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Experts Speak: Must-Have Marketing Automation Features (Part III)

Posted on 5.27.2014

Marketing automation can be complex, time consuming and expensive. MA can also lead to increased sales, engagement, brand loyalty and more metrics that improve a brand's bottom line.

Website Magazine concludes its three-part, "Experts Speak: Must-Have Marketing Automation Features" below. Missed a section? Read Part I, Read Part II


Patrick van Boom, Chief Marketing Officer of TIE Kinetix

Marketing automation software is a great tool for getting your message out to a wide audience. It’s especially useful for companies that work with a large channel community, an area that I’m seeing more organizations invest in to generate leads and close sales as efficiently as possible. Partner networks drive revenue, and marketing executives are investing more energy and budget into ensuring that their channels are properly managed and that partners are receiving up to date, accurate marketing materials. Channel marketing automation help businesses achieve this goal and present a unified brand and shopping experience to customers. Coordinated marketing efforts and content can increase conversion rates that go beyond the 'buy button.'

John Goodson, Chief Product Officer of Progress

Choosing a marketing automation system goes far beyond the basic needs of lead management. For example, the sales and marketing teams must be able to access, blend, and report on data that is combined between CRM, Marketing Automation, and other systems. Choosing a system that has a partner ecosystem to support those types of capabilities in a self-service way is essential.

Graham Cooke, CEO of Qubit

In order to truly optimize, it’s not just about data collection, it’s also about empowering you, the marketer, to react to this knowledge.

1. The first step in this process is A/B testing: coming up with hypotheses and split testing the results. Test everything important: nothing should be beyond scrutiny.

2. Personalization is so crucial. Targeting specific visitors with specific messages that relate to their geo-location and visitor history will improve their experience online and drive conversions. 

3. Tag Management allows ecommerce professionals to deploy, serve and optimize 3rd party technologies to improve their marketing agility by allowing marketers to work outside of the development cycle. 

Austin Paley Business,  Corporate Marketing Associate at Blue Fountain Media 

Marketing Automation Software Currently In Use: Listrak 

1) Ease of Use If your business is going to take the time to invest in marketing automation software, it should be to make your marketing team’s jobs easier and more streamlined. If the software takes more time to set up than doing a task manually would, it entirely defeats the purpose. 12 hours to set up marketing automation software to send out an automated email that you could manually code and send in 8 is not worth your time and undercuts the productivity of a business. 

2) Fills your marketing objectives As marketing automation software becomes more popular with businesses looking to streamline their marketing processes some businesses are losing sight of why they should be investing in it in the first place. If you are a business that only gets a small amount out of profit out of a certain marketing channel, targeting it as something you can use marketing automation software for is a waste of resources. Marketing automation investments should be made based on what channels are currently performing well for a business while also recognizing that adding marketing automation could help to take that channel to the next level. Even the best marketing automation software can’t add value to a business where there is none to be had. 

3) ROI Investing in absurdly high cost marketing automation software or even low cost software that won’t make your business much money is not a good use of resources. Make sure that whatever kind of marketing automation software you invest in provides measurable ROI for a business. This means that even after purchasing and setting up the software, you don’t just set it up and then promptly forget about it. Constantly monitor what value the automation software is adding to your business, and if it isn’t performing as it should be, have data on hand to justify getting rid of it.

Siddharth Deswal, Marketer at Wingify

I was the primary decision maker in buying marketing automation for our organization and am also the person responsible to get it implemented. Based on my recent experiences, here are three features that I think are essential in any marketing automation platform:

1) The availability of integrations with other commonly used marketing software, or an easy to use, well-documented API. This because making multiple systems work together is one of the biggest pains as more complex tools are used.

2) A single system that integrates email marketing, lead scoring, social monitoring, landing page creation and website pages creation, and where all of these are seamlessly linked so that data and analytics can be shared.

3) Deep, granular reporting. One of the most important tasks of an automation system is to show what is working, and what isn't. Many automation tools on the market today don't have in-depth reporting capabilities that can be used by tactical managers for day-to-day analysis, or by executive management who're looking at key business metrics.

Cameron Postelwait, Director of Marketing at Sewell Direct

1. Retargeting campaign (showing ads on various networks to people who have already visited our site)-some of the best ROI we get. People that come to our site more than once are also much more likely to become a loyal customer in the future (at one point I saw a figure that they are '6 times more likely'.

2. Suggestion engine: knowing what cross sells are the most common is extremely valuable, so automatically collecting and storing this data, and then turning around to show customers the most popular add ons depending on what they are shopping for adds a lot to our bottom line (typically a 25 percent increase in revenue whenever the cross sale works).

3. Email automation: using both retargeting and our in house suggestion engine to maximize the number of customer touch points.

Brittany Berger, Digital Content Supervisor at eZanga.com

While what features you should look for will vary based on your size and type of business and what specific marketing goals you have in mind, three definite features a buyer should look for are:

1. The ability to integrate with a CRM.

2. The ability to segment marketing messages.

3. And the ability to create workflows for lead nurturing campaigns. 

Integrating with a CRM ensures that marketing and sales can have the same information on a lead or customer so that they can properly target the contact. Segmentation allows you to make campaigns more personal by targeting certain personas or contacts at certain stages of the funnel. Finally, workflows allow you to create content for certain personas at certain stages and automate it so that they receive it at the perfect moment.

Missed a section? Read Part I, Read Part II


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