Marketing automation is the use of software platforms and web-based services to manage and automate marketing tasks and processes that are repetitive in nature. It replaces manual processes and makes them more efficient leaving ample scope for introducing new processes too. In an ideal scenario, marketing automation is closely associated with customer satisfaction, revenue generation and excellent ROI. But in reality many marketing automation investments fail. The successful implementation of a marketing automation tool starts with making the right choice. Let’s learn more about how to get it right for your business.
Are you in the ballpark?
Before you start pondering over which marketing automation tool to choose from a plethora of software available in the market, you should not overlook the primary question: do you even need marketing automation? If your company is doing well and you are in a position which does not yet need marketing automation, then jumping on the bandwagon may actually do you less good.
To know if your business is in need of a marketing automation software, follow this 3-step process.
Firstly, consider the number of marketing tools in current use for your marketing tasks and processes. If this number is low and if your business is already achieving its business goals effectively, then you may not need to rely on marketing automation. Only if this number is high will there be a need to integrate the tasks being carried out to efficiently track your marketing journey.
Secondly, focus on the journey your prospects take before becoming actual customers. If this journey is short and simple then tracking the pathway from discovery to sale will be, too. In this case you may not need marketing automation.
Finally, think whether your company infrastructure and culture is ready for such a big change. If your employees aren’t ready or committed enough to welcome marketing automation, switching to it may end up being a disaster.
If you have considered these three factors and have found out that you are in the ballpark for a marketing automation software, then read on.
In the marketing spotlight
Marketing automation is getting a lot of attention lately. There is currently an arms race between companies to dominate in the relatively nascent industry by deploying successfully the perfect marketing automation tool. However, there is no marketing automation tool that is perfect to all companies. The right marketing automation platform for you will depend on various factors such as how big your company is and what your priorities are. Besides, not all platforms perform the same way. Some marketing automation software may be better at email marketing while others at CRM integration or social marketing and some others in analytics and reporting.
It is true that you must undoubtedly be familiar with the common feature set in marketing automation which includes email marketing, landing pages, lead management, CRM integration, social marketing and analytics and reporting. But knowing different facets of automation marketing alone would not suffice. Before all this, you should know exactly what your company’s needs and priorities are. Only then can you proceed with your process of selecting the right marketing automation software for your company. Let’s take a look at the categorized list of marketing automation software.
The G2 Crowd Grid
According to G2 Crowd, the topmost marketing automation software available in the market can be determined by customer satisfaction based on different user reviews and scale based on market share, vendor size and social impact. The four categories they derived are as follows:
- Leaders present highly rated by the users and have proven to have significant scale, market share and global support. The examples include HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo, Act-On, Oracle Eloqua, and iContact Pro Select.
- High Performers offer highly rated products without significant scale and market share. The examples are LeadSquared, Autopilot, ActiveCampaign, Salesfusion, Hatchbuck, ThriveHive, GreenRope, ActiveDEMAND, Net-Results, GatorAutomation, Lead Liaison, Right On Interactive, eTrigue, and SharpSpring.
- Contenders provide products with substantial market presence and resources but the user satisfaction is not up to the mark. The products include Infusionsoft, IBM Campaign, Silverpop, an IBM Company, and Adobe Campaign.
- Niche offer products lack significant market presence and reviews to substantiate their success aren’t received yet. Products in this category are CallidusCloud Marketing Automation, inBOX25, Plumb5, ONTRAPORT, Teradata Integrated Marketing Management, and Sales Engine International.
You are at the center
Remember, while choosing the perfect marketing automation tool, don’t get hinged on the most popular marketing automation tool or any tool for that matter. Keep in mind that you are not searching for the most perfect tool in general but instead the tool that suits you perfectly. Your initial focus should not be on marketing automation features or tools, it should be centered around your company. Your search for the perfect tool for your company should begin only after your company requirements are well defined. Your actual focus is to find that marketing automation platform which most effectively bridges your company needs with its features.