Marketing Automation Software
Best Marketing Automation Software
- Top Rated Marketing Automation Software include: HubSpot, Marketo, Hatchbuck, LeadSquared, SharpSpring, Oracle Eloqua, and IBM Campaign.
- Other Marketing Automation Software on the TrustMap include: IBM Watson Campaign Automation, Adobe Campaign, Pardot, and Act-On.
- A complete list of Marketing Automation Software is available here.
TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on satisfaction ratings and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 30 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap, and those above the median line are considered Top Rated.
Marketing Automation Software Overview
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation software helps automate and scale repetitive marketing tasks. The software also enables analysis of marketing efforts.
Most marketing automation systems are built around leads (people) and campaigns (message sequences). Leads in the marketing database can be nurtured with relevant, personalized content.
Marketing automation campaigns are more complex than batch and blast email campaigns. Campaigns can involve digital channels beyond email, such as social, mobile, landing pages, etc. They can also be designed with complex logic. This is the automation piece. Users can segment leads, personalize messages, and trigger events (like sending an email or updating a record) based on lead behavior. Once a campaign is over, reporting tools can measure its performance. This tells marketers what worked well and what did not.
Before deciding on a specific marketing solution, you should assess your needs. Some marketing automation platforms work well for large businesses, and others for small businesses. Some focus on B2C marketing, someone B2B marketing, others on both. Most offer inbound and outbound marketing tools, though some have stronger features around one strategy (i.e. HubSpot is an inbound marketing tool). You should assess your use case and the marketing challenges you have before evaluating products.
For a more in-depth look at trends in the space, check out our Buyer’s Guide to Marketing Automation Software. It includes review insights and tips from marketing automation experts.
Marketing Automation Features and Capabilities
Marketing automation started out with just email. Today, websites, mobile and social media are all integral to successful marketing efforts. Most marketing automation tools will include functionality for all of these platforms.
The core set of tasks for marketing automation include:
Landing page creation and customization
Reporting & Analytics
Features vary from vendor to vendor, as well as by paid tier. No matter the level, marketing automation features can be grouped as follows:
Email Marketing & Online Marketing
Reporting & Analytics
Some more advanced features (i.e. for enterprise-level platforms) include:
Social media marketing and management
Dynamic website / Progressive profiling
Marketing Resource Management (MRM)
Cross-channel campaign management
Email Marketing & Online Marketing
Email Management: Automation for opt-in, unsubscribe and bounce processing. This sometimes includes a dedicated IP address and link validation.
Landing Pages: Direct clicks to a unique, relevant page. The ability to customize pages helps control customer experience and is well-known to increase conversion rates.
Triggered Email: Send real-time, personalized emails based on customer actions.
Forms: Registration forms to capture lead data and add it to the database. May allow for social sign in. This sometimes includes “smart” forms that recognize known visitors and ask progressive questions to update their record in the database.
Dynamic Content: Landing pages and emails can be automatically customized. This compartmentalization can be based on industry, location, job title, or other segmentation factors.
Mobile: Mobile-optimized features are common in most marketing automation platforms today.
Lead Management Features
Lead Database: Archive actions between your company and individual prospects. Email clicks, website visits, scoring changes can all be automatically logged.
Behavior Tracking: Indicates a prospect’s interests and place in the buying process. May include the websites they visit, social networks they participate in, keywords they search with, emails they open, etc.
Lead Nurturing: Emails can be triggered based on a predetermined campaign, and in a sequence that aligns with the customer's journey to a potential customer more information as you go along. More important for B2B marketing.
Automated Sales Tasks: Automatically send follow-up messages based on specific behavior, create lists of qualified leads for sales, and alert salespeople of new action.
Segmentation: Demographic and behavior-based filters refine the outreach process.
Workflow Automation: Planning, calendar creation, and task assignment can all be automated.
Scheduling Flexibility: Control when your messages will be sent by day and time, and whether they should be spread out throughout the day. Gate and prioritize messages, or schedule messages to send based on the time zone of the recipient
Lead Scoring: Identify the best lead for a campaign or tactic. You can weigh important and undesirable behaviors automatically.
Data Quality: Merge duplicate leads, identify missing information and standardize information.
