Best Marketing Automation Software89Marketing Automation is a subset of Enterprise Marketing Management. Marketing automation software nurtures leads with relevant content, and then routes prospects to a sales rep at the optimal point in the buying process. Key functionality includes: - Automated marketing campaigns & click tracking - Email, landing pages and online registration pages - Lead scoring, lead nurturing & lead management - Analytics and reportingSamba.ai1https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/Dn/ib/DAURJNSULMR7-180x180.PNGMyLeadCatalyst2https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/9v/pP/UN13R1B2EK0E-180x180.JPEGGoody3https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/GH/4l/HZTTCJG7Z2KN-180x180.PNGTaximail4https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/kp/5X/5VMF1J8900PN-180x180.JPEGInviteReferrals5https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/YV/of/IGGKJQBXA22T-180x180.JPEGMarketFirst6https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/eB/st/BE0IVWGEPVC1-180x180.JPEG

Marketing Automation Software

Best Marketing Automation Software

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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 media, SMS, 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.


Some marketing automation platforms are better suited for large businesses, and others for small businesses. Some focus on B2C marketing, some on 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 apps and SMS, 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:


  • Email marketing

  • Landing page creation and customization

  • Lead management

  • Lead scoring

  • 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

  • Lead Management

  • Reporting & Analytics

  • Social Marketing

Some more advanced features (i.e. for enterprise-level platforms) include:


  • CRM integration

  • Social media marketing and management

  • Web conferencing

  • Dynamic website / Progressive profiling

  • Marketing Resource Management (MRM)

  • Cross-channel campaign management

  • Predictive analytics

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.

Scale

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 have simplified.


Enterprise-level offerings tend to be “marketing clouds” that also go beyond traditional marketing automation features. 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.

Industry

The right approach also varies based on what you’re marketing and to whom you are marketing. 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 Information

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.

More Resources

Marketing Automation Products

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Samba’s artificial intelligence and automation capabilities empower businesses to gain and act upon a deeper, more objective understanding of each of their customers, increasing their overall operational efficiency and utility. Full-spectrum Insights: Utilizing a vast array of both offline and on...

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MyLeadcatalyst, An Integrated LaaS (Lead as a service) Scalable Platform Build with Prospect Database, Complete Marketing Automation, Analytics, Reporting, CRM integration & Sales Pipeline Creation

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Many businesses still struggle to define who their customers are. Without that knowledge, businesses rely on expensive third-party programs or research to dictate their strategy. Goody solves that, at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional CRM or coalition loyalty programs, according to t...

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Taximail is designed to present a powerful and reliable digital marketing automation platform for businesses. The vendor describes the following benefits they aim to provide with Taximail: Send emails faster for 150 emails per hour Technical and strategy support provided in less than 2 hou...

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InviteReferrals , which the vendor states is trusted by 20,000+ Customer Globally, is designed to make it easier to get a referral program from an online store. The vendor invites the user to create interactive refer-a-friend campaigns in a few steps, and boasts their technology as a cost-effect...

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MarketFirst is a marketing automation system for organizations of all sizes that want to drive engagement with prospects and customers. With powerful tools, this solution will help you create dynamic campaigns that help feed the sales pipeline, engage and nurture prospects, and retain current cus...