Marketing Automation Done Right (feat. Chris Davis)

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Chris Davis is a marketing automation expert, and has worked with ActiveCampaign, LeadPages among other companies. Today Chris runs Automation Bridge, a marketing automation training company. Listen now to learn:

  • Why it’s harder than ever to select the right marketing tools
  • The single biggest marketing automation mistake
  • How to determine your strategy before selecting tools
  • How to get the most from your tools
  • When to stick with your tools, and when to change platforms
  • What to look for in your marketing service providers
  • How to take ownership of your marketing systems

You can also watch a video version of this episode:

Opt-in free to Chris’ Engagement Marketing course at

Extended Episode Notes

Chris Davis is a marketing automation expert, and has worked with ActiveCampaign, LeadPages among other companies. Today Chris runs Automation Bridge, a marketing automation training company.

Chris started his professional life as an electrical engineer. Used to program micro-processors.

Later he discovered marketing and entrepreneurship. He started out in web development, competing with WordPress. Then got certified in Infusionsoft, which opened a door into LeadPages. Helped them raise $37 million of funding.

Chris realised the technology landscape was starting to fragment, with different tools becoming more specialised. He learned that building an effective funnel was more involved than putting up a landing page and an email series. People started creating these Frankenstein-type systems meshing different tools together, which we would later call ‘stacks’.

Came on board with ActiveCampaign as their director of education as well as their training courses. He now does the same thing under his own brand.

The ‘All In One’ tool today gets a bad rep, often because it is cheaper or more effective to tie together different tools. Even with an ‘all in one’, you end up using a number of paid add-ons. No marketing automation tool is truly ‘all in one’. Today new tools are a dime a dozen, and you really have to do your due diligence when selecting tools.

The biggest marketing automation mistake everybody makes is being too tech-ready. We get carried away with the technology and miss the strategy. Your marketing strategy has to instruct how you select and use tools. Many of these tools are well marketed and will sell you a dream. It’s easier to be a tool junkie than it is to work out the right strategy.

All of Chris’ strategy work starts in his notebook, or on a whiteboard. Start analogue, then digitise later. Don’t think about tools when you’re planning your strategy. The tool has to satisfy YOUR needs, not the other way round. Otherwise when you plan your strategy you’ll be thinking about how to do something in a pre-conceived tool.

Chris’ process is to start with the end in mind – the product. Chris’ definition of a ‘product’ is an idea for solving a problem that you can explain clearly. Ask: what is this product’s function for the audience? If you can’t identify product-market fit and solve an immediate need, the strategy will fail. Start with the biggest questions, then work backwards towards more technical decisions.

Many businesses try to shortcut the strategy process, or throw money at the problem. it’s desperately easy to get going quickly in the wrong direction. By the time you approach someone to get the help you really need, you’ll likely be out of dollars. (Chris calls this the ‘Automation Ambulance’).

Once you’ve determined your strategy, make the commitment to really learn your tools. Marry your tools. Also expect things to go wrong, and expect tools to break. When you’re committed to a tool a breakage or outage can be worked around. Every time you change platforms there is data loss, because no platform stores data in exactly the same way. Having said that, the tool has to still support the strategy. That’s the litmus test.

You may need help to determine your strategy, from a marketer with vision. Somebody who can see what you’ll need down the road, and not just today.

In selecting your tools, you also have to consider your team. Don’t invest in a technical tool if your team is easily confused by technology! They just won’t be able to handle the tool.

You don’t need to master every element of your tools, but you need to know enough to be able to manage them. You need to be an educated buyer. You need to take responsibility for your systems. You need to be engaged in the process. You can then selectively outsource later.

The online business market is coming to understand this, and respect education. We know when somebody is a good teacher, so an ability to teach is a real differentiator among marketing providers. The companies that lead with education will be the ones that stand out.

Opt-in free to Chris’ Engagement Marketing course at

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Rob Drummond

Rob is a co-host of the Maze Marketing Podcast, and specialises in content creation, ad copy and email storytelling. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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