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What Features Do Marketing Automation Platforms Offer? (Part III)

As part of our marketing automation series, Website Magazine asked your marketing peers what features marketing automation platforms offer. 

While the question is simplistic in nature, many marketing automation users are not making the most out of their systems - falling into the same patterns without exploring other features. What's more, the answers can help those enterprises who have yet to dive into automation or are thinking about switching vendors. Let's take a look.

john-headshot"Marketing automation software has to have three things: 1) an excellent email designer, 2) dynamic content capabilities, 3) behavior-based, trait-based, and time-based automations, 4) dynamic segmentation lists, 5) a built-in CRM to align sales and marketing."

~ Jon Saxton, Inbound Marketing Executive at PHOS Creative

Mark-Colgan-close"My favorite feature of marketing automation is that it allows small companies to operate with the efficiency of large organizations (sometimes even better). By spending the time at the beginning planning out workflows, a company can save so much time with their marketing and ensure they are contacting their prospects and customers at the right time with the right content.

One of my least favorite features of marketing automation is that it can lead companies to try and automate everything. This should not be the case, especially in relationship-based organizations when real human interaction is often required. The most successful companies leverage marketing automation to free up time and resource for repetitive, low touch engagements so that their time can be spent building relationships with prospects and customers."

~ Mark Colgan, B2B SaaS Marketing Automation Consultant at http://www.yellowo.co.uk

 amanda"My favorite feature is the ability to set up 'flows' that are triggered by a customer action. For instance, I have flow for when a customer signs up for my newsletter, abandons his or her cart, hasn't purchased in more than 60 days and more. I also love that I can create my own customized email lists by filtering by customers and prospects by age, geography, amount spent at my store and so much more."

~  Amanda Austin, Founder & President of Little Shop of Miniatures
ben “With Octane AI’s software, stores can recover 90 percent of their abandoned carts by sending Facebook messages, answer customer questions automatically, create conversational FAQs, send receipts and shipping notifications, and help customers find the products they want.”

~ Ben Parr, CMO of Octane AI
greg"We use software/AI to automatically survey donors and non-donors (volunteers, advocates, supporters, etc.). Then we use the information they give us about their wants/needs/desires/interests so our AI can 'spawn' highly relevant, hyper-personalized 'drip' emails (marketing automated). These emails drive qualified donors/supporters to relevant pages online (usually on our platform) as part of a VIP donor experience. The VIP zone is specifically written and designed to help donors be heroes in their own life stories. Sure the pages 'educate' the donors about the organization, but information doesn't lead to giving...emotion does. So, these pages help spur emotions. They've been developed based on the latest scientific research on what makes people give BIG gifts and arrange to make bequests. 

As people engage with these emails and VIP pages (by the way, I invented the term 'Engagement Fundraising'), we track them. I call this 'digital body language' while the survey data is called 'verbatims'. I guess you could say I invented my own vocabulary for all this stuff that falls under my engagement fundraising. 

Finally, our prioritization/scoring algorithm helps fundraisers see (in our dashboard) who is likely to make the big gifts and (most importantly) who is ready for outreach. Once a fundraiser gets the appointment with a major donor prospect, they are 80-90 percent of the way finished and that is easiest to do when the donor is ready (engaged, involved, emotional, etc.). 

Nothing is as important as understanding when a donor is ready for one-to-one outreach."

~ Greg Warner, CEO & Founder of MarketSmart 

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