What is Marketing Automation
If you are in the marketing field you have probably heard of the term marketing automation, as there are now a handful of software tools which pride themselves on their marketing automation prowess. If not, you have seen the work of marketing automation systems first hand as a consumer, whether you knew it or not.
Marketing automation is the use of software to automate the management and execution of marketing campaigns, including customer segmentation, scheduling, and tracking, in a way that is more efficient and more effective than what is possible manually. These systems provide a seamless omni-channel experience for prospects as they convert into customers across the various interactions they have with your brand via website, email, social media, etc.
Mautic Overview – Free as in Speech
Mautic is a new marketing automation platform which has taken a very different approach from some of its competitors like Hubspot, Marketo, and Pardot. The Mautic codebase is open-source, released under the GPL, and available on GitHub. Their commercial company goes by the name of Allyde and makes their money via their “Allyde Cloud” hosting, services, and support.
A free hosted version of Mautic is available though Allyde’s cloud at Mautic.com where you can sign up for free and receive a subdomain xxx.mautic.com to get your feet wet with marketing automation. This free version is good for a limited number of contacts, with cheap plans available for larger databases. Mautic originally had a tiered pricing plan based on the number of contacts stored (similar to their competition), but I just noticed that they updated their website with a new, refreshing pricing model – a Pro plan which includes unlimited contacts for only $12/month! As they mention, who knows how many contacts you plan to have going into this.
Of course you can also opt to host the Mautic code on your own server without any limitations. This enables you to run Mautic on your own domain (which can also be done with Mautic Pro) and have your landing pages accessible at the domain of your choosing (rather than at xxx.mautic.com). There are also some other settings that are not configurable on the hosted version, such as the interval for certain cron jobs which are required to update the smart lists, enroll contacts in campaigns, etc. which all happen at a preset interval.
Mautic Landing Page Designer
Mautic’s drag and drop landing page designer has a responsive design. Alternatively the landing page can be developed using custom HTML. Mautic also allows you to create multiple landing page variants and specify the percentage of traffic to route to each variant to perform some A/B testing and determine which ones perform the best.
Mautic makes it easy to add and track custom lead fields and has a pretty simple form builder which includes some build in form validation and HTML5 inputs on fields such as email, date, etc. with user-configurable error messages. Mautic also allows you to assign class attributes to each field so they can be manually styled easily if desired.
You also have granular control over the actions which occur when the form is submitted, which includes making updates to the lead, adjusting their lead score points, modifying the lead’s list, downloading assets, sending emails, and more.
Smart Lists contain all contacts which meet the specified filters. These lists help quickly organize leads into easy-to-manage groups and are the basis for enrolling contacts into a workflow, since campaigns are associated to a specific list.
Contacts can be enrolled in one or many lists and can be modified manually or automatically through the campaign builder’s logic. However, the filters are not as flexible as Hubspot’s and are only limited to contact properties.
The updates to the smart lists which reevaluate all contacts against the filters happens at specified intervals set via a cron job running on the host machine. I am not sure how long this process takes in the hosted version, but if you are hosting your own instance you can configure appropriately.
Mautic’s Email functionality is very similar to what they provide for landing pages, with the ability to develop in HTML or use their drag and drop Email Builder. They have A/B testing available and have the ability to embed various lead fields into the email to personalize the message.
Mautic has a really nice drag and drop campaign creator which makes it very easy to visualize the campaign you are creating. Conditional items such as whether an email was opened are clearly marked in green and you simply drag the dots to the conditions or actions that you want to connect. Personally I prefer this representation over Hubspot’s.
Analyics / Reporting
Mautic comes with a pretty basic dashboard which provides some information about visitors, emails, and a list of the top pages, downloaded assets, and most popular campaigns that leads are enrolled in.
However, while not the prettiest or the most user friendly, their report creator provides enables reporting on any field within the system. It may take some brief tinkering to find what you are looking for, but ultimately you should be able to produce what you need.
Mautic’s reports can be in either graphical or tabular format.
Mautic has an impressive list of integrations, with 39 at the moment and seems to have a focus on continuing to add additional services. With support for standard CRMs like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, and Zoho CRM they have also included support for their open-source CRM friends Sugar CRM, vTiger.
Email being one of the major aspects of marketing automation, they have integrated with a wide range of email providers including – Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), Mailchimp, Mailjet, Mandrill, and Sendgrid. Mautic also has plugins for WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla, to get up and running quickly without having to touch any code.
Additionally, while not nearly as powerful as some other cloud integration tools, Mautic has an integration with IFTTT (If This Then That) which allows for automation of some basic tasks across a variety of web applications for which they don’t already have pre-built integrations.
Mautic Review Conclusions
After using Mautic briefly I was very impressed with the level of polish and the amount of features and functionality that has been included for free, especially for software that is normally associated with monthly license fees in the hundreds to thousands of dollars. While the level of more advanced functionality does not match that of the competition, they only launched a couple months ago and all of the core functionalities of a marketing automation system – capturing, tracking and nurturing leads is fulfilled by Mautic.
Overall, I think Mautic provides a great introduction to marketing automation and will be a great fit for small businesses, bloggers, etc. looking to add some intelligence to their lead nurturing efforts without investing in thousands of dollars per year on some of the other marketing automation systems, while larger businesses who can afford the price tag can benefit from the additional functionality offered by other solutions if it is implemented properly and with enough resources.
Additionally, from what I have seen in the Mautic community so far, I am impressed with the level of engagement by the developers and how they have been very helpful and forthcoming about what is coming next. Looking forward to v1.1.
Have you tried Mautic? Leave your review in the comments.