Around mid-March, we published a blog breaking down the differences between the four tiers of Act! Marketing Automation (AMA), concluding that the Basic and Select tiers were more akin to eMarketing than Marketing Automation. We didn't just whine about it, though, we also raised these concerns with the leaders at Act! and made a case for Select to be tweaked to support better outbound automation.
Our main concern was that Basic and Select did not include "Decisions" in their campaign workflow, meaning that "response-based" nurture marketing was unavailable. This is a key component of marketing automation since the user could only configure drip-based marketing in its absence. Drips may be great for many purposes, but they're not "automated" any more than "activity series" in Act! are automated. You can schedule a sequence of steps, but none will be based on how your audience responded to the campaign, which is the core of marketing automation.
Watch the 1-hour feature-tour webinar we hosted on AMA Basic below
We can debate the value of inbound workflow versus outbound as part of marketing automation, but we can all agree that some workflow is required. Well, it seems the leaders agree with this because starting in April, two main features are added to the Select tier that will elevate it above simple emarketing.
Changes to Select Tier
The first change is predictable at this point: adding "Decisions" to the Select visual workflow designer. This simple change allows the user to design their campaign workflow for changes based on how the audience engages with the campaign. With Decisions, you'll be able to create one branch of actions if they open an email, and another branch if they don't. This feature allows users to configure multi-step campaigns to identify the people most interested in your message and target them for additional emails to nurture that interest toward a purchase.
Select and Complete will still be distinguished between inbound and outbound workflow, but at least both will include true marketing automation.
The second change to Select will be the inclusion of list sync. Marketing automation is designed to target a specific group for a campaign. Still, some target groups evolve over time, adding new contacts to them long after the initial campaign. To account for this, AMA includes a "list sync" feature that checks for new group members and then repeats the campaign for them. A typical example of such a campaign would be one for "new customers." If you configure a set of emails to welcome your new customers, it stands to reason that future new customers will need to receive them, too. List sync checks for those additions and triggers the same welcome campaign each time a new group member is found.
This small feature change makes the Select campaign genuinely organic, as a user can launch a campaign, and then the AMA will relaunch it in the future each time certain conditions are met, and without any further user intervention.
Better for Less
To celebrate these meaningful changes to AMA, Act! has also announced the return of their 25% off AMA promotion, which entitles new or upgrading customers to either try AMA for 25% off, or upgrade to a higher tier for the same discount. Like before, the discount would only apply to the remainder of their subscription term. It gives customers an excellent opportunity to experiment with a higher level of marketing automation that will be guaranteed to include true marketing automation.