The benefits of marketing automation are well-recognised. We’ve looked before at the advantages you can achieve through on-demand marketing software – it’s easier and quicker to create the marketing content you need; you can deliver better brand consistency; and your entire business is able to produce professional marketing and sales collateral at the click of a mouse.
No surprise, then, that organisations are increasing turning to marketing automation platforms to create their branded and marcomms materials.
But with so many solutions available, how can you make sure you choose the right one?
Here’s a list of the 10 questions you need to ask when evaluating marketing automation systems.
- Is it user-friendly?
Marketing automation software is intended to make your life easier. So what you definitely don’t want is a solution that is difficult to get to grips with – your people just won’t use it. Make sure your shortlisted solutions are intuitive and easy to pick up, or you won’t get the buy-in you need to make it a success.
- Does it make creating marketing content quicker and easier?
Will the solution you’re considering speed your content creation process? This is likely to be one of your main aims when introducing automation. How do your shortlisted solutions enable this? Do they have easy-to-use, dynamic templates that allow anyone in your business to create content?
- Will it help with brand compliance?
Inconsistency undermines the entire deployment of your brand. A marketing automation solution can help you to create branded collateral – from web pages to business cards swiftly, with the assurance that everything meets your brand standards.
Does your chosen software ‘lock down’ templates to ensure that they remain on-brand? Are imagery, logos and data in-built to prevent off-piste interpretations? Can you set permissions and give different colleagues varying access privileges, ensuring you retain control of your brand?
- Does it have benefits for other teams – like sales and compliance?
Marketing automation shouldn’t just benefit the marketing team. Mandated compliance approval helps to ensure you meet your regulatory requirements, while the ability to create sales documents faster and more professionally supports your business development team.
Find out how well your chosen solution integrates the various teams you work with, and what it can deliver for them. The more parts of your firm can benefit, the easier it will be for you to build your business case for automation.
- What customer support does the solution offer?
It doesn’t matter how user-friendly your chosen solution is, there are times when you’ll need support. What do the solutions you’re considering provide? Is support available 24/7 – and are you guaranteed ‘plain English’ advice, not tech-speak?
- Does it help with my ESG strategy?
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are racing up the agenda, for companies and their customers. A marketing automation solution can help you improve your ESG credentials, by providing a truly global view of your activities and therefore helping you to minimise the ESG risks in your marketing supply chain.
- Does it enable my teams to create assets whenever, wherever?
The best marketing automation platforms offer integrated Digital Asset Management, enabling files to be shared internally and externally, and allowing you to collaborate better with external agencies and internal teams, creating, syncing, storing, and sharing your assets securely with anyone who needs them.
- Does it save money by reducing waste?
All marketers are familiar with cupboards full of unused collateral. A good marketing automation solution will enable you to call off approved assets on demand, giving all your teams easy access to on-brand, compliant documents when they need them. Does the solution you’re considering enable this?
- Is it good value?
Costs for automation software can vary hugely. Make sure your choice delivers value. The price should be transparent, so you know what you’re getting. What’s included – and what do you have to pay extra for? Are fees scalable, so you can cost-effectively roll it out across your business? And can the solution adapt as your requirements change and your business grows, future-proofing your investment?
- Does it automatically create a compliant audit trail?
If you’re a regulated business, compliant record-keeping is one of your obligations. Make sure the solution you’re considering offers a rigorous method of storing electronic assets and collateral, and records their approval records for compliance purposes.
There’s no question that marketing automation can deliver significant benefits – in efficiency, in brand consistency and compliance, in regulatory adherence and in the ease of creating professional marketing and sales materials.
With so many options to choose from, though, choosing a marketing automation solution can be tricky. Asking these questions to potential providers will help to ensure you get it right.
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