Four Things To Consider When Choosing Marketing Automation Software
Once you have considered the factors to invest in a marketing automation software and decided to go ahead with it, you will find yourself at the centre of a highly crowded junction. Start moving on any side without looking out and it’s a given that you’ll take a hit – possibly even one that’s fatal for your fledgling initiative. So, don’t step in haste. Take the time to view the lay of the land, all that’s big or small, free or ticketed. Map your path well before you move towards your goal.
And your goal is the clincher. What problem or challenge are you facing as a marketer? In a commoditized sector (eg. FMCG products) the challenge might be simply reaching the right audience at the right time. For example, send a customer dynamic offers on a new shampoo knowing how frequently she usually runs out of it and when she shops for it. In a more exclusive product sector (eg. Sports Goods), the catch might be to reach the right audience with the right message. Essentially, making sure you don’t market Arsenal merchandise to Chelsea fans or spend time inviting the Americans to the IPL cricket finals.
Besides, some general knowledge, all of this requires varying degrees of flexibility in terms of audience segmentation, targeting, individualization and delivery. And to help you through this maze, here are four things I’d consider mandatory to decision making.
The Hummer Vs. Honda City dilemma
First things first, why would that be a dilemma? Most of us know, the Hummer is a vehicle for the rough and tough, across all terrains and weather. The Honda City, is, well, wheels for city living. Unless you don’t know where you’re going to drive it, this one’s easy as pie.
So, the question is do you know where you’re going to drive your automation vehicle? If you know the channels you are going to run your programs across, get some guidance from popular sites like TrustRadius or G2Crowd to learn more about software options that suit your channel requirements.
A Marriage of Connections
If you remember, one of the reasons you’ve decided to go for marketing automation is to free you from that devilish web that data can weave. And, marketing automation software is only as good as the data you can feed it. Seems like a marriage made in the Clouds (pardon the SaS(sy) pun)? Now, you don’t want to trip over on the walk down the aisle just because there might be one or two sources the software cannot connect to. Shortlist only those that you’ve researched to be compatible with your data stores and internal systems before you move closer to exchanging vows on this.
Looting or Charging??
If you’ve shortlisted a few software options based on the channels you cover and the data you need to link through, you’re moving in the right direction. But, everything comes with a price, of course. Some might charge you based on your contact base, some on the number of users, or channels used. There might be costs for in-house implementation versus others associated with a Cloud-hosted model. Take a look into the setup and initiation costs. You’ll want to run through all of these to see which options fits well with your communication volumes and frequency.
The Comic Says It All
You’re not spending bucks to buy just another pretty product. You’re out there to buy a product that’s pretty and useful. What’s useful? It’s not what tells you WHAT you’ve done, but something that indicates HOW you must do things from here on. This means intuitive reports and intelligent insights. You don’t always get this by just going with the biggest or most popular software. You get this by looking carefully at what your marketing thrust is and which product closely aligns with your view. For example, if you’re big on social, look for a product that gives you social insights on your customers and campaigns. If you’re a multi-entity organization, look for a product that allows you to roll up and drill down on your performance data securely.
To be honest, you’re not out of the woods yet. Every organization has unique requirements that could make software selection a long drawn process on its own. But, with these four points considered, you can hopefully see some light at the far end of the tunnel?