Seven Ways to Liberate Marketing So, what are the key elements of a modern B2B marketing software solution? Although I work for a marketing software vendor, the following list comes from my years of experience working with technology enabled marketing solutions.
- Intuitive interface: Most marketers didn’t start their careers as programmers or project managers. Complex tools with Visio-like user interfaces and pseudo-code programming environments may be powerful, but they’re hard to learn and end up requiring dedicated resources and/or significant professional services. Marketers need an intuitive system they can learn quickly – think of how many marketers know how to use PowerPoint.
- Great design: Let’s face it – marketers are visual people, and how software looks and acts and feels matters. Just take a look at the iPhone.
- No upfront costs: Marketing departments typically have significant monthly or quarterly program budgets, but large one time payments can be hard – especially if it isn’t planned for months in advance. The same marketer that can commit to a $25,000 agency contract (paid monthly) without batting an eye needs CxO approval to justify a technology investment of similar size.
- Free trial: Seth Godin says that most businesses aren’t price sensitive; they are value and risk sensitive. They need to justify to the people they work with that they didn’t get ripped off, and they don’t want to have to apologize to their boss for buying the wrong thing. A trial is a great way to get comfortable that the solution really works and meets your needs. If a vendor can’t offer a free trial to serious prospects, it’s probably because their software takes too long to install or is too hard to learn without significant training.
- On-demand: Software as a Service is a godsend to IT-starved marketing departments. It means you don’t have to buy any hardware or install anything, the system maintains itself, and new upgrades are delivered automatically.
- Great support: A great solution is much more than just the software you get. To be successful, marketers need easy ways to get started, access to tips and best practices, and responsive customer support. Of course, success shouldn’t come with a price tag, so you shouldn’t have to pay extra for these services.
- Powerful and complete: Sophisticated problems require sophisticated solutions, and B2B marketers shouldn’t have to compromise functionality to get great design, usability, and fast implementations.
In your experience, what else is required from a successful B2B marketing automation solution?