One of the most common reasons an inbound marketing or digital marketing program fails is the ineffective use of marketing technology. (The other is the lack of strategy.) The selection, implementation and on-going use of a marketing automation tool is critical to your program’s success online. The platform you choose will ultimately impact the way you execute your tactics, report results and derive insights moving forward. We’ll get to how to chose the right tool but first let’s talk about why marketing automation is so important to modern marketing.
Why marketing automation software is important
Marketing automation allows brands to collect data on their current and prospective customers to deliver relevant, engaging content on multiple channels throughout the buyer’s journey. Consumers expect your brand to show up the same whether they are reading an email, standing in a retail store, walking through a tradeshow or scanning their Facebook timeline. If you want to be first-to-mind for your audience, you have to be able to deliver on all of those channels. And unfortunately, that’s nearly impossible to do without a good marketing automation tool to support your efforts.
Your marketing automation tool will enable you to collect and analyze many of those prospect and customer interactions to identify when a prospect is ready to take action. Because most marketing automation platforms integrate with CRM systems, it also allows sales the visibility into all of that marketing intelligence so they can do a better job and close more deals.
Considerations when choosing a marketing automation solution
If you’re reading this, you know that there are a lot of solutions to choose from. G2 Crowd rates the leaders as Act-On, Marketo, Pardot, and HubSpot because of their high customer reviews, market share and global support. To help you in your decision, we’ve put together a few common considerations to think about:
- Capabilities: What exactly does the tool allow you to do? It needs to do more than just automated emails. Look at landing pages, lead management, social publishing, analytics, etc. All great marketing automation tools allow you to execute and measure full-funnel campaigns.
- Integrations: Assuming you use a CRM, integration to that system will be incredibly important to maintain closed-loop reporting. Check to see if there are any “out-of-the-box” integrations or will you have to custom build those through an open API?
- Ease of Use: Like all great technology, it has to be easy to use. While this is a fairly subjective measure, be sure to read reviews and talk to people who have used different solutions in order to get a good feel for what they’re like. Several major platforms also offer free trials, which is a great way to take it for test drive.
- Support and training: Training, education and customer support are not to be overlooked. Especially if you’re new to inbound marketing, these resources will help you and your team expand your general marketing knowledge and your abilities to execute within the software.
- Price: Obviously, price is one of the biggest considerations when vetting new technology. Every tool has a slightly different pricing model so be sure to evaluate the lifetime value, scaleability (do you get dinged for sending too many emails or having too many leads?) and any incremental costs.
To learn more, check out G2 Crowd to read reviews from thousands of other users and see how tools compare to other leaders in the market.