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Are you currently thinking about acquiring a marketing automation solution? If so, you are in good company. Marketing automation has long since proven to be successful for many companies. But what is the reason for this? Artegic, one of the leading German providers of standard software for real-time marketing automation, has identified some key performance indicators (KPIs) that convince almost everyone: 53 per cent higher conversion rates, 41 per cent higher sales, return on investment (ROI) achieved after just one year – and this is only a small selection.

Used correctly, marketing automation is the perfect tool to identify leads and rank them based on user behaviour and past actions. It serves to facilitate complex customer processes through central data storage and harmonise Sales and Marketing based on insights from customer data. In short, it supports Marketing and Sales in both acquiring new customers and keeping them in the loyalty loop – and all of this in an automated manner. Personalisation and marketing automation accompany your customers over their entire customer journey – from the very beginning through to the collection of information and their subsequent purchases (and repurchases).

Goodbye data silos. Marketing automation enables you to use your data more efficiently and make the most of the eclectic data pool: new leads, new conversions or new fans.

Finding the right marketing automation solution

The market for solutions is large, and the promises made by providers are numerous. But does each one bring the success that you expect? Which is the right one to suit your needs? From small niche players to widely used, intuitive mid-range tools to the big players, each solution offers its own advantages. And these are closely linked to your individual requirements relating to various aspects.

Key questions

First of all, it is a matter of clarifying the most important key questions before choosing the right solution. These include basic questions such as: From which country or for which countries will the marketing automation solution be used? How many people will work with it? Does the team in question already have the required marketing automation expertise? Which and how much data is currently available and in what form? For example, are there currently any specific campaigns or use cases against which the various tools can be tested? However, the questions listed here only scratch the surface.

A serious deep dive is needed to make the right decision. Here, other important questions are asked such as: Is there a need for a role and authorisation system? What should monitoring be like? How can existing workflows be optimally implemented in the automation? To help you get a better idea of which questions are among the most important when choosing a marketing automation tool, we have prepared a checklist that covers some of the most relevant topics.

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Step 1: The checklist with requirements for your marketing automation

Which tool is ultimately the right one for your company? That depends on various factors. The decisive factors here include your existing system landscape, the level of maturity of your company with regard to digitalisation, existing and collected data – for example from your CRM – and the customer processes you already have established on the basis of which marketing automation can commence.

Our checklist gives you an initial glimpse of the decision-making process and the questions you can ask yourselves.

The adesso checklist- Questions to help you choose your marketing automation

E-mail marketing and digital asset management: How complex are your marketing e-mails? Should the e-mail editor allow HTML editing, or would a drag-and-drop editor fit much better into your daily business? Do you need a preview function for many different customers, or is a standard responsive design sufficient? How do you want to store your digital assets in the system? Do you need complex DAM (Data Asset Management System) functionalities, or is a well-structured file store enough?

Campaign automation and multi-channel capability: How standardised do you want the dealings with your contacts to be and which channels should be connected? Are highly complex, multi-level journeys with numerous dependencies part of your daily activities, or do you control your communication in a targeted and manageable way?

Landing pages and forms: Do you want your marketing automation to help you create landing pages and forms, or does the creation and optimisation of landing pages already take place in another system? Does the collection of data then have to be integrated into marketing automation there? Or is form hosting on your own website suitable, and you only use landing pages for dedicated campaigns that you create from marketing automation?

Usability and mobile use: How does your Marketing department work? Does functionality triumph over design, or do you need to start an entire change management program to anchor the introduction of a highly integrated system within the whole team? Should it also be possible to use the system on mobile end devices?

Lead management, lead nurturing and target group selection: How well do you already know your leads and how important are closely managed lead nurturing journeys to you? How complex do you want to make the automated targeting of existing contacts? Which attributes would you like to use for target group selection? Which attributes do you think make a lead ready to be forwarded to Sales? Do you have any comprehensive enrichment of profile data in mind?

