Our 5 Favorite Marketing Automation UIsJuly 3, 2014 by Jay Ivey
Marketers are tinkerers by nature, whether they’re testing 30 different colors for a call-to-action button or 10 different filters to segment targets for an email campaign. And marketing automation software offers them plenty to tinker with.
The best marketing automation solutions have intuitive user interfaces (UIs; which use elements such as menus, icons and shortcuts to allow users to interact with the system) that facilitate this kind of creative trial-and-error. They help marketers visualize complex, multivariable campaigns and generate reports to easily identify which campaigns are driving revenue.
There are many marketing automation options on the market today, all of which take different approaches to UI design. To help you make the right software decision, we evaluated dozens of UIs and narrowed them down to our five favorites.
HubSpot’s contact database leverages smart interface design to paint a digestible, yet comprehensive, picture of every lead—making it quick and easy for marketers to score and segment them for future campaigns.
A scannable, vertical timeline view highlights a sample of specific interactions a lead has had with your brand. On the left, a summary breaks down all monthly interactions by category, with clear, clean iconography to represent different types of interactions, such as downloading an e-book or using a tool on your website.
HubSpot also features a generator to help marketers quickly build landing pages without having to write code. We especially appreciate how the UI manages to compress the editing tool to fit in the left third of the screen, leaving most of the space to simultaneously display a visual preview–all without the screen feeling cramped.
The A/B button just above the editor allows you to switch back and forth between different versions of the same landing page, highlighting your current page in orange so you don’t get mixed up about which version you’re viewing.
A template builder (not pictured) is also available, with drag-and-drop modules for elements such as CTA and social media buttons. This allows marketers to make fast, easy tweaks to the layout and visual content of the page that show up immediately in the preview window.
Adobe Marketing Cloud
With a comprehensive marketing software suite such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, users can quickly become overwhelmed by the enormous number of available options, making it difficult to find the information they need.
So we were especially impressed with how Adobe Marketing Cloud’s Pinterest-like visual feed ensures that users have an overview of the most relevant items possible whenever they log into the system.
Users can convert any piece of data or content (e.g., reports, campaigns and visual assets) from one of Adobe Marketing Cloud’s six solutions into a shareable widget, called a card, that will then appear in users’ feeds if it’s relevant to them—helping marketers stay on the same page and collaborate across teams.
In addition to appearing in feeds, related cards can also be organized into collections called “boards,” which are easily accessible from the main sidebar navigation panel. This allows you to easily customize your own dashboards simply by right-clicking a card and selecting the pin icon.
We particularly like how Eloqua’s campaign management solution re-creates the feeling of brainstorming around a whiteboard by dedicating the majority of its screen real estate to an open, unstructured “canvas” area that encourages marketers to experiment.
Campaign elements (e.g., assets such as landing pages, or actions such as adding a contact to a lead nurturing program) are organized into a legible sidebar, and can be dragged and dropped directly in the campaign, where they can then be moved around freely. Both in the sidebar and in the canvas itself, distinct pastel colors make it easy to differentiate various types of elements.
Elements on the canvas can be quickly linked simply by clicking the open dots that appear when near other elements. Connections between each element are color-coded: Green arrows represent positive actions, such as filling out a submission form, and red arrows represent negative ones, such as declining to open an email. This makes it easy to understand how campaigns progress.
Eloqua also features integration with popular enterprise social networks (including those operated by vendors other than Oracle), such as Chatter, the Facebook-like UI of which encourages communication and collaboration on campaigns.
ExactTarget Marketing Cloud by Salesforce.com
ExactTarget takes a different (but equally intuitive) approach to its campaign-planning solution, with elements rigidly structured across a horizontal timeline view that makes it easy to visualize the time elapsed between each step of your campaign.
We particularly like how the Goal Attribution UI consistently—yet unobtrusively—prompts users to measure the success of actively running campaigns against easily configurable goals. On the left of the screen, the overall success rate is displayed beside a trophy icon.
If the success rate exceeds the established goal of the campaign, both the conversion rate and the icon show up in green; otherwise, they both show up in orange. Matching icons and contextual coloration recurs throughout the interface wherever more detailed goal-related information is displayed.
In addition, subtle reporting elements are incorporated within the campaign manager, with open rates and click-through rates displayed below each interaction. This allows marketers to see at a glance which efforts are driving the best results—without cluttering the primary interface.
Salesfusion’s recently revamped UI features a compact, intuitive sidebar with an expressive iconography set, leaving nearly the entire screen free for elements such as reports and campaigns. Mousing over a specific icon highlights it, and expands a larger list of options with clear labels to help users quickly navigate between different areas, such as landing pages and lead analysis.
We especially like the orange color palette, which invokes feelings of enthusiasm and creativity that seem particularly appropriate for marketers.
This gallery represents our favorite interfaces, but we’re always interest in evaluating market entrants or re-designs. If we missed your favorite marketing automation UI, let us know in the comments below.