According to a report by Marketo and Ascend (2015), 42% of companies use a marketing automation platform, compared to 54% using a CRM and 82% using email marketing technology. This stat alone suggests a certain amount of scepticism towards the adoption of marketing automation software compared to other options on the market.
[bctt tweet=”42% of companies use a marketing automation platform, compared to 82% using email marketing technology. #KDMDigital” username=”KDM_Digital”]
A common alternative for most businesses is turning to plugins to automate their marketing activities. If you have an e-commerce site, you might have noticed all the plugins or apps available. For example the Push Monkey app for Shopify users or using cart abandonment lite for Woocommerce. And who can blame them? At first glance, plugins seem to be the much easier and cheaper option to take. However are plugins really worth the money and in the long-term are they better or worse than purchasing a dedicated marketing automation tool, like Hubspot or Active Campaign. Today, we debate which is better, marketing automation plugins or software.
Integration: Can a plugin integrate with a range of tools?
Integration, does it really matter? Well…if you want to save time it does! Plugins, while there are so many out there each one requires further integration, installation and there’s no guarantee that your site might even support that plugin. A sophisticated marketing automation tool, on the other hand, can offer an all-in-one solution. It can integrate with your website, social media, email software, CRM, eCommerce and so much more. In fact tools, such as ActiveCampaign even take integration to a whole new level by being able to integrate with back-office software, such as Zoho and Base Camp. You would have to spend way more time and money to achieve this level of integration by only using plugins. In the long-term, this would not be a viable option for your website, as different plugins need updating and we know updates can sometimes be even more disastrous.
[bctt tweet=”#MarketingAutomation software takes integration to a whole new level by integrating with back-office software, such as Zoho or Base Camp. #KDMDigital” username=”KDM_Digital”]
More data and analytics at all touchpoints
Marketing automation software can show so much more than your Google analytics account or any other plugin you are using. Don’t get us wrong, Google analytics is vital to monitor your site traffic and engagement. But the right automation tool can measure the activity of each individual that visits your site. That’s right, not a whole bunch of people, just one contact.
[bctt tweet=”Marketing automation software can show so much more than your Google analytics account or any other plugin you are using. #KDMDigital” username=”KDM_Digital”]
For example, if you wanted to see the pages that Joe Blogs visited recently, you can simply click on his name in your contact list and see his recent activity. This is a highly useful data. Especially if you want to send out personalised content to your contacts and when we say personalised we mean REALLY personalised! You can send him relevant special offers, more information or anything you like based on this data. You can even use this data to see where your most engaged contacts came from, such as what website lead them here or search engine. Since plugins are just addons on your site, it is impossible for them to see the big picture and measure customer behaviour at various touch points.
More flexibility and choice
When it comes to plugins there is a wide choice of plugins that send automated cart abandonment emails, reminders, automate social media posts etc. and there are even new ones being developed every day. However, the key difference between these plugins and a sophisticated marketing automation tool is personalisation.
It is most likely that these plugins send out the same reminder email to all contacts. A marketing automation software would be able to send out different reminder emails to different segments of your contacts lists. This way your contacts will feel like they’re receiving personal emails targeted at them, instead of blasts of generic-sounding emails. Marketing automation tools even allow you to set conditions for when these messages should be sent. For example, you can send event reminder email at 10 am on Thursday for everyone who is not clicked on the register CTA on your site. Now that’s personalisation at the highest level.
Creating a unity between marketing and sales teams
A marketing automation software would be able to facilitate the communication between your company’s marketing team and sales team. If you run a fairly large company, you would know that there is a clear disconnect between marketing and sales. A common issue is marketing teams failing to pass on customer data to the sales department. This means your sales department is wasting time on gathering customer data, trying to figure out the pain points, interests, point in sales funnel and any other relevant information. All information that your marketing team would already have through their analytics and research.
[bctt tweet=”A marketing automation software would be able to facilitate the communication between your company’s marketing team and sales team. #KDMDigital” username=”KDM_Digital”]
A marketing automation software would be able to include all this customer data into a simple database, which your sales team can easily access. Therefore, they can spend their time contacting leads that are sales ready, instead of determining which leads are qualified. Plugins, while you may find some that can track site activity. But they can never provide a solid amount of data to your sales team to build on and close sales.
What do you want to achieve?
The battle between marketing automation plugins and software can be a difficult one. But in the end, you have to choose an option that suits your company’s goals. If you are looking for something that automates your communication with your customers. Then plugins will do that. However, if you’re looking for a way to develop a relationship with your audience. Then a software may be a better option.
A marketing automation software would be able to monitor contact engagement at different touch points and score them based on a set criteria. It would be able to send any type of message as an automated message at any time you want. As technology improves, marketing automation software has the ability to appear more human and all with little effort needed. If your goal is to create a truly personalised experience, then you need a dedicated marketing automation software.
Plugins or software: The winner is…
It is a common misconception to think that plugins will solve all your problems. Yes, in the short term they definitely are a good, low-cost option. However, if you really want to nurture your leads and generate sales, then investing in a good marketing automation package is vital. A good marketing automation software will be able to save time on activities, such as emails, lead-nurturing and so much more. And all this under one software, instead of messing around with hundreds of different plugins. It’s clear that to succeed in the future, an investment in marketing automation software is required. Do you agree with our points? Let us know in the comments below.
Interested in using marketing automation? Contact our friendly team of digital marketing consultants to discuss marketing automation in more detail. You can even book a one-to-one strategy session to discuss your company’s needs in more detail