Act-On Marketing Technology

3 Things Act-On Support Can’t Help With (But an Agency Can)

3 Things Act-On Support Can’t Help With (But an Agency Can)


As a former Technical Solutions Engineer at Act-On, I loved how much our customers loved us. It was normal for a TSE to help 20 customers each day, and we always prioritized the customer experience.  My leadership had a very clear directive on the limits of how far we should go, summed up in a single word mission statement: “Help.”

At Act-On Support, I would help with anything a customer needed; but I knew that some requests I was not a good resource for.  Now, being part of Tactical MA,

I realize these are things that you would be better served working with an agency on, rather than calling Tech Support.

Planning Campaigns

There are two things that a Support Engineer who just picked up the phone lacks that are vital to strategic consulting: experience and ownership.  I had neither of these, so it was never in your best interest to ask me to guide your strategy.

I was frequently asked to help design strategy or plans for customer campaigns at Act-On.  While I had a lot of experience working with the software, I had little to no experience in developing a strategy.

I was trained in how the software functions and how to solve technical challenges, not how to design campaigns.  At best I could share ideas I had seen, or even refer the marketer to the Strategy Guide, (authored by the CEO of Tactical MA) but that was it.

Why should you contact an agency instead?

If you need help planning out a strategy, working with an agency is a far better path to take.  Marketing agencies have experience building out and managing proven strategies.  They take ownership of each client or partner and work to get the best results in the long term.

The best analogy I’ve come across for it is to look at your marketing as a ship setting sail.  Your strategy is the path you plan to take and the navigation along the way.  For that, you want a navigator who has handled plenty of ships and gotten them where they’re going.  You want to save the phone call to tech support for when the boat springs a leak.

Creating and Managing Content and Automation

In a similar vein to the point above, support staff cannot create or maintain your content for or with you.  This includes the building of automation, the design or creation of content, and any follow-ups to make sure things are running properly.

This goes back to experience and ownership.  Without alignment to your company goals, this experience was highly transactional, and I was laser-focused on defining and solving a problem.  Automation requires ongoing monitoring, response, and revision.  I always wanted to help to the best of my ability, but the nature of any support person’s job is to open and close cases; this is not conducive to the type of help you need.

As a technical resource, it was always unwise for you to gamble that I had the marketing experience needed to properly advise this process.

Why should you contact an agency instead?

The keys to content creation are time and expertise.  The best way to guarantee that someone with expertise is spending the appropriate time on developing your content or automation is to contract with them for it.  Content design and development is one of the key services offered by a good agency, and they have decades of experience that you can leverage to make your content or programs awesome.

Integrated Systems

Due to the connected nature of marketing automation, there are a lot of systems working together that need to be made to “play nice.”  This means that the lines of “who should be supporting what” get blurry, and many times I was asked to help with customization to systems outside of Act-On.

While I could have helped with native connectivity to Act-On, I had limited exposure to CRM functionality, your WordPress plugins, or any system outside of Act-On.

As Act-On Support, I had thorough training and complete access to your Act-On account, but I was totally blind to the settings, configuration, and use case for any of your other systems.

Why should you contact an agency instead?

In this case, there is an issue beyond time and expertise that matters most: liability.  A Support Engineer is limited in what they can personally do by the fact that they represent the company they work for.  This means that they are not able to accept or use your login credentials to work in your other accounts or platforms.

Good agencies specialize in data, integration, and technology. If you provide them with login credentials, they can jump into your systems and do what needs to be done.

One of the most liberating parts of my transition to working with a marketing agency was being able to log into all of the relevant systems for a project and set things up myself.  As a member of Support, I had to provide the information related to our platform and hope that the customer’s team could get things set up properly.  I have since received extensive training in many systems, and I work with experts across multiple platforms.

If there is setup or work that you need to be done in your CRM, website or another third party system that is beyond your team’s current understanding, reaching out to the right marketing agency can be a massive help.

In Closing

I can’t stress enough that Technical Support, especially the team I worked with, is often a highly motivated, talented group of brilliant people who want to help you solve your problem; but they are limited by regulations and experience for their specific product.

Successfully resolving your current situation boils down to the question, “Who is the best person to help with this?”  If the marketing automation software you’re using is not broken, Tech Support is not the right answer.

A specialized marketing agency like Tactical MA is often the answer you’re looking for.  The best part about Tactical MA is they are a premiere Act-On partner, staffed with former Act-On employees, and provide free consultations. Feel free to browse our site and see if we are a good fit.

Helping you is what we’re here for!

This article was written by an excellent former member of the Tactical team, Morgan Nail.

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