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Mastering Marketing Automation #WiredBrekkie

Recently we held a #WiredBrekkie on ‘Mastering Marketing Automation’ with insightful talks from our members and speakers Lindsey Pickles (Director and Founder of Bright Dials Digital Marketing) and Adam Lee (Director and Founder of No Pork Pies).

Kicking off the morning, Lindsey gave an overview of marketing automation; the considerations to take into account and its potential benefits to your business.

“What most businesses want is to be able to understand what their consumers are doing; their behaviour, what they’re interested in and their buying signals.”

But in a world of information overload, where stats say we have smaller attention spans than goldfish, how do we cut through all the noise and actually reach people? And how can we do this efficiently?

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is a platform consisting of a collection of different tools, which work together allowing you to trigger behaviour based on what people are doing. It’s a combination of tracking that behaviour and then adding automation to give you a clearer understanding of your ROI on your marketing activity.

When is the right time to use a marketing automation platform?

If you’re using different platforms to collect and distribute information and content - for example: landing pages, forms, social media, CRMs, analytics, email marketing, etc - it means having individual contracts and fees, multiple applications to learn, isolated databases and analytics, plus compliance issues. A marketing automation platform will help keep everything in the same place and tracking will be much easier, meaning you can automate responses based on the knowledge you’re gathering across platforms.

What should you consider?

  • Do you have the budget? Look at how much you’re spending on each separate platform you’re currently using to collect and distribute information. Could this be used to purchase a marketing automation platform instead?
  • Do you have in-house capability to run the platform or can you afford to outsource? Technology is constantly evolving and mastering marketing automation is an ongoing process, so you need someone with the time and ability to learn and manage it.
  • Do you use multiple marketing channels and don’t know your ROI? If you don’t have an understanding of your ROI, you can’t optimise your marketing which is especially important if you’re using paid social.
  • How do you generate leads? If online lead generation is important to your business for generating sales, you should consider marketing automation.

Next up, Adam delved into the specifics of the leading platforms and some of their key features to consider. N.B. this is personal opinion, based on the time of research.

What are some of the key features to look for in marketing automation platform?

  • Email marketing
  • Landing Pages
  • Campaign management *
  • Lead generation
  • Lead scoring/nurturing
  • Persona/audience targeting
  • Lead management
  • Built-in CRM/CRM system or integration *
  • Social marketing/management
  • Media/resources management
  • Website analytics
  • Website integration *
  • Reporting/dashboards *
  • Segmentation
  • Automation *
  • Form builder/integration
  • AB testing *
  • GDPR compliance
  • A large variety of 3rd party tool integration *
  • Ease of use & setup *
  • Dynamic features & personalisation *
  • Pricing aimed at SME market *

*Adam’s main requirements

 Tip: Identify your requirements and ideal key features before you begin researching, so you don’t end up paying for unnecessary features.


Minimum price for 100,000 contacts: $3300 / month (+ mandatory one-off $2,300 training fee)

Minimum price for 5+ users: $920 / month (+ mandatory one-off $2,300 training fee)


  • Market-leading automation tool
  • Complete System – lots of different, integrated features
  • Free CRM system
  • Very strong onboarding process
  • Excellent reporting dashboard & funnels
  • Has its own content hub (blog) CMS


  • Although it is a ‘complete system’, the features are far from the best you can buy
  • Everything is an upsell
  • Onboarding costs are high
  • 12-month fixed contract
  • Price is very high with add-ons


Minimum price for 100,000 contacts: $280 / month (+ mandatory one-off $249 training fee)

Minimum price for 5+ users: $379 / month (+ mandatory one-off $1,999 kickstart package)


  • Has an excellent integration for ecommerce websites
  • Has a built-in referral programme
  • Stores a lot of information around the customer (useful for ecommerce)
  • It has a lot on offer


  • The usability is bad
  • Integrations are expensive – e.g. Google Sheets is $40 p/m
  • Didn’t particularly like the email creator
  • Couldn’t find a landing page creator – not sure if that is related to bad usability or it doesn’t have one


Minimum price for 100,000 contacts: $369 / month

Minimum price for 5+ users: $55 / month


  • User reviews of the software are excellent
  • Very reasonable starting price
  • Easy to use and navigate through the functionality
  • Can scale from very small to large functionality
  • Lots of plugins


  • Can’t build landing pages
  • Can’t pull in contact’s social feed
  • No lead scoring
  • Starting price is very low but, when you build it up to offer the same features as the other tools, it becomes expensive
  • Lots of setup to get it to ‘talk to’ other software to get the most out of it


Minimum price for 100,000 contacts: $450 / month (+ mandatory one-off $1,800 training fee)

Minimum price for 5+ users: Mandatory one-off $1,800 training fee


  • Agency licence means you can get it cheaper than the advertised price
  • All-inclusive usage (no additional costs for contacts, users, emails, etc)
  • Monthly subscription
  • Lots of functionality (similar to Hubspot at a fraction of the price)
  • Very good usability
  • Good support


  • No AB testing on landing pages
  • The CRM tool could be cleaner/offer more customisable design functionality
  • The automation building process could be improved
  • Reports could be improved to show weaknesses in campaigns

And it doesn’t end with a single automation platform. There are a lot of tools that can be used for automation and integrated into a marketing stack process, but a marketing automation platform could be your central tool that gets the whole process to make sense.

Finally, you need to be realistic. Don’t expect to get to the end process of personalisation. Very few businesses have the data capabilities to deliver true personalised marketing and the costs involved regularly outstrip the return. Thinking with a personalised mindset isn’t a bad approach, as the more engaged you can become with your audience the better the results, even if that means carefully segmented persona groups with common traits.

Thanks to everyone who came along to our ‘Mastering Marketing Automation’ Breakfast Session, with a special thanks to Lindsey and Adam.

Here’s what else we have coming up:

A New Economic Strategy for Brighton & Hove
Monday 16th July, 6-7:30pm at The FuseBox
At this special one-off event, we’ll hear about a new economic strategy B&H City Council is currently developing which they claim will be ‘disruptive’ and ‘trailblazing’. Come and discuss your challenges as a local digital business and how they can address them.

Wired Sussex Members’ Summer Meetup
Tuesday 17th July, 5:30-11pm at Patterns, Brighton
Join 150+ people from the local creative, digital and tech sector and make some new contacts, all while enjoying a beach view and a beer.

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