We know why you’re here. And it’s not for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe (although who could say no to that!). As marketing professionals, we are tied up every day tracking and executing marketing tasks and workflows, and are measuring the outcome of each campaign while adjusting simultaneously based on the results as they trickle in. This day-to-day gets much harder to execute efficiently and effectively without a digital solution. Yes, we are talking about marketing automation software.
What is Marketing Automation Software?
Marketing Automation Software allows marketing professionals to automate all marketing related tasks, streamline workflows, and measure campaign performance in realtime. To put it another way, marketing automation software is every marketing professionals dream as it provides a single, centralized database for all marketing related information such as lead generation, advertising, email performance, A/B testing, social media, and so much more.
But, how do you know which marketing automation software is right for you? Your first step to choosing the right tool is to have a goal: This should ideally include your buyer personas, content offers, a full-time employee or team, depending on your company size and marketing efforts, to execute your automation strategy.
5 Must-Haves When Choosing Marketing Automation Software
Once you have these first few steps sorted, you move on to the following considerations when choosing marketing automation software.
Make a list of the automation modules are most important to your business or industry and your strategy.
Easy set up and implementation
Quick learning curve
Analytics and reporting
The above are just examples, the list you create is unique to you. And don’t hesitate to ask to see case studies and testimonials from clients in similar industries.
2. Intuitive Platform
Ask for a demo or sandbox access to play around with the platform and ensure you feel comfortable with the ease of use. It doesn’t matter how tech-savvy you are, or are not, you want to be comfortable using the marketing automation software the way it’s meant to be used. Too often do I heal friends and colleagues grumbling that they aren’t using their software solution to the best of their ability or even in the way it’s supposed to be. So, ask for the demos. Ask for guides! Read through the FAQs and discussion boards. And most of all, play around with the marketing automation software to ensure it really is easy to use and you’re comfortable.
3. Strategy and Scalability
Before you finalize your investment in a platform, you’ll want to be sure that the software that offers the most innovation and upgrades. Plus, you need to know if you can customize it to fit your needs. Ask a representative to demonstrate some customization options and talk through how you can scale when the time is right. After all, you need to be able to tailor a marketing automation software solution to fit you needs at any time.
4. Integrations and Feature-Set
Make a list of your systems (prospecting tools, CRM, webinar software, to name a few) and ensure that there’s integrative compatibility during initial meetings with the automation team.
And what are some of these common feature-sets you need to look out for? Easy, read below!
Common Feature-Set of Marketing Automation Software
Email: the platform must have the capability to schedule batch sends and trigger responses to actions and other emails and include custom drag-and-drop template builders, analytics, tracking, and reporting
Social media: must include a dashboard to check on organic campaigns, possibly across platforms e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
SMS: to be able to send text reminders, promotional series, etc.
Digital ads: to track and display PPC, click-throughs and ad performance
Other features include e-commerce, affiliates, contests, webinars, CRM integration for prospecting, SEO, landing pages, forms, segmentation, A/B testing, and more!
5. Customer Support
Learn about the response time, support levels and thought leadership offered and pick the one that makes the most sense to your team and business size. Chances are, you’re going to reach out to the marketing automation software support team a handful of times, especially during the initial setup. And response time is critical, your customers are waiting for you and time is of the essence. Waiting around for a representative could be a deal breaker so don’t overlook the rating for your marketing automation software.
The Bottom Line On Marketing Automation Software
By now, we have made our case on why you need marketing automation software and how to choose the right fit for you. And the last step is to share our ultimate recommendation! Adobe Marketo is at the top of our list.
While Marketo is one of the expensive ones, it is ranked in the top 10 as the best marketing automation software by G2 Crowd and by Gartner for a reason – an extremely high powered, highly intuitive, and user-friendly platform used by most of the fortune 500 companies. Salesforce Pardot, HubSpot, and Eloqua are some other platforms that are also heavily used with pros and cons on their own.