Marketing automation is now the most significant form of marketing. With automation comes CRM, massive chain companies, and large-scale campaigns. Take a look at the GREATEST marketing automation platforms!

Marketing technology goes on to be the number one priority expense above all for companies within every trade. With an increased demand for marketing schemes and strategies, employees with marketing experience are still in order. Along with this rise, the desire and need to improve customer experience is also vital. This is achieved by personalisation. Besides, the quality of customer that is collected by the data captured.

Overall budgets have lasted a steady year on year, however, with technology growing not only in price but also advancements. Getting your worth out of marketing seems to be a hard battle. Finding the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms could be the key to your success.

Spending boost in 2018-2019 has also increased as budgets have increased, according to Martech.

Meanwhile, Global Marketing Automation spending is aimed to be around 25.1 billion US dollars by the year 2023. With a proposed growth up 14%. This is according to Forrester’s Marketing Automation Technology Forecast, 2017-2023 (Global).

Here is we can see the spending of marketing automation that is figured to reach by 2023. Source: Forrester’s Marketing Automation Technology Forecast, 2017-2023 (Global) – Published in April 2018
Want to learn more about automation? Have a look at our automation blog on teams within marketing automation. ‘What Should You Have In Your Salesforce Toolkit’

Prioritising User Experience 

Marketing automation has become the go-to staple strategy over the last decade. These intelligent platforms have become more popular with thousands of brands and companies wanting to use them. This is what makes the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms so great! A range of platforms are now available to people but, due to budget and the size of your team, it depends on what you can afford and what is more important to handle.

Vendors of marketing automation now have to make themselves stand out from the crowd. The essential functions of such a system have been somewhat removed since. These days, it’s all about having the ability to scale and offer the best services.

Vendor Services

As an example, let’s use Salesforce. The number one leader in marketing automation and marketing cloud. Here are just some of the following services they provide:

  • Marketing cloud – Helping you build and optimise the world’s leading marketing cloud platform. Ensure you get the best of it from the very start.
  • Pardot – Build your leads using AI to top those buying with intent. Find points which are most likely to become customers and buy from you.
  • Interaction Studio – Look at the next best interactions (NBA) and the future best offers (NBO). I am using AI to provide genuinely personal content across many channels, devices and platforms.
  • Sales Cloud – Helping you connect both Sales Cloud along with the marketing cloud to enhance the power of your CRM domain. Smoothly switch data between the two platforms.  
  • Audience Studio – Gather deep insights by bringing together and capturing your data. Build up customer relationships across every touchpoint with a secure data management platform. 
  • Commerce cloud – Sector leading thrust for transforming your shopping actions across all digital platforms. Through promotion to customer service, make sure your products get the trust they deserve to create an impact. 
  • Social Studio – Blast your social status into the sky. By allowing yourself to manage, schedule, create, monitor and develop your social status. Enable your product and company to become powerful through user actions and clicks. 

Standing Out In The Crowd

Marketing automation and cloud vendors are also looking to separate from each other by offering more support for increasingly sophisticated customers who have adopted the software. They seem to increase their knowledge within marketing automation and the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms.

If we use Salesforce again as an example, vendors like them provide training programs, along with professional services that are available to clients. For both customers and developers, it has become increasingly popular to gain familiarity with these platforms. As a result of all this, the clients and developers have become more tech-savvy, they’ve had to!

Learning marketing skillsets has evolved in recent years. Marketing has become ever more tech-dependent and data-heavy by combining skills, such as IT and business operations. This presents many more marketing roles, specialising in data, architecture and customer experience. 

Integrations Within Marketing Automation 

There’s starting to become a great demand for capabilities among marketing cloud and the marketing technology platforms.

When we combine marketing with sales while also trying to understand how sales and customer service professions use these platforms, we as marketers can understand our customers better. By using an integrated CRM, we can enhance the customer experience using focused marketing automation platforms and personalisation.

Personalisation

Personalisation is increasingly popular. However, some platforms do not cater for this. Although this is not an essential feature, third party integrations allow for this as it’s all about the customer. Third-part companies (and also developers) are continuing to develop and create applications for marketing automation services and platforms. The Marketplace, where third-party plugins, for instance, are being created. 

CDPs: Within Marketing Automation

With the need to focus on the customer experience AND handling vast amounts of data, traditional and necessary CRM tools are not able to keep up. With the sheer number of data, some marketers are now turning to CDPs or (Customer Data Platforms).

Marketers are now able to store and process more data than ever. Also, This is because data is being linked to “customer profiles” while being analysed. There is also the possibility of real-time response data.

With CDPs in question, they are increasingly produced and used by more companies and individuals. With CDPs being relatively new to the market, it’s hard at this stage to see if they will eventually have the edge over CRM entirely. However, they are an excellent addition.

What Are The Big Boys Capable Of?

