In the competitive world of business tools, marketing automation platforms have leapt to the front of the pack: 51% of companies are currently using them. Marketing based on “gut feelings” and hunches has long been obsolete. Looking retrospectively at how marketing efforts impacted the previous quarter’s sales is also just not good enough. On the other hand, marketing automation platforms (MAPs) give marketers the ability to design, implement, and track marketing efforts with a view to what’s currently working and what is likely to work in the future.
The platforms are focused on helping companies form data-based marketing plans. They take tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, website personalization, social media marketing and lead generation and management and combine them under one umbrella. You can also use many to develop and store marketing content such as ads, video content and infographics. You can then use these assets to bolster your marketing campaigns. The best way to know which platform works best for your needs is to gain an understanding of what these tools have to offer. Here are some of the top MAPs, some of their features, as well as their pros and cons.
In many ways, HubSpot is king of the mountain when it comes to MAPs. HubSpot is designed to leverage marketing automation to increase traffic and convert leads. HubSpot helps automate the process of making your website an effective marketing mechanism. HubSpot analyzes your site and tells you how to attract more customers. You get access to tools for increasing the word count of marketing material, adding meta descriptions, and configuring titles and images.
HubSpot also integrates a CRM system with customer contact features, like email and chat. You can connect with customers over live chat and provide instant information to help them along the sales funnel. Using the CRM, you can rate customers according to how close they are to making a purchase.
While HubSpot can also be used as a standalone CRM, Marketo is specifically designed for marketing automation. Marketo helps marketers incorporate multiple devices and mediums as they automate their campaigns. With Marketo, you can use a stack of digital channels like mobile devices, websites, video, email, and search-based ads to compose a campaign.
Marketo also offers users the ability to track and nurture leads, analyze campaigns, optimize their sites for search engines, and engage in social marketing. In addition, Marketo integrates with a CRM, and because it’s built on Google Cloud, it’s easy for everyone on the team to access the information they need.
Pardot packs in a lot of the features of HubSpot but with a unique user interface. You can manage your leads using Pardot’s scoring system, which helps you prioritize during the nurturing process. Generate email marketing campaigns that automatically interface with your CRM. Pardot even provides real-time alerts about the behavior of users that allows you to track their activity.
Adopting a marketing automation platform gives your organization a chance to make the most of leads and streamline the design and implementation of marketing campaigns. Where Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot and others really shine, however, is they give you tools to evaluate how successful your marketing efforts are. With MAPs, you don’t have to wonder whether you’re hitting your targets; you can use concrete data to evaluate your campaigns and then adjust them to maximize their impact.