15-Point Marketing Automation Platform Purchasing Checklist
Ever since digital marketing began commanding an ever-larger share of the overall marketing pie, interest in marketing automation systems has grown. There’s a steady proliferation of tools, plugins, apps and platforms that promise to ease different aspects of a marketer’s life. There are around 10 major functions for which marketers use technology and tools everyday:
Without a unifying force, this tide of marketing technology can be a monster to manage. That is where marketing automation comes into the picture. “Martech” tools combine the functions of multiple marketing tools into a single integrated platform and help channel marketing efforts in a deliberate, focused manner.
But we all know that the average marketing automation platform does not come cheaply. So before you take the leap and get tied down with a new marketing automation platform, go take a quick — no, careful — look at this 15-point checklist.
With the myriad of features these tools offer and data points they collect, it is easy to lose sight of your business and marketing objectives, which could be anything from lead nurturing to customer retention.
Will the platform you’re evaluating enable you to track the right metrics in pursuit of your strategic goals? What is the time frame within which you realistically expect to achieve them?
Ease of Use
A marketing automation platform is something your marketing team will be (or at least supposed to be) using all day, every day. Make their lives easier by familiarizing yourself with the user interface of the platforms you’re considering. Are they intuitive and easy to use? Do they require extensive training to get familiar with? Do they offer simple drag and drop interfaces to build important marketing elements like email newsletters, lead forms and so on?
Collaboration and Shared Workflows
Your automation implementation will need inputs from multiple members of your marketing team. Check how the platform under consideration allows multiple users to interact in real-time and at what scale. See if it lets you design workflows that let your team collaborate, annotate, and edit each other’s work, while of course maintaining version control.
For instance, email-marketing-turned-full-automation platform GetResponse lets marketers design complex campaign plans with a drag-and-drop workflow builder while playing out different scenarios along a typical customer’s journey from awareness to purchase:
Rohan Ayyar is the regional marketing manager for India at SEMrush. His blog, The Marketing Mashup, covers digital marketing from the perspective of B2B, B2C, lead generation, mobile marketing, SEO, social media, content marketing, database marketing including predictive analytics, and conversion rate optimization. In addition, he'll look at emerging marketing technology and how marketers can use it. Reach Ayyar at email@example.com.