How to choose Best-in-Class B2C Marketing Automation Software [Guide]

Estimated Reading Time : 3 Mins | Knocks : 225

A brief history of Marketing Automation

Marketing automation popped first into the B2B space, in the 90s. The first company to be able to create a mark was Unica.

There were many other solutions born prior to and along with Unica but they were barely able to scratch the surface, except Eloqua. It technically pioneered the space by becoming the first to brand itself as a marketing automation software back in 1999.

Both Unica and Eloqua, are still formidable players in the marketing automation space. Both of them were acquired by two behemoths- IBM and Oracle respectively, in 2010 and 2012.

In a way, the growth of marketing automation is linked to the growth of the internet. Starting from 2000, the penetration and speed of internet usage were increasing at a significant pace. Accessibility to the internet was increasing among users. This development paved the way for engineers to create solutions that allowed companies to leverage internet to achieve their objectives.

Users’ digital footprint on the internet could be quantified unlike real-life scenarios and this was creating an opportunity for marketers to craft a relatively powerful message.

The period of 2000-2008 witnessed the birth of Pardot, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, MailChimp, Act-on, Marketo and myriad other established names that you know, or several others that you don’t know because they couldn’t fare this long to tell their tale.

Up until then, marketing automation had three pillars- email, analytics (web & email), database management. Then in 2007, iPhone was launched followed by Android next year, and the face of marketing automation changed.

Mobile gradually reached the pocket of every consumer and gave one powerful, 24/7 medium to marketers and advertisers worldwide to reach their users. This culminated in the era of consumer-focused marketing automation and analytics products

and WebEngage too is one of the products of this change.

Today, marketing automation has become a massive industry with several billion dollars in revenue. The following acquisition figures make the point:

Acquired Acquired by Acquired for Year
Unica IBM $480 mn 2010
Eloqua Oracle $871 mn 2012
Pardot Exact Target $95.5 mn 2012
Exact Target Salesforce $2.5 bn 2013
Neolane Adobe $600 mn 2013
Silverpop IBM Undisclosed 2014

There are 100s of products in the market and space is cluttered which brought us to write this guide.

So why should you read this guide

While doing solution selling these are the common questions that we see in the RFP provided by customers:

– Do you provide Funnel Analytics, RFM, Cohort?
– Do you capture user actions on the app?
– Do you send push notification, email, in-app?

Take these questions to any vendor in the marketing automation space and the answer that you would get is ‘yes we do’ and that’s about it.

However, like they say ‘God is in the details of the capabilities pitched by these marketing automation vendors’. For instance, it’s nice that your solution can let you breakdown of app-install by countries. However, can it also breakdown app-install by countries and further by devices.

In this guide, we are going to go deeper into

  1. What problems are the marketing automation software capable to solve?
  2. What are the other use-cases that you can look at with regard to that capability?
  3. What are the caveats- the ‘details’ that get missed out when you are buying a marketing automation software?

We touch upon this all these subjects and try to give a balanced evaluation- which explains the length of this guide.

Reading Guide

This guide is far from being complex but it’s comprehensive so we would suggest you to read it in stages. But we don’t want you to ‘skim and leave’ either because that would totally defeat the purpose. So here is a small list of pointers that would ensure that you take away maximum from this post:

  1. Create a test account in your favorite marketing automation tools. Having a certain skin in the game is necessary to make a sound observation.
  2. Go after one module at a time.
  3. Try replicating the use-cases in the test account.
  4. Refer to the documentation of the popular MA products while reading. Documentations are the most authentic content pieces but unfortunately create the least amount of noise.

The groundwork is set. Let’s go.


Chapter list

Chapter 1

Introduction

Chapter 2

Event Tracking & Monitoring

Chapter 3

Analytics (Funnel, Cohort, Event trends)

Chapter 4

Audience Segmentation

Chapter 5

Omni-Channel

Chapter 6

Campaign creation and QA

Chapter 7

Testing and Conversion Tracking

Chapter 9

POC and Support

Chapter 9

Conclusion

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