I have been investigating a number of CRM tools that will do what I call close loop marketing for my clients. These tools enable you to put in a database and then create campaigns to nurture a lead. The two I am favoring at the moment are OfficeAutoPilot(OAP) http://www.officeautopilot.com/ and FirstWave (FW) http://www.firstwave.net.au/.

Both have their benefits but I think Officeautopilot has a slight advantage in functionality at the moment. Firstwave is more practical and easier to navigate so I guess it depends on your need and who will be driving the marketing effort.

Firstwave is around $500 upfront and $395 per month US with up to 1000 emails a month free and Officeautopilot is no set up fee and $597 for basic tool and $195 for the marketing tracker with 1000 at .01cent.

Summary of the tools:

1. Marketing tracker tools – track traffic via url coding to web pages, google ads and online campaigns. – Both

2. Lead scoring; both – and routing with OAP

3. Outlook integrationOAP

4. PURLS – personalised urls coming soon for both

5. Tags for segmentationOAP

6. Phone tracking and integration for call centres – both

7. Templates for direct mail campaigns – FW

8. Reporting on campaigns, customised reporting – both

9. Customisable database – both

In the age of 1:1 marketing companies will be developing their own CRM tools or buying into a software vendors vision. I guess the benefit of outsourcing is you aren’t putting all your resources into the R&D and you can focus your energies and time on the business you do best. One thing is for sure, the intimacy that you have with your customers is related to the loyalty and value that they provide you, so it is worth investigating in a system that will give you that sort of relationship.

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