Reporting & Analytics Features
Basic Reporting: A summary of email and landing page campaign success. This is typically featured on a built-in dashboard.
Program ROI Analytics: Give visibility into your marketing efforts’ ROI. It’s a bigger picture approach, comparing the success of campaigns and channels.
SEO & Keyword Tracking: Track keyword strength and compare competitor performance.
Multi-touch Revenue Attribution: Credit every campaign touch point before the sale. This gives better visibility to the performance of each campaign tactic.
Testing: Some platforms allow A/B testing or multivariate testing for automated campaigns. Material to test may include subject lines, send times, or even personalized content and custom landing pages.
Web Analytics: Determine which pages of your website are most popular with prospects. Look at bounce rate, common paths and more.
Predictive Analytics: Use data trends to optimize future marketing operations. This is a developing area for marketing automation analytics.
Social Marketing Features
Social Campaigns: Cross-sell content with automated posts across channels. Qualify prospects using comments, replies, and tweets.
Social Listening: Monitor brand mentions across the social sphere. Gain insight into prospect segmentation and campaign messaging.
Social Sharing: Incorporate smart share buttons into campaign messages. Gain data about who shares content which content and what drives social conversations.
Social Engagement: Increase engagement with polls or referral programs. Some tools allow integration of engagement apps to your Facebook, email, and website.
Social Analytics: Add tracking to social media campaigns, and improve your conversion rates for future campaigns.
List Size & Target Market
Different marketing automation software fits different use cases. In particular, think about scale and industry.
The technology you need will vary depending on the size of your company, your marketing team, and your database (list size).
Marketing automation platforms aimed at small businesses go beyond pure-play email marketing. Typically they try to provide an all-in-one system that is easy to use and within budget. They will also feature CRM tools, social tools, etc. But they won’t have all of the bells and whistles. Complex logic, reporting, and integrations are three areas marketing automation tools for SMBs tend to be simplified.
Enterprise-level offerings tend to be “marketing clouds” that also go beyond traditional marketing automation features. But unlike SMB tools, they typically have breadth and depth. Enterprise platforms typically offer granular control over campaign logic, advanced reporting, and many integrations. offer additional capabilities. They also have other advanced tools like A/B testing, social listening, and ad management. IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, and Adobe have all acquired marketing automation products that they offer as part of an enterprise suite.
The right approach also varies based on what you’re marketing and who you are marketing to. For example, are your customers businesses or consumers? Marketing practices in the B2B industry differ from the B2C industry. The channels frequency, and duration of communication, as well as the degree of personalization, will probably be different.
B2B marketing automation is all about ‘nurture’ programs. This builds interest in the product through education on its uses. It is where drip campaigns and content marketing come in.
B2C marketing involves a much larger prospect pool. Brand and product are more important than relationship. Ecommerce features are also more important. This includes bulk email campaigns, open rates, targeted offers, shopping carts and more.
Marketing Automation Integrations
Most marketing automation buyers already have a CRM system. Integration between your CRM and marketing automation software is important to consider. The integration has to go both ways. A change in a marketing campaign should be reflected on the record of that campaign and its members in your CRM, and vice versa! Data consistency is crucial for lead nurturing and scoring. This determines whether a person continues receiving marketing messages, or gets passed to sales or support for follow up.
Here are three things to consider when you’re evaluating integration to your CRM::
Automatic mapping vs. manual field mapping
Real-time syncing vs. periodic syncing
Accessibility of lead and contact information
CRM integration is probably the most important for both B2B and B2C marketers.
But there are many other integrations that are also useful. Since MA software often works as a marketing hub for marketing operations, vendors offer a growing number of integrations. For example, for many B2B companies, webinars are a key tactic for qualifying leads. Integration between marketing and webinar platforms means more lead capture and more accurate lead scores.
Pricing for marketing automation tools is usually based on included features. It is typically a subscription model. The more features included in the package, the higher the monthly price. Vendors that take an all-in-one approach (i.e. with a built-in CRM) may base pricing on the number of contacts.
Users can expect to pay around $200/mo. for a basic monthly package. Enterprise-level software (with all the bells and whistles) will run up to $3,000-$7,000 per month.
