Top Things to Consider When Choosing a Marketing Platform
Plus eight platforms to consider during your search.
Choosing the right marketing platform for your business is a big decision.
It’s a significant investment and will be a tool you’ll likely use daily, so choosing the wrong one can be costly. That’s why you’ll want to take your time to understand the most critical elements you should consider when looking to invest in a new platform.
It can all make a big difference, from finding one that can handle your cross-channel marketing campaigns to ensuring you have the support you need to thrive.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some essential considerations you should consider when looking for a new marketing platform and provide you with a list of platforms to help get you started.
Looking to jump ahead to the platform recommendations? Here’s a quick look at the ones we’ll cover:
- Zoho Marketing Automation
Image courtesy of Pexels.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Marketing Platform
When it comes to selecting a marketing platform, there are plenty of things to consider. It’s all-important to keep in mind from what channels you’ll need to manage to the features and capabilities it provides you with.
We’ve developed a list of things you’ll want to consider when vetting a new marketing platform. Each of these things will help you weed through the endless platforms available and find the one that is the perfect match for your needs.
Go for a Platform That Does It All
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a new marketing platform is if it can provide you with everything you need in one location.
Having a marketing platform that provides you with everything you need in one central location can impact the success of your campaigns. Whether it’s by bringing together all of the channels you use or leveraging customer data from every touchpoint, it can help set you up for success. Image courtesy of Pixabay.
A single, integrated platform will allow you to manage various channels, tactics, and customer insights from one centralized platform. It will enable you to create new cross-channel campaigns, understand the entire customer journey, and give you the metrics to know precisely how successful your efforts are.
What you need in a platform will vary based on your specific needs, so it’s essential to write down a list of things you want your new platform to do. This list will give you an idea of how much you can do from one platform and help make the right platform stand.
By choosing a platform that doesn’t provide you with a single, integrated experience, you’ll likely find that your interactions and touchpoints may lead to a fragmented customer experience. It can also lead to wasted customer insights and lost opportunities to engage with your audiences.
It is important to note that if your business is only looking to focus on one specific tactic or channel, this might not apply to your needs. If this sounds like your business, the most important thing you can do is find a tool that provides high quality and value in the specific area of interest.
Beware of Cloud Promises
Many platform solutions available today may seem like integrated solutions, but they turn out to be something entirely separate.
This is often seen when companies acquire other platforms and solutions and brand them all under the same logo. Without proper integration, each platform becomes part of the more prominent brand, ultimately leaving customers with a disconnected system.
When these piecemealed platforms are created through acquisition, another challenge is that many skilled employees leave the company during management changes. This can have a negative impact on the support and may leave the platform liable to miss changing market needs.
It’s important to ask many questions when investigating your new platform to identify these cloud promises.
Consider asking the sales representatives questions like:
- How the programs work together and specific scenarios of this
- How other customers are using their platform to improve their marketing efforts and what their success rates are
- For a detailed demo of how the platform works and how each channel is integrated into the platform
The more information you can uncover during the early stages of your investigation, the better. Asking plenty of questions and requesting detailed demonstrations of the platform will help you determine if the platform truly is an integrated solution or a disconnected solution hiding behind a common logo.
Find a Support Team That Has Your Goals in Mind
Every marketing platform you come across will have some support available to you. What is included in that level of support can vary drastically from one platform to the next and can play a significant role in the success of your efforts.
Having the right support team on your side will simplify your transition to a new platform and give you the guidance and expertise you need to continue growing. Look for a platform that supports beyond simple technical help and find one with your goals in mind. Image courtesy of Pexels.
Chances are good that your marketing team is already stretched thin, so taking on a new platform and staying up-to-date on all of the latest industry trends is likely a challenging task for you. Luckily, with the right marketing platform, you’ll have the support you need to stay ahead of these trends and keep your campaigns competitive and ahead of industry trends.
These types of platforms go beyond your standard tech support. They are invested in the success of your business and want to help you continue to grow.
It’s also important to understand when support teams are available and how quickly they will respond to your inquiries. Without a responsive team, you may be stuck with a broken experience or waiting on answers for days.
There are a number of questions you can ask to understand better the level of support a platform will provide you, such as:
- Do you have dedicated account managers?
- What is the account manager to client ratio?
- What is the providers’ client NPS Score?
- What does support look like?
- Do you speak to a knowledgeable human when you have a problem?
Asking these questions and understanding the level of support you’ll receive from your marketing platform can help set you up for continued success.
Make Sure Highlighted Features Live Up to Their Hype
Reading a list of features on a website can make a platform sound appealing and stand out, but it’s important to consider whether or not those features live up to their hype.
