How to choose the ideal Marketing Automation platform
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Investing in a Marketing Automation platform can improve your company’s lead collection, automate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, and increase the conversion rates of the marketing process. But there are more than 8000 Marketing Automation platforms on the market: how do you choose the right software? We’ll discuss in this article.
Marketing Automation platforms allow you to automate repetitive tasks and have proved to be very valuable business tools. They can be used to increase the speed and accuracy of marketing actions and analyze user characteristics and interests to create dynamic, highly targeted campaigns.
In an increasingly challenging environment, with fierce competition and increasingly aware and demanding consumers, acting quickly and accurately is the key to a campaign’s success.
So, let’s take a look at the Marketing Automation solutions available and how to choose the one that best suits your business and goals.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation: definition
Let’s start with a definition of Marketing Automation.
Marketing Automation is a software solution that allows a marketer to automate some of their workflows to increase efficiency.
The greater efficiency of a Marketing Automation workflow is due to the implementation of technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence that allow to act on users in a personalized way.
This means that, thanks to Marketing Automation software, one-to-one communications customization and construction strategies are not only possible, but also much faster and more immediate. A Marketing Automation platform can be your best ally for gathering user information and segmentation based on demographic profile, interests, site behavior and previous conversions (if any). The same happens with database contacts, collected leads or social media followers.
Why is it so important to segment users into clusters?
Because this way the marketing team can send each cluster a personalized offer. Marketing messages become more relevant. Conversions and customer loyalty increase.
How to choose a Marketing Automation platform
Automating some marketing actions allows you to gain accuracy and timeliness by sending communications to the right user at the right time. Not only that: it also allows marketers to free themselves from mechanical actions to devote themselves to more strategic activities.
But companies’ automation needs are not all the same: some need complete software, with dozens of different workflows and unlimited options for each step of the sequence. Other companies have much simpler needs: sending a welcome email to a new contact, intercepting a user who has abandoned a product in their shopping cart, creating a landing page, and so forth.
To choose the Marketing Automation platform best suited to the needs of your company you have to think about two points:
- which automatizations will bring value to your digital marketing
- your available budget
Many companies make the mistake of launching on a Marketing Automation platform without having clear the goals and strategies they want to follow. This often leads to the purchase of complex and expensive all-in-one software that they don’t really need.
Let’s take a look at the differences between a wide-ranging all-in-one platform and simpler software to automate specific activities, such as email or social media marketing or lead generation.
All-in-one Marketing Automation Platforms
The all-in-one platforms, as the name suggests, offer multiple solutions in one to support marketing teams on each channel and touchpoint with the customer.
These are powerful tools with a wide range of customization features and options, workflow to automate tasks on different channels, CRM to manage contacts and software for data analysis and performance monitoring.
The advantage of an all-in-one Marketing Automation platform that it lets you control all automatization from a single dashboard. In contrast, this type of tool requires a significant investment and is not always as effective as specific platforms.
Let’s take a closer look at two of the most important Marketing Automation all-in-one platforms.
HubSpot Marketing Hub is the inbound marketing software provided by HubSpot. It is a complete solution that integrates a CRM, an email marketing tool, a blog platform, a lead generation software, one for social media marketing, SEO and data analysis tools and a software for campaign automation.
Its all-in-one platform provides a range of apps to manage the entire customer journey and allows companies to scale their business with customizable workflows that increase in complexity and specificity depending on needs.
Salesforce Pardot is another benchmark for all-in-one marketing automation platforms. It combines an intuitive design with very specific capabilities for B2B marketing and various integration and analysis options based on artificial intelligence.
The cost of the platform ($1,250 per month) immediately identifies Salesforce’s ideal customer: large companies that can invest large budgets in powerful and complex marketing software.
Despite the complexity of the actions that the platform allows, Pardot is intuitive and easy to use.
Salesforce Pardot is another benchmark for all-in-one marketing automation platforms.
In addition to the all-in-one platforms, which offer the customer the opportunity of having all the marketing tools in one place, there is software for specific activities: the Best-of-Breed platforms.
The advantage of these tools is that they are simpler and cheaper and aim to be the best option in their niche. The disadvantage is precisely the fact that they are not all-in-one: the platforms must necessarily be integrated with others to adopt truly effective digital marketing strategies.
The main flaw of a Best-of-Breed platform is that it is designed for a single task. So, in the case of additional needs, the company must purchase additional software packages. This could be a problem, especially because it makes the workflow more complex and management of very different tools.
Let’s look at some of the best software solutions for specific Marketing Automation activities.
MailUp: Email & SMS Marketing Automation Platform
The email channel is one of the companies’ favorites, thanks to its high ROI (up to 4,200%) and the possibility of increasing revenues and engagement of databases through Marketing Automation.
MailUp is one of the most powerful and reliable email marketing software: it ships 25 billion emails per year and has an above-average deliverability (close to 99%).
The most interesting options of the platform are precisely those that have to do with Marketing Automation:
- automatic workflows and drip campaigns for personalized and multi-channel communications,
- an accurate segmentation that allows you to send exactly what each recipient wants to receive,
- welcome email and recovery of abandoned carts to keep customers active,
- a dedicated account manager for advice on the best automatic routes based on business goals.
- MailUp’s email marketing automation software manages all the marketing activities you don’t have time for.
Thanks to a more accurate segmentation of messages, it helps you strengthen relationship with customers and to improve the company’s ROI.
Hootsuite: Social media automation platform
Marketing Automation social media tools include many options: programming social channels content, sending automatic messages and customized campaigns, analyzing data, etc.
To choose the right platform you need to consider how many channels your brand is active on, how many people publish on the company’s social media and what is the purpose of your social activity (lead generation, paid advertising, customer support, etc.).
Hootsuite is one of the most complete platforms: you can schedule posts, plan campaigns, label accounts in your content, segment followers to send personalized ads, perform A/B tests, apply filters, get reports and statistics, monitor your online reputation, and manage your corporate account within your team through collaborative tools.
Perfect for both small and large companies, Hootsuite is an optimal solution for brand building and strengthening the engagement of a company’s social media community.
Leadfeeder: Customer Journey automation platform
The automation of the customer’s journey consists in the implementation of automatisms to make faster and more precise three main activities: lead generation, lead scoring and lead nurturing. It mainly concerns B2B companies and those that have an account-based sales model (or ABM).
Leadfeeder shows you all the companies that visit your website, even those that have not filled out a contact form. This way you don’t lose potential leads interested in your business. They can then be nurtured ad hoc content until they are ready to convert. You can also find out which pages they saw and how they got there to perfect your marketing strategy.
Leadfeeder sends new leads to your CRM and notifies your team specialist who manages customer journeys of new leads of the acquisition of a new contact by email or on Slack.
The tool is perfect for B2B marketing teams that need to quickly identify new leads and better target their marketing activities for potential customers closest to conversion.
Marketing Automation has an incredible potential: it allows you to send customized emails on a large scale, quickly create highly targeted dynamic campaigns, automate the content you post online and much more.
However, you must evaluate the Marketing Automation platform that best suits your needs carefully. An investment greater than your possibilities could in fact gobble up your company’s entire marketing budget of the company, drawing off resources for key activities (such as paid advertising, search engine optimization, collaborations with influencers or offline activities).
Also, if your team doesn’t have the skills to manage a well-stocked and wide-ranging tool, you’ll only have added complexity to your marketers’ workflows.
The best you can do is to carefully consider the various aspects presented here before purchasing your Marketing Automation platform.