Excerpts from TrustRadius 2016 Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation
Achieving Success with Marketing Automation
Tips from Marketing Automation Experts
Achieving success with Marketing Automation requires much more than selecting the right software product. We spoke with several leading marketing consultants to better understand the key success factors for any Marketing Automation project, and a few key themes emerged:
1. Define Your Marketing Strategy First
Companies are frequently too focused on picking technology. Before selecting a Marketing Auto-mation platform, it's important to have a clear strategy in place as to how you will use it. Companies that fail to do this frequently get low mileage out of their Marketing Automation systems.
“All too often, people are doing it backwards. They're buying the technology then asking what's next. Technology is not a silver bullet without a strategy and plan.”
“By far the #1 issue we see with companies who invest in Marketing Automation is the lack of an overall plan or strategy. Too often companies make the assumption that simply the act of deploying a Marketing Automation platform will result in marketing efficiencies. Without at least the semblance of a plan or strategy for how the company plans to use the system, Marketing Automation is doomed to be little more than email software.”
“The most successful companies with Marketing Automation have put in place a demand generation strategy. They have people that will actually own the success of not just the Marketing Automation, but the demand generation program – someone is on the line to deliver the metrics (MQLs, leads), and there's someone who will own the tool. In many small companies it's the same person. In larger companies, it's not.”
“It's critical to have a clear definition of your target customers, and understand what's interesting to them and how you can best reach them. Email is incredibly important in B2B – however, social is becoming much more important. Determine the cycle that your buyers go through to evaluate, consider and make a purchase decision. Then determine what the best content assets/stories are to share with them. It's also important to define the hand-off to sales. There's also a huge opportunity to continue to engage customers post-sale. It's not supposed to be easy, but you can break it into a crawl, walk and run approach.”
2. Align People to Processes
Marketing Automation is not just about the automation of existing marketing processes - it represents a new way to engage with prospective customers and align marketing activities much more closely to revenue generation. Engaging in Marketing Automation frequently does necessitate adding more resources, though there is generally a clearly achievable return on investment.
“There's a lot of strategic dialogue that needs to happen – ensuring sales and marketing are aligned on the definition of a MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead) and ensuring that the content team produces content aligned to a buyer's journey. If their marketing organization is not aligned and ready for the change to be a more modern marketing organization, then buying a tool is a real waste of money.”
“I advise clients not to underestimate the amount of resources required to make the most of a Marketing Automation system. Again, this has less to do with managing the software per se, and much more to do with developing the campaigns, programs, strategies and content that are the fuel for a successful deployment. At a bare minimum, expect to dedicate one-half of a full-time employee (or the equivalent services from an outside firm) in order to get the most from your investment.”
3. Integrate Systems
Marketing Automation systems cannot operate in a silo. At minimum they need to tie in to your CRM system. All too frequently there is no clear plan for how the integration should proceed, what data should be exchanged, etc.
“One of the big misses is internal alignment for data integration and reporting. Your Marketing Automation solution is only as a good as the data you put into it. Often when we're brought in, there's not been any conversation about integration or what will be the master database – the Marketing Automation system, another marketing database, or Salesforce.”
4. Develop a Content Strategy
An effective demand generation strategy enabled through Marketing Automation usually requires a good volume of content. However, the content needs to be systematically designed based upon an assessment of the target buyer and aligned to the buyer's journey (how they buy). Content needs to be educational and not overly self-serving or promotional. Content production is a non-trivial problem but there are efficiency opportunities through atomization - breaking up existing content and repackaging it.
“The ability to produce content is tough – most companies don't have writers, or if they do, they have technical writers which is not the same skill set.”
“Content is often a roadblock to being successful. People buy Marketing Automation systems and they don't have anything to deliver. An enlightened company getting ready to embark on this journey will be preparing content well in advance. Many companies realize too late and they use Marketing Automation in a crude way, offering the same thing in the same way, or think about product-centric offers. You're in a battle for the mind of the customer.”
“The type of content that works best in the context of a lead nurturing or e-marketing program is usually informational ‘thought leadership’-type content that speaks to best practices, strategies or techniques for solving the type of business problem that the marketer's product or service addresses. It's this type of content that will drive a higher level of engagement, build credibility and ultimately drive a dialogue with sales. Conversely (and counter-intuitively), content that overtly ‘sells’ a product or service, particularly early in the sales cycle, has a greater chance of alienating the reader. Not every piece of content has to be a new 12-page white paper, however. We advise clients to look at recycling or repurposing existing content. Perhaps an old white paper can see new life as a checklist, a Webinar/Slidecast, a series of short videos or an infographic.”
