The fact that modern marketing strategies must rely on automation is already a given. 79% of top-performers admit they have been using marketing automation tools for at least the past three years. In 2019, the US marketing automation software market exceeded 6 billion dollars. Based on the estimations, the upward trend will continue to evolve.
With its spread, martech — the blend of traditional marketing approaches with technology — has become a game-changer. Despite allowing companies to optimize marketing processes and costs, it has also made the market more competitive. After gaining easy access to automated email campaigns, social media marketing, sending direct mail, and other channels, many businesses come to the understanding that disjointed steps aren’t enough.
It’s essential to pick the right combination of marketing automation tools that smoothly integrate with each other. They should also cover all the marketing needs of the company with an optimum price-quality ratio.
We’ve prepared a brief guide to help you select the most suitable marketing automation tools and automated direct mail software. Today’s article is an overview of the key types of marketing automation platforms every marketing professional needs.
Keep reading to learn:
- Marketing automation tools: What are they and why should you use them?
- 6 types of top marketing automation platforms: Features, average pricing, and recommendations
- Automated direct mail in integrated marketing campaigns
Marketing Automation Tools: What Are They and Why Should You Use Them?
Marketing automation tools are a subtype of software products designed specifically to optimize and enhance marketing processes with automation. They help to optimize repetitive tasks, scale marketing efforts, track communications with customers, analyze the achieved results, and more.
Although marketing automation tools can be used separately, professional marketers usually combine them to achieve the cumulative effect. Products with different functionality complement each other, allowing businesses to market more effectively. For example, automated direct mail software can be integrated with a marketing automation platform to connect display ads and mailers.
Such an approach helps to create several touchpoints with consumers, engage their attention, and enjoy some other benefits, including:
- Optimized marketing budget
- Ability to focus on core business activities while marketing automation tools take care of the customer journey
- Increased efficiency of marketing efforts
- Personalized customer experience and advanced targeting
- Detailed reporting and analytics
- Advantage over competitors that still don’t use top marketing automation platforms or use them inefficiently
Apart from that, the use of top marketing automation platforms makes your everyday routine more rewarding. In what way? You can experiment with your marketing approaches, please your customers, and get a huge bang for the buck of your investment.
6 Types of Top Marketing Automation Platforms: Features, Average Pricing, and Recommendations
Of course, when you need to choose among top marketing automation platforms, there is no universal recipe. It all depends on your marketing needs, budget, and the channels you plan to use. Still, whichever goals you pursue, there are several main categories of top marketing automation platforms you will most likely use.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a brief overview of the primary functions, price range, and top picks of marketing automation tools selected by Inkit.
CRMs. Type #1 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems enable you to control all interactions of marketers and sales with customers. CRMs are often used as the foundation connecting different stages of the sales cycle and customer journey. In addition to extensive functionality, they also support numerous integrations that help to enrich the core features with additional capabilities. Besides, CRMs consolidate customer data and statistics collected from all interactions with consumers. This allows you to create a realistic customer portrait, improve service, and tailor your marketing campaigns.
This category usually comprises features for:
- Marketing workflow automation. Build a step-by-step personalized journey for every customer based on their actions and events
- Customer behavior tracking. See the behavior of your current or prospective customers, including activities with landing pages, emails, automated direct mail, and more
- Lead management. Automatically collect information about new leads, track lead nurturing, and perform lead scoring to get the big picture
- Sales automation. Manage all communications and updates sent to your customers.
- Reporting and analytics. All data collected in one place for a single view of a specific customer or segmented target audience
The monthly price for the basic package varies from $50 to $2000 depending on the features.
Identity/Email/Mail Validation. Type #2 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
Marketing automation tools for customer identity verification and address validation significantly contribute to the quality of customer data. They help to check if leads or subscribers shared their information accurately and in the right format. In addition, many of such tools enable you to enrich the existing customer data with additional details. They match the information collected through all channels to generate meaningful customer profiles. For example, an email may be enough to get the physical address of an individual.
This software allows you to see the most deliverable addresses and create additional touchpoints with enriched customer data. Although identity/email/mail validation tools are a must-have for enterprises handling big data, small businesses with multiple contacts will also find them useful.
