In today's world, messages are bombarded across all channels, 24/7. For marketers looking to maximize the success of their campaigns, this can present a real challenge. Marketers must manage all their channels for maximum effect, continually deliver a consistent message, and consider their audiences' interests on a personal level. Potential customers give signals about their particular interests right across the customer journey, and these must be taken into account to deliver compelling messages.
Monitoring signals and managing personalization can quickly become an overwhelming task. Fortunately, marketing automation (MarTech) platforms can ease the pain by analyzing the signals and delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Of course, MarTech tools do not work on their own. They still need humans to tell them what to do. But with fast-developing AI tools combined with a customer data platform (CDP), getting the most from a MarTech platform is made much easier.
Marketing automation is a process that helps companies deliver more meaningful communication to their target audiences, moves prospective leads along their buyer journey, communicates with existing clients, and boosts cross-sell and up-sell efforts while reducing churn. All of this is accomplished by utilizing data collected from your audience through analytics, data platforms, predictive data analysis, and AI. Choosing the right MarTech platform is one aspect of using marketing automation to the best effect.
When selecting a MarTech platform, too often, the focus is on the technology rather than the process it will be a part of. Investing in a MarTech platform can have significant implications for different business areas, so several key issues must be considered to ensure you make a suitable investment. Let's look at these.
Analyse your business goals
Firstly, it's essential to consider whether the platform will align with your specific business needs and goals. MarTech platforms differ in terms of exactly what tools they provide. All will offer email marketing, analytics, audience segmentation, and email automation tools. Some provide integrations to social media platforms or CRM tools. For some, these tools are native, others have been shoehorned into the same hub, and some offer intelligent integrations to third-party software. In one form or another, these tools are available in most, if not all, platforms.
Assess against your current MarTech stack
As well as assessing your business goals, you must carefully evaluate a MarTech platform against your current MarTech stack. This could include websites, social media tools, blogs, email marketing, CRM, and other data sources. It's essential to consider whether you're willing – or able - to overhaul all of these and use a single platform or integrate the existing ones into a new hub. All these options have costs, require training, and might see resistance from the users. To successfully implement a MarTech platform, all stakeholders – sales, marketing, and IT – must be included from the outset, and the project must be carefully planned, analyzed, and documented.
Ensure marketing goals are correctly defined
Before choosing a MarTech platform, you must adequately define your marketing goals. Clearly outline your communication objectives and identify the specific tasks you want to use marketing automation for. This could include email marketing, lead generation, customer segmentation, social media management, analytics, or other activities. Consider aspects such as email campaign management, lead scoring, CRM integration, analytics and reporting capabilities, personalization options, and scalability.
Look properly at the costs
It's essential to ascertain how much you're willing to invest in a marketing automation platform. Prices can vary significantly depending on the features and scale of the platform. However, features are only one part of the overall cost. You also need to consider what you will use the platform for, who will be using it, how much time can be allocated to managing marketing campaigns, and how easy the platform is to set up and maintain.
One platform may cost €2000 less per year than another platform, but if tasks take a long time to complete and/or require support from a partner, the cost will soon exceed the platform that is more expensive but easier to use.
Consider the availability and cost of training and support. Are there enough quality training materials available, and at what cost? If you need outside consultations or partners to help you along the way, is help available, and at what cost? What you don't want to find is users spending more time doing the same tasks as before and not fully utilizing the automation opportunities because they don't understand the system.
Consider the expertise of people using the platform
All types of professionals with different skill sets and backgrounds can operate marketing automation platforms. During our 20 years of working with marketing automation, Luxid experts have collaborated with designers, HR personnel, support staff, technicians, doctors, and teachers, to name but a few. However, if the user is not experienced in using complex business software - or lacks a basic understanding of databases, process flows, and CRM - many marketing automation software options can seem overwhelming. As mentioned previously, you need to think carefully about training and support.
Focus on integration and data management
Analyze the platform's ability to integrate with your existing marketing tools, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and other relevant systems. Seamless integration is crucial for data synchronization and streamlined workflows. Some platforms boast native one-click integrations to platforms from the same vendor, but integration is not necessarily simpler than platforms without native CRM integrations. If you are working with data from various sources, such as e-stores and customer portals, easy data management - and the ability to use that data in marketing - becomes even more critical.
Data management should be easy and straightforward for a marketer to create targeted audiences from available data and customize content depending on interests, activities, and profiles. Having to rely on outsourced data teams to manage data can significantly increase the price tag of your investment.
By following these areas of guidance, you'll be better equipped to select a marketing automation platform that aligns with your business goals, budget, and technical requirements. Remember to prioritize platforms that offer the most critical features and provide excellent support for a seamless and effective marketing automation experience.
Luxid MarTech experts have over 15 years of experience across multiple platforms and have helped dozens of customers in their MarTech projects. To succeed in your MarTech project, we recommended including independent experts early on in the project. Click here to read more about Luxid's expert services and customer cases.