Have you ever purchased an item and realised after the purchase that there were things you wish you knew before you handed your credit card over? Maybe it would have been nice to know that Apple would release a new iPhone a month after you bought yours. Or you wish you knew you were going to meet the love of your life a few months after you bought that one-bed room apartment.
Unfortunately, these issues can happen during the buying process of marketing automation software too and the price tag that comes with that is pretty high. Most marketing automation or campaign management solutions were originally built as what we call ‘purebred’ software applications. The whole solution was built from the ground up as a marketing application. Today however, there are few solutions in the market that could be regarded as merinos.
Software integrations began to emerge when digital communication came to the forefront, cloud adoption grew and omnichannel marketing arose. As software companies needed to keep their product competitive and meet their growth targets they were faced with a choice of investing in their own product development teams or collaborating with and even acquiring other companies. A ground up marketing application today is a bit like finding a merino in a mob of border leicesters. As a matter of fact, these integrations are happening even now with the rise of artificial intelligence.
Whilst offering new capabilities, these cross bred solutions may have some challenges underneath depending on how well integrated they are.
Some areas of caution are:
- Data integration – Some solutions have different identifiers and are integrated by a lookup table. It works in a similar way as the data federation approach for data warehouses.
- Integration is not much more than a single sign on. Looks seamless but does not really make things easier.
If the solution is well integrated we as marketers have a good platform to use. On the other hand if the integration is not as good as hoped, you will still need to use a lot of different tools for building marketing campaigns or your IT team still has a complex solution to manage. This could waste a lot of your team’s time and resources that can be better used elsewhere.
In other words when looking for marketing automation or campaign management solutions it might help to look more closely beneath the covers and do your research. ‘Caveat Emptor’ everyone!