There’s this guy…
Let’s call him “Bob”.
Bob is the newly appointed chief marketing officer at an upcoming B2B enterprise. Just promoted, Bob is all fired up to take his company to the next level.
As the first step toward his goal, Bob decides to switch his company’s current lead generation software with one that lets him collect more data and passes it along to his marketing tool suite.
To find a suitable tool, he does a Google search and looks up for the “best lead generation software”… browses through the top results … and BAM lands on our very own site.
Now you’re probably wondering about Bob’s second step … so, what does Bob DO next?
Does he signup right away?
Does he book a demo?
Ok – does he at least write us a query?
Instead, he signups up to download our free guide with lead generation tips. So, all we have from Bob is his email.
Do you think it would make sense if we just emailed Bob a Digioh pitch and asked him to sign up?
You’re right – it would feel a bit early to make the offer.
But, since we know Bob’s interested, we could invite him to signup for our webinar series on lead generation. And after Bob attends it, we would be sure that Bob is engaged and is also aware of Digioh’s capabilities. So, this would be a good time to invite Bob for a personalized demo. Following this demo could come a personalized offer. And then maybe Bob would become a customer.
As you just saw, the buying cycle got pretty lengthy. Also, quite a few interactions happened before the actual sale.
To catch up with such buying journeys that comprise multiple interactions and touchpoints, and to make sure that the right person gets the right message at the the right time, businesses use “MARKETING AUTOMATION”. Automating marketing efforts lets organizations set up rules that trigger pre-defined responses from the business that get the prospects to interact, engage, and buy.
For example, in our case, a rule like “Organic traffic + interested in lead generation content” could trigger the action of sending the invite to the lead generation webinar. Further, participation in all the webinars could lead to the demo invite.
Hopefully, the above example has given you an idea of what marketing automation is all about. Let’s now look at how marketing automation tools define this term.
A primer on marketing automation
If you look up for the definition of “marketing automation”, you’ll find that every marketing automation software has one of its own.
For example, here’s one from Pardot (from Salesforce):
Marketing automation is a software platform that helps you to automate your marketing and sales engagement to generate more leads, close more deals, and better measure marketing success.
This one comes from HubSpot:
Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.
If you can’t understand much from these definitions … watch this video by Eloqua, another marketing automation solution. It gives the simplest explanation of marketing automation and comes straight from a marketer.
(Click on the image below to watch the video.)
Marketing automation is a lot more than setting up “Autoresponders”
Some people get confused between marketing automation and sending automated email campaigns (via autoresponders). These two are very different concepts.
Let me explain:
Someone who runs a popular blog and just needs to send out monthly newsletters and welcome series to new subscribers doesn’t need an automation solution. A good email marketing tool should suffice.
But for someone who’s selling an expensive B2B product with the average buyer’s journey spanning across various channels and touchpoints, a marketing automation solution is the answer to most of the marketing challenges.
And you CAN’T, in fact, compare marketing automation software like ExactTarget with email marketing software like the following:
The most that an email marketing software can enable you to do is setup emails that go on specific times. That’s it. It’s only when they’re powered by an automation solution that they can send personalized and targeted offers. If you too have a complex product on offer, you will likely need to invest in an automation tool.
So that brings us to ExactTarget, the leading marketing automation tool.
So, what’s ExactTarget
Or, what it used to be …
Well, ExactTarget was an email marketing automation software that Salesforce acquired and rebranded as the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. Later, in 2014, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud got rebranded as “Salesforce Marketing Cloud” (dropping the term ExactTarget from the name).
So … ExactTarget — as we know now — is Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It continues to be one of the most popular marketing automation solutions for small to large businesses.
It monitors and analyzes a prospect’s touchpoints with a business across different marketing channels. It also helps companies map their customer journeys, discover patterns, and draw insights.
If you’re considering ExactTarget for your business, you should find the following cheat sheet helpful. It gives links to detailed comparisons between ExactTarget and its popular alternatives.
Before you read the comparisons, you should know that comparing two marketing automation solutions is tricky. While all of them work as the linchpin in an organization’s marketing efforts, each one works differently.
You could prefer one over the other for several reasons like:
- Integrations (for example, with your CRM software or lead generation tool)
So, your choice of your marketing automation solution will depend on the marketing challenges you’re looking to overcome. Let’s get started…
ExactTarget vs HubSpot
HubSpot is a full-blown inbound marketing software that allows you to create workflows, automate emails, and offer personalized content.
Quick comparison links:
- A head-to-head comparison of HubSpot and Salesforce
- Compare ExactTarget vs. HubSpot
- HubSpot vs Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email
ExactTarget vs Oracle Eloqua
Eloqua’s one of the leading alternatives to ExactTarget. It’s showdown post “Compare Oracle Marketing Cloud to Salesforce Marketing Cloud” begins with: “Move from Salesforce Marketing Cloud to the World’s Most Modern Marketing Cloud.” Sounds promising, right?
For a non-biased third-party review, check this one out:
ExactTarget vs Adobe Campaign (Formerly, Neolane)
Adobe Campaign helps you improve the depth and reach of your campaigns with personalization.
See how Adobe fares against ExactTarget: Who is winning the Marketing Cloud wars?
ExactTarget vs Act-On
Act-on’s automation capabilities help business with brand awareness and demand generation. They also assist with client retention. They’re the “Marketing Platform for the entire Lead-to-Revenue Lifecycle.”
ExactTarget vs ClickDimensions
ClickDimensions lets you automate campaigns by defining triggers, timers, and actions. It helps organizations identify the people who’re interested in their services and helps them take informed decisions to pull these people into the sales funnel.
ExactTarget vs Infusionsoft
Infusionsoft is the top pick of small businesses that have basic marketing automation needs.
Choosing a marketing automation software is one of the most critical business decisions you’ll ever take. And there’s no dearth of options to consider. Your choice, however, will depend on the features/functionality that you need the most, the marketing problems you’re facing, and the kind of returns that you’re expecting out of your investment.
So, what is your biggest criteria for choosing a marketing automation solution?
P.S Oh and if you do go for ExactTarget (or even for any of its alternatives for that matter), you should check out Digioh as well. Powering your marketing automation efforts with Digioh’s super lead generation capabilities can tool you up for the ultimate marketing automation success.
Here’s how it works:
- First comes Digioh that collects leads (or emails) for you.
- Next, these leads get passed along to your marketing automation software. Thanks to Digioh, your marketing automation tool has all the info about the lead’s source (i.e., how it landed on your list), what content the lead finds interesting (from the segment the lead got added to), and much more. (These are the ingredients of the perfect, most converting automation workflows.)
Book a Digioh demo now and see how you can spruce up your marketing automation game with Digioh’s lead generation awesomeness.