If you’re considering the move to marketing automation – or a switch from your current solution – there are a lot of factors to consider. After all, the decision to adopt a marketing platform is actually about the best decision for your entire company – everyone from the sales team to the IT department will be affected by your choice.
Because of this, your team might be tempted to simply choose a “suite” solution – a marketing solution offered by a large software stack provider – instead of the best solution for marketing’s needs. And as we discuss in our new ebook, Sweeter than Suite Solutions: Choose Your Own Marketing Automation Platform, marketers often pay a high price for choosing stack solutions.
A Brief History Lesson: The Best-of-Breed versus Suite Debate
To briefly back up, let’s revisit the origins of the “best-of-breed versus software suite” debate. You see, before open-architecture made it easy to add, upgrade, and swap software components, if you chose one piece of a provider’s software for your business, you had to adopt all of that’s provider’s software. For example, if that provider’s financial applications were amazing but their operations tools were terrible, you were still stuck with both.
This frequently meant that while some departments were thrilled about their software, other departments were left pining for better software from other companies – often from companies who were truly focused on that specific department’s needs. This was especially the case with marketing.
Because the buyer-seller relationship has evolved so dramatically in recent years, the role of the marketer has evolved dramatically as well. And to stay competitive, marketers need technology solutions that have also evolved – in fact, they need solutions that are continuously evolving. Big technology suite providers, who divide their attention and innovation between every department at once, simply can’t keep pace with the modern marketing department’s needs.
So when APIs (application programming interfaces) made it possible to individually select and combine the best software for every department’s need, the marketing department was one of the biggest benefactors. Here’s why:
The Six Biggest Benefits of a Best-of-Breed Solution
When it comes to marketing platforms, here are the six major advantages of a best-of-breed solution. If you’re looking at a solution that can’t do all six…keep looking.
1. Streamlined, Repeatable Processes
If you can’t clone existing programs, you’re wasting valuable time – and resources. Look for a marketing platform that makes it easy to edit all program parameters in one place and automatically update all the underlying assets (such as emails, landing pages, campaigns, and lists). Once you input information into a program or campaign, your platform should be able to auto-populate fields in every relevant asset—no copy and pasting required.
2. Smart, Responsive, Adaptive Systems
Today, marketers recognize that batch-and-blast email campaigns are the quickest route to the spam folder. Best-of-breed solutions will give you a way to guide leads through the sales funnel with highly relevant, responsive, personalized messaging – even as your database scales.
3. A Library of Resources
A wealth of expertise is one of the biggest advantages of best-of-breed providers – after all, they eat, live, and breathe your department’s needs. Look for a solution with a large library of constantly updated and comprehensive best practices, thought leadership from industry experts, email and landing page templates, and program examples.
4. Email Programs that Learn With You
As you become adept at using your marketing platform, you’ll quickly need less guidance to complete individual tasks. You want a platform that can provide that initial guidance, but will give you shortcuts as your comfort level increases.
5. An Eye Toward the Future
The role of the marketer won’t stop evolving any time soon – will your platform keep evolving with it? Marketers need technology that puts them ahead of the competition, which means anticipating necessary functionality before you even need it. Best-of-breed solution providers have the bandwidth and the knowledge to be truly innovative, continuously adapting and improving.
When you need help thinking through a program or solving a creative challenge, who better to ask than another marketer? Best-of-breed solutions attract the kind of experts who can support you through both your professional career and your company’s growth. For example, Marketo’s customers benefit from a 100,000-member user community, the Marketing Nation, and the 250+ partners in our LaunchPoint ecosystem.
Want to dive deeper into the benefits of best-of-breed solutions? Download our new ebook, Sweeter than Suite Solutions: Choose Your Own Marketing Automation Platform.