The market is made up of “big boys”. It’s very concentrated with only a few cloud vendors including Salesforce, Adobe and Oracle. Acquisitions, in particular, over the last year with Salesforce acquired Tableau for $15.7 Billion. So you know, just a tiny bit more than your typical acquisition!

Adobe, on the other hand, acquired Marketo in September 2018 for $4.7 Billion. By gaining as much of the market as possible, each competitor has the best chance of coverage and ultimately, client capture.  This is what makes the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms so great as they continuously look to expand their business.

Similar Tools Of The Trade

Although they try to separate themselves from one another, the tools and features tend to be consistent throughout landing pages, lead capture and management, scoring and nurturing etc… Typical marketing automation platforms will also provide marketing databases and reporting web traffic, visitor behaviour and also campaign results. 

With a quickly growing and evolving environment, the demand from marketers continues as they use them. This includes more advanced features providing marketing users with the ability to build, track and manage campaigns across multiple channels and devices. Monitoring these leads through marketing sales:

  • Dynamic content (emails, landing pages and websites)
  • Account-based marketing (ABM)
  • Mobile marketing
  • Social/lead profile integration
  • AI analysis

Content Creation

All marketing platforms will give the user an environment to create, send and measure personalised emails campaigns. They will differ in respect to how they personalise these emails, landing pages and website content.

Some will provide a template approach while others will leave customisation to the user. There can always be a change in the way content is generated by the user – static vs dynamically generated content.

The deliverability of messages and content is also an aspect that can be talked about. Some B2B marketing automation platforms offer dedicated IP addresses to improve accessibility for customers. Email preview, for example, is an advanced function. This may be critical to marketers who want to reach their audience through multiple devices. It allows them to view the design on numerous/various screen sizes.  

Lead Management 

Lead management refers to aspects and factors such as lead capture, lead scoring and lead nurturing. It’s always about leads.

These leads are captured from a variety of sources and put into a marketing automation database. This includes leads such as:

  • website visitors
  • social media visitors
  • digital campaigns
  • email respondents
  • third-party lists.

Lead scoring, the act of assigning a value to each lead identified. This is measured through “behaviour” of the point by tracking activity such as online purchases, browsing, social posts, commenting etc…

Many marketing platforms available now, offer predictive scoring with social networks, internal systems with CRM while the marketing database, itself, calculates scores. 

Predictive Analysis  

Each B2B marketing platform provides a standard set of analytics. These will track your quantifiable data such as:

  • Website visitor activity
  • Viewed pages
  • Time spent (on websites)
  • Opened emails
  • Downloaded content
  • Responses to things, such as campaigns

More and more vendors are offering predictive analytics and models based on machine learning. It’s this processed data and surface trends that enable marketers to customer visitor experiences, along with marketing content and campigns. 

Mobile Marketing 

Making content dynamic can be a pain, trust us, we’ve all been there!

An engaging experience for mobile audiences is a capability. B2B marketing platforms include responsive templates for things such as email, landing pages and web formats. Several vendors now even integrate with third-party applications such as testing tools like Litmus. Litmus, as an example, allows users to preview email marketing messages across email clients and devices.

Marketing automation platforms and vendors also provide more applications and features that include SMS/ texting, in-app marketing, and remote platform management from all mobile devices. In additionB2B marketing automation vendors have also expended platform access to mobile users, moving beyond automated alerts and remote data to full platform management. 

Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Combining marketing ideas with the sales teams has become a priority for many marketers. Rather than targeting only new people who have moved into firms, the concept and focus are to target marketing programs to attract customer buying teams. The larger the purchase or acquisition, the more people, departments and sectors within that organisation you gain. 

Native CRM Integration

With the rise in businesses trying to align those marketing sales (native or integrations), CRM systems have become a crucial feature of marketing automation platforms.

Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, HubSpot and DotDigital are just some of the most common platforms out there. Data added from a sales representative to an account record, in the CRM system, is automatically added to a file in the marketing automation platform for marketing users, accounts and profiles to act upon as well. 

Social/lead Profile Integration

The majority of B2B marketing automation platforms provide some support in social media planning, sharing and tracking. There are more advanced features included by some vendors, those who use social media engagement and activity as a scoring factor instead, therefore, Other platforms will encourage the use of sign-on, such as a contact form, for example, to capture that data in a different format. 

Third-Party Software Connectivity

B2B marketing automation platforms will continue to display their platform through APIs and marketplaces to offer users to an expensive arsenal of third-party software whether the app marketplace provides faster access between systems although or additional fees may exist to purchase these apps.

The Benefits Of B2B Marketing Automation Platforms 

With an increased amount of digital channels and devices, it has made it difficult for marketers to target prospects with the right messages. If you factor in multiple devices and also, focusing at the perfect time, it becomes even more difficult.

