comparison-chart-thumbnailLet’s agree on basics, What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online and automate repetitive tasks. Awesome! This sounds like a great tool for my business – I can more effectively communicate on all my channels and I can automate tasks saving time and money not doing repetitive work. Yes, this is true! It is great, it saves time and money, creates more effective processes for your business and automates your lead generation strategy BUT if not used properly, not implemented successfully or if you choose the wrong solution for your business, that is where the great turns into disaster.

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Over the last year Marketing CoPilot has been doing research on marketing automation in order to better serve our clients and help our community. We have used, integrated and demo’d many automation solutions and want to share with you what we have found.

We have compiled an extensive marketing automation comparison chart for you to use in your solution analysis.

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Marketing automation features

If you really dig into the different marketing automation solutions that are available they really all provide the same features, they are just presented in different ways or used in different ways. Sure, there is some differentiation, some have unique features and some are easier to use but at the end of the day they are all really giving you the same result streamlining marketing communications, lead generation and lead nurturing. Sometimes the ones with the most features and the fanciest dashboard isn’t the best solution. If you are a one man show, do you really think you are going to have time to learn, integrate and use all of the different features? Chances are you don’t have the mental or physical capacity for that. You need to decide how many people are going to be using the tool and how much time are they going to spend on the tool that will help you decide if you need more than the basic solution.

Target markets for solutions

You can tell which solutions are targeted to which sized business based on the price point, there is a wide variety of prices from free to thousands a month. Some solutions are focused on B2B and some on B2C with respect to its functionality. Some of the solutions target companies that don’t have IT departments so the set up and technical aspect of the solution is very simple and can be done by a marketing team. Depending on what your company looks like and who you sell to, you are able to evaluate which solutions are and aren’t for you right off the bat based on who they are targeting and who the solution works best for.

Price, budget and costs

Typically the price points are based on number of contacts you have in your database or number of emails you will be sending in any given month. The first step in evaluating the cost of one of these solutions is to determine what your budget is and how much your company can afford or wants to put towards a marketing automation solution. It is also very important to be clear about how much man power you can put towards using the system and what your goals are for lead acquisition, lead nurturing and sales as a return on your investment in the solution. For example: if you are a small B2B business with one marketing person and a long sales cycle, the most expensive and robust solution probably isn’t the best option for you. But if you are a mid-large sized enterprise with a four person marketing team and a complex sales cycle you might want to consider the higher end solution. In the end, pricing is all about what you can afford to put into the solution from a human resource and monetary perspective and what you are expecting to achieve and get out of the solution.

Customer Support Rating

When integrating a new software program into your operations customer support is the number one thing that will either make or break your integration and ongoing execution of marketing automation. No matter how seasoned you are with automation tools, you will always find a need to search community forums or reach out to a customer service representative with questions about how to do something new or how something works. If you are new to marketing automation, you will find this aspect of the software very important. Training and ongoing support will become your best friend. There are definite solution providers that do a better job as this then others, you need to do your research first and ensure that you are going to get the level of support your company needs based on experience, human resources, etc.

With all that being said, which solution is for you?

If you have already evaluated your companies need for marketing automation and assessed that marketing automation is right for your business, you are now ready to take a look at this handy comparison guide we have put together for you contrasting the most popular marketing automation solutions available today.

 

We have done the work for you! Click to download your FREE marketing automation comparison chart.

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If you have any questions about our analysis or marketing automation in general, please feel free to email info@marketingcopilot.com.