How to Choose the Ideal Marketing Automation Software for Your Business
As the channels and methods that constitute digital marketing continue to diversify, businesses must increasingly rely on software that streamlines their business processes. Digital marketing software is supposed to make it easier for businesses to develop and maintain customer relationships through online activities.
While digital marketing software undoubtedly needs to be potent and versatile enough to accomplish a multitude of tasks and automate processes, it also has to be user-friendly and scalable.
When implemented and managed correctly, digital marketing software can help business owners and marketers save time, boost revenues, enhance communication, and more objectively measure ROI in all marketing activities. On top of all these potential benefits, the appropriate software solution should also integrate seamlessly with your business’s existing solutions.
Using tools like social, web analytics, customer relationship management, email software, marketing automation software, and others, you can use aggregated data to gain deeper insight into your customers’ preferences and behavior. According to market research firm, MarketsandMarkets (@marketsmarkets), the global digital marketing software market was worth $25,840.2 M in 2014. This figure is expected to grow to $56,613.2 M by 2019 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.0%.
Choosing the right digital marketing software for your business is a serious undertaking. Listed below are some characteristics you should take into consideration when choosing software for your business:
Assess Capabilities and Features
Before contacting a sales representative or scheduling demos, it’s vital that you list down what you expect from a marketing automation solution. Once you’ve covered that, you can proceed to assess the general capabilities and features of the prospective solutions.
Any digital marketing automation software worth its salt would boast the following core features:
- Lead nurturing, scoring, and tracking capabilities
- Closed-loop reporting
- Email and landing page creation
Beyond the core features, many of the industry leaders boast additional features that really deliver value. Find out what these extra features are and note if they square with your expectations. Don’t forget that extra features often mean extra charges, so be sure to plan your investment well.
Examine Reporting Capabilities
While reporting capabilities are a key feature in marketing automation software, there are variations in how data is displayed to users and how easy the platform is to set up. Before asking for a demo, make a list of the questions you want your analytics to answer. Then, ask the sales representative to show you how this would look like live.
While the software’s reporting capabilities should be customized to your business and marketing mix, some standard reports will reveal the following:
- Overall effectiveness (in areas like lead generation and conversion rates) broken down by the tactics found in your marketing mix (such as pay per click, social marketing, and email marketing).
- Performance comparison of campaigns within a tactic, and performance comparison of landing pages.
- Performance of inbound keywords.
- Actions of individuals across the sales cycle.
Examine both high level and granular reports. Also, take into account which reports come standard with the software and which need to be custom built.
Determine Functionality and Complexity
While you may desire greater functionality in your digital marketing software, remember that this often entails greater complexity. Hence, it is vital that you pinpoint what you really need in terms of functionality. It’s better to harness a simpler platform to its full potential than use a more complicated platform that might confuse and frustrate you in the long run.
Check Out CRM Integration and Price
Most marketing automation software claims to integrate with the major CRMs, such as Microsoft Dynamics (@MSFTDynamics), Oracle (@Oracle), and SalesForce (@salesforce). However, some software integrates more closely with particular CRMs than others. There are also variations in the amount of time and effort that is required to integrate successfully.
Platforms such as SalesFusion (@Salesfusion) are non-biased when it comes to CRM integration. Platforms like Marketo (@marketo) work with a range of CRMs but favor a few. Marketo’s platform integrates with SalesForce and Microsoft Dynamics, with third-party integrations with NetSuite(@NetSuite), Oracle, and SugarCRM (@sugarcrm). Less frequently, some platforms integrate with just one specific CRM.
In order for your business to get more out of the leads already in your pipeline, you need to closely and successfully integrate your marketing automation software with your chosen CRM. Moreover, investing in a particular CRM usually means a closer and potentially less costly integration. Other benefits include greater functionality and a stronger commitment to updates and support.
As for price, while this might be an issue with some businesses (particularly start-ups and SMBs) it shouldn’t be the most critical factor when choosing marketing automation software. A good solution will pay for itself when correctly implemented and harnessed to its full potential.
What other factors should be considered when choosing marketing automation software for an enterprise?
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