Marketing Automation Software
Best Marketing Automation Software
- Top Rated Marketing Automation Software include: HubSpot, Hatchbuck, LeadSquared, Marketo, SharpSpring, Oracle Eloqua, and IBM Watson Campaign Automation.
- Other Marketing Automation Software on the TrustMap include: IBM Campaign, 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, 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 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.
Marketing Automation Products
Leanplum is a mobile marketing automation and messaging platform with A/B testing and analytics, from the company of the same name headquartered in San Francisco, California.
ActiveDEMAND is an integrated marketing automation platform that is designed to bring together online marketing tools into a single application. This platform focuses on helping both novice and expert marketers set up, manage and execute campaigns with a focus on measuring business results such a...
Resulticks is an omni-channel marketing automation platform built by marketers for marketers. It is designed to provide a common platform over which digital communications from a brand to its audiences can be managed, tracked and measured. In addition to managing marketing campaigns across email,...
Vbout is a marketing automation solution focused on agencies. Features include email marketing, lead scoring, social media management, and behavioral marketing.
INBOX25 is an email marketing and marketing automation module specifically designed for SugarCRM. Features include lead nurturing, lead scoring, landing pages, web visitor tracking, social sharing, and email marketing.
Marketo Account-Based Marketing is a layer of the Marketo platform that sits on top of the Marketing Automation piece and allows users to approach campaigns from the account perspective, as well as individual decision-makers within accounts. It includes features for account targeting and manageme...
Vero is an email marketing solution built to make customer engagement simpler with features such as in-app behavior tracking, audience segmentation, and workflow automation.
Mautic is a free and open source marketing automation tool. The vendor says it is a powerful tool which businesses and organizations can use to effectively communicate with their audience and market their products and services by improving their lead generation, nurturing, and tracking as well a...
SimplyCast is a customer flow communication platform that combines marketing automation, inbound marketing and interactive communication. The software enables clients to personalize messaging at the right time no matter who their audience is. SimplyCast caters to SMBs as well as enterprise client...
Mindmatrix is a marketing automation platform encompassing asset management, marketing automation, sales enablement and channel marketing automation functionality.
ROI Customer Lifecycle Marketing software provides visibility into which customers are the best fit and most engaged at each stage of their journey via its patented Lifecycle Map and 3D Scoring methodology. The vendor says that with this insight, marketers are able to know exactly where a prospec...
zigihub is an Integrated Marketing Automation and CRM Platform. According to the vendor, the product uses machine learning to suggest the next best action.
Boingnet provides a marketing automation solution that is geared towards small to mid sized business, non-profit and agency marketing teams. The vendor says that their platform enables marketers to generate powerful cross-channel marketing campaigns that deliver results.
Integrate is a platform for Demand Marketers and Marketing Ops to automate outbound demand generation campaigns. It includes prospecting, data validation, nurture and sales email campaigns, campaign analytics and in-flight optimization, and closed-loop ROI reporting for Marketing.
Lead life is a marketing automation system featuring campaign and lead management , including scoring and nurturing. It also has an analytics module. Pricing starts at $375 / month and the product is aimed at SMBs. LeadLife differs from some other vendors, in that they offer comprehensive servic...
Gold Lasso's eLoop marketing suite provides both advanced email marketing and marketing automation capabilities used by enterprise and high volume senders. In 2011, Gold Lasso was recognized by Forrester Research as a premiere boutique email marketing company.
ConvergeHub is a converged CRM for SMBs. According to the vendor, this solution can manage all of your sales, marketing, support, and billing needs, with a converged, full-featured, yet extremely easy-to-use CRM that is priced within reach. The vendor’s value proposition is that the features ar...
inBoundio is an online marketing platform to manage social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter and create landing pages to capture leads. These leads can be transferred to a built-in CRM and you can do the follow up through built-in email marketing.
PrintSF.com is a marketing automation software solution offered by PrintSf.com.
Retargeting is a marketing automation software solution offered by Retargeting.
Personyze is a comprehensive personalization toolkit that provides everything you need to create engaging experiences on your website and across channels, using a powerful combination of behavioral targeting, interest-based recommendations, and personalized email broadcasting. Personyze works o...
Akero is a digital inbound and outbound marketing and lead generation platform, used by over 300 organizations. This platform is built with agencies and brands in mind. Akero marketing software captures essential user data by creating digital and social media marketing campaigns that are persona...
Attentive.ly is a social marketing automation solution that allows users to personalize messages based on what customers are doing and saying on social media.
Prospecteer's Sales-Content Marketing Automation platform provides inbound marketing tools for B2B companies. Prospecteer integrates content marketing with automation and focuses on management, automation and analytics of content marketing campaigns. It aims to integrate the work of marketers and...