?

6 June 2016
by Adam Oldfield

It was five years ago that The Independent reported that we’d become a self-service nation. In truth, the movement probably started decades before that, but is with the rise of ever-smarter technologies – which facilitate people doing more things for themselves without the need for other human assistance – that self-service has grown to become the norm.

In the world of marketing, it’s therefore no surprise that a self-service approach is so common. Marketing professionals are knowledgeable practitioners after all, and, armed with greater customer insight than they feel an external party could offer, they are therefore well placed to execute their own marketing automation strategies using an e-CRM system procured on a ‘Software as a Service’ basis.

The model is cost-effective, as marketers pay only for the ‘plug and play’ tool, not any additional expertise. And the technology then empowers marketing teams to bring their lead nurturing campaigns to life. In theory.

Self-service can be fantastic if the marketing team is resource rich, with a wealth of varied knowledge as well as technical skill when the system encounters a blip. But, as we highlighted in a recent blog, budget constraints in smaller firms may limit the headcount in a marketing department. This can leave teams feeling like they’ve nowhere to turn, especially if the software is US built and managed and the support team is sleeping when that much-needed assistance is required. So what happens if the marketing automation platform doesn’t successfully talk to the company’s other technologies? Or if carefully cultivated customer journeys don’t achieve the cut through they were destined to? What then?

Outsourcing the marketing function, or at least the lead nurturing part, is of course an alternative. An external team of specialists can take ownership of your e-CRM strategy and utilise their in-depth knowledge and experience to ensure your marketing activity supports your business objectives – for a fee.

Good quality outsourced support does not come cheap. So, even if you find a trusted marketing automation consultancy that truly understands your brand, your proposition and your audience, affordability can be the remaining obstacle.

The answer? A hybrid. An intuitive, easy-to-use marketing automation software solution, supported by creative services that are there if and when you need them.

If the tech is built for marketers not scientists, straight away you’ll spend less time configuring the system and more time winning new customers. So, if self-service is the model you’d rather pursue, you can. However, the added je ne sais quoi with a hybrid, is access to fiercely talented marketing specialists who are dedicated to creating better, more meaningful and personalised conversations between you and your audience.

This means they’re at the end of a phone to help, advise and steer your e-CRM strategy if you need to ask a quick question. If you require a little more direction, they will utilise proven lead nurturing methodologies – not to mention best practice copy, creative, channel and delivery expertise – to devise customer journeys tailored to you.

The hybrid is a tried-and-tested way to leverage the results that your marketing automation platform is truly capable of achieving. After all, humans are great at their jobs as well as tech. So don’t forget to make use of them both.

Interested in more advice from Force24? Download our latest free ebook – Quantifiable results from your marketing automation in 5 simple steps. Alternatively, contact us to discuss your needs.

Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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