Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) – how to choose the one?

What is marketing automation platform (MAP)?

Marketing automation platform (MAP) is a software to automated marketing activities. The platforms normally provide automation features across email channels, social media, lead gen, direct mail and digital advertising and more. The tool provides a central marketing database for marketing information so it can be categorised in segmentation, personalisation.

Mistake 1: MAP is not only about emails, think what you need

A couple of years back when MAP starts, one big sell points for many MAP is the emails. A cheap channel with great ROI and business can track as well as report it. However, this is no longer been the case anymore. Marketing is about sending the right customer right message at the right time. MAP itself assist business “send the right customer” and “at right time”, even with “right message”.
For example, recently I helped one client to run their webinar on their marketing automation platform. From pre-event registration, event day check-in to the post-event follow up. It is an automated process across email and direct mail channels.  

Mistake 2: Align with marketing objectives

In my past 5 years of experience working closely with over 10 clients, each client has their thought on their preference. But most likely, C-level decision-maker heavily reply on the budget and nothing else.
So during our audit with marketing technology stacks, there are many wastes on technologies as well as most of the technology is not fully utilised.
The first thing that should be always asked when choosing a MAP is: what is your marketing goal in 3 months, 12 months and 24 months? MAP is not a fancy buzz word or software to make your marketing fancy. It is one of the tools that assist you to achieve your marketing KPI. Therefore, always asking what you need to achieve and set up your MAP align together with your marketing objectives.

For example, there is an e-commerce client, the business wants to increase revenue through email channels because that only channels the business currently using and they got relevant large database size. They may not even need to MAP, an email service providers (ESP) combine with an extreme experience email marketing specialist can simply do the work. What is the point of wasting over 5 times budget to use a MAP doing the same thing? 

Mistake 3: Knowledge costs

Another important question is how knowledgable your team is. Talents are always intangible to the business and a common “forgot” for many businesses when choosing MAP. To achieve your marketing goals, you do need someone who can manage the platform, at least can make things done on the platform when needed. 
Based on my experience, there are more than half of my clients when they have chosen a platform, they do not have such knowledge in house. Commonly, it ends up using a marketing agency to manage. But what next? Those businesses most likely run out the marketing budget at the end. Agency could assist you with your MAP resolution, but is a relatively high-cost solution for many small to medium-size businesses.
Some other businesses choose to up-skill their in-house team, but during the process, many of them realised they forgot to plan training cost in the marketing budget. Each solution required significantly skill sets, therefore the training costs vary from time to time. For example, for Marketo, the solution is designed friendly for the marketers and their basic training costs 2000 in Australia. But for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, it is free on Trailhead. 
Taking consideration of human costs or training costs should be considered when you decide on a platform.

Mistake 4: Massive blast customers solution

MAP can category your database in the way you want. This is not only about the marketing segmentation, but it is also can be your customer journey or marketing lifecycle. Sending to the correct customer depending on their behaviour or how they engage with your business brand, it will increase the chance of purchase. That means business increases significant ROI.
In addition, most of the major MAP vendors can simply do A/B test to optimise the campaign results. This will assist the business to figure out the right time to contact your customer. As a marketer, when you think about marketing 101 – target customer and customer behaviour, each demographic group has significant behaviour difference across their buying behaviour. 
In summary, choosing a correct MAP solution has never been easy and it must be considered beyond the budget. Even though there are many other reasons may also fail due to uniqueness of the business, but at least these 4 common mistakes ticked during your consideration of purchasing a solution.

If you need further help in choosing one, please reach out and our team is happy to help.