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Investing in a marketing automation platform (MAP) makes perfect business sense. It can improve your lead pipeline, automate repetitive tasks, reduce human error, and boost conversion rates.
However, many companies face dilemmas when choosing a marketing automation tool—namely, which one?
After all, industry experts have shared that as of 2020, there are more than 8,000 marketing automation platforms on the market.
What about which type of MAP suits the company's needs? Does it go with a best-in-breed solution that might not offer everything they need, or do they opt for an all-in-one platform?
Spoiler alert: those two kinds of platforms need not be mutually exclusive!
In the following article, we highlight a few reasons why best-of-breed and all-in-one platforms can be the same.
Best-of-Breed vs. All-in-One Marketing Automation Platforms
Marketing automation platforms are a class of software that equips marketers with the tools they need to identify, segment, and market to their prospects and customers. The tools assist with automating repetitive tasks, such as conducting Drip campaigns and maintaining an active social media presence. They also lend themselves to enhancing accuracy, ensuring better consumer targeting, boosting productivity, and a myriad of other strategic business growth opportunities.
As all marketers know, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing automation. Every company needs different tools for their marketing campaigns according to the diverse industries and audiences they serve. That's is where best-of-breed vs. all-in-one comes in.
Choosing the right technology is instrumental in your success. It results in increased conversion rates and more creative sales and marketing teams, and most important, it enables marketers to get the most out of customer data.
Best-of-breed tools focus on being the best option in their niche. Think of them as that person in high school who was always at the top of your class in one particular subject.
In the marketing realm, best-of-breed tools are designed for a single task, and they perform it as efficiently as possible. Those tasks can include email, social media, personalization, analytics, or real-time content.
Best-of-breed platforms market themselves as being much more flexible and agile than all-in-one platforms, and the former are said to create the better user experience of the two options.
However, as with all things, there are pitfalls, and best-of-breed platforms are no different. Best-of-breed platforms' most notable shortcoming is that they are designed for a single task. Although the tool does its job well, companies must purchase additional packages to meet their needs fully.
The need for additional packages also affects price and may limit a company's integration capabilities with specific software. If you want the best marketing automation stack, you have to assemble a collection of best-in-breed products.
As its name suggests, all-in-one platforms offer multiple solutions rolled into one. They are integrated solutions that assist marketing departments with each touchpoint in their marketing strategy. They boast a laundry list of services that often includes social media management, website automation, tracking, data analytics, and reporting.
The challenging aspect of investing in all-in-one platforms is that having such robust offerings in one place gives the illusion of their being cheap and flexible, which is not always accurate.
A significant pitfall of choosing an all-in-one platform is its overall performance. Many all-in-one platforms started as best-of-breed solutions but evolved into something more because of customer demand and other factors. As a result, many of all-in-one platforms struggle to convert beyond their intended purpose, resulting in a lapse in performance.
Another drawback is that because all-in-one tools do so much, marketing departments are unable to take advantage of all the benefits, leading to money wasted.
A Non-Mutually Exclusive Approach to Marketing Automation
Best-of-breed and all-in-one platforms' respective shortcomings make a company's decision to choose one versus the other a difficult one. But companies don't have to sacrifice the features they need for the tools they want. Having both is possible.
Integration capabilities play a crucial role in determining the best marketing automation tool for your marketing strategy. Instead of relying on a restrictive set of tools that generally only "speak" with one another, marketers can use custom integrations that provide flexibility and agility.
A mutually exclusive approach allows marketers the opportunity to implement new solutions and capabilities into their martech stacks at will, which is a welcome departure from being stuck with the tools offered under the same umbrella of providers.
Before you embark on a journey to revamp your martech stack, there are a few things you should look for in an automation platform:
- Offers ease of use, yet advanced capability. A marketing automation tool should never be hard to use. A platform's UI/UX shouldn't overwhelm you. Opt for software that doesn't require a learning curve but is intuitive, offers all the data you need, and is easy to decipher.
- Futureproofs your business. Companies need to invest in tools that help them grow and stand out from the crowd. The right marketing automation platform can put you light-years ahead of the curve.
- Increases your ability to adapt to market changes. The marketing industry is ever-changing. A trend today might be different in six months. Choose a solution that evolves with you and won't become obsolete in two years' time.
- Conducts a cost-benefit analysis for all tasks. Analyzing your marketing strategy and its performance is vital to the success and growth of your business. Invest in a tool that weighs the odds, considers the data, and helps you determine your strategy's next steps.
- Is a multi-departmental tool. A sign of an excellent and worthwhile automation platform is one that also enhances other departments and team members, whether it's helping the sales team qualify leads or promoting the company culture with HR.
A great marketing automation tool is capable of offering an all-in-one experience as well as having standalone capabilities that are equally powerful. Thankfully, such a tool exists.
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