All 3,500 Marketing Tools Reviewed (Give or Take)
First, let me start by saying that while I’m surely one of the fiercest advocates for marketing tools and automation, I do recognize the need to pair these tools with human insight, creativity and an understanding of your target audience’s behaviors and conditions. With that said, marketing tools are indispensable time savers for pulling audience intelligence and metrics reports, creating and analyzing campaigns, and converting leads into sales.
The only trouble is that there are more than 3,500 marketing tools available. So how do you find the one that best supports the needs of your clients and your agency?
The first step, before even starting your research, is to identify – specifically – what you hope to accomplish. Potential questions to consider include:
- Do you need a tool to help produce audience intelligence reports?
- Do you need a tool to generate data for digital media and content audits?
- Are you managing an array of social media channels, and do you need a platform to manage and schedule content?
- Do you need a marketing automation tool to generate leads, track website visits, and develop email marketing campaigns?
- Do you frequently generate reports for clients, which require aggregating multiple data types from discrete channels?
- The million-dollar question: What is your budget? (Budget is often the deciding factor, because these tools can get pretty pricey!)
Once you’ve identified your specific objective, it’s time to consult your good friend Google to start your search for the best tool. But perhaps I can save you some time by sharing a few tools that I frequently recommend:
Audience intelligence and listening tools:
- Brandwatch provides industry-specific intelligence, such as demographic data about gender and occupation. It also tracks brand sentiment, so you can see if users are posting negative or positive messages about you.
- Sysomos MAP offers a wide range of social media analytics that provide competitive benchmarking and research, audience insights, and influencer identification. It also gives you the flexibility to choose real-time analysis or to search up to two years of historical data – which is a valuable feature in world where most tools only offer real-time analytics.
- NetBase is a natural language processing tool used to analyze social media and other Web content. The platform can quickly read millions of social posts in 42 languages and determine user sentiment on various topics and trends. You’ll also have the ability to evaluate an unlimited number of key words.
Social media management and reporting tools:
- Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Depending on which version you use (free or premium), you can collaborate with team members and measure your team’s performance. For example, it can track the number of times your team members resolve customer service issues.
- Sprout Social is a complete social media management and scheduling tool for Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. It also has built-in analytics for each social media channel.
- Buffer is a comprehensive social media scheduling tool, similar to Hootsuite, which you can use to see the engagement numbers for your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn posts. However, Buffer only tracks the metrics of the posts you share through its platform.
Marketing automation and lead generation tools:
- Socedo is an automated social media lead generation tool for B2B companies that helps you find qualified leads to add to your sales funnel from Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a one-stop-shop for email, mobile and content marketing, and also includes a comprehensive social media analytics suite. Through a user-friendly dashboard, you can see which metrics on which types of content are yielding the most engagement and where the most influential conversations are happening.
- HubSpot is similar to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, with all-in-one functionality that allows you to blog, create lead capture forms, control social media and measure your success from a single platform. The tool also offers SEO and keyword features.
As I stated before, choosing the right social media management or marketing tool requires you to have a solid understanding of your needs and business goals. If you love analytics as much as I do, it’s very easy to get carried away by all the different features these tools offer. So remember to focus on the capabilities that best serve your central goals.