None of the vendors in the market today can honestly check all the pointers mentioned in this guide. It’s just not possible. Had it been so, there would have been only one company with 90% of the customers. WebEngage wouldn’t have existed. (and also this guide)
But the point is that although at the broader level we may assume that we would all need all the things mentioned here, in reality, we don’t. Or at least not to the same degree that somebody else would. For instance, a video-on-demand (VOD) app like Hotstar would need a solid ability to create analytics dashboard that gives them reporting on day/hourly basis. A BFSI product wouldn’t need analytics as much as the ability to cohesively engage their users across all channels. A new product with a small team, beyond everything, would need a better access to training and support.
Even capability wise, there is a huge variation in the priorities of the vendors. For instance, you would notice that even top notch analytics products haven’t introduced ‘auto data capture’ capability.
So there is no one-size-fits-all approach that is in play. There are sectoral requirements, company-specific requirements, team requirements, MAU, budget and so many things in between that shortlisting the most optimal solution becomes an incredibly complex task. The amount of manpower and money involved also adds to the risk.
Plus, it’s even more riskier because a marketing automation software becomes intrinsic to your product. You cannot replace it like you can do the chat tool or your ESP or feedback tool or your coffee machine. It’s deployment and exit are equally toiling for the dev and marketing team. So, it’s important the stakeholders are aware of the criticality of the task at hand.
So what should you do?
Apart from understanding the capabilities, what more can you do?
- Don’t let the sales rep sell you dreams
- Look at the growth curve of the product
- Don’t run after jazz
A salesman is supposed to charge you money for the benefits that don’t even exist or are in pipeline. This is why I suggested creating test accounts in the very beginning. You have to have skin in the game to cut through the noise and see the real thing.
Spend time on the product. Run your own use-cases even if you have to pay for it.
Every marketing automation software that you see is essentially enabling companies to make more money. And to ensure they are empowering marketers with technology.
As the tech progresses, so would the requirements of marketing teams and likewise our pitch.
You would want to stick with a product that has progressive approach towards development and has demonstrated that in the past.
Spend time in understanding how the product you have zeroed in has evolved over time. Cold message to the ex-customers of theirs and know their pain points.
Marketing automation is abuzz with hype. It’s a trend to launch a ‘shiny thing’ to gain a leverage over your competitor. Well, it’s certainly possible that the ‘shiny thing’ that you are hearing today may become a product requirement in the future. But it’s also possible that it serves no objective and becomes a history.
For instance, if you were in marketing operations in 2010-12 you would recall how every marketing automation software mindlessly jumped into the social media bandwagon and began offering social features. Pardot, Marketo, Silverpop were all in the fray. Look how ‘social’ they are now.
They can’t be blamed for customers must have been asking for it despite the dismal conversion of Social Media even then. But are those customers asking for it now?