I had a chance over the past few days to play around with Mautic. Mautic is an open source marketing automation platform that 1. Exists and 2. You should be looking at.
I say that because marketing automation is relatively new and, generally, pretty costly to a small business or fledgling content creator with an affinity towards the color blue. Mautic is free out-of-the-box and has a slew of initial plugins.
What’s Marketing Automation?
Marketing Automation, as the name implies, is software that creates a series of conditional rules to reengage and track your audience. This is an overly reductive explanation, but think of it as a mega creepy method for knowing more about who comes to your website, plus, a way to automatically reengage people through various channels.
It’s marketing that’s automated. Like a big impersonal robot, it’s software that takes you out of the equation when it comes interacting through e-mail and tailoring content towards your audience.
Marketing Automation uses conditional rules to, say, send an e-mail when someone visits a certain page related to that same type of content. Another example might be an e-commerce site that uses automation to send customers a coupon for 20% off when they failed to complete a checkout.
Marketing automation, when it’s done right, feel like magic.
Why Care About Mautic?
When I started developing websites, I chose to focus on WordPress. It’s a free solution used by thousands of website and lessons I learned years ago are still just as applicable and helpful today (especially since I’ve transitioned into marketing). WordPress is awful at some tasks, but it’s expanded from a solution for blogs into a much more diverse, stable platform that’s used by everyone because it’s free.
Mautic feels like it could be the same thing, in part, because what it offers from a feature set is something you’d expect to see on premium marketing automation platforms like Marketo or Hubspot, like:
- Landing Pages
- E-mail Marketing
- Lead Scoring
- CRM Integrations
- Social Media
- IP Lookups
It’s also completely free. Which is amazing since marketing automation is expensive. Worthwhile levels of Hubspot and Marketo will run you around $1000.00 a month.
Mautic feels accessible. One thing I love is the campaign builder, which allows you to visualize campaigns. In this flow, I created a form that, when filled out, automatically sends an e-mail and, depending on if they open it, can add a point to their lead score or another follow up e-mail.
Why Mautic Isn’t All Gumdrops
Like a lot of new open sourced projects, Mautic has its share of warts, which so far have boiled down to things not working as described or simply not working.
The social media integration only seems to half work. Mautic doesn’t reliably pull in social media data that’s easily accessible with a search of someone’s e-mail and, even if you manually enter in accounts, sometimes it won’t bring any information (even just an avatar from that network). I had a particularly difficult time getting forms to redirect after submission. Or getting a field to save properly. Mautic has tiny bugs, but I expect these will iron-out eventually.
Social media only seems to half work.
The biggest complaint about Mautic is that it lacks any internal database to identify leads, which means unless you dig around or get someone to fill out a form you’ll end up with tons of unidentified leads.
Other marketing automation solutions have some proprietary data based on IP addresses that give you the bits of information you really need to know to extract as much value as you can from visitors.
Mautic’s Accessibility and Ease: Still Worth It
Minor bugs and premium features aside, Mautic is still absolutely worth it. The level of initial setup can be daunting (although I’ve found this true with every marketing automation solution), but if you can get Mautic “right” it’s scary how effective it could be as a tool for generating sales and reengaging your audience.
In otherwords, I’m a big fan. Don’t take marketing automation or Mautic as any panacea for fundamental marketing issues, it’s just that Mautic represents a future of maximum effiency. A robot that starts here and ends with all of our human-to-human interactions buffered through a technological interface for maximum efficiency and profit. Who doesn’t find that sexy?