Web tracking and website personalisation: How specifically do you want to track the click paths of your contacts, and how do you want to personalise your website to suit the interests of your visitors? Do you already use other tracking tools that you would like to integrate?

AI/predictive analytics: How intelligent do you expect your new marketing automation system to be? Are you keen to optimise sending times, or would you like the system to suggest entire e-mail content based on the interests of your contacts? How do you get enough contact and engagement data to enable the AI to make plausible decisions that promote conversion?

Reporting or marketing resource management: What automated reports do you need to optimise your marketing activities? Which KPIs would you like to be able to see at a glance? Do you also want your overall budget spent and ROI be included in the calculation?

Event management online and offline: Do you organise regular events or seminars for which your contacts need to register? Do you already have a webinar provider that you do not want to lose and that you would like to integrate into your marketing automation solution? Are you planning offline events with individual invitations and registration confirmations, for example, with a QR code as an admission ticket?

Flexibility and integration possibilities: Are your requirements covered by the usual features? There are definitely differences with regard to how easily a marketing automation solution can be customised – for example, when it comes to interfaces or systems that can be integrated. How do you want your marketing automation solution to integrate into your existing infrastructure?

Operation, licence model, service: What is included in the basic marketing automation licence package, and what factors could quickly drive up costs? Is the licence model based on the number of users, on the number of contacts in the system, or is the sending of e-mails, SMS messages and so on limited in volume? How does your operational aim relate to this? Will the marketing automation solution be used by only a few people but handle a lot of contacts, or is it the other way round? If you get stuck, will you have a competent IT specialist to help you? How important is the service of the provider for you?

Step 2: How important is each feature to you? Sharpen your vision with some simple prioritisation

All marketing automation solutions come with numerous features, ranging from the basics to advanced technologies such as AI, onsite personalisation, lead staging and machine learning. And this is where you need to drill a little deeper. The checklist above identifies eleven categories that make it easier for you to make an overall comparison and start to ask some questions that will bring you one step closer to achieving the right solution for your requirements.

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To get closer to finding the right solution for you, your team and your system landscape, you can go through the checklist above with your team, add to it if necessary and then evaluate and prioritise.

You can rate each question on a scale from one (unimportant) to five (very important). By doing blind assessments in the team and merging the results, you can create a common consensus and understanding of the core functions that you definitely need in the team.

Step 3: Hands on. Introducing your marketing automation solution

Often, the introduction of a new system is associated with principles such as ‘We want to become more digital’ or ‘We need more leads.’ These are two examples of very rational reasons. But how will you inspire everyone in the company who is involved in the process? Who will benefit from the tool and how? These questions need to be clarified just as much as the questions concerning how the tool will contribute to all important business goals – at what stage of expansion and with what scope of licensing. What are you aiming for? Do you want to increase your ROI? Are you keen to gain new leads? And how do the goals relate to each other?

In many B2B companies, lead nurturing and lead scoring are essential prerequisites. Other companies, such as those established in e-commerce, see accompanying their customers in the loyalty loop as one of the most important features of a marketing automation solution. Here, e-mails with appropriate, personalised content should be sent at exactly the right time – ideally, at the same time as an accompanying print campaign from the connected letter shop.

To ensure your marketing automation supports and optimally promotes your business goals, the solution must be implemented properly and be in harmony with your system landscape.

adesso supports you in the process of finding the right marketing automation solution and also assists you with the technical implementation and customisation of the software, allowing you to integrate it seamlessly into your marketing processes. Last but not least, we are also there for you when it comes to developing exciting and conversion-promoting use cases, creating new journeys and generating leads or acquiring new fans with meaningful campaigns.

You will find more exciting topics from the adesso world in our latest blog posts.

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Picture Sarah  Maulbetsch

Author Sarah Maulbetsch

Picture Diana  Schindler

Author Diana Schindler

Diana Schindler ist Consultant in the field of Customer Experience at adesso.

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