A marketing automation platform or MAP is a software used for the marketing of a business on different channels. Its main function is to streamline the design and implementation of a campaign and accomplish repeated tasks with little intervention. The MAP helps to control the workflow and efficiently move through each step of the marketing and sales funnel in conjunction with CRM software solutions.
A MAP can be of different types based on which part of the marketing funnel you want help with. The full-funnel approach takes care of every step in the marketing funnel. Some might help you with specific channels, like email or social media, while others are equipped to control all the channels and operations in a certain phase of the funnel, say, lead engagement or conversion. What you choose should depend on the needs of your company and the capabilities of your marketing team.
Benefits of a Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation software eliminates the flaws and shortcomings of dated marketing techniques. With MAPs, you won’t miss any part of the multi-faceted marketing process. With a MAP, you will get the following benefits:
- Workflow automation – A MAP will automate the entire marketing workflow from consumer engagement to lead conversion, allowing you to focus on the parts that need your attention.
- Easy results analysis – A MAP will show the performance of all your campaigns and activities in one place, allowing you to easily and accurately analyze the results and choose the next step.
- Reliability and consistency – Automating the repetitive actions prevents missing a follow-up or response to a customer’s action, thus guaranteeing the result you want.
- Easy customization – MAPs allow you to easily customize a campaign and modulate the course of action according to the results obtained for intuitive action.
- Cost optimization – A MAP will significantly lower customer acquisition costs while increasing their average order values.
- Efficient time usage – As with any automated process, complex tasks are completed faster, thus reducing the time taken to move through the marketing funnel and increasing customer acquisition speed.
- Improved lead management – MAPs help you manage a greater number of leads more efficiently with less staff.
- Multi-channel oversight – A MAP will look after all the marketing channels easily, like email, social media, SMS, blogging, etc, all from the same platform.
- Easy database management – MAPs help you build your contact list organically and maintain the database for maximization of lead conversion and customer retention.
What to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Marketing Automation Platform?
Not every marketing automation platform will suit you. The MAP you choose can make or break your company. Here is what you must consider before taking the plunge.
- Requirements of the business – Different kinds of businesses possess different workflows, which demand different types of MAPs.
- Features and scalability of the MAP – The features of the MAP you get should encompass all your needs, neither less nor more. However, the software should be scalable so that you do not have to migrate as you expand the business.
- Pricing – The MAP should be in your price range and in proportion with the facilities it is offering. Spending too much on just your MAP can make you cash-strapped, especially if you are just starting out.
- Ease of use – The operability of the MAP should not be too complex, otherwise, it would hamper your efficiency.
- Utility – As mentioned before, while some MAPs automate the entire marketing funnel, some only take care of a part of it. Choose according to your needs and the skills of your marketing department.
- Security – Depending on how critical your data is and where you prefer storing them, choose a MAP that ensures full security of that data
What to Look For in a Good Marketing Automation Platform
It is difficult to qualify exactly what a good MAP is since it depends greatly on what suits a business. One man’s trash can be another man’s treasure. But below are the things to look for in a marketing automation platform.
- UI and UX – The UI should be user-friendly and intuitive, with easily navigable controls and short paths to all features for good user experience.
- Feature set – The feature set of the MAP should include all the facilities in the segment and have minimum limits, e.g., unlimited emails or ads.
- Scalability – The scalability of the platform should be smooth, cost-effective, and without any data loss.
- Downtime – The service provider should ensure maximum availability of the platform and also without data loss.
- Onboarding process – Whether a new user or one who is migrating, the set-up procedure should not be too difficult and preferably free or else, low-priced.
- Integration and adaptability – The software should not only be adaptable with other resources like the ERP or CRM software, but it should also give API access for custom development.
- Customization – The MAP should have suitable tools for tweaking campaigns to provide personalized solutions for different types of customers.
- Customer support and external resources – There should be a reliable customer service as well as a trustworthy knowledge base or at least forum support for the software.
- Customer reviews – As with any product, the software should have generally good reviews and assured customer satisfaction.
- Cost – A CRM software development company should provide different options in different cost brackets to suit businesses of all sizes.
- Security – A MAP should have robust data security in all its plans and not just the Enterprise one.
How to Select the Right Marketing Automation Platform
Choosing your MAP is not like shopping for clothes. You cannot just pick up the first product you find. A MAP is a significant investment and should be chosen with care and pragmatism.
1) Plan the process. Carefully analyze the needs and visions of your company.
2) Determine primary and secondary goals. What are you planning to establish with the MAP?
3) Assess your team. Do not choose a platform with automation in an aspect your marketing team is a pro at.
4) Examine your options keeping in mind all the points we discussed in the previous section.
5) Make a shortlist of the best fits for your company and compare quotes.
6) Run demos of all the shortlisted options to assess them.
7) Test them with real-world use cases to evaluate their functionality.
8) Review the software license agreement, privacy and compliance policies etc. carefully before greenlighting it.
If you are on this page, you must be looking for a marketing automation plan for your business. In that case, you should definitely include Smart Sight Innovations on your list. We are a CRM development company that has smart solutions for all your marketing needs and star reviews to back us up.