Marketing to today's consumers is more complex than ever. Many businesses rely on a mix of marketing activities, including advertising, trade shows, direct marketing systems and e-mail campaigns. But coordinating these efforts can tax a company's financial and human resources.
Marketing automation software can help businesses streamline their marketing efforts, by communicating more effectively with their target audience through the use of tools like automatic email marketing, making their targeting more precise and saving time and money. Marketing automation systems are a subcategory of customer relationship management, or CRM.
Key features of automated marketing include:
- Lead development and tracking.
- Multi-tiered campaign management, including automatic email marketing.
- In-depth analysis of campaign results.
- Database and list management.
Integrate your marketing automation software with other CRM systemsIf your company has other CRM systems in place, the process will be even more efficient if your marketing automation software integrates seamlessly with these systems. The transition will be smoother and quicker, and you'll ensure you're getting the most out of your CRM marketing tool.
Look for vendor relationship management capabilitiesEven in-house marketing teams interact with outside vendors, everyone from printers to graphic designers. By choosing a marketing automation solution with vendor management capabilities, your team can track all marketing-related activities, and give them the information they need to decide when and how to outsource work.
Learn about on-premise vs. hosted automated marketingThere are two kinds of marketing information systems: on-premise and hosted/on-demand. An on-premise marketing automation solution is installed at the company and managed by company employees. The company's IT staff install and maintain the system, and integrate it with other systems already in place. With hosted software, a third party purchases, installs and maintains the system off-site, and the company accesses the system via the Internet. For many businesses, hosted hosted marketing information systems are more affordable and easier to use than on-premise systems
Look at email marketing automationAutomated email marketing is necessary for marketers working on a large-scale direct marketing campaign. Look at marketing automation software specifically geared towards email campaigns.
- To get the best deal on marketing automation software, ask the provider about discounts. Many companies have a standard discount they offer potential clients--if you ask. Also, offer to serve a reference for the provider, some companies offer a discount to clients who will endorse their product. Just make sure this doesn't conflict with your company's policies. In addition, some hosted marketing automation providers offer lower monthly rates if you sign up for a longer contract. If you can't negotiate lower charges, see if you can negotiate extras, such as free training or implementation.