4 tips to help determine which marketing automation platform you need

Choosing the right marketing automation platform (MAP) can seem like a complicated process. There are several well-known platforms, similar features within each one and plenty of positive reviews for them all. Can you really make a wrong choice? Unfortunately, yes.

While all the major platforms have the same features and abilities, not all of those features are created equal. In addition, it’s easy to overlook integration capabilities but those can be key factors in determining which platform is best for your business. Lastly, what is user-friendly or intuitive to one user might be the opposite to another, so without trying out several different solutions, you may miss out on the best platform for your team’s abilities and preferences. The solution is to research multiple vendors and allow employees with different areas of expertise to be involved in the decision. This article offers advice about what to look for and how to begin eliminating potential solutions based on what’s best for your specific organisation.

1. Organisational assessment

Begin with an internal audit. What skills do you currently have within your in-house team? Will you need to hire or outsource expertise to get started with a MAP? If your entire team is new to marketing automation you will need to budget time and money for initial training and you should probably hire an agency for help with the implementation and strategic processes. In addition, it will be easier to find experts for platforms that are large and well-established, so unless you are in a very specific niche with its own platform solution, you can eliminate many of the new and smaller vendors in favour of a solution that is proven and widespread.

2. Budgetary constraints

Everyone’s favourite part is the budget. Obviously, figuring this out upfront will help you make the best platform decision. Make sure you think of any potential hidden costs (onboarding often costs extra, integrations can be an additional fee, etc.), include strategic services, and ensure you are allocating funds for a sufficient length of time. Success is not immediate so planning for a longer learning curve is ideal. Just because you cannot afford a premium solution does not mean you will never succeed with marketing automation. Think of your budget as an easy way to eliminate some platforms and consider how growth from implementing marketing automation will contribute to future revenue gains.

3. Need-based research

Make sure you have a clear idea of why you’re considering marketing automation technology. Is there a specific challenge you’re looking to solve? Is there a capability you think will catalyse growth? Is there one critical feature your team would use all the time? By examining your reasons for pursuing this technology, you will gain a clearer understanding of which features are non-negotiable and which features are simply an added bonus. The secret to determining the right platform for your needs lies in focusing your research on those non-negotiable, need-based features. Consider whether the supplier can help you meet your marketing objectives.

4. A Plethora of features

Marketing automation platforms are always evolving. As vendors compete with one another, new features are constantly being developed and added, making it difficult to determine the difference between each competing platform. Is it critical that your platform integrates with the latest new social media or will strong integrations with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram be sufficient? Avoid the feature bells and whistles by concentrating on your core needs instead. Any additional capabilities are a boon but shouldn’t determine your final decision.

To undertake this analysis for your business, it is important for both Marketing and the IT team to work together. Successful marketing automation deployment requires both technical and strategic input and advice, so ensure you consider both attributes in your supplier. If you want some help in choosing the best marketing technology, contact us.

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