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Case Study: Selecting the Ideal Marketing Automation Solution via an Objective Evaluation Process

A major retailer selects an enterprise solution with objectivity, speed and confidence.

The Business Problem

A major retailer spent two years utilizing a leading marketing automation solution after having transitioned from a similar platform. While they had some initial success, the retailer faced significant challenges.

Several factors contributed to this, namely:

  1. Covid-19 made pivoting from product-centric to customer-centric focus (a goal the retailor already had been working toward) more urgent and important, but their current technology lacked the capabilities in speed and data processing needed to make the change.

  2. Growing internal support to consolidate the organization’s technology stack unveiled the opportunity to streamline costs and bring renewed interest and attention to the architecture and strategy as a whole.

  3. The current solution lacked key UI features which the retailer not only preferred but found to be critical for their resources and ideal for enabling future growth and advancement of use cases.

Ultimately, the retailer determined that instead of just continuing with the current technology (business-as-usual) state without additional thought or attention, they needed to invest and prioritize in a neutral, fact-based, and objective assessment of their ideal long-term marketing automation solution to ensure they had an optimal technology strategy for long-term marketing effectiveness and success.

The Approach

To help the retailer select the best marketing automation solution for their needs, Covalent Marketing created a detailed, objective set of criteria informed by the company’s specific business needs and customer-centric use cases. Covalent then utilized this fact-based methodology to ascertain an ideal “short list” vendors for the retailer to consider based on what would best serve their current and future growth needs.

Vendors on the short list were a diverse specific selection that represented from long-standing industry leaders to bleeding edge innovators, all with impressive clients and results.

Vendors were then invited to demonstrate their credentials as potential technology partners.

To help the retailer select the right vendor for this short list, Covalent Marketing:

  • Created current state ideal future state marketing technology architecture diagrams to evaluate vendor’s fit with both architectures

  • Created ideal state customer use cases for vendors to demonstrate how they would enable them

  • Reviewed technology roadmaps and investment plans for each vendor to validate long-term alignment and growth between the retailor and the vendor

  • Facilitated deep dive demos and hands-on workshops to allow key stakeholder members within the organization to fully understand the user experience

  • Brokered customer reference meetings focused on support and customer success to get a sense of real-life experiences with the vendors

  • Reviewed and scored each vendor across current fit and future fit with respect to technology, integrations, features, roadmap, support, team structure to provide a comprehensive analysis of each vendor individually and comparatively.

The Result

The retailor felt fully enabled and equipped to make an informed and objective selection, having been freed from the traditional technology evaluation process in which information is largely based on input from sales representatives of known vendors (augmented only by 1-2 generalized and ostensibly-agnostic research firm reports) to make such a critical decision. With the help of Covalent Marketing, they were empowered with the ability to compare solutions side-by-side more effectively, and confidently choose the Marketing Automation vendor that was able to best met their current and future needs from a thoughtful and representative pool of technology solutions which included technologies they hadn’t even thought to consider at the outset.


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