Marketing Must-Haves to Boost Productivity in 2016

A marketing plan is your guide to promoting and growing your business. It will help you answer important questions about your business: Who is your target audience? How will you reach them? Where will you advertise? A good marketing plan will answer all of these questions and more, ensuring the success of your business.

Every marketer needs tools in order to carry out key marketing components. These include: managing content, driving traffic, managing customer relations, and analyzing online behavior and sales. Fortunately, to each of these components belongs a plethora of tools designed to jumpstart your business.

Considering how many marketing tools exist (hundreds), you might be wondering which ones are absolutely essential. While each company’s marketing “bundle” is different, below are a few crucial tools every modern marketer should consider.

Today, a good CMS (Content Management System) is vital to the success of your business online. When choosing one, make sure it’s easy to use, scalable, flexible, and offers support and plug-ins to extend functionality. Here is a list of the best CMS software of 2016, according to TopTenReviews:

  1. ocPortal
  1. WordPress
  1. WebGUI
  1. Drupal
  1. Rubedo
  1. Joomia
  1. eZ Publish Platform
  1. MODX
  1. concrete5
  1. X3 CMS

The most popular tool for marketers who plan on increasing their investment via content marketing is, of course, a blog. Blogging is a necessary tool to improve your SEO and attract consumers to your website. Below are a few of our favorite content marketing tools to make the most out of your blog:

Today, effective marketers learn as much as they can about customers. It’s not enough to just leave it to the IT team. In order to drive leads that convert customers, a good marketer follows and understands customer behavior and activities. Therefore, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software system that infuses marketing is crucial. Look for a CRM that is popular with your clients, offers integration with other applications, and includes prominent marketing automation platforms. Here is a list of top 10 CRM software in 2016 (source):

  1. Salesforce
  1. HubSpot
  1. Nimble
  1. Pipedrive
  1. Zoho
  1. Salesnet
  1. PipelineDeals
  1. ProsperWorks
  1. Workbooks
  1. Microsoft Dynamics

One of the most critical tools to help improve your company’s ROI (Return on Investment) is marketing automation. For many B2B marketers, being able to rely on marketing automation to help with complex sales involving dozens of decision makers is imperative. With any platform you choose, keep in mind that it’s only as good as what you do with it.

In order to generate, qualify, nurture, and ultimately close leads, you first need to have the proper marketing plan set in place, along with good IT and sales alignment—not to mention a significant amount of content. According to g2crowd, these are the best marketing automation platforms of 2016:

  1. Hubspot
  1. Pardot
  1. Marketo
  1. Act-On
  1. Oracle Eloqua
  1. iContact Pro
  1. Active Campaign
  1. LeadSquared
  1. Real Magnet
  1. Infusionsoft

Last, but most certainly not least, every smart marketer should implement an effective web analytics package. This is key to understanding user behavior, what is and isn’t working on your site, traffic sources, etc. In short, you have to know your customer and optimize your site for optimal effectiveness. Check out a few reliable web analytic systems below:

Although the value of a brand is important, without a solid marketing plan, you might as well roll down your sleeves and pack up. The tools above are just that—tools. Marketing technology is only as good as the plan and content you feed it. How they are executed will determine their adequacy and rewards.