All Tools> Mautic
10 min read
It's primary purpose is to track user behavior at an individual level. It allows the creation of a basic contact list, which can be entered manually or uploaded, or via users responding to online forms as part of a marketing campaign. It allows the creation of unique identifiers to track their behavior throughout your website. As they interact with your systems, you slowly can gain a clearer picture about who they are, where they are from and how they engage with you. Visitors can be converted from anonymous entities to “known” contacts. As more detailed information is gathered, marketing campaigns can be constructed through the automated creation of tailored emails and landing web pages to provide custom experiences for customers.
Its ease of use has some referring to it as the “Wordpress of automated marketing,” as it can be setup and run with no coding experience; everything is driven mostly by forms with drop-downs and is functional right out of the box.
While this is not a comprehensive evaluation of all of the features available in Mautic, we will focus on a few specific tools which may be of most use to direct marketers.
It is important to note that this process is not linear. While some aspects require the pre-existence of other components, in order to understand how or why they work, we may be covering some of these out of order.
When opening Mautic, you are first shown an easy to understand dashboard including a display of several high-level representations of user data and marketing campaigns.The default setting shows graphical displays including “contacts created,” “form submissions,” “recent activity,” and a list of items you have added to a schedule.
Creating new widgets is handled simply be choosing a few fields from a drop-down menu. Any changes to any data immediately update the widget, so you can get a real-time view of your customers, campaigns, and more.
On the left side of the screen is a table of contents list providing access to each component within Mautic.
Mautic provides a high level view of individual contact records, including core information about each person, and detailed information about all activity and history of this person's behavior is displayed.
When importing records, Mautic automatically identifies which columns exist and enables mapping these to Mautic's predefined fields. It is also easy to create customized fields.
Mautic automatically identifies unique identifiers using hashes of various ids, such as IP address, email, or cookie (or others you choose to define). This enables automatic identification of duplicates, and allows tracking of individual user behavior throughout the system. Individual records are easily managed, allowing the creation of segments and adding other information that may be useful to a marketer.
Campaigns are a central feature of Mautic. With existing contact information, campaigns can be created using a set of customizable built-in email templates.
There are essentially two types of campaigns. The first type is typically time-driven and is generally used for kicking off campaigns or bulk communication; an overall email that can be sent to all or a select segment of contacts. All people within this campaign will receive the same marketing material, with some possible variations to tie the emails to the individual account for tracking purposes.
The other type of campaign is contact-driven. These are based on individualized interactions with a specific contact, based on triggers created by user actions. Different types of email templates can be created for each purpose.
Campaigns can be built using the “campaign builder” which enables creating a simple workflow by dragging and dropping various decisions, actions and triggers onto a canvas:
Forms are the primary point of customer contact. When a contact interacts with these, a number of actions occur. These include the obvious step of information gathering, or the basic info that a contact gives you – these can either exist on a website or can be manually entered or uploaded internally (the latter is what may be of most use to direct mail marketers wishing to make best use of the Mautic functionality)
When using a form, these can be configured to perform a number of actions, such as adding a customer to a segment, or modify a score (explained more further down).
For web-based forms, Mautic includes a highly valuable feature, known as “progressive profiling.” Forms will only ask for important info that has not yet been recorded, drastically increasing usability and improving form conversion rates. It's also possible to use this to break up forms into smaller pieces.
Automated features are one of the most valuable aspects of Mautic, and it manages the automated marketing process by a series of actions, triggers, points, and stages. Mautic allows you to group contacts into different segments. These can include demographic information, such as gender or location, or by interests. However these can also be created automatically based on user behavior.
Behavior tracking is governed by a series of rules that contacts make either by filling in forms, browsing to various sections of a website, or responding to marketing campaigns. These rules are guided by a set of actions and triggers.
Stages and points are indicators of progress through a set of stages for a contact or customer. Using a marketing campaign as an example, say a contact receives a targeted email, and clicks on the link. This action of clicking on the link can be defined to trigger one or more other actions.
Let's say all initial contacts have a point score of 1, meaning that we have their email address and some very basic information about them, but nothing else. By clicking on the link, they have indicated a level of interest, so we can have the system automatically change their score to 2, which could move them to a stage of “interested” or however you choose to define it. If they make an actual purchase, their point score could be changed to 3.
The change in points itself can trigger other actions:
This is not only useful for identifying to which stage a contact belongs, but it also can help provide a high-level view of success of a marketing campaign. You can construct reports or widgets on the dashboard to see the percentage of people within a campaign that moved from one stage or another to help assist in constructing of future campaigns.
From the perspective of a direct email marketer, Mautic is highly useful and can be an invaluable tool for many businesses. The tools it provides are excellent, and can be extremely effective in online environments. It does not however work for all situations. Mautic is not designed for direct mail marketing; it is primarily an online tool. That said, there are ways to use aspects of this tool to keep records of contacts, and if there is an online component (such as a website for respondents to visit), it can be useful as a supplement for other tools.
While it is relatively easy to understand out of the box, for certain functions it is not immediately clear as to their meaning, purpose or how to use them, There is no in-application help module.
One needs to either go online to the website to read or download the manual. It could be improved with some in-application help.
The application itself is very slow; this may be an artifact of the coding language used. Entering users manually could be grueling due to its slow response times (caveat: this tool was tested on a local server; it is unclear whether this is due to memory issues; it may work much better in the cloud).
The quality of the support community is a bit difficult to identify. There are a lot of sites but none appear to be straightforward help forums. There does appear to be a slack channel which may be a good place for assistance. That said, the Github repository is quite active, and development appears to be continuing constantly.
Not hugely populated – 735 total threads in support. Most questions have a response, but not all, and some of what look like legitimate questions are unanswered. Fully 15% of questions in support have no answer, and only 2 of those were in the last day.
This is essentially a listing of people who may be willing to help, but it is difficult to identify whether one is contacting the correct person or not
Other than setting it up (which itself is quite easy) everything in Mautic is designed for non-technical users. It is unnecessary to write a single line of code (it is possible if one wishes to add some dynamic content). Most items can be performed through a graphical interface. The dashboard itself is clear and easily customizable with very little configuration. Even modifying tables in a database is handled through a simple graphic interface. Learning to use it is not particularly difficult.
Mautic is a highly versatile and easy to use email marketing campaign management tool. It's interface is clear and has very few barriers to entry. It is easy to use, and is an excellent place to start for those marketers wanting to know what marketing automation is.
It is important to note that this is not a tool that is designed for offline direct mail campaigns; it is focused almost entirely on email campaigns. It can, however, serve as a tool which can augment many campaigns, particularly if there is an online component. For instance if your mail marketing campaign is encouraging people to go to a website, you could provide them with an id, or customized web address which could help augment information you have about them.