Home > Marketing > Marketing Automation Only Does What You Tell It To; Off Script No. 33: Bryan Young

Marketing Automation Only Does What You Tell It To; Off Script No. 33: Bryan Young

Marketing Automation Only Does What the User Tells It Off Script; Off Script No 33 Bryan Young

It would sure be nice to buy a pound of marketing automation, turn it on, and then relax as highly qualified leads pour in.

The technology would create the perfect message, deliver to the right people, at the right time, score the leads appropriately, and then hand a list of buy-ready names to sales.

It just doesn’t work that way. Utopian perhaps, but technology in and of itself may not be an advantage unless you have the capacity to use it effectively.

That my takeaway from this interview published today with a gentleman who has a history in marketing automation. Notably, this includes a stint, he says, as “the youngest and only African American global strategy consultant for Marketo before they were originally acquired by Vista Equity Partners.”

He is Bryan Young, and he’s my guest on this 33rd edition of the Off Script interview series.

Bryan Young Digital

1) Digital marketing isn’t new anymore…what’s your assessment of how adept marketers are in digital marketing today?

BY: Digital marketing isn’t new, but I honestly think older individuals in more senior positions struggle to understand it. This is primarily because you must be willing to be hands on or at least explore in some of the tools – rather than just have people report numbers to you or simply want to repeat things that have worked in the past over and over again.

Those that are willing to explore with an open mind of opportunities usually do well in this industry. Younger digital marketers must understand that knowing the different tools is important but being able to communicate and lead strategy decisions is what will set you apart from your peers.

2) You’ve got a background in marketing automation, what effect have tools like Marketo, Eloqua and Pardot on digital marketing?

BY: For starters, they have made it simpler to launch campaigns. An aspect that is often overlooked with these tools is the ability to really create a personalized one-to-one experience on a mass scale. I mean, many talk about this but stop at just including a name for a very general email. Those that spend the additional time and resources to personalize the email and landing page with person specific and product interest-specific content really see better conversion numbers.

Marketing automation isn’t an auto-pilot type function as most companies would like it to be. It has to work within itself but also needs to be tied into other initiatives from a setup and measurement perspective.

3) What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses make in selecting and implementing marketing automation software?

BY: Let’s be clear, each platform has its pros and cons. One of the biggest reasons I was able to accept my position at Marketo was because of the experience I had with different platforms. With that said I think the biggest mistake is not truly understanding how the marketing automation tool integrates with the CRM.

Data integrity can truly make or break a campaign and not taking the time to standardize the process is a huge mistake. I get that it can be a nightmare and very time consuming but it’s worse to encounter technology limitations once started because of the lack of attention.

4) What are some things these marketing automation tools can do that you think marketers overlook?

BY: Driving a more qualified lead is the universal challenge for every marketer. Doing this often means having a deep understanding of who your potential customers are and the behaviors they exhibit during the buying process. With experience and platform knowledge one can start to use different reports to try to better understand and accommodate these behaviors. This places more of the decisions on data and not solely on the leader of the department or decision maker.


See these related interviews:
Managing Media Relations for a Publisher; Off Script No. 32: Rachael Wolensky of ALM
PR Prepared Her for a Role as a Martech CMO; Off Script No. 31: Nicole Wojno of UserIQ
The Changing Face of PR in Government; Off Script #30: Merritt Allen of Vox Optima


5) What aspects of marketing automation, if any, is overhyped?

BY: Dare I say lead scoring? It is absolutely important but there is no blueprint into what needs to be done to ensure that it is set up exactly right for your company.

As I mentioned marketing always wants to drive more qualified leads and sales always wants leads that are ready to buy. However, lack of communication, poor tracking and measurement processes, and limited marketing and sales team interactions in regards to lead quality will make this tough.

s-marketing automation can only do what the user sets it up to do6) Is there a danger of marketing becoming too dependent on marketing automation?

BY: In my experience, the true danger is individuals doing what they are told solely to appease a decision maker. I’m not saying to risk your job but at the same time to truly grow the organization must truly make data-driven decisions. I’ve worked with many types of leaders and understand how challenging and frustrating this task can be. At the end of the day, marketing automation can only do what the user sets it up to do.

7) We are getting toward the end of the year, what do you think is in store for digital marketing in 2019?

BY: Well it definitely involves tying in mobile and analytics. Even with my deep understanding of marketing automation and traffic generation, I spend a great amount of time studying onsite behavior for individuals that do and do not convert. I don’t see this changing for companies that truly want to be successful and not just follow industry trends or what competitors are doing.

8) Just for fun: in just a word or a phrase, fill in the blank:

  • One company you with marketing you admire is…Sofi.
  • One book, publication or blog you recommend for people to get smart on marketing automation is…Smart Insights.
  • If you weren’t doing what you do now you’d be…real estate or finance.
  • If you suddenly got 10% more marketing budget you’d spend it on…account based marketing (b2b) or Oktopost (b2c).
  • If you suddenly got 10% more time to spend on marketing, you’d spend it on…behavioral analysis.
  • If you could have an all-expenses paid free pass to a single industry marketing event it would be…AfroTech.

* * *

You can find more from Bryan on his website, BryanYoungDigital.com or connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.  Some of his content contributions include:


Ready to be interviewed for the Off Script series?
We are always looking for smart people working in PR, marketing, sales and journalism.
Contact us here!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Marketing has Gotten Better as a Profession; Off Script #29: Tom Pick of Webbiquity

Photo credit:  Unsplash

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