Marketing officers at businesses in many different industries are beginning to embrace automation. A total of 14 percent of all marketing teams plan to implement marketing automation this year, and 63 percent of all current users plan to increase what they spend on their marketing automation.
Some people assume automation makes you look less authentic. Not true. In fact, it handles more menial tasks, freeing you up to have more authentic conversations.
While many have focused on the growth in demand of these services, there has been an increase in supply as well. Hundreds of companies now offer marketing automation software, and that number seems to keep growing. With so many options, it's easy for marketing teams to get overwhelmed.
Picking the right software vendor always depends upon your specific needs and circumstances, but the following companies offer some of the best automation solutions in the business. Look for these companies and others with similar capabilities to score the best deal for your company.
Pardot: Working With Sales
Now a division of Salesforce, Pardot excels in its ability to align marketing efforts with the goals of the sales team to drive revenue growth. The product lets you create various components of an automated campaign, including landing pages, survey forms and e-mails. In addition to working with Salesforce, Pardot integrates with CRMs such as NetSuite, Microsoft Dynamics and Sugar CRM.
Each qualified lead in the system is assigned to a specific sales representative so that they maintain visibility throughout the whole sales funnel. Researchers have found that superior alignment of marketing and sales can boost revenue up to 20 percent, so the tools Pardot offers to keep the two in communication are highly useful.
HubSpot: Inbound Marketing
HubSpot began its life as a content management tool, but has expanded to offer marketing automation solutions. Still, the automation tools the company offers are well suited to conducting robust inbound marketing campaigns.
Quality content has to be at the heart of any successful marketing strategy and HubSpot allows you to take that a step further by actually personalizing the content on your website depending on the specific viewer and targeting users across a variety of channels.
HubSpot also offers resources to help generate new leads. Marketing automation is best used for lead nurturing, which means you need a steady source of new contacts coming into the system in order to keep the process robust and effective.
Signpost: Local Marketing
Unlike many other automation software companies, Signpost is specifically geared towards meeting the needs of local businesses. Local marketing requires a much different focus and unique priorities as compared to larger national or international brands.
In addition to automating e-mail campaigns, Signpost automates processes for encouraging customer reviews and referrals, gathering feedback and maintaining loyalty programs.
Word of mouth remains the number one way people find local businesses, with 82 percent of customers using it as a source. Online reviews are a close second. Encouraging satisfied customers to recommend your business to their friends or post a kind review to sites like Yelp or Angie's List goes a long way towards driving sustainable revenue growth.
What's Right For You?
There is no one size fits all solution. The three companies above are solid options if you're looking to work with what they do best. It's all about establishing your needs and priorities ahead of time. If you understand your marketing budget, your goals and your sales funnel, you should be able to make an informed decision. If not, you may end up making the wrong choice and getting a poor ROI.