Marketing automation is a phenomenon that is only gaining momentum as the digital age moves forward. According to The Drum, a survey from Ascend2 found that 55 percent of B2B companies are incorporating the technology into their arsenals, and high-performing companies are far more likely to have adopted automation than their struggling competition. To put it simply, automation is a must in the modern era. But what really makes a great automation platform? With so many options out there, it’s important to have a serious set of criteria when selecting a solution.
1. An effective strategy: Too many companies leverage marketing software believing that it will immediately solve all of their problems. While automation may offer some quick results, marketers must take the time to map out a strategy if they want to make the most of their investments. The Ascend2 survey reportedly found that for 52 percent of marketers, creating an effective strategy is an obstacle, and a main reason why automation poses such a challenge.
2. Simplified systems: When it comes to automation of any kind, the goal is ultimately simplicity. A platform should be easy to figure out for directors and staff members alike, requiring minimal training and a low level of background knowledge. The best automation platforms offer highly visual interfaces with click-and-drag features that anyone can quickly grasp. With a stronger user experience come more immediate results and a quicker return on investment.
3. Creative canvass: Marketing is both an art and a science, and the best automation solutions are able to bridge this gap in a way that empowers the creative members of the marketing team. A platform must have plenty of tools that allow for tailored campaigns, involving branded color schemes and infused custom content. Ideally, the system will be so easy to use that it will bring out the creative side of everyone involved.
4. Multi-channel connections: These days, the number of available marketing channels is staggering, and it can be hard to keep up. For this reason, an automation platform should offer gateways into all of the necessary communications channels, from social media to direct mobile SMS. When marketers can create a campaign and ensure its proliferation across all of these avenues, the real value of automation rises to the surface.
5. Total customization: As any marketing director will say, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing that will guarantee success. While best practices exist, it’s up to individual brands to figure out what works best for them and what their audiences respond to. That’s why customization is such an important element of marketing automation.
For example, lead nurturing methods vary greatly from one organization to the next, and email segmentation practices are just as diverse. There is also a huge range of approaches to channel distribution and scheduling. Marketers should be able to automate the workflows that matter most to their operations, minimizing the monotonous tasks for team members.