It’s easy to put together a checklist of features or requirements for your marketing platform and check those things off as you read about platforms. But it’s essential to take the time to understand how those features work on each platform and if they live up to their expectations. Image courtesy of SelectHub.
People often find a new exciting platform to invest in but then quickly learn after using it for a few months that it isn’t quite what they were expecting. Many companies use click-bait features to lure people in, and then they’re left disappointed when the platform doesn’t live up to its expectations.
To avoid this, you’ll once again wait to ask some specific questions about the features the platform is promising, such as:
- Ask for reference clients who can back up the engagement and revenue impact of the features
- Ask for case studies that show how actual customers have used the features to improve success
- Ask the platform representatives how they can address those use case studies in more detail
These questions will get the company representatives thinking and make them provide real use cases and success stories of how the features have been used in the past. It should be a big red flag if they can’t provide you with these insights.
Not All Features Are Created Equal
In addition to avoiding feature bait, it’s important to remember that not all features are created equal.
This can be one of the more challenging things to identify when you’re starting to get different platforms. That’s because, on paper, many things use similar names or sound like they’ll accomplish the same goals.
But once those things are put into action, they don’t always work how you imagined they would.
One example of this is predictive analytics. Some companies will promote this feature as part of their technology stack but simply use query-based segmentation.
This isn’t truly predictive analytics and doesn’t provide you with the real benefits of predictive analytics technology backed by advanced machine learning and data science. Putting a bow on something and calling it a high-quality feature might lure you in but shouldn’t be why you choose a specific platform.
To truly continue to grow your marketing efforts, you need to find a platform that has the most up-to-date technology and can help you leverage that in your campaigns. Don’t settle for a platform that won’t give you the best quality features. If you do, you’ll regret it in no time.
Technology and Advanced Capabilities
Regarding finding a platform with the most up-to-date technology and capabilities, let’s dive a little deeper into what that looks like.
There are a few key tools you need to start integrating into your daily efforts in today’s marketing environment. These tools and capabilities will help you stay competitive and do more with your data.
Here are a few different types of technology you should consider when looking to invest in a new marketing platform:
- Machine learning helps you deliver unique and tailored content and creativity to your customers without having to mine data and manually identify the right content elements.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) can help you understand customer data at scale, anticipate a customer’s next move, and improve their customer journey.
- Predictive marketing technology allows you to use previous customer data and insights to predict future needs and outcomes and serve them up proactively to customers.
Together, these capabilities will allow you to use historical and real-time customer data and insights to serve their current needs better and predict future outcomes. The best part is that it can all be done within your marketing platform without manual intervention.
Machine learning, AI, and predictive analytics can all work together to create comprehensive experiences for your customers and help you make the most out of your time and effort. Feeding historical and real-time data into the platform can easily react and engage with customers with highly relevant content. Image courtesy of Data Flair.
With the help of automation, these technologies can work together and react to changing customer needs over time as they change. This will keep every interaction relevant and timely to each person.
The Ease of Use and User Interface
Last but not least, you’ll want to find a marketing platform that provides you with a simple user interface.
You’ll want to look for a tool with an easy-to-access dashboard that has all the reports you need housed in one central location. When it comes to creating, launching, and managing campaigns, you need a platform that makes every step of the process quick and easy.
Customer data management is also another essential consideration. If you can’t easily tap into your audience data to create segments, identify trends, or track engagements, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity area.
To vet this before making your investment decision, you’ll want to ask for demos of the platform. It will help you understand how the platform works and see each area of it in action. An interactive demo will allow you to click around and feel how the platform works and whether or not it’s as intuitive as it seems.
Finding a platform with an easy-to-use interface is significant because once you’ve been transitioned over, you’ll be on your own and won’t have someone showing you where to click for everything. While support is always available, it’s much more effective to figure things out on your own and learn as you go.
8 Marketing Platforms to Consider
Once you know some of the most important considerations when selecting a marketing platform, it’s time to put that knowledge to work.
If you do a quick Google search, you’ll come across hundreds of different marketing platforms. Some of these platforms will have a specific focus area like email or social media, while others will provide you with a broader array of services.
Determining which one is the best for your business will depend on your specific needs. To help get you started on your search, we’ve pulled together a list of eight marketing platforms to consider.
Each has its unique benefits, but they can all provide you with a high-quality product that will help you achieve your marketing goals and stay ahead of your customers’ needs.
Listrak is a versatile cross-channel marketing platform that provides retailers with everything they need to create successful and highly engaging campaigns. With the ability to capture important customer data and manage and connect all your marketing channels in one place, you can simplify your efforts.
The Listrak marketing platform has everything you need to manage your cross-channel experiences and more. It can help you better understand your customers, integrate personalization into each touch, continue to grow, and so much more. Image courtesy of Listrak.
