If your experience with technology is similar to mine you will find that consolidating some of your marketing technology is important. For me, I was trying to replace my ESP (Email Service Provider), move my database in-house, and be able to perform basic list churn reports.
So before you go too far down the MAP research rabbit hole answer:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What are the most important features of the software?
- What are you trying to measure?
Once you have answered these questions it is time to start requesting demos. This process seems to be the same across all software technologies and can take up to three weeks. If you have a list of requirements, and send that to the vendor, double check through a demo that the client does actual meet the requirements. This process can be frustrating because of the length of time it takes. Always remember that you control the conversation as you are purchasing the product.
Email communications in MAP are more powerful than ESP options. Understand before you decide on a MAP:
- How do you plan on communicating via email?
- Are you segmenting your list based on models of similar buyer persona’s or is this a “blast”?
- Is the goal to do small nurtured drips for specific sales reps? Or long-term nurtures?
By knowing your intended strategy, this will help you identify the correct software. Some technologies are really great in the short term, traditional B2B sales nurture, while others are great for long-term/brand development nurtures.
MAP platforms do work off of a database, but the database structures change depending on the service provider. Make sure to keep in mind:
- Is your database very simple?
- Is your database very dynamic?
- Will Marketing be managing data or IT?
- Are you currently connecting your data to a CRM?
- If you have an existing CRM will the MAP integrate nicely with the system?
Understanding how your marketing campaigns are performing, attributing lead to contact conversion to specific marketing initiatives, are all features that MAPs can provide. When it comes to analytics, keep in mind:
- What information are you trying to learn?
- What metrics will you need to measure?
- What information is not relevant to measure for your organization?
Understanding what you want to measure and share with your organization is important. Some systems do not provide specific reports, in these cases will the platform allow to connect to other systems?
Once you have all of these questions answered you are ready to truly dive into all the Marketing Automation Platform research.