Marketing automation is much being talked about as the thing in the industry, and moreover, with the efficiency and effectiveness it brings makes it worth the buzz. While is being talked and written about the benefits, there are a few things that one must consider prior to making the movement from the native marketing approach to the automation and selecting a Marketing Automation tool. Here are the top 8 factors that are a must:
1. Flexibility and ease of usage
This one tops the list for flexibility per your needs will eventually be a factor that will either aid or ruin the tool performance. For change is the only constant, organisations change and so does the requirements for way its markets itself. Constant evolution requires flexibility and user friendliness too.
While a vendor or a tool is being selected, it’s a must to check on portability to a new platform. How well can you transfer the capabilities to a new tool or a provider? This may be required for a number of reasons like cost reduction requirements, performance issues, change in requirements, provider going out of business etc. An organisation wouldn’t want to get locked-in, isn’t it.
Any good organisation would have measurable goals on everything it does, and so goes for marketing, whether it’s a native approach or a modern automated approach. Looking at the reporting capability of the automation platform would save one from going haywire at a later stage, after-all management would ask for performance indicators and how well automation has helped on that.
How well a marketing automation platform integrates with the tools across the organisation or from other providers must be counted upon while due-diligence is being done. Automating marketing efforts in a silo, isn’t an answer to moving forward on effort, integration is. Ensure that integrating marketing automation with rest of the organisation is one of the factors on priority.
Massive usage of mobile for almost everything now-a-days, this may be the last one listed here, but is a critical factor on the success of the marketing automation choice. Ensuring that the platform has taken mobility into consideration, and how it performs on this aspect will help both in short and in long run.
6. Customization/ Adaptability
Commercially off-the-shelf tools come with standard features, that need tailoring per the need and culture of the organisation. How open and adaptable is the provider should be a key factor, for as the internal/external environment changes, approach and needs on marketing would change as well.
7. Open APIs
According to a recent survey, a given marketing team uses 12 different tools on an average, with some using over more than 31 tools end to end. A seamless integration of these tools, which are mostly externally sourced is vital. And as mentioned, earlier, senior management reporting is an essential component, and for this platforms using open APIs make life easier for the proper deployment.
This goes without saying. Costing is often look at, however looking at ROI (return on Investment) is far better a measure while picking a tool. For some features, one may look at customisation, while some can stay basic and pay accordingly. If the provider has pay as you use model for basic features, then nothing like that. So while one can go economical on basic features, reinvesting these savings into customising on features that are vital for the organisation, Think of it like an investment that will pay off.
There would be additional factors to consider depending upon the organisation and industry one is looking at, however, above 8 are common across to help on due diligence as well as for taking a rational decision. After all Marketing Automation gives spine to the business!