5 Strategies for Picking the Right Marketing Automation Tools
Selecting solutions and integrating them with your existing technologies is only half the battle. Life with marketing technology gets even more interesting once you start putting it to use. Marketers are still having trouble deploying these systems to their maximum value.
One issue is determining where the value lies. For example, some marketers fall into the trap of using the technology to evaluate the wrong metrics. Just because you can keep an eye on open rates, and count clicks and downloads, doesn’t mean that your marketing investments are really paying off. Marketers must focus on the results metrics, the “key performance indicators,” that matter to the business. Are the volume metrics—the likes and shares—relevant? Are these responders really your target audience? The better approach is to view the volume metrics generated by marketing automation tools within the context of the business results, like new customers acquired, revenue and repurchase rates.
When marketers are evaluating technology, they need to consider a variety of factors, among them:
1. Begin with the end in mind. What are you trying to get done? What processes are you trying to automate? What experiences are you seeking to deliver to customers and prospects?
2. Get buy-in. Marketers may be in the decision-making driver’s seat, but they still need to engage others in the firm. Anyone who is going to use the technology, for example, needs to understand and agree to its importance.
3. Make peace with IT. However frustrating it may have been working with IT on marketing needs, the new technologies don’t give marketing an entire pass on cooperating with the IT department. For one thing, your CEO expects departments to play nice. For another, you may need IT’s expert help for problem-solving down the line.
Ruth P. Stevens consults on customer acquisition and retention, and teaches marketing at companies and business schools around the world. She is past chair of the DMA Business-to-Business Council, and past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York. Ruth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain's BtoB magazine, and one of 20 Women to Watch by the Sales Lead Management Association. She is the author of Maximizing Lead Generation: The Complete Guide for B2B Marketers, and Trade Show and Event Marketing. Ruth serves as a director of Edmund Optics, Inc. She has held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, Ziff-Davis, and IBM and holds an MBA from Columbia University.