What do you like best?
This is the perfect tool for those that like ultimate freedom/flexibility when designing their marketing automation (MA). eTrigue's "DemandCenter" application keeps up with all of the best MA tools out there, but has a few key features and speedy interface that make me recommend it above others, if you value your time.
Specifically, the UI is not a 'wizard/guided/steps' kind of approach. Instead, you have all of the options/criteria/actions available to you, and you can speedily compile lists and campaigns. So once you know where everything is, you can really hum along without constant interruptions or multiple screens of setup.
The same UI components (for the list building criteria, for example) is the same/consistent in other parts of the application. Like the reports builder or criteria for actions/triggers within campaigns. So once you've learned it in one location, it is intuitive to use in other areas.
Data/contacts visibility and hygiene also seems easy, due to this setup. You can quickly review your database, applying filters for drilled-down views. Wildcards and boolean functionality available throughout to be able to see what you really want to see.
But, above all else, eTrigue has the best support I've ever experienced for a SaaS / online app. They're very responsive to tickets, open to new features, and it's always the same group of people that I'm dealing with.
What do you dislike?
Initially, I was frustrated with DemandCenter's first take at enhanced reporting. Not being familiar with standard report designing, I found the flexibility overwhelming. They've since re-vamped their entire reporting system, and it seems much more straight forward now - though, limiting. I'm still not quite sure they've struck the perfect balance, but they sure are trying.
I'll list out an industry standard 'dislike', but it's something I actually appreciate. DemandCenter's flow and UI design seems to boil down to speed, rather than guided walkthroughs and validation. Meaning, the system is flexible and doesn't stop you from performing invalid or mismatched actions. Sure, there are validation and testing mechanisms to test your final product, but it's not going to baby you through the setup or interrupt you with dialogs or page refreshes. Likewise, with the database setup and segmentation, you will need to know what you want and how you want to segment - because the system isn't going to walk you through it. You have ultimate control over custom fields, and how those fields play into campaign triggers, or list building. There's no boilerplate setup.
Recommendations to others considering the product
Know what you want. Know what web assets (forms, landings, and offerings such as eBooks) you have available to you. Know how your sales division works, and how lead assignment is handled. Know your starting data/contacts, and how you would like it organized/segmented. Know all of this before starting - even if you are planning on getting help via implementation services.
What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Huge ROI with the reduced man-hours required for this level of marketing automation.
The way DemandCenter has alerts set up is a huge bonus - though mostly a boon to the Sales department, and not so much marketing. This tool perfectly blends both Sales and Marketing functionality.
Last note: we're a software company that relies on trial downloads for lead generation. With the sheer volume, it would be easy to let leads slip through the cracks. But with DemandCenter, and tight use of automated campaigns, nothing slips through - all notifications go off as expected, automated nurturing keeps crunching away, and lead alerts/notifications keep firing off to the assigned rep. It's like a well-oiled machine - thanks to the flexibility and reliability of eTrigue.