How to Choose Marketing Automation Software
At its core, marketing automation software is essentially an “if this, then that” tool. The options vary considerably when it comes to the complexities of each platform’s automation capabilities as well as the number of additional features and functionalities offered along with the marketing automation software. But essentially, the logic of ‘if this, then that’ rules to streamline, simplify, and expand your marketing efforts.
History of Marketing Automation
The origins of marketing automation actually began in the world of email marketing long before it was called marketing automation. Back in the early 2000s, email marketers would blast out an email to their entire list and bucket those users into smaller segments based on their response to the email. Open the email and you get moved to the active bucket or list; fail to open an email and get moved to the inactive list for re-engagement. The follow up steps for these buckets were done manually, but the idea was the same: segment users based on activity and use what you know about them to communicate more effectively. Now, automation flows can be as simple or complex as you need them to be, built around any action you can think of, and can be entirely automated after they’ve been set up.
Marketing Automation Today
Modern marketing automation goes well beyond the framework of email marketing, allowing marketers to use not only a specific user’s data to personalize customer experience but leverage all of your customer data with artificial intelligence and machine learning to customize a user’s buyer journey on site and off site to increase conversions automatically.
So, How Do You Choose the Right Marketing Automation Tool for Your Business?
There are a number of different factors to consider when evaluating marketing automation software.
1. What do I need the tool to do?
Only need email marketing automation? A robust email marketing tool like Klaviyo or Dot Digital is likely sufficient and going to cost you much less than a full scale marketing automation tool. Want an all-in-one tool that your marketing, operations, sales, and customer service teams can all use? Hubspot has all of that in a single interface. Looking for the most advanced marketing automation tool that leverages machine learning and AI to take your marketing to the next level? Marketo can’t be beat.
2. What can I afford to spend?
Pricing on software is generally less than transparent. There’s typically a platform cost to consider, often per user pricing, subscription fees, and add-ons. Determine the budget you have to spend and then start consulting with sales reps. Make sure you are only getting quotes on features you will use and not costly add-ons you don’t need.
3. How easy is it to integrate with existing systems?
Marketing automation tools can only be fully utilized if they are integrated with your existing systems. This can range from a few hours of dev work to hundreds of hours in dev work. We always recommend opting for a marketing automation tool that has a pre-built API integration with your ecommerce platform. Adobe Commerce and Marketo are a great example—owned by the same parent company, these tools are built to work together and that makes set up a straightforward undertaking.
Still Not Sure Which Marketing Automation Software is Right for Your Business Needs?
We’ve worked with and integrated most of the big name marketing automation software solutions and would be happy to help steer you in the right direction. Book a consultation with our business analysts and solution strategists today.