Automation solutions exist for a wide variety of marketing tasks, including but not limited to:
However, rather than needing to invest in a separate solution to manage each of these tasks, a number of cross-platform automation tools exist which combine a wide variety of automation capabilities into one.
Each of these tools has the ability to vastly improve the efficiency and capabilities of your marketing team, but it’s also important to find the tool that will be the best for your workforce and processes. So which one should you choose?
Here is an introduction to five leading cross-platform automation tools and their capabilities.
Marketo is one of the most popular marketing automation platforms, offering a series of features for email marketing, campaign management, lead generation, analytics, and more.
The ability to automate campaign management from the moment of creation to the measurement of its results across all channels makes it a very powerful tool for marketing leaders.
Moreover, it can also aid sales teams with its intelligent feature of automated lead nurturing. It can assist sales staff in identifying the ideal prospects and makes following subsequent steps easier with the appropriate triggers to save time and increase conversions.
Another interesting feature that can save time for marketers is the option to create Smart Lists. It allows marketers to organize people in groups via the use of filters, assigning them to a smart campaign, report, or even business model.
The feature also allows users to subscribe to the smart lists, making it easier to keep track of people, whether they are clients or prospects.
If you’re also interested in facilitating the process of digital advertising , Marketo’s Ad Bridge feature can also improve the ROI of your paid strategy, involving a targeted segmentation of your target audience to reach them through email, mobile and social. This increases the chances of your ads on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn reaching the right audience.
However, one disadvantage compared to other platforms could be the limited reporting it offers. With that said, Marketo’s popularity in the sector still makes it a great choice for many companies.
Pardot is a tool by Salesforce which offers a complete automation platform to improve both marketing and sales. It offers automation in email marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, social marketing and sales intelligence and aims to help your campaigns across all channels.
It’s always challenging to remind your team to send the right message at the right time. Pardot helps you schedule emails and set autoresponders, while it also features a visual nurturing canvas for an overview of the engagement.
Its visual interface can be very useful when trying to understand the customer experience, while it also provides visual testing to organize workflows and campaigns.
Moreover, it makes it easier to avoid repetitive tasks in data segmentation, as it can create dynamic lists that improve targeting. Lead nurturing is also facilitated with automatic emails that are triggered depending on the set parameters. This can increase the engagement and thus the chances of acquiring new customers.
Its lead deck also provides real-time activity about a company’s prospects, a feature that can improve effectiveness both in sales and marketing.
A disadvantage for the platform could be the lack of integrations compared with other CRMs, though unsurprisingly, it integrates well with Salesforce – a definite plus for companies already using that platform for sales.
Hubspot is a popular inbound marketing platform that also offers very useful automation features.
It allows marketers to streamline their email marketing, content marketing, lead nurturing and management and multichannel campaign management.
Hubspot offers automated workflows that allow teams to avoid repetitive tasks while aligning them to the team’s goals. Its simple and visual interface makes it easy to create new workflows that can be used in email marketing, lead management, contact management, or data organisation.
For example, you can set up a workflow to automate lead nurturing by triggering email messages depending on certain actions. You can set a workflow to send an email to a lead and then add a trigger to send another email after seven days.
This way you can develop a customized workflow that fits your team’s goals and scales growth, while keeping customers engaged at the same time.
Moreover, it also offers another interesting automated feature: triggered internal notifications. This allows your team to receive notifications when a contact takes a specific action.
For example, you can set up an alert for your team when someone downloads a guide or asks for a demo. This allows you to organize sales prospects, and facilitates the process of moving them towards a conversion.
The biggest advantage of Hubspot is that it’s equally useful both for marketing and sales, helping both departments meet goals while saving time and becoming more efficient.
Infusion is a cross-platform automation tool specifically designed for small businesses. If your team is still growing, Infusionsoft can be helpful in automating email marketing, campaign management, contact management, lead nurturing and customer engagement.
It allows you to automate the process of sending personalized messages, while also analyzing contacts’ behavior to follow up appropriately through triggered emails, calls, or other actions. This increases efficiency and helps your team focus on the steps that can turn a lead into a customer.
In addition to personalization, it can also be helpful in lead nurturing, making communication more engaging. This also applies to existing customers, which ensures that the level of engagement remains high.
Infusionsoft offers an appealing user interface, while integrations and an API add even more useful features to the platform. The Infusionsoft Marketplace offers more than 300 apps, although the lack of native integration with third-party tools could be considered a disadvantage.
GAIN is a different type of automation tool to the others we’ve covered here, but I’ve opted to include it to show the range of tasks that can be accomplished with cross-platform automation tools.
Many marketers know how time consuming it can be to plan a calendar for social media activity, especially when it involves a process of approval among the team, or the clients.
GAIN automates the process of social media approvals to make social publishing easier and more effective. Once the approval workflow is defined, GAIN notifies stakeholders of their assigned tasks. This makes the process faster, moving from one task to another without requiring manual monitoring.
Once the stage of approval is complete, GAIN can also automatically schedule and publish your content across all social networks. This makes it a very useful tool for teams managing social media across a wide variety of different platforms, facilitating planning, collaboration and publishing.
There are many marketing automation tools that can help a team become more productive – we’ve only scratched the surface with these five. As more areas of marketing benefit from automation, more tools show up.
This poses further challenges when it comes to choosing the tool that best suits your team’s needs. The decision chiefly hinges on the features that each platform offers, while factoring in usability and cost.
Marketing automation is not just about saving time, it’s also about finding the best process that can improve your marketing and sales efforts. As you find the platform that makes your team more efficient, you can also become more strategic about your goals to take your planning to the next level.
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