10 Challenges When Implementing Marketing Automation

June 22, 2022by Chris Gloede0

As associations emerge from the pandemic with mandates to better serve the digital needs of their members, many are looking to modernize email efforts by expanding into new communication channels like text messaging, self-service chatbots, web ads, social ads, and more.

Ricochet helps associations select and implement marketing automation software to reduce staff time executing marketing and increase time improving communication effectiveness. 

When Ricochet kicks off marketing automation projects, we warn clients about the challenges they are about to face. Time after time, we find ten tasks represent difficulties for the project.  By acknowledging and managing these issues from the project inception, marketing automation implementations are more successful.


Interested in learning more about marketing automation? Register for the upcoming Association Marketing Automation with HubSpot webinar.



Top 10 Marketing Automation Challenges


Systems and Privacy


1. Integrating with the AMS

Real-time data sharing between your marketing automation tool and your AMS unlocks immediate communications crucial for modern marketing.  There are many methods of integrating, and all will require some technical assistance.


2. Cleaning AMS Data

Ricochet’s implementations use 55 fields of AMS data on average.  Before connecting that data to your marketing automation tool, be sure to clean records and tighten processes so the information is usable for digital personalization and segmentation.


3. Updating the Privacy Policy

Privacy policies are often dated without consideration for text, changes to California privacy laws, and contemporary standards. Associations should carefully review their privacy policies and practices to prepare for new marketing outreach.


4. Refining the Technology Stack:

Marketing automation systems offer robust features that may render other association technologies irrelevant.  Carefully examine the other marketing technologies you use, looking for opportunities to sunset software and reduce expenses.




5. Freshen Email Templates 

Association email templates are typically not mobile-friendly and don’t follow the latest design trends.  Moving to a new marketing automation system will require establishing new templates and creates an opportunity to update tired email designs.

6. Relaunching the Communications Preferences Center 

Good marketing always evolves, and it often leaves behind topic and newsletter subscription preference options defined years ago. Associations need to ensure the communications they send align with the opt-out options they offer their contacts.

7. Introducing New Channels 

Years of association cost reductions and other factors have pushed most associations to use email as almost their sole outbound communications channel.  Marketing automation introduces texts, AI chatbots, online ads, and social ads to the communications arsenal. 




8. Managing Budgets 

Email delivery systems are simpler than marketing automation systems, both in features as well as the number of possible add-on systems to enhance functionality.  Association staff must learn to understand the network of systems they create and closely manage those contracts.


9. Mastering Data Details 

Associations maintain data in their AMS, LMS, VEP, and numerous other systems. Staff must grow knowledge of what data they own, where it is held, and how they can use it to power their new marketing automation personalization and targeting capabilities.


10. Growing Experience Design Skills 

When email was the only digital communication, customer journeys were very straightforward. Now that marketing automation solutions allow marketers to direct numerous channel touches, staff must design and manage more-complex customer journeys.


Interested in learning more about marketing automation? Register for the upcoming Association Marketing Automation with HubSpot webinar.



Chris Gloede

For over 25 years, Chief Consultant Chris Gloede worked on-the-ground driving marketing experimentation and change for the world’s most notable brands, including BP, Chrysler, Kraft, Unilever, and more. He later brought innovation culture to the American Bar Association as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer, reversing decades of membership decline. Today, Chris and his team help associations and law firms leverage modern marketing technologies and strategies to build stronger connections to prospects, clients, and members. Through analytics and careful strategies Chris creates stronger revenue pipelines.

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