Congrats—you’re ready to take the next step in your marketing maturity by investing in a marketing automation platform. But which MAP should you choose? It’s a question our team hears quite often, and it’s a loaded one: the answer ultimately depends on you.
Whether you are ready to implement a marketing automation tool or are considering changing platforms, the process starts with evaluating your current operational status, your capabilities, your budget, and your needs.
What does your team look like
When you implement or inherit a marketing automation program, it’s important to first take a step back and examine your team. Do you have a technically-savvy, technology-interested team member? Better yet, do you have more than one? Even one team member who is really excited about a marketing automation platform can mean you will be able to take on a bigger platform.
Do you have enough people on your team to take on a robust new platform or do you need something you can jump into and very intuitively use well from day one? Do you have the budget and time to invest in growing your existing team to learn a new platform and adopt a new way of marketing? Do you have team members who already know and love a specific platform out there?
Remember that when taking your team into consideration you should also consider the longevity of the existing team. You don’t want to invest in one platform because a couple key team members know or love that specific MAP, and they leave six months after the implementation. Invest in a platform that works for your current team, but also one that will work for your team in the future.
What’s the skillset to take on the new technology?
With a new marketing automation platform, you want someone who is genuinely interested in marketing automation. They should get excited about the amazing things it will do and how it will evolve your marketing efforts. They shouldn’t be afraid of trying new features or watching some videos, reading articles, or asking others how to try new features.
If you have someone like this on your team, bring them in to your marketing automation search early so they’ll feel empowered to hit the ground running with the new tool. If you don’t have someone internally, this is the passion and knowledge Definitive Results can fill in for you.
What’s your level of marketing maturity?
Before diving into your MAP search, take a bird’s eye view of your current marketing efforts. Are you personalizing your communication at all? If so, how? Are you even executing digital marketing at all right now?
As part of your marketing maturity exploration, you’ll want to look at—not only how your marketing is going—but how you’re measuring your marketing’s effectiveness. Which metrics are you tracking, measuring, and reporting? With or without marketing automation, tracking, reporting, and optimizing key metrics are important to marketing growth.
Another thing to consider is whether you already have a MAP or if this is all brand new to your company. If you already have a MAP, why are you looking for something new? What’s working or not working with your current MAP? Maybe you need a more powerful system to better reach your desired audience, or maybe, you need a less powerful system because you’re not able to leverage all of the features you currently pay for.
How many contacts are in your system?
Most of the major platforms out there will price their instances based on the number of contacts (unique email addresses) you have. So this is an important stat to know.
Also, you’ll want to weed out those unsubscribes and hard bounce backs, because there’s no need to pay for those.
Beyond the obvious to eliminate from your count, when you start on your new platform, consider weeding out the inactive contacts so that you’re starting with an engaged, interested base and growing from there—and saving yourself the money; you don’t need to pay for contacts who won’t appreciate your communications in the first place.
How many campaigns do you execute each week/month?
How heavy a user will you be of your instance? If you execute only a few campaigns per month and your maturity of campaign structure is pretty basic, you may want to start with a simpler MAP. This will allow you to begin adjusting your organization to the technology and to begin thinking in a different way about your marketing.
However, depending on how quickly you want to advance, you may not want to waste the time and money on a more basic instance that you’ll have to migrate from a year down the road. However, if you’re the type of organization that is going to take a few years to adjust to a more basic platform, embrace it—don’t pay more than you need to get some new functionality and give your team the time to learn, grow, and adapt, and THEN upgrade when you are ready for it and it will make sense to invest more in the technology.
How much content do you have (or are you willing to create) to support a more personalized marketing effort?
A more mature marketing strategy, like hyper-personalization or account-based marketing, will require more content. You can configure advanced campaign flows, but if you don’t have the variety of personalized content, the fancy footwork isn’t going to produce the results. If you don’t have content but are ready to invest the time/money into building the library of content you need, this is an effort that can be done in parallel to finding and implementing the right tool AND to configuring the tool to take your audience through the experience you’ve mapped out for them.
If you already have a wealth of content—GREAT! That means you’re in a great spot to be able to leverage more advanced marketing automation features and give your audience a much more personalized experience. Remember, content development is an ongoing initiative, so even with a great library of content, you’ll want to make time to develop new content while keeping your existing library up to date.
That’s a lot of questions but not a lot of answers. What do we do now?
Other questions you might want to ask when starting your search for a new marketing automation platform are: How much marketing do you do right now? How personalized do you want your marketing to get? What are your short and long term business goals?
Choosing a new marketing automation platform will take some time, but your due diligence up front will allow you to be more confident in your long term marketing automation efforts.
Still not sure which marketing automation platform is right for your team? We’re here to help! At Definitive Results, our team eats, sleeps, and breathes marketing automation, and we’re happy to talk through your current and future marketing automation needs and to see how we can partner with you to help you achieve your goals.