Where we last left off, I was debating between two final marketing automation solutions- one we could get for a very reasonable price, and another, more advanced system that would cost us 2-3 times the price. While we’d done a basic cost-benefit analysis, it was hard to say how much having any marketing automation solution would benefit us, much less the additional benefit we’d get from one solution over another. I was having trouble making a final call, and everybody else at the office was kind of split on their decision, as well.
Then our COO asked me a question that put it all into perspective…
He said, “For 2-3 times the price, it would mean a difference of tens of thousands of dollars each year. For that price, we could potentially hire another person in marketing. What do you think is worth more: the extra MA functionality or another human to help execute our campaigns?”
Once he put it that way, it was a no-brainer. Of course I’d rather have a person to help write emails and coordinate campaigns! Would it be nice to have the added MA functionality too? Perhaps. But we’re just getting started with marketing automation, after all. The likelihood that we would “hit the wall” with the more economical solution in the first couple years and need a more advanced system that quickly is very unlikely. Plus, even if we didn’t hire another person in marketing right away (which we don’t plan to), I would still feel silly putting all that money into software that we couldn’t get the full benefit from for many months or even years to come.
So I picked up the phone and called the vendor with our final decision.
We decided to go with… drumroll please… Pardot!
We were more than happy with the features and functionality Pardot offered us, and for the price, it really couldn’t be beat. Their software had everything we had wished for, and more.
While we haven’t revealed the names of any of the other solutions in this diary to date, I thought it was only fair to share the marketing automation solution that we ultimately chose. Not because we think it is the best choice for everyone (because no software is one-size-fits-all), but because sharing the final choice helps validate that our journey— and the challenges along the way—were real-life struggles many companies face when buying software. And that, believe it or not, buying software can be a fun and educational experience, when done right!
Where do we go from here now that we’ve made a decision, you might ask? Good question! Where to start…
- For one, we need to start transitioning off our email marketing software so we aren’t paying for two systems at once. That means importing email lists into Pardot, re-creating landing pages and email templates, and downloading reports of our past email campaigns.
- Secondly, we need to start mapping out requirements and building our API so we can have the Pardot data integrated with our CRM.
- And third, we need to start writing! (Funny, I thought that’s what I was doing now). Content is the fuel that drives marketing automation campaigns, and while we do have a lot of great content already, we’ll need to create much more now that we can better personalize our nurture campaigns to software buyers and vendors.
So it looks like it’s going to be a busy summer in Cabo San Marketing (Capterra’s balmy side of the office, where Besa and I sit). Thankfully everybody will be out on their beach vacations while we’re experimenting with our new software—not that anything could go wrong, of course
Hopefully our guidance throughout this process can help you along your search for marketing automation software too, wherever that may take you! Please feel free to give us a shout if you ever want to talk through your marketing automation decision.