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Marketing Automation Technology and What Marketers Need to Look For

Steve Olenski
Master Principal Sales Architect

Since marketers love a good stat, let's start this post off with one: 2567%. That percentage represents the increase in the number of martech vendors from 2011 to today. It comes courtesy of Scott Brinker, the guru of the infamous martech landscape chart and speaks to the warp speed growth the martech vendor space has seen over a very short period of time. 

Among the many differing types of technologies vendors offer is of course, marketing automation - a tool that has very much come into vogue in recent years and for good reason as witnessed by a few more stats:

  • 67% of best-in-class companies are more likely to use a marketing automation platform. – Aberdeen Group
  • 58% 58% of top-performing companies; where marketing contributes more than half of the sales pipeline, have adopted marketing automation. – Forrester

Rest assured there are many more such stats that support the need for marketing automation. 

But with so many vendor options out there, what does a marketer need to consider when it comes to making a choice? 

When marketers are looking at marketing automation tools, they need to consider both the simple campaigns and the more sophisticated ones. Marketing technology needs to support marketers in their jobs, and not make them feel like they need to go back to school for a computer science degree. Where they rely more on DIY than IT.

Here are 3 key features marketers need to look for in any marketing automation tool. 

1. Campaign Management

Marketers look to marketing automation programs to run their campaigns. Welcome campaigns, nurture campaigns, event reminders. Everything you do is organized around these campaigns. Sometimes they are simple and follow a very linear course of action. But marketers are creative, and have been known to overthink things from time to time. 

One of the biggest misconceptions about marketing automation is that you can set a campaign and forget it. That is not what you want to hear about a tool. Have you ever had a marketing plan change? Sometimes it happens right after you send that email. Now it’s time to scramble and reconfigure your campaign with another email and landing page. Make sure your solutions can support these real world scenarios. 

2. Targeting and Segmentation 

Another key component of any marketing automation program is the ease with which you can target and segment your prospects and customers. You need to be able to capture activities and actions from your owned, earned, and paid channels to target the right people with the right message. Don’t waste your time and resources on people who—based on their actions—will never be customers.

Just like a marketing team that needs to act a team to get things done, your tools need to connect with other tools, so that you can take advantage of your data to present dynamic content within emails, landing pages, and forms.

3. Lead Management and Scoring 

According to a study by Ascend2, 70% of B2B marketers cite improving the quality of leads as the most important objective of a lead generation strategy. And the best way to determine that quality is through lead scoring. That’s why you bought—or are considering buying—marketing automation. So you can turn more MQLs into SALs. Every system has lead scoring, but how flexible are they? Most lead scoring models are based on elements of a prospect’s profile and their online activity—or their Digital Body Language—and responses to your campaigns. Some programs tie their lead scoring model to a single campaign.

A more flexible and sophisticated system can aggregate activity from multiple campaigns when considering a lead score. Think through your lead scoring model before getting caught in system that doesn’t support what’s important to qualifying your leads. 

Download The Guide to Building Your Marketing Technology Stack to learn more PLUS get the questions marketers need to ask of any potential marketing technology solution provider.

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