“You need to define buyer personas in a deep way – not just who they are, but what the journey looks like for them. That helps you define what the questions need to be at each of those stages, and hence, what types of content should be developed. Volume of content is important, however quality and relevancy is most important. There are solutions for volume, e.g., content management tools like Kapost or content developed by agencies, including the ‘atomization of content’. We look at how to do things in an efficient way, i.e., breaking one great asset into smaller snackable chunks.”
“Content fuels marketing automation programs. Without content customers don't have any reason to discover and engage with any organization. A content strategy prevents random acts of marketing and identifies the information that educates and entertains a B2B audience at all stages of a buying journey.”
5. Re-Think Your Metrics
Marketing organizations are often stuck in the past, concentrating on metrics like open and click rates for emails, but not tying their campaigns back to revenue. Beyond agreeing on the right metrics to track, it's also important to ensure there's consensus on their definition.
“Today, best-in-class organizations focus on MQLs and SALs, and look at velocity of movement and conversion rate in the funnel. It's all tied back to revenue.”
“They have a hard time proving value, as they cannot tie to revenue. Many only can do last-touch attribution. They lose visibility once a lead moves into the sales realm. Marketing is often removed once it goes into sales, which is a mistake. There's no continuous thread.”
“The big thing is defining what a qualified lead is – MQLs and SQLs - if using the Sirius Decisions framework. These things are critical to success.”
“Modern marketers must capture and analyze the metrics that matter throughout a demand generation cycle. That means marketers must use marketing automation to measure attribution for revenue influence and pipeline contribution.”
Pages 4-29 are available in the complete TrustRadius 2016 Buyer's Guide to Marketing Automation and cover
- Historical Trends in Marketing Automation
- Trends for 2016
- The Best Marketing Automation Products for Small Businesses
- The Best Marketing Automation Products for Mid-sized Businesses
- The Best Marketing Automation Products for Enterprise Businesses
- TrustMap Methodology
- 7Sheep Ratings & User Feedback
- Act-On Ratings & User Feedback
- Adobe Campaign (formerly Neolane) Ratings & User Feedback
- CallidusCloud Marketing Automation (Formerly Leadformix) Ratings & User Feedback
- Oracle Eloqua Ratings & User Feedback
- eTrigue DemandCenter Ratings & User Feedback
- GreenRope Ratings & User Feedback
- Hatchbuck Ratings & User Feedback
- HubSpot Ratings & User Feedback
- IBM Campaign (formerly Unica) Ratings & User Feedback
- IBM Marketing Cloud (formerly Silverpop Engage) Ratings & User Feedback
- Infusionsoft Ratings & User Feedback
- LeadSquared Ratings & User Feedback
- Marketo Ratings & User Feedback
- Net-Results Ratings & User Feedback
- ONTRAPORT Ratings & User Feedback
- Pardot Ratings & User Feedback
- SharpSpring Ratings & User Feedback
- Spokal Ratings & User Feedback
- Teradata Integrated Marketing Cloud (formerly Aprimo and Teradata Marketing Studio) Ratings & User Feedback
Marketing Automation Products
ThriveHive is a marketing automation software solution offered by ThriveHive.
Dialog Insight is an email marketing platform focused on allowing businesses to create personalized experiences for their customers. Capabilities include: Marketing Automation: Automated communications, such as welcome sequences or shopping cart abandonment follow-ups.Customer Insight: Database of...
Xtremepush is a leading multi-channel analytics and engagement marketing platform. This solution is designed to enable global enterprise brands to analyse their mobile and web customers, drive engagement and increase their revenue. Key features include easy integration, enterprise-class analytics,...
The Tactile Marketing Automation app, provided by Printingforless.com (PFL), allows users to set up automatic triggers to send direct mail based on digital behavior. It also delivers alerts to users when direct mail is delivered. TMA integrates with CRM and Marketing Automation software to pull...