From $0.0025 to $0.15 per 1 data verification. The price of the batch usually starts at $50.
Analytics & Segmentation. Type #3 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
Even though CRMs and many other marketing automation tools allow business owners to segment and analyze data, this might be not enough. If you want to conduct an in-depth analysis of every marketing channel you use, consider subscribing to specialized analytics software. Such tools collect information on real user interactions, which helps to understand and evaluate common behavioral patterns. Thanks to diverse filters and advanced segmentation, you can attribute specific decisions to a narrow group of people. It’s a great way to see unique individuals behind user sessions or metrics.
The basic functionality of Google Analytics is free of charge. For more advanced premium solutions, you’ll be charged at least $250-1000 per month.
Lead Generation. Type #4 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
To attract new leads, smoothly onboard them, complete lead scoring, and start nurturing customers, you will need marketing automation. Lead generation tools help to build a flawless customer journey and convert the maximum number of customers at each of its stages. Most importantly, such software allows you to determine whether a lead is worth your focus. Lead generators perform lead scoring to rank all potential customers based on their value. The tools evaluate the information people share and analyze their behavior, such as website visits, clicks, downloads, etc. This data is used to categorize leads and avoid wasting resources on unpromising accounts.
Coordinated work of your marketers and sales team is another significant benefit of lead generation automation. The teams receive access to a single marketing automation platform with aggregated data on leads. This enables them to work more effectively and focus on a specific goal.
Note. Many lead generation and nurturing features are available in CRMs. Therefore, small businesses that don’t require advanced functionality may try to use a CRM as a substitute.
The price of such marketing automation tools starts at $10/month for a range of basic functions. Enterprise plans will cost you at least several hundred dollars monthly.
Customer Communication. Type #5 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
Today, there is no need to pay for the development of custom solutions for support teams. The creators of automated customer communication tools have done all the routine for you. Once you subscribe to such software, you can instantly implement live chats, customer messaging, feedback collection, and social media marketing communications on your web resources. And in addition to saving the money otherwise spent on software development, you get a bunch of other opportunities. Automated communications simplify user behavior tracking, optimize the work of your support team, and considerably reduce the response time. You can stay in constant contact with your consumers, providing seamless support.
Many tools offer free test trials. Paid plans usually cost from $19 to $100/month on average per one customer support agent.
Customer Retention. Type #6 of Top Marketing Automation Platforms
The customer retention group comprises tools for diverse marketing channels. You can use them to automatically show pop-ups or online ads, send tailored emails, SMS, and push notifications. Many companies also choose to target customers offline by sending personal postcards, vouchers, and flyers. The key point is that to automate customer retention, you will need to decide what channels generate maximum ROI and are the most cost-effective. After that, just subscribe to marketing automation tools that support the necessary retention functionality and connect them in a single customer journey.
From as low as $9/month to several hundreds for advanced enterprise plans
Automated Direct Mail in Integrated Marketing Campaigns
Even though marketing automation is mostly used for online touchpoints, many offline channels are equally easy to automate. Thus, automated direct mail is another type of top marketing automation platform you should consider implementing. Since the response rates of mail marketing far outweigh digital channels, it will boost the overall efficiency of your marketing efforts. An appealing postcard with a QR code is always a good reason to visit a website, subscribe to your social media, or start following your blog.
As to the software for automated direct mail, there are several market leaders. No bragging, but Inkit is one of them. Our tool allows sending direct mail integrated with other marketing channels and makes it easy to track and measure. Here’re some other essential features of Inkit’s automated direct mail:
- Fully automated printing and shipment of mail pieces
- Triggered direct mail based on user behavior or events
- A/B split testing to measure the results of future direct mail campaigns before targeting all customers
- Hundreds of integrations for cross- and omni-channel marketing campaigns
- Unlimited batch size to send any mail volume and always stay flexible
To launch triggered direct mail, you will only need a postcard design and mailing lists. Actually, Inkit can help you with both. The tool provides a custom postcard builder and integrates with numerous tools for lead generation and customer data enrichment.
Eager to start automating mail right now? Click here to get the demo of Inkit.