Marketing automation and the tyranny of choice
The tyranny of choice, or the paradox of choice, refers to a situation when too many options cause anxiety and make it even harder for a person to make a decision. When it comes to marketing automation tools, business owners and marketers might feel that abundant choice makes them spend more time on establishing the search criteria and looking for the platform that will work best.
The difficult part is to face the fact that more features don’t necessarily translate into more business benefits. It’s rather unlikely that you will use all of the functionalities available, at least not in the first months of working with the platform. Before entrusting a service provider, make sure you know exactly what factors matter to you as a business. Pay attention to such factors as:
- Company size. The number of clients (and how quickly the customer base is growing) will determine the amount of data to be processed by the system. This will affect your choice in terms of the database size and pricing model (providers charge for new data storage in different systems).
- Business sector. Some businesses will require only digital communication channels (e-commerce, SaaS, etc.) while others may need to incorporate offline methods as well (physical stores, restaurants, etc.). Take a close look at the way you communicate with your customers—which channels do customers prefer when contacting you? Where do they find out about your business? It’s essential to meet your customers where they feel comfortable.
- Budget. It may seem obvious, but there are several factors that might affect the final choice. Marketing automation is an investment both in terms of time and money; the platform won’t work just because you paid for it, you need to invest time in order to be able to use it properly.
The first step in picking a well-suited platform is understanding the characteristics of your business in the context of marketing automation. However, there are more factors which will influence the choice of the best marketing tool for any business.
How to choose a marketing automation tool: points to consider
Ease of use
What marketers and business teams value is a user-friendly interface. The whole system has to be straightforward and easy to manage. The more complicated a tool is, the harder it gets to benefit from all the features offered. As a result, marketing automation tool providers are facing the challenge of increasing the possibilities of the tool without losing the simplicity of use.
Available channels and integrations
New companies on the market try to be competitive by offering customers additional options, functionalities and methods of communication. There are two main ways products can be enhanced: the spectrum of available communication channels and external integrations with other tools used by the customer.
When choosing the most appropriate tool for your company, make sure the platform covers all the communication channels you’re currently using (and planning to use), but don’t be afraid to consider new ones. The ability to experiment will give you a competitive advantage and let you find new ways of enhancing sales and profits.
Also, analyze the tools already used in your company (internal and external) the way a marketing automation platform will affect their use. Will it be more beneficial if you integrate the “old” tools with the new one? Or would it make more sense to migrate the data to the new platform completely?
Marketing automation systems record and analyze customer data in order to form behavioral profiles and personalize communications with particular customer groups. With this informational backup, you can provide faster customer service and technical support and meet customer needs more accurately while customers enjoy shopping for less.
- Supported communication channels. The more channels, the more personalized the message. You can divide your communication into channels most applicable for particular groups.
- Capabilities of analytical tools. If the tool provides real-time analytics, customers are segmented immediately and will receive the best-suited marketing messages based on the most recent and relevant information.
- Applied technologies. Marketing automation tools are being enhanced with cutting-edge solutions such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. They boost the system’s analytical capabilities to catch dependencies and provide conclusions that would be unachievable with manual human work.
Data availability and update time
Seeing a working automated campaign may bring satisfaction to marketers, but the whole mechanism means nothing without analysis. Reporting tools make it easier to track performance towards goals and observe new trends in customer behavioral patterns.
With multiple communication channels and elaborate customer journeys, reports must present the results of current activities, like number of opened emails, page views, etc. Access to real-time data is a key factor in the selection of a marketing automation system and the information must be easily accessible in the user interface.
One more thing…
There is one more factor you need to pay attention to—marketing technologies are not evergreen. They change fast, and so does the software used. Cross-channel marketing management is going to be the fastest-growing segment of marketing automation, so even if right now you’re simply considering whether you have money for automation or not, there’s a reason why people say “penny wise, pound foolish”.
How to choose a marketing automation tool? Wisely!
Even though there are plenty of things to consider, it’s worth taking a closer look at all these factors before you commit yourself to a particular provider. We hope you feel more confident about selecting the optimal marketing automation platform for your business. Time to prepare yourself for a new marketing adventure!