The Chainlink Marketing Platform provides advanced marketing automation, business intelligence, and attribution across all channels and efforts. The vendor allows companies to pay for what they use and the features they need. A free version is available as well. With the Chainlink Marketing...
Aimbase is a marketing automation platform that includes database management, lead nurturing, email marketing, landing pages, prospect scoring, social media advocacy and marketing analytics capabilities. The vendor is focused on companies in the recreation and leisure industries.
iPresso is a marketing automation platform that offers personalized communications with customers, loyalty and coupon programs, multi-channel marketing campaigns, lead nurturing, personalization, and CRM integrations.
Automational is Customer Relationship Management software that caters specifically to small businesses. The system offers marketing automation, email marketing, web visitor tracking, opportunity tracking and prospect scoring, and more. The email marketing application contains a drag and drop...
itracMarketer is an Email Marketing, Marketing Automation and CRM solution built for business growth on a data secure and compliant platform.itracMarketer promises to: save time with automated campaigns and lead capture, amplify customer acquisition and retention, and optimize marketing...
GatorAutomation is a marketing automation software solution offered by CommuniGator Ltd.
MarketPower is a marketing automation software solution offered by DST Systems, Inc..
Envoke offers marketing automation software used for lead generation, managing leads for sales teams, and revenue attribution to predictably improve results.Envoke says it helps users rise above the complexity of marketing automation by delivering:a state-based approach to automated nurture...
Pivotal CRM Marketing Automation is a customer relationship management software solution offered by Aptean.
From creating landing pages to capture leads to running email campaigns that nurture new customers—LeadFox aims to make deploying online marketing strategy easy and automatic. According to the vendor, LeadFox was created to address the issue of using multiple point solutions (that may be messy to...
Netcore Smartech says it's an AI Powered Growth Marketing suite that enables brands to listen, analyse, and converse & improve conversions across Mobile App and Website. Smartech is designed for businesses who want to do Analytics and Engagement on a single platform. According to the vendor, it...
Amplero is an AI-powered B2C marketing automation platform. Amplero optimizes the next best action (step in a marketing campaign) based on machine learning and multi-armed bandit experimentation, rather than the traditional rules-based approach taken by other MA solutions.
ActiveTrail maintains a near 100% delivery rate to inbox with full anti-spam compliance, manages ISP relations, supports multiple languages, enables user-friendly creation of email business communications (including campaigns and newsletters), includes pre-designed responsive templates, and...
Pyze lets brands and enterprises maximize user retention through AI based engagement and personalization across digital platforms. The Pyze platform provides marketing and product teams with cross-platform user behavior analytics and automated segmentation to deliver hyper-relevant omnichannel...
SaleCycle in Tyne and Wear offers their marketing platform that emphasizes converting web visitors into customers with various tools (e.g. offer countdowns, abandoned cart remarketing, intelligent cross-sells, etc.) to maximize ecommerce conversion.
Mediawide offers you a SaaS marketing platform to help you ADAPT, LOCALIZE AND PERSONALIZE your global marketing campaigns effectively. The platform support all kinds of media requirements for video, digital personalization and print ads.
Leadscore is an affordable CRM suite with sales & marketing automation solutions dedicated to small companies with big ambitions. Leadscore was created for small businesses. We focus on intuitive interfaces, clean layouts, and a smooth user experience. Keep things simple and pick which features...
Marketing Automation Articles
- Quickly find the right product based on 1,647+ in-depth reviews and user ratings
- Compare the pros & cons and customer demographics of the top rated vendors in this free 107-page guide from TrustRadius
- Explore the key trends for 2016 and 5 strategic factors for marketing automation success
TrustRadius sat down with Atri Chatterjee, CMO at Act-On to discuss customer focus, product development strategy, and the future of marketing automation.
In Q4 2014, Hubspot retained its position as the most evaluated marketing automation product on TrustRadius by some margin. Marketo remained in the number two slot. Act-On climbed from number three overtaking Pardot and Infusionsoft climbed to number five, overtaking Eloqua and Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email (formerly known as ExactTarget). Focusing in on the enterprise segment (companies with >500 employees), the ranking for evaluation frequency changes considerably. Marketo takes the top slot, followed by Eloqua, IBM Unica, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email and IBM Silverpop.