There’s a lot of options when it comes to picking your ultimate content marketing toolkit. Too many.
I’m in no doubt more people are making the shift to premium versions of tools. I know I (or in the context of Listly “we”) now pay for many more tools. Free is not a smart option in the long run.
It’s smart to pick vendors with free options as this is how they will grow their business (it’s how they get discovered and recommended), but in the long term if you aren’t compelled to pay, you have to wonder who else is paying? If nobody is paying are they going to last.?
Not everyone can get to the scale of Google and even they do a pretty good job of removing free tools e.g. Reader. With their hiding of keyword sources they are no doubt planning this will drive more revenue.
We are all experiencing a business model transition right now as premium become mainstream.
So how do you pick tools? What’s your strategy for tool selection? Which function owns this decision/process? IT or Marketing?
More than than considering tool options you should be asking questions:
- How should I approach tool selection?
- What kinds of tools do I need?
- How do they interact and combine?
- Am I paying for duplication of features?
- Who does the vendor compete with? Are they viable? Am I picking best in class?
- What am I missing from my current toolset?
- Are we consistently using the same tools across the company?
- Who are our experts in tool usage? Who should we listen to?
We all have our individual tool preferences, but are we skilled at picking and combining a collection of tools that work well together? My sense is not.
The other big question is pinpoint tools vs suites. Do I want less tools? Do I believe the best solutions come in bundles? These are hard questions to ask. Are the suites really suites?
We are eager to kick the tires and try many tools, but we need to choose how we invest our time and pick the tools that are strategic. Free is not really free. There is always an opportunity cost of time.
This is something I want to think about more. Putting tools into buckets or categories is smart.
Here’s an example from Brian Solis of Altimeter Group.
This is a beautiful graphic but it almost feels like too many segments, and I look at and think its missing a couple of segments e.g.
- Collaborative Sharing Tools
- API/Automation Tools
I like the following segmentations as categories
- Social Networks (Facebook, G+, Linkedin, Twitter)
- Content Networks (YouTube, Slideshare, Audioboo/Soundcloud, Listly, Instagram/Flickr etc)
- Conversation Tools (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc)
- Analysis Tools ( Google Analytics, Kissmetrics etc)
- Data Sources (Google KeyWords, Alexa, Klout/PeerIndex/Kred etc)
- Sharing Tools.(Triberr, Sharethis, GaggleAmp, Buffer etc)
- Integration Tools (Zapier, IFTTT, Cloudwork etc)
- Email / Marketing Automation Tools (MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact , Marketo etc)
- Curation Tools (Storify, Scoop.it, Rebelmouse )
I’m sure this needs more work as a segmentation, but to me what’s key from this view is you need at least one tool in each category and they all combine together to amplify your efforts.
i.e. there is synergy between using tools in these different categories.
I’ve begun a list of premium tools by linking to a tools pricing page. Who’s missing? Add the tools you think are key. I’ll tag them into the categories above to help build an exhaustive check lists
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It would be great if you wrote your own post on the subject of tool selection and segmentation.
Embed this list on your post and share these tools with your audience.
Let’s start the debate and educate people on how to choose tools.