- This platform is a one-stop-shop and has everything you need to manage various marketing channels, collect and understand customer data, and deliver seamless, personalized experiences
- Tap into features such as segmentation and personalization, cross-channel orchestration, predictive personalization, customer insights, and much more
- A Net Promoter Score of 82, meaning you’ll have the support you need to execute growth strategies and exceed your goals
- If you’re looking to continue to grow your presence, you can use the Growth Xcelerator Platform to engage new customers and increase revenue
What makes Listrak stand out? This platform stands out because it can handle anything you need, from cross-channel capabilities to predictive technology and machine learning. Having a highly rated client success team to help you succeed is another standout benefit.
Pricing: Pricing for this platform is customized based on business needs. You’ll need to speak with a Listrak representative to learn more and schedule a demo.
Channels: Email, text marketing, social, push, web, direct mail
Keap is a sales and marketing automation platform that can help you continue to grow your business and do more with your time. It makes it simple to connect with your customers, improve the sales pipeline, and continue to increase revenue.
Keap makes it simple for you to collect, manage, and understand customer data in one centralized location. With detailed contact activity and insights, both marketing and sales can leverage this data to improve the customer experience. Image courtesy of Keap.
- This platform allows you to manage multiple marketing channels from one centralized location and bring together marketing and sales automation for a more streamlined experience
- Easily integrate other applications with the platform to make the most out of everything you do and connect customer data
- Tap into the expertise of their coaches and establish growth goals for your business with personalized sales and marketing playbooks
- Get the features you need to make the most out of your marketing channels, such as automation capabilities, personalization, customer follow-ups, and more
What makes Keap stand out? The ability to connect your sales and marketing teams into one workflow keeps the customer at the forefront of the process.
Pricing: There are three plan options available for this platform, including the Lite, Pro, and Max plans. Pricing is based on the number of contacts you have, and pricing starts at $59 per month and increases based on the plan you choose and the number of contacts in your subscriber list.
Channels: CRM, email, text messaging, landing pages, payments, and more
Marketo is an enterprise marketing automation platform with everything you need to manage customer data, create engaging marketing campaigns, and share insights with sales. This B2B focused platform has the tools you need to connect with your customers and continue to grow your business.
The Marketo platform gives you the tools to manage your marketing efforts from one centralized location. You can easily create personal and engaging interactions across various channels with the correct customer data and insights. Image courtesy of Marketo.
- Marketo is a well-known marketing automation platform that has been recognized as a B2B marketing automation leader by Gartner
- This platform can help you manage your marketing efforts, including things like automation, email, lead management, and revenue attribution
- If your business focuses on account-based marketing, then this platform will give you the tools you need to acquire, retain, and grow your high-value accounts
- You’ll have access to many features, including content personalization, cross-channel engagement, automation tools, and more
What makes Marketo stand out? For years, this platform has been a leader in the industry and is an excellent tool for B2B businesses looking to improve their customer communications and bring sales and marketing together.
Pricing: There are four plan options available, including the Jumpstart, Select, Prime, and Ultimate. Pricing for each plan is customized and based on business needs. You’ll have to speak with a Marketo representative to learn more.
Channels: email, website, paid media, dynamic chat, SEO, social, mobile push, text marketing
The Zoho Marketing Automation platform provides you with a one-stop-shop tool. It has everything you need to create multichannel marketing campaigns, personalized experiences, and lead qualification and hand-off capabilities.
With an easy-to-use dashboard, you can easily manage leads and see the success of your marketing campaigns in real-time. Having the right insights available can help you improve your efforts and know precisely how successful your campaigns are. Image courtesy of Zoho Marketing Automation.
- This platform is an all-in-one marketing automation tool that will help you to manage your marketing efforts across multiple channels
- It will allow you to collect and understand customer data to create a more personalized experience, nurture and qualify leads, and share insights with your sales teams
- You can tap into features such as multichannel experiences, web behavior marketing, personalized journeys, and more
- You’ll also have the ability to connect and integrate this platform with your other apps to ensure you have a full picture
What makes Zoho Marketing Automation standout? This platform has everything you need to run successful marketing campaigns and advanced lead management tools to help qualify and convert leads.
Pricing: Pricing for this platform is customized and based on specific business needs. You’ll need to speak with a Zoho Marketing Automation representative to learn more.
Channels: email, social media, text marketing
MailChimp is another well-known marketing platform with all the tools you need to create and manage successful marketing campaigns. MailChimp will simplify building comprehensive experiences and driving sales through custom domains.
