Marketing Automation vendors w/selection criteria

As a long standing direct marketer, my experience has shown the value of using data and analytics to deliver the best returns from campaigns. This works wonders for direct mail and email as I can attest to the billions of dollars that banks, online classifieds and auction houses have brought in using these techniques. The challenge for today’s vendors is a workforce that may not have analytic savvy, time or energy to do this.

As a young analyst out of college, I had to learn how to code SAS, understand data structures, score leads, nurture etc. I also had to experiment with different creative and segments of user characteristics. I thought I had the worst job in the company – doing the dirty work while the marketing coordinators did a lot of talking and presenting of pretty pictures to senior management. Everyone loves “easy to look good” presentations of pictures that are easy to explain to people with no time to understand what you have to explain. In fact, those marketing coordinators talked down to my line of work as a yucky requirement they were glad not to be involved with.

However, looking back, I realised why job turnover for those coordinators was so high and why I survived 6 large scale restructurings in a fortune 50 company over 3 years. My work actually dictated the earnings and was the part of marketing that really made a difference to the business. I could walk into the CEO’s office and every one of my 50+ campaigns that year delivered – on average – 40% net profit or greater. I could then walk out of that office knowing my job was secure – sexy enough I reckon!

Ultimately though, this process became so labor intensive that their needed to be more than one person involved with a campaign. You had the guys like me pulling the data, analysing, creating models, and reviewing results to refine ongoing campaigns. Someone else did the creative imagery and someone else did the campaign planning.

The hope with new marketing automation solutions is that the software is much simpler to use where no one has to deal with dreaded SAS code and everything can be done with a nice visual interface! Marketing Automation vendors offer solutions for marketers instead of technicians now. While these new solutions aren’t completely simple and require a learning curve in their own right, I have to say the opportunities for a marketer to get better results with less pain is much better today than it was for me so many years ago. This is the era of Marketing ROI on steroids and cloud computing solutions are the juice to drive results.

Here is a list of vendors offering the kind of solution I am talking about that can make a difference for your business:

Here is a paid research report with more detailed review of these software options at a very reasonable price:

Here is a link to an excellent discussion on the topic should you want to take the plunge including selection criteria:

{See Christen Hambelton’s comments with ideas for SELECTION CRITERIA}

Here are tips to get started with marketing automation:

FINAL NOTE: Marketing automation is not the end all and be all. Marketing automation, analytics and predictive modeling require data. Businesses still need to source ongoing data with cunning promotions, search campaigns, business distribution arrangements that bring access to audience, social media commitment and good old advertising when the context requires.

All the best.

Rick Speciale

MyCMO – Director


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