Your Guide to Software Selection

The Need for Marketing Automation Needs Assessment

It’s been fascinating as I’ve gone from project to project, how a marketing automation platform I’ve used for one project doesn’t suffice for the next one. You’d think a category of technology like marketing automation would adhere to a common marketing automation features.

With as many different marketing automation solutions that are out there, there are 10 times that in unique sets of need and requirements. Having managed dozens of marketing automation projects, I’ve used nearly a dozen different solutions.

eCommerce Marketing Automation

For example, I first started working with marketing automation at an ecommerce company. There weren’t and still aren’t many marketing automation tools that have ecommerce built in. There are a few that stand apart from the pack now when it comes to ecommerce but these solutions don’t translate over well to the marketing automation needs in B2B.

Marketing Automation in a Sales Agency

Next came marketing operations management at a sales agency. They were focused on real-time alerts so they could catch a hot buyer at a moment’s notice. Some platforms were better than others for this – having alert systems that sent to mobile, email or even desktop apps. The system we selected had the most amount of real-time alert functionality. After implementing that solution 10 times, we tried an alternative, lower price solution that failed significantly in this requirement.

From Real-Time Alerts to Deep Database Segmentation

As I moved away from the sales-driven agency, going in-house into a B2B SaaS company, the emphasis moved to deeper database segmentation and advanced email nurturing campaigns. This was 1) not a requirement in the previous systems I used and 2) not available in the previous systems I used.

I had to go shopping for an entire different solution that fit with this company’s unique set of needs.  I had hoped I could bring over my expertise from using a very popular marketing automation platform for 2 years with over a dozen implementations, but no such luck. I had to start from scratch in many regards.

We did find a system that had the deeper database segmentation and advanced email nurturing functionality (ironically it did not have all of the real-time alert capabilities that were so important to the sales agency). This new system worked great for this set of needs.

Displaying Dynamic Content

In the next marketing automation project, I found myself again in a bind. The solution I had just become a power user in was not a fit for this new project. One of the main requirements we discovered in our marketing automation needs assessment was dynamic content.

The most recent marketing automation software I used did not have this functionality. I had to go back to the system used at the sales agency – it had dynamic content. And, lo and behold, that system now offered deeper database segmentation and advanced email nurturing. It had launched during my 2 year sabbatical from using it system. They heard my concerns. 😉

It should be clear that not all marketing automation platforms work for in all situations. By doing a needs assessment, you will vet marketing automation platforms based on a defined set of requirements you and your key stakeholders have defined. You can start by using a marketing automation requirements template to start prioritizing your needs.

Michael ShearerThe Need for Marketing Automation Needs Assessment

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