marketing-automation

Marketing Automation: Which system is best?

Most companies use marketing automation today, i.e. software tools that automate various parts of the marketing concept on the internet. In effect, marketing automation puts your marketing on auto-pilot.

There are over 7000 marketing automation systems on the market, which is visualized well in Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Lanscape illustration at ChiefMartec:

Hundreds of these systems also use AI technologies, such as predictive analytics and machine learning. But let’s study the market for more basic needs, although AI is very interesting.

Traditional marketing automation systems

What I usually refer to as a “traditional” marketing automation system is the centerpiece of a good internet marketing concept. This system generates leads from the website, traces what these leads do online, and automatically creates touch points – usually by sending email to the right person, at the right time, with the right information.

There are many different products on the market, but these systems are relatively common, although they are at very different price and functionality levels: 

  • ConvertKit
  • LeadPages + Drip
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Act-On
  • Infusionsoft
  • Apsis
  • HubSpot
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud
  • SalesForce Pardot
  • Marketo

Some systems that target small businesses only cost a hundred dollars or less a month, while other products are for large global enterprises.

But a well-developed marketing automation concept often needs small specialized systems around the central system. These can, for example, handle special functions such as video marketing, webinars, online booking calendars, chatbots, and much more.

Integration

Therefore, it is very important that a marketing automation system has access to as much information as possible about each person in the contact database, which is why system integration is very important for a well-oiled marketing concept.

Many products have readymade integrations between them, but if not, special integration bridges can be used. These are special products whose sole purpose is to connect 2 other products in a simple way.

The most famous integration bridge is:

  • Zapier

This product can connect over 1000 different software systems with each other, thus automating their integration.

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Online Scheduling Calendars

Often, a concept is built with robot-driven customer journeys (“sales funnels”) where different types of e-mail messages are sent at different times. It is often desirable to ask customers to book a consultation or exploration call themselves in an online booking calendar, which reduces the often endless email conversations just to agree on a time that suits both parties.

If your CRM system does not include online booking calendar features, I can recommend these products:

  • Calendly
  • Acuity

With those systems, you can publish a booking calendar online with minimal hassle. They also sync with your personal Outlook or Google calendars so that times that are already occupied in the private calendar will not be bookable online.

Landing Page Builders

If you have a central marketing automation system that lacks features for building landing pages with registration forms, I can recommend these products:

  • Lead Pages
  • Unbounce
  • InstaPage

They make it very easy to build landing pages with forms that save the data in your marketing automation system through an integration.

Lead Generation

Many internet marketers use special products that are designed to generate more leads from the website. Some of these systems are relatively unknown or very innovative for lead generation:

  • Teachable
  • Kajabi
  • LeadQuizzes
  • Popup Ally
  • Sumo
  • Vyper
  • Gleam

 Just remember that you must meet the requirements of GDPR and other laws when collecting and storing leads in the contact database. 

Funnel design and monitoring

There are exciting tools for designing, measuring, visualizing and optimizing the customer journey and sales funnels. Look specifically at these products:

  • Funnelytics
  • HotJar

 They provide completely new opportunities for visualization and optimization of how your website works with customer experience and customer journey!

Social Media

There are hundreds of tools that can automate the activities on social media in various ways. I myself use this product to post automatically: 

  • Meet Edgar

This tool can reuse old posts and it becomes relatively easy to be very active on social platforms.

Payments

There are of course many e-commerce platforms, such as WooCommerce, Shopify, etc. If you want a more traditional payment solution to integrate into your own marketing automation concept, you can look at one of these:

  • Stripe
  • Sam Cart
  • ThriveCart
  • Gravy payment recovery
  • BetterProposals

By integrating this type of product into your marketing automation concept, you can also automate payments. 

Webinar Platforms

In recent years, webinars have become very popular, especially in B2B companies. I recommend some of these webinar platforms:

  • GoToWebinar
  • Zoom
  • EasyWebinar
  • EverWebinar

These products cover both manual “live-webinars” and pre-recorded “on-demand” webbinars, which are basically videos packaged in a webinar-style format.

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Video Marketing Platforms

 Video is becoming increasingly important in digital marketing, and I recommend these various products for video automation:

  • Wistia
  • VidYard
  • Lumen5

Lumen5 can even automatically generate the movies, not just how they are later used in the marketing concept.

Urgency Generators

 When selling, you often want to introduce a time limit when discounts or bonuses expire, in order to increase the chance that potential customers “hit” and actually place an order.

This product provides a very interesting solution to moving time limits that are tailored to each unique person: 

  • DeadlineFunnel

 By adding a bit of urgency, you can get more people to decide to buy.

Chatbots

 Chatbots have become increasingly popular, and many companies are starting to develop their own chatbots as a marketing channel or for customer service automation.

 Some of all systems available for chatbot development are, for example:

  • Many Chat
  • ChatFuel
  • DialogFlow

This is just a small selection of all the thousands of marketing automation systems on the market. I have not included any of the innovative AI systems here either.

For more information about them you can read my book Data-driven marketing with artificial intelligence.

To answer the question Which system is best? we need to realize that this is the wrong question altogether.

Of course, different systems may be a better or worse fit for any particular company. However, the most important point is that it rarely is enough with one system.

To build a good marketing automation concept, you need to integrate a number of different systems, that together implement a good sales funnel and customer journey.

Do you need help with marketing automation? Contact us for more information!