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10 things to ask in a marketing automation demo

16 September 2016
by Adam Oldfield

10 things to ask in a marketing automation demo

Whether you’re considering investing in marketing automation software for the first time, or you want to improve the capabilities of your marketing cloud as you prepare for your 2017 activity, STOP and read this first!

The marketplace is crowded with potential vendors vying to supply you with the latest tech that they profess will revolutionise the success of your campaigns. You’ll hopefully request demos and conduct your due diligence before deciding which marketing automation company to partner with. But there’s a risk that all of the demos will merge into one and you’ll be left feeling a little perplexed by it all.

So, before you do anything else, read our 10 things to ask in a marketing automation demo, to ensure you remain focused and come away having learned what you really need to know.

What results have they achieved before?

It’s perhaps the most obvious question (after ‘how does it work?’) but it’s often one that marketers are afraid to ask. You need to know that the platform is proven. That it has already increased conversions, boosted sales and made life simpler for other brands. So ask for details of existing client successes. The more forthcoming a vendor is, the more likely they’ll be able to support you with your own campaigns moving forward too – it means they know what ‘good’ looks like and can feed back their learnings from wider activity

What does ‘multi-channel’ communications truly look like?

Successful marketing automation relies on more than just email. Yes, you need to nail personalisation, throttling, deliverability and more, but you must also ensure you’ll be able to build truly multi-channel journeys most relevant to the customer. This means integrating Google, direct mail, SMS and Facebook.


How is email deliverability configured?

It’s a huge topic for marketers and one which we covered recently on our blog. You therefore need reassurance that your messages will reach your recipients’ inboxes as spam protection evolves.

Does the technology include an integrated report builder?

Ask to see it in action and make sure it will intuitively present easy-to-digest data and analysis, mapped against your KPIs. Your campaigns will be nothing if you don’t measure and learn from your activities.

How do they attribute ROI?

There’s more to measuring ROI than simply looking at open rates and click throughs so look in detail at how this modelling is handled.  Will the platform attribute ROI solely according to the last campaign clicked or can it also account for previous campaign interactions and behaviour?

Where will data reside?

Safe harbour rules mean data protection is big business. It is not an issue you can ignore. You must ensure your customer data resides permanently in the UK – it cannot leave or be accessed by anyone outside of the country, in line with data sovereignty principles. For more info, catch up on a recent data security blog.

Is training available to help replace lost skill-sets?

Marketers are an ambitious bunch continually looking to progress in their careers. So, if a team member moves on (or goes on holiday!) you need to ensure the marketing automation provider will support you with training any new starters and covering skills gaps in the interim.

What if you encounter a problem?

What is the provider’s back up and support infrastructure? If you get stuck with your platform, can you pick up the phone and speak to a dedicated account manager or are you limited to a ‘ticketed’ log system? What about if your campaigns are falling flat? Will you have access to a creative team of marketers who can boost your engagement and drive more enquiries? There’s more to marketing automation success than just software so look for a supplier that offers full support, if and when it’s needed.

How would you do X?

Go into the demo with a specific request such as, ‘How would you make the refer a friend concept work?’ The demo needs to be tailored to you. Otherwise you risk seeing a generic sales pitch which, whilst helpful as a first step, won’t really aid your decision making. You’ll know you’ve had a great demo if you leave buzzing with new ideas to tackle unchartered waters.

What does the product roadmap look like?

The world of marketing – and tech – is changing by the day. You therefore need confidence that there is a defined product roadmap for the platform, to ensure it evolves long into the future. Otherwise, what looks like a sound investment today could be an outdated and restrictive investment tomorrow. Ask about the vendor’s investment levels to date and enquire about upcoming new features – this will highlight their true passion and commitment to this area of marketing and your ROI!

Want to see how it’s done? Book a demo with the Force24 team and follow the advice we’ve set out!

Photo of Adam Oldfield
Adam Oldfield
Managing Director & Founder

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