Are there situations where automated email marketing solutions are not an effective way to market a product or solution?

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With all the buzz about the converting power of automated marketing emails, one might think we could sit back and wait for the biggest and best prospects to come to us. In reality, this is not always so. The decision to use automated emails is a strategic account development and risk management issue. Reliance on auto follow-up and auto nurturing emails frequently leads to coverage gaps. Here are two examples where emphasizing automation puts revenue at risk:
  1. C-level and other senior executives respond to automated email marketing at lower rates, if at all. Not every executive wants to be treated like the human equivalent of a pinball, getting your attention only after hitting the right bumpers and scoring enough points. For example, the CFO of a large utility responded to the 42 multitouch outbound approach—in this case a voice mail message from a prospect development professional—and five months later signed off on a $1 billion deal for our client. This proactive approach included personalized emails referencing earlier conversations and sometimes included a case study.
  2. Relying on automated emails for 100% market coverage is a risk not worth taking. They can be effective for large, tough-to-cover markets, but they result in smaller deals with lower-level decision-makers. Can you afford to trust that your biggest and best prospects will come to you? Many times outbound initiatives interrupt competitors' positions to gain client wins.
While automated emailing is an integral part of the overall mix, there are situations where a more proactive outbound approach with personalized emails is not only a good idea, it is essential to protecting your turf. Dan McDade is president-CEO of PointClear (, a prospect-development firm.
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