MailChimp helps you take the guesswork out of creating content and enables you to develop relevant content for your customers. Personalized content is more likely to catch the eye of your customers and encourage them to convert – meaning higher success rates for your campaigns. Image courtesy of MailChimp.
- This platform has all of the tools you need to create engaging marketing experiences that perform well and help increase revenue and grow customer loyalty
- You’ll have access to an award-winning support team that is there to help you whenever needed day and night
- Integrating your other platforms and tools is simple and will help you to unlock more features and have a holistic view of all of your efforts
- Tap into features like customer journeys, send-time optimization, transactional emails, segmentation, and more
What makes MailChimp stand out? MailChimp has been a leading marketing automation tool for many years and has everything you need to build engaging campaigns that convert.
Pricing: There are multiple plan options depending on what your needs are. The Marketing Platform has four plan options and pricing ranges depending on the number of contacts.
Channels: email, websites, mobile app
HubSpot is another well-known marketing automation platform many companies trust with their campaign and lead management needs. It has everything you need to attract and convert new leads while nurturing and building loyalty with existing customers.
Connecting with your audiences has never been easier. HubSpot allows you to create unique customer journeys based on how people interact with your content and automatically moves them through the campaign without manual intervention. Image courtesy of HubSpot.
- This platform allows you to manage a wide variety of channels and marketing tools from one centralized platform to simplify campaign management and execution
- With HubSpot, you’ll have 24/7 customer support that is ready to help solve any technical problems you may experience
- It’s been praised by existing customers and is an award-winning platform
- You’ll have access to features like social media tools, email management, and tracking, lead management capabilities, landing page builder tools, and more
What makes HubSpot stand out? HubSpot has a wide variety of tools and services that can help your business achieve its goals. From the marketing software to full CRM capabilities, it is a platform that can grow as your business does.
Pricing: There are four plan options available for the HubSpot platform, including the Free, Starter, Professional, and Enterprise. Pricing starts at $45 per month.
Channels: Landing pages, blog, social media, email, live chat
SharpSpring is an all-in-one revenue growth platform that can help you manage everything from sales and marketing automation to your CRM needs. With this tool, you can easily convert prospects into leads and then nurture them towards becoming purchasing customers.
SharpSpring provides you with a centralized dashboard for all of your campaign and customer needs. You can easily report on successes and opportunities to integrate into your next campaign for continuous improvement. Image courtesy of SharpSpring.
- This platform can help you connect the dots between marketing and sales to increase opportunities and drive incremental revenue growth
- SharpSpring is a highly rated platform among its customers across various rating channels
- It allows you to tap into a variety of different tools to connect with your customer across their entire journey, including forms and landing pages, chatbots, email, lead scoring, sales optimizer, and more
- Some of the features you can expect to get from this tool include email tools that help you create personalized experiences, dynamic forms to convert more leads, and automation tools to make your job simple
What makes SharpSpring stand out? SharpSpring brings together all of the tools you need to improve your marketing campaigns and connect with customers and get that information to the sales team to increase sales.
Pricing: There are three plan options, including the Small Business, Enterprise, and Agency. Pricing is based on the number of contacts and starts at $449 per month.
Channels: email, CRM, social media, ads, chatbot
Omnisend is a marketing automation platform that focuses specifically on email and SMS channels. It offers many integrations to help take your campaigns to the next level and bring all your customer data and interactions together.
Creating cross-channel experiences has never been easier. With this platform, you can easily automate how your customers interact with your campaigns and ensure that you’re connecting with them on the most effective channel. Image courtesy of Omnisend.
- This platform has everything you need to manage your email and SMS marketing efforts to drive continued growth
- It’s the highest-rated platform on G2 for ease of use and will provide you with a tool that anyone on your team can quickly learn and use
- You’ll have access to 24/7 expert support to help solve any problems you run into, no matter what time of day it is
- With Omnisend, you’ll be able to use features like automated workflows and campaigns, pre-built templates and simple creative editors, precise targeting capabilities, and more
What makes Omnisend stand out? Omnisend has all the tools to create highly engaging email and SMS campaigns and keep your customers’ needs top of mind.
Pricing: There are three plan options, including the Free Email, Standard Email, and Pro Email & SMS. Pricing does vary based on how many people you are sending to and starts at $16 per month.
Channels: email, SMS
Find the Right Marketing Platform for Your Needs
It can often be overwhelming to find and vet a new marketing platform. There are so many different options available that it can be challenging to know which platform will provide you with the best value and have the flexibility to grow with your business.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. By taking the proper considerations into factor, you can quickly identify the right marketing platform for your needs and avoid falling victim to cloud promises and feature bait.
With these insights, you’ll be able to find the right marketing platform for your needs and continue to grow your business – now it’s up to you to take what you learned and put it into action!