You've heard that marketing automation is a powerful communications platform and you're considering using it for your company, but you aren't quite sure where you should begin researching. There are many different marketing automation platforms, and while most offer similar functionalities, no two are exactly the same. Some may be easier to use, but others may offer desired functionality. A good starting point is understanding exactly what it is that marketing automation can do for you specifically and reconciling what it can accomplish with what your needs actually are.
What can marketing automation actually do?
The majority of platforms offer at least some of the following abilities:
- The creation of emails and other transactional forms of communication in an in-line editor, with the option to save a template for later use.
- The scheduling of communications to go out at a certain time, whether that means email, social media, or another platform.
- The usage of a customer relationship manager to track interactions with and build profiles of contacts for lead generation and customer care efforts.
- The reporting of how successful a given campaign was, whether through raw numerical data or graphs.
One of the largest problems facing the concept of marketing automation is that it currently has a very thin and malleable definition that can be applied to any permutation of the above, even if a given platform only includes select or individual features. For example, the scheduling of social media specifically could be thought of as marketing automation, even if that specific platform is not as robust as the term may indicate.
How do you plan to use marketing automation?
When considering the use of marketing automation, it's best to have some idea of what you may want to use it for. Do you find yourself spending a lot of time personalizing the same message for many different people, or feel pressured to ensure that a social media update goes out at exactly the right time? Are you curious as to how many people are actually opening and interacting with your communications, no matter which channel you send them out on? Are you focused on ensuring a consistent experience for your customers or clients across your whole team?
When it comes to marketing automation, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all platform. A given platform may be lacking some functions or channels that are vital to your business, while still others may be bloated with platforms that you never plan on using.
Have you considered all the options?
SimplyCast offers over 15 platforms, available either individually or through our overarching SimplyCast 360 solution, to help you use a marketing automation platform to its fullest potential. To see how the platform can help you in innumerable ways – including streamlining of internal and external communications, creating organizational efficiency, and fostering better customer relationships – sign up for a 14-day free trial and check back next week for the second part of this series.