Caveat emptor, (let the buyer beware) is good advice, especially when choosing a marketing automation platform. One size does not fit all and the subtleties of suitability may not be obvious to the non expert.

This article by Lauren Horwitz, leads with the basics, the five key features. Any solution that misses any of these key points is not really MA in the real sense of the term and I would steer well clear if demand generation is your goal.

Moving on from there your considerations should be around size and who is going to manage the process. 

With size, it's all about your current web traffic and where you need it to get to and then crucially contacts. Many platforms charge around a tiered contact facility and it's crucial that you get this right.

If you are intending to manage the process in-house, consider the skills of your team and the time it will take and an over complex backend and set up will add considerable amounts to your running costs.

If you are intending to outsource the process to a marketing agency, my advice is to find the agency before you purchase the software. As agencies normally we are all open about who we work with and the options available and a good agency can save you thousands at this stage.

Quite often I get called in to a prospect, where they have already purchased the MA platform and they now want a team to 'drive the thing.' It's often that awkward initial conversation, where you are placed in the position of kicking things off with a conversation around how they have purchased an expensive pup and now they have to live with it for twelve months.

So to sum up, any purchase comes with risk, but with Marketing Automation, there are willing experts out there, your partners in the process who can prove their values by involving them right at the start.