Is it Time to Switch your Marketing Automation Platform?

By Kirsten Oelrich 6 min read

Choosing the right marketing automation platform is one of the most difficult decisions marketers are faced with today. However, even after identifying a platform and implementing it, sometimes the platform just doesn’t measure up. Soon, you realize that even though your workload is increasing, the platform capabilities are limited. While your strategies may be water tight, the platform is simply not enough to meet the demands of the modern market.

Luckily, there are plenty of marketing automation software providers to choose from. Moving to a new platform can potentially boost the way you sell your brand by accessing lead management tools, email and content marketing solutions, as well as social media management options.

You must consider few things to determine whether it is the right time to switch your engagement platform:

Just Simplicity and No Sophistication

If your business is using marketing automation tools for the first time for building your company, you might select just a good enough solution and not a complex one. This is because you have just implemented digital engagement strategies. There are numerous concepts within digital marketing; many prefer to opt for systems that are easy to use. There are certain challenges most companies face when they are new to digital engagements, as initially it may look easy but soon it restricts them from their long-term capabilities that are really needed by marketers. After launching the digital marketing strategy in the initial few months marketers find themselves confined because of the lack of sophistication. Therefore, they are compelled to search for more without a system that can deliver on more advanced objectives.

Get Started with the right Digital Marketing Strategy

While initiating their digital marketing strategy, marketers use few introductory campaigns like one-time email sends, basic drip email campaigns based on a single indicator of interest, newsletters that require manual creation of content and uploading of contacts, single occurrence of events or tradeshows that rarely take place, generic emails and landing pages without any personalization and simple lead follow-up workflows and sales notifications.

One thing that is common between all these is that a single objective is targeted at a single point of time, often using basic messaging. Those who are new to engagement marketing find it time consuming and confusing while initializing the campaigns. In two to three months of using the marketing platform marketers eventually mature past these initial campaigns.

On the other hand, sophisticated digital marketing campaigns adapt engagements over time, learn preferences and listen to interests. Such advanced marketing programs are non-linear. They are also able to adjust the focus of communication to correspond with the target audience’s behavior in real time and keep track of relevant touch points for every individual.

In depth strategy is equal to in depth needs

Once digital marketing campaigns are established, businesses want to initiate personalized messages, at the right time and follow-up to match the target audience’s preferences and interests. This level of personalization while efficiently maintaining marketing operations can be accomplished by having a solution that is designed to deliver results at scale.

Simple systems are challenging as marketers get used to their basic functions, as there is little space for additional functionality to create more sophisticated campaigns with ease. Due to this they lack functionality, lack a connected history and make it challenging or impossible to configure multi-dimensional campaigns. It also makes its more complex to deliver multifaceted, multi-touch and multi-channel campaigns. As compared to that the right marketing engagement platforms deliver in a simple and sophisticated way that is reliable, and can enhance your digital marketing strategy in the future. All you need to do is go for simplicity and sophistication. Collaborate with your marketing experts who can evaluate sophisticated workflows from the past and amend it and use it for the initiatives in the future.

Limitations by your systems

Marketers are also motivated to switch marketing platforms as it is very hard to incorporate the desired history, data or events from other systems into the designated target audience. This is due to certain limitations like lack of variety in constraints, lack of access to constraints, inability to filter due to the absence of history and disconnected systems.

Initially when marketing automation platforms were introduced, they were mostly designed to absorb the constant data supplied by other systems. They would probe and analyze that data to assign audiences. Many modern platforms have enhanced on this logic. They have expanded the related event data to time-based data constraints and basic conditional formatting within the defined audience.

The potential to drive results

The latest leading engagement platforms have taken data-extensibility to a different level altogether. It has also automatically multiplied the value of connected history by just connecting them to the core of the audience hub. For instance, instead of simply assimilating a contact activity, leading automation platforms simplify the touchpoints in the following way: instant response and interaction, updates to these interactions, historic interactions and their updates, absence on interaction and lack of updates to interactions.

Basic activities or records from other systems are accessible to light-weight automation platforms. But they will not be able to access customized fields, records or settings within external databases. In fact, sophisticated engagement platforms have access to the complete records both native and custom within your other platforms. Native and custom fields are also added to those records. This reliable connection helps your marketing team to articulate all the campaigns and personalization requested by the business and needed by the target audience.

From the long-term perspective

Like the first reason for making a switch, over a certain period, it is important to access the right history and marketing events to articulate a personalized and engaging customer experience. Most marketers are under the impression that basic data points are more than enough. But in four to six months the data capabilities will come to a stop, and they will be revaluating marketing automation systems. The solution to this is to see that your selected platform is not too lightweight. Enquire and get a detailed explanation about the data model, test audience and communication scenarios within those systems from your marketing engagement vendor, as it should correspond with both short and long term objectives of your marketing approach. Also ensure it will support your goals in the future.

Complexity of the system

While planning for a successful long-term marketing automation, your system needs to scale operations, so that marketers do not have to build any portion of a campaign again and again. The primary reason for purchasing a marketing automation platform is to reduce the pressure of digital engagement on the business. The right platform should eliminate the activities and steps. It should not create a completely new series of work on the preexisting hectic schedule of your marketing team.

This is related to the first reason for the switch, as it is observed that the initial campaigns of many businesses have a linear focus. Subsequently campaigns become multi-dimensional. With this they can deliver the right level of engagement in support of the identified audience and their personal interests.

There are some basic steps you need to follow for the development of a digital marketing campaign, for that you need to appropriately communicate with the audience through invitation, registration, tracking attendance and follow-ups based on the attendance.

There are more steps than these, that many companies follow within their event programs. You should look at the core components for each stage within the overall campaign like defining the audience you communicate with; create appropriate text messages, emails, forms and landing pages; track the responses; connect with them: build reports and attribution; communicate and respond to the audience at every stage.

Search for a solution that is more than basic

Marketers have to manually create each of the previously mentioned items, every time a new event is supported in basic automation platforms. On the surface some systems look simple, but the issue that is concealed is they do not scale well. Every time the marketer has to build every campaign from the scratch.

In comparison to that sophisticated marketing engagement platforms minimize the total number of times that a campaign is created from square one. This enables complete campaigns and multi-step flows to be duplicated instantly. It is simple for leading platforms to update or make changes across the campaign all at once through reference values, that too from a single location.

Embrace sophistication

Sophisticated marketing engagement platforms are an asset, as it reduces the time to launch new campaigns and allows marketers to reference a shared campaign library. With the help of these systems, your team is able to share best practices, make improvements and work from results that are demonstrated, without recreating the structure and content from the start.

Sophisticated marketing engagement platforms can enhance your strategy and transform your system to the latest and updated system. It is a complex task to balance the current needs and that of the future. You need to review your current capabilities to narrow down the shortcomings your system is facing. It may be the time to re-evaluate your solution and upgrade your system and work with a sophisticated platform.

Explore Additional Resources

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Kirsten Oelrich

Written By

Kirsten Oelrich