Marketing automation software is here to stay. No longer an emerging trend or the domain of a select few savvy businesses, these software platforms streamline sales and marketing departments by replacing high-touch, repetitive manual processes with automated solutions. Sounds good, right? But what do these solutions really enable your organization to do, how can it benefit search marketing efforts and who are the real leaders in the space?
Users of marketing automation software platforms, typically those responsible for marketing a website or business (search, email, social, advertising), are able to specify criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes that are then interpreted, stored and executed by the software. While that undoubtedly sounds complex, the objectives are simply to increase efficiency and reduce human error. One possible cause for a lack of adoption in small and medium size businesses is that these solutions come in a variety of forms with a lot of feature cross-over. Before moving forward it is important to understand the various classifications of marketing software.
- Marketing intelligence software tracks behavior (what activity did the user engage in and where) for the purpose of understanding intent, enabling marketers to improve targeting based on interest and vertical market. Appropriate for any size organization.
- Marketing workflow focuses more on budgeting and planning, workflow and approvals, collaboration, asset creation and management internally within an organization. Marketing workflow solutions are typically designed for larger enterprises.
- Marketing automation software focuses on lead generation with marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in products/services. The best solutions on the market couple marketing technology with sales processes as delineated by a CRM program.
These are very broad definitions of the marketing software classifications that should help identify what type is appropriate for your business and in particular your search, social, email and advertising campaigns. Ultimately, any marketing software should aid in performing functions and tasks including analyzing marketing campaigns (and customer behaviors), managing those marketing campaigns, and organizing and storing customer data. So who are the best of the best in the marketing automation software business? WM has listed a few top tier vendors below.