To be effective, B2B marketers must be creative and have full visibility and range. Mix this with targeted and aligned sales goals, and it will lead to a more fabulous look into attributes and behaviours. About marketing, dynamics companies gain these benefits of marketing automation platforms. 

Increased Marketing Efficiency Within Marketing Automation Platforms 

Many things increase productivity and efficiency. Automating time-consuming tasks using journeys allows the business to focus on other elements like creating the next piece of content or campaign. Even being notified and following up on leads can be automated.

Generating More Leads But, Of Better Quality 

Marketing automation can combine multiple factors and aspects including demographic, firmographic and behavioural data. This refers to the number of pages visited, files downloaded and even, the number of contact forms filled out. A lead scoring system within the marketing automation platform is then able to generate, and identify; any leads made. The GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms allow you to not only generate leads but can keep and also convert them into sales.

Behaviour Within Marketing Automation Platforms

Marketing automation platforms can build multiple channels and devices. This also includes social media and mobile makes with the idea to create more prospect profiles, with the views of behaviour and even, activity. 

Sales And Marketing Goals In Marketing Automation

The software within marketing automation platforms can help with the collection of sales and marketing efforts. This makes sure that the sales reps, who are working with this data, are ready with the leads that have been found.

By labelling these qualified leads, sales and marketing become one team. Marketing works in these early stages of a relationship between the customer, which makes the most highly qualified leads and prospects more focused on.

Lead Conversion

Studies have found that using a B2B marketing automation platform can increase leads. Forrester found that B2B marketers using or building a marketing automation campaign found an increase of around 10% in their sales pipeline. This can also be linked to sales results and research.

So, Is Marketing Automation The Right Solution For You?

This all depends on usage and if you need a platform. Making sense of your actual process, trying to figure out your success and being able to see where you can improve is the key to knowing if you need an automation platform. It all boils down to decision making. If it’s the right fit for your business and what you are trying to achieve within your company.

All the vendors supplying the marketing automation software go by a Saas system of pricing. The software tends to be licensed and hosted by the vendor. Many vendors will need an annual contract or long term agreements. 

Want to read more about Marketing Automation platforms in 2020? Have a look at this part by pcmag on the Best Marketing Automation Software currently on the market! ‘The Best Marketing Automation Software Of 2019’

Deciding On Your Marketing Automation Platform

Have you outgrown your current system? Marketing automation is often a solution for companies that are growing fast and need to scale their efforts. This also applies to massive companies who are trying to manage their efforts.

Not only if your company has outgrown its way of dealing with data, and the use of an email system but also that can cater towards your customers, then marketing automation might be the solution you are looking for. After that, it is, however, essential to find the right marketing automation platform.

These platforms are not all the same, as we’ve learned. Every company offers the basics for email, website tracking and marketing database. However, it could be the added power that sways you to one rather than the other. By knowing what you need and ill benefit from, you’re in a better position for the selected process and one that will best fit the business. When it comes to the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms, it’s what suits you and your needs best.

Goals And Capabilities

It is essential to know your goals for your marketing automation system. Do you want to improve the quality of your leads?

Rising revenue and leads are vital. Increasing this at the early stages of the cycle, you will best optimise your marketing engagement. Build these goals early, so you know what you are aiming for. You will also need to identify your craft.

  • Will sales reps need access to the data?
  • Do you have a significant social media presence?
  • Do you also have the staff to do this implementation?
  • Will training be needed for staff?
  • Will your co-workers and employees be willing to change to a new prospect?
  • Who will take the lead the lead role?

These are questions to look at gravely. You may also need someone who will keep looking at the system once it has been adopted. 

Measurement Of The Task

This is one of the hardest questions to ask. How is success going to be measured with your marketing automation platform.? If your goal is to rise your leads, you will need to know your conversion rate.

If you are dealing with your emails so then you are going to need to be aware of metrics then open rates and dealing with data and stats will also need to come into play. You need to come to a result of how you are going to use the platform. Companies often waste money by only using the basic services offered to them. Have they really looked at the cost of the process and the build?

A lot of the vendors offer add-on tools to the platform. These can be very, very costly. As well as buying the licence for the software, you should also think about, the cost of staffing and any training if it is needed. Let’s not forget the running of the system either.

If you don’t have staff who can deal with your marketing automation, then this will also need to be outsourced to a third-party source which, could also be costly.

In Conclusion 

Ultimately, deciding your company needs a marketing automation system/platform means you have to think about all steps that are going to be needed in that process. This includes the needs of the company. Look at the use of the software. After that, staff skills and if you have the right staff for the job. They will not only need to know what they are doing but can also manage and keep the software installed. Think about management support. Can you get the money to support all this financially? What’s your take on the GREATEST Marketing Automation Platforms? Let us know!

Enjoyed this part of marketing automation? Read up on our other marketing automation blogs ‘The Future Of Marketing Automation’ or ‘Identifying Your Best Target Audience.’