Gone are the days when a marketing person could claim that he/she is more interested in the creative aspect of marketing while the “Tech Stuff” is for the geeks and nerds. Today, marketers who have a tech background, or who are at least comfortable with technologies like CRM, Email Automation, Social Media Engagement, Analytics, etc, are definitely prone to being more successful. In fact, it has almost become a pre-requirement.

And by the way, that’s not just it, marketing technology not only refers to softwares but also online brand assets you create like web applications, Facebook apps, Twitter plug-ins, widgets, etc. Digital Marketing has grown far beyond just the company website. As a Marketing Manager myself, my digital responsibilities include managing/creating landing pages, social media posts, dynamic ads, email automation, search engine optimization, etc.

As beautifully said on a renowned marketing blogger Scott Brinker’s blog, the following 5 forces in the industry have combined to create a perfect storm for marketing technology, and hence the increased demand for marketing technologists:

  •   Migration of money from old media to new media
  •   Cloud computing and the migration from IT to SaaS
  •   Measurable nature of digital to demonstrate ROI
  •   A green field of opportunity for new entrants
  •   High-velocity economics of software innovation

And I do agree this can be a bit overwhelming for the more old-school marketers, including some of the big Fortune500s, who are dealing with the realization that traditional marketing methods alone won’t work.

That said, I thought of putting together a list of my top 10 marketing tools, that I use on a daily basis (in alphabetical order). Some of them are paid, and some of these great tools are actually free (at least the basic features which by itself are often enough).

1. AllTop: Guy Kawasaki, a marketing legend, co-founded this website, and it’s a great aggregation of about 30,000 RSS feeds organized into 1,500 topics ranging from adoption to zoology.

The other half of this website is called HolyKaw. HolyKaw provides a continuous flow of diverse stories and a great source for picking up interesting reshares.

2. Canva – Infographic Creation Tool: I think this has been one of my MOST favourite finds ever.

Canva is super user-friendly and makes it pretty easy to create visually appealing content in a reasonable amount of time. It also a variety of layouts and templates to choose from, which range from social media banners to business cards. And what more, it has a huge library of free elements, and premium elements (if at all you plan to use one, go for $1 per item). But I have never really used their premium items since their free items are pretty good. I could probably write a post on “Why I love Canva?”, and hence will stop here.

3. Google Alerts: This is the most useful, easy to set up, and free tool, you can use to monitor the web for interesting new content, mentions of your brand, your own personal brand, your competitors, industry leaders and so on.

By creating a Google Alert, you will receive email notifications every time Google finds new results on a topic that interests you across blogs, forums, and news sites. Bear in mind the listening tool space is a crowded one, and this is a beginner-friendly tool to start with.

We’ve developed our own social media monitoring technology with enterprise-level organisations in mind, and if you are interested in seeing what more complex tools like Synthesio can offer, then please do get in touch by requesting a demo below.

4. Hootsuite – Social Engagement Tool: My favourite social engagement tool is Hootsuite (and trust me I have tried a few). It helps you keep track and engage, in real time, on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Hootsuite can be very useful in adding a stream with the keyword that represents your search. First, add a stream, type in the keyword or phrase, and then add the stream. Remember to select the right account under which you’re monitoring the brand. You can also do searches for your brand on Hootsuite for Twitter and Facebook. There are free, pro and enterprise accounts available.

Do note that for enterprise users, with more complex needs, Hootsuite and Synthesio has a global partnership. Feel free to write in if you would like to know more.

5. Marketo – Marketing Automation: I have been using Marketo for more than a year now, and I have to say it’s a very powerful, easy to use marketing automation software. It helps marketing professionals help sales folks drive revenue. It also improves marketing accountability. Albeit a paid service, they do offer free trials and no set-up fees.

6. Salesforce – CRM: As a marketing professional, this, along with Marketo, are 2 tools I can’t literally live without. Goes without saying that Salesforce is the undisputed leader in the Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) software industry. Customers from tiny businesses to massive enterprises generally seem to like its sales, marketing, and service management capabilities, which are only available in the cloud. Of course, if you run a small business that’s just looking to automate a few processes, you might want to look for a cheaper, less cumbersome option. But otherwise, it’s a powerful system with plenty of custom add-ons that enhance its core functionality.

7. Sidekick – Email Tracking: In today’s world, email is the foundation of almost every business communication. Every day, millions of emails are sent from and within companies in order to communicate their message as fast as possible, in a nonverbal manner.

As a marketing person, don’t you want to know how many times has someone read your email? Also, wouldn’t you like to know what’s the most convenient time to contact someone? When they’re usually free to fully commit their attention to your email?

My answer is “Hell yeah!” and I am guessing so is yours.

Sidekick is my favorite email tracking software.  Installing this Gmail add-on results in you receiving a detailed report, telling you not just who opened or clicked on your emails, but exactly when, from which location, on what kind of device (mobile or desktop) and how many times.  This precise and highly detail oriented notification lets you understand if the person is away from their desk, forwarding the email, or even traveling. Although this powerful tool gives a peek under the skirt of people who are reading your emails, you should know that Sidekick could be also used against you. So, the next time you say, “I didn’t see that email”, you should probably think twice.

8. Synthesio Flash Dash: When I am talking about marketing tech, how can I not mention Synthesio’s very own social listening and analytics tool. Besides all the detailed features, I love using the flash dash, to run a quick, high-level query on brands or topics, even before I build a full dashboard.

It helps you to:

  • Analyze global data in real time
  • Measure the success of campaigns
  • Perform competitive analyses
  • Analyze the impact of a potential online crisis

Please do request for a demo if you are keen to find out more about Synthesio.

9. Unroll.me: As a marketing person, I am sure you can identify with inbox overload. You know all those Ad age emails, Event alerts, Google Alerts, Content Curation, etc, that you happen to think you might find interesting and hence you need to subscribe to. In fact, Gmail has implemented Priority Inbox as a way for users to identify the relevant conversations from bulk email.

Well, on any given day I get about 100+ emails on minimum and at least 20% of those are subscriptions. And let me add, at least 50% of those, are subscriptions to newsletters that I didn’t ask for.

Unroll.me helps me to add a layer between email senders and the inbox. My favourite feature being the ability to unsubscribe from irrelevant senders so they make one’s inbox a less stressful experience.

10. WordPress – Blogging Platform: I have been using WordPress for at least 10 years now, and it’s definitely my favourite blogging platform. I wouldn’t be surprised if WordPress’s claim to power about a fifth of the internet is actually true.

You can rapidly create a new blog entirely for free, with a reasonable amount of customization; and also most web hosts provide WordPress as a free single-click install. It’s a great mix of power, customization, and usability, and almost all the organizations I have worked for, use WordPress at the back end for their corporate blog.

What are some of your favourite marketing technology tools?