Marketing software has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Where some business solutions have remained virtually static, marketing software seems to have exploded into a huge range of new, smart features. So, what are the most critical elements of marketing technology that you won’t want to miss out on?

The features to look for

You may already be using software tools in your marketing, but there are certain features that can help you push your business further and become much more competitive. You will of course still need a great product or service to begin with, but these smart marketing software features will make it easier than ever to plan, create and measure all your marketing efforts!

  • ROI Tracking
    One of the biggest challenges for marketers is to justify and report on marketing spend. This has historically been difficult to do when working with diverse systems and reporting models, which don’t feed data into the same place. Today, however, marketing systems are often designed to make ROI calculations easier. The best software will allow you to pull in spend data from all your major marketing platforms and create a financial overview of performance across the board.
  • Funnels
    The ‘marketing funnel’ is one of the hottest trends in marketing automation at the moment. The funnel model is in itself nothing new; it builds on the concept of the automated email sequences we’re all very familiar with, that aim to lead the user down a particular decision path. What’s special about the modern marketing funnel is that it is highly focussed on the user experience; or the customer journey.
    A successful marketing funnel will engage with the user on their terms, based on their interests and behaviour. The best marketing software will allow you to design your funnels using simple, visual models that are linked to custom action triggers.
    Hot tip: Many businesses use funnels for purposes other than marketing emails. You can design user journeys for customer on-boarding, training programmes, or even service updates and renewal reminders.
  • Social Media Integration
    Very few, if any, off-the-shelf marketing packages offer a good solution for easily managing all your social activity in one place. You will often need a customised, complex structure of APIs and integration models that allow you to post, monitor and measure your social campaigns through a single interface. But if your business relies on the successful use of several social channels, it’s well worth investing in integration rather than relying on native platform use.
  • Super-Targeted Segmentation
    List segmentation has evolved dramatically over the last few years. Where we once were just able to divide people up into crude lists based on clunky selection criteria, technology now allows us to segment much more carefully. We can target users based on their preferences, user history, location, sign-up date, social activity, device type, and much more. This has also made the concept of the ‘segment of one’ more popular, where marketers recognise the unique needs of the individual to experience a personalised user journey.
  • Dashboards
    Visual reporting is incredibly popular – and for a reason. Having an instant visual representation of your data and marketing results will help you make smarter decisions faster. Whatever type of marketing software you’re looking for, a reporting dashboard should be a key ingredient of any new marketing investment.
  • Trend monitoring
    Social channels are making it easier for us to keep on top of what’s trending at any given moment, with popularity rankings, viral highlights and hashtags. But how do we actually monitor and capture those trends to use for our marketing decisions? How do we link that type of data to our product development, campaign messaging or market research? By using smart algorithms to pick up on trends across the internet, marketing software can play a central role in summarising and making sense of trends and news.

The future of marketing software

We’ve seen the world of CRM systems and marketing automation develop dramatically over the last two decades, and the one thing that’s remained constant is change. We know for sure that new technology will continue to impact our lives and the way we consume information and entertainment – and marketing software needs to keep up with those changes.

Unfortunately, off-the-shelf software will always tend to lag behind in bringing new features to their platforms. They’re less agile when it comes to adopting trends and adding new functionality. This is why we’re already seeing marketers increasingly turning to bespoke software to meet their marketing needs, allowing them to serve their users in a much more tailored and cost-effective way; today and in the future.