“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is an old adage that has endured from generation to generation. We’ve heard it countless times, but we’d hardly consider it sage advice in the business world.

To remain competitive, marketers need to take a proactive approach, rather than a reactive approach, when it comes to upgrading their marketing and email automation platforms. Instead of waiting for something to “break,” or before becoming inundated with workarounds from their current systems, marketers regardless of the industry should always be looking for ways to improve how they develop and execute campaigns, and acknowledge the signs when it’s time to upgrade. As our 2019 research report on email marketing details, the impact that personalization has on email marketing engagement is something that can no longer be ignored, meaning your systems need to be able to respond to this trend to be successful, whether it be customizing a subject line or micro-segmenting an email list.

So how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your marketing automation platform? Based on our research, and our 18 years of working with clients, here are the most important considerations and questions to ask before making the change.

When the limitations of free platforms outweigh their benefits

Taking advantage of the free programs out there may save money in the near future, it constricts what you’re able to do with your email marketing program, which costs you money in the long run. With a basic automation system, you’re limited in what you’re able to do in terms of email personalization and setting up automation rules. For instance, most programs don’t allow you to use contact-level data, whether it be segmented or activity-based, to build triggers that will send out a relevant email. There’s also a single automation rule built into most of these lite programs that inhibits multiple email triggers and workflows to build nurture programs.

A marketing automation system is a tool that sends an email when a pre-defined rule is triggered, but just because you have the technology to speed the process and make it efficient, doesn’t mean that the insight of the human touch should stay out of the picture. Marketing tools should work in tandem with the efforts of marketing teams and sales teams to successfully convert prospects, and crafting a plan before using them is necessary for the effectiveness of the program.

Questions to ask yourself before making the upgrade

Before taking the leap and deciding on a new marketing automation system, there are some important questions that you need to consider to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Ask yourself:

  • Do you have a pre-defined user journey to build out a workflow?
  • What is the objective and the end-goal? Is it to minimize manual processes, improve the user experience, increase engagement, etc.?
  • Do you have a way to remove users from an automation workflow, make changes to it, or pause it immediately?

Having a structure and plan in place before setting up your new system is key in ensuring the success of your marketing strategy. Reflecting on what works and what doesn’t can inform whether you’re ready to take the next step, and help you outline an action plan for when you decide to move forward.

Securing buy-in from senior management

So, you’ve decided that the time is right to upgrade your marketing automation system, but you’ve hit the roadblock of articulating the need for the new system to senior-level management.

As we heard from financial marketing leaders in our inaugural Financial Marketer Mindset Report, you have to speak the same language that the C-suite speaks. Focus on the fact that sending timely and relevant emails drive ROI by improving engagement and converting more sales. Additionally, it will be helpful to highlight that marketing team won’t have to waste hours and days on email production and scheduling, which will then allow the firm to cut marketing spend or shift resources to other value-add initiatives for the team.

A tool that sends hyper-personalized emails as part of a nurture program improves the efficiency of marketing teams, as well as enabling sales teams to better convert active prospects. Not to mention that it improves the user experience, which leads to a lift in engagement. If you’re ready to take the next step and upgrade your marketing automation system, contact us to learn more about how we can help.