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What are the Best Marketing Platforms?

Please stop asking this. I mean it. There is no best. Period.

It’s a question that I’m asked over and over again by both marketers and industry professionals alike. It’s a question that can’t possibly be answered unless there’s a full evaluation of company that is going to use the platform.

As a sourcing vendor for marketing technologies, we’ve performed due diligence for investment firms, we’ve consulted with marketing technology companies, and we’ve consulted with dozens of companies on the evaluation of platforms for purchase.

One might think it’s as simple as putting together a feature list and then just checking boxes in a grid for each vendor, and identifying the budget needed for each license. Preposterous. That’s like evaluating pants by whether they have 2 pant legs, belt loops, pockets, and a zipper – and then seeing how much they cost. The unanswered questions are what color the pants need to be, where they’re going to be worn, whether they need drycleaned and ironed, how often will they be worn, do they need to match other pieces of the outfit.

Case in point is email marketing. We know a ton of different email marketing firms. Some are expensive but provide a ton of services for hand-holding your campaigns. Some start free and integrate with other third party platforms. Some have robust APIs that can be integrated by development resources. Some have massive email outputs to send millions of emails per second. Some have thousands of templates to choose from.

It’s as important to evaluate the resources of the company, the sophistication of the user, the time needed to apply to ensure the strategy is properly deployed and executed, the budget for licensing, integration, implementation and usage, and ultimately the return on investment of the platform. We don’t make the same recommendation from one client to the next with each platform – even when we have a partnered relationship with the vendor.

Being vendor agnostic is critical for your agency or sourcing provider so that you can maximize the return on investment on the platform purchase and strategy.

That’s not to say there aren’t platforms that we recommend more than others. On the content management front, for instance, we recommend WordPress much more than other platforms. It’s not that WordPress is free – it’s not once you add design, development, optimization and content creation into the successful implementation. But WordPress often beats out other platforms simply because the vast selection of plugins, integrations, third-party support, hosting solutions, and selection of pre-made themes. There may, indeed, be better content management systems for ease of use, optimization, security, etc… but the flexibility and availability of resources still may over-ride the decision to recommend the platform.

I was speaking about tools at an event this week at Smartups in Indy and I was joined by Kevin Mullett and Julie Perry. Kevin also brought up an amazingly simple yet fantastic bit of advice…

If you like it. You’ll use it.

Sometimes it’s not even all the bells and whistles or the price, sometimes it’s just that you love the user interface and enjoy using the tool. If you enjoy using the platform, chances are that you’ll put it to use!

What’s the best? It all depends!

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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