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Marketing technology specialist David Raab provides some insights on how to choose a marketing automation system. Automation systems have reached a point that they can benefit most marketing departments, but most buyers aren't yet equipped with the knowledge to make an effective purchase decision. Avoid the following errors:

Buying Because Everyone Else Is
Buy a marketing automation system because you need it. So first, define how you'll use it, what benefits you’ll get, and what financial value those benefits provide. (E.g. generate more leads, save production costs by creating your own pages, send better-qualified leads to sales.)

Choosing the System with the Most / Best / Coolest Features
A feature you don't use adds to cost and complexity, thus reducing the value you get from the system. Again, first define how you'll use the system to determine the features you need.

Considering Only the Industry Leaders
Becoming an industry leader isn't necessarily synonymous with having the best product. And the "industry-best" product doesn't necessarily fit your needs. If you've clearly defined your requirements, assessing a large number of vendors shouldn't be difficult.

Saving Time by Skipping Scenarios
Design some sample campaigns or other processes and watch the vendor execute them. You get to see the features you really need and not be distracted by the ones you don’t. This will ultimately speed your implementation as well as helping to ensure you select a system that actually does what you need.

Ignoring References
References tell you what kinds of companies have previously succeeded with the system. Even happy references can provide concrete information about what worked well and not-so-well.

Spending Too Little
Don’t save money by not training your staff, prepping your data, designing sound programs, or creating strong content.  Those investments are what will really determine whether you get value from your marketing automation system.

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Chandler Austin

Written by Chandler Austin