How to Find Appropriate Technology for Marketing Automation

By Mathew Sweezey

Because marketing automation inevitably involves bringing new technology in-house, your business case should recommend the technology with the right level of efficiency gains within your budget. Three levels of marketing automation technology are worth considering:

  • Basic automation: Allows for connectivity of a few main channels — usually email, website, and a customer relationship management system (CRM). These tools allow for the basic campaigns to happen but do not lend themselves to large-scale campaigns. These tools are best suited for very small companies with fewer than five employees. The cost of these tools is also very low.

  • SMB automation: Best for companies that need very easy-to-use tools but have an appetite for more advanced campaigns. Usually, companies that have 10–300 employees and do not have very advanced needs adopt these tools.

  • Enterprise automation: For the very advanced companies that need ultimate customization, flexibility, and the most robust tool set they can afford. These solutions generally require you to hire additional people dedicated to running the marketing automation solution because of its complexities. Usually, enterprise companies use these solutions.

After choosing a marketing automation level to recommend to your company, you should consider the following individual factors to help you further refine your needs:

  • Database size: The size of your database dictates the cost of your solution and the need for database features within your application. If your database is very large, you probably need more advanced features to tackle all the possible scenarios you’ll likely face.

    Consider a small database as having fewer than 10,000 contacts in your database, and a large database as having more than 120,000 total contacts. Your database includes customers, prospects, and cold leads.

  • Users: You need to decide how many users will have to have access to the solution to achieve the results you are looking for.

    Remember that if you want to increase the revenue coming into your organization, every salesperson might have to have a license for the software as well so that salespeople can take advantage of the lead-tracking tools. This is important to know because some tools charge you based on the number of users who use the application.

  • Other integrations: Make sure that your tool will connect with your CRM, content management system (CMS), and other marketing channels. Generally, the more connections you require, the higher your costs will become and the more efficient you can make your connections.