As most of enterprise level applications, marketing automation software has one serious drawback – it is hardly accessible for individuals. The price is too way beyond any personal usage while trial versions or public training are not always available. So if you are a young professional who wants to learn fancy marketing automation along with other buzz concepts, there might be very few opportunities for that.
As an example, Marketo has tons of collateral materials – definitive guides, cheat sheets, webinars, white papers and many others. All they give great background, a profound overview of core marketing automation concepts, ideas, and processes – the company is definitely a thought leader in the industry, with rich content evangelizing and interpreting marketing automation in all aspects.
Moreover, the materials are broken down by level (Getting Started – Definitive Guides Series – Advanced Topics). The problem is all of them are pretty much theoretical; they do not help with developing hands-on skills, understanding not only what to do, but HOW to do as well. Free trial announced on the website is not a trial at all – it is a form one needs to submit and then get a sales rep to schedule a presentation. So it is a selling tool, not a product training.
Marketo clients though are getting access to a plenty of tutorials and step-by-steps guidance, but these materials are not available before the four- or six-digit check is signed for the company’s name. You can find a number of Youtube videos on Marketo training, mostly provided by third parties.
There is a similar situation with Eloqua, Silverpop, Act-On and others players. Eloqua, which is owned by Oracle, offers a set of paid courses, along with a number of guides and white papers. Though Eloqua channel on YouTube offers a great variety of detailed “how-to” lessons. It allows if not master the product, get good understanding of the interface, its functionality, and architecture.
As a perfect point of differentiation, HubSpot has 1-month free trial. Though it is not very accurate to compare HubSpot with MA behemoths as Marketo or Eloqua (a fair attempt to do that is available here), it gives a great opportunity to test the platform and its features. The software is distinguished not only by its targeting small and medium business; it also has a focus on inbound and content marketing. As soon as you register for a trial, you get access to all tools, templates and educational materials – Academy, Marketing Library, Forum, Ideas. It also provides a free Inbound Certification (75 min, 60 questions) – not a bad thing to be added to a resume, especially of a young professional.
One more step towards “marketer-friendliness” is Autopilot. Not only they offer 30 days free trial, but they also provide free Flight School – an interactive training platform on basic marketing automation set up and execution. So literally as soon as one log in, s/he gets visual instructions what to do, step by step. The approach is close to the one of Eloqua and Act-On: there is a canvas that allows visualizing the algorithm, all steps of “the journey” – email, audience, email to confirm, email to remind, email to follow-up and so forth. So Flight School is a kind of marketing automation “clinics” – it shows how it works, it leads you through every next action so that you can see an example, and then do it by yourself, on the same screen. So if you are an MA freshman – this is a perfect place to take off!