Marketing Automation Software

Best Marketing Automation Software include:

HubSpot, Marketo, Adobe Campaign, SharpSpring, Oracle Eloqua, and Act-On Software.

Marketing Automation Software TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 30 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Marketing Automation Software Overview

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is the process of automating and scaling repetitive marketing tasks. Businesses rely on marketing automation software, or email marketing software, to help them do this. Marketing automation platforms also enable companies to analyze the success of their 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

Marketing automation started out with just email. Today, other digital channels like websites, mobile apps, SMS, and social media are all integral to successful marketing efforts. Most marketing automation tools will include functionality for all of these channels.


The core set of marketing automation capabilities 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

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 the 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 records 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 touchpoint 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 the 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.

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

List Size & Target Market

Different marketing automation software fits different use cases. In particular, think about the size of your contact database 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 for 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 enterprise platforms do. Complex logic, reporting, and integrations are three areas that marketing automation tools for SMBs tend to have simplified.


Enterprise-level offerings tend to be “marketing clouds” that go beyond traditional marketing automation features. Unlike SMB tools, they typically have breadth and depth. Enterprise platforms offer more granular control over things like campaign logic and advanced reporting. 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, do you sell to other businesses (B2B) or to consumers (B2C)? Marketing practices in the B2B industry differ from the B2C industry. The number of channels, frequency of communication, and the degree of personalization will probably be different.


B2B marketing automation is all about ‘nurture’ programs. This builds interest in the product through helpful and educational content. Drip campaigns and content marketing come in are often used in B2B marketing.


B2C marketing involves a much larger prospect pool. Brand loyalty and product ‘stickiness’ are more important than the relationship you have with your customers. Many B2C businesses sell their products and services online, meaning ecommerce features are highly important. This includes bulk email campaigns, open rates, targeted offers, shopping carts, payment gateways, and more.

Marketing Automation Integrations

Most marketing automation buyers already have a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Integration between your CRM and marketing automation software is important because it connects these two flows of data.


To work properly, the integration has to go both ways. A change in a marketing campaign should be reflected on the CRM records of contacts involved in that campaign, and vice versa! Data consistency is crucial for nurturing leads and lead 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 are offering 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.

Marketing Automation Software Comparison

To more easily compare Marketing Automation platforms, consider evaluating different options based on these 3 key factors:


1. Multi-channel vs. email marketing campaigns: For businesses that primarily do email marketing, more advanced marketing automation tools that cover additional digital channels may be overkill. Email marketing software is better suited for companies that primarily market to prospects and customers via email. On the other hand, if your marketing campaigns typically involve more than one type of channel (e.g. email, direct mail, phone, social media, mobile apps, etc), a full marketing automation platform will be a better fit.


2. Company-size: Before purchasing a new marketing automation platform, think about your list size and scale of outreach you want to do. For example, enterprises not only need a robust set of features but require support for larger contact lists. Small businesses, on the other hand, need a marketing automation tool that’s easy to use and allows them to automate repetitive tasks. Especially for small businesses operating on a tight marketing budget or that have a tiny marketing team, some larger marketing automation platforms may be too complex and expensive.


3. Built-in CRM: If your organization does not already have a CRM solution, you may want to look for a marketing automation platform that can also serve as a CRM. Some vendors, like HubSpot and SharpSpring, provide a free CRM with their marketing automation software. If you need a marketing automation solution that can do double duty, make sure to ask the vendor if they have a built-in CRM.


Start a Marketing Automation software comparison

Pricing Information

Pricing for marketing automation tools is typically subscription-based and is determined by the range of features include and list size. The more features included in the package and the larger the size of your contact database, the higher the monthly price.


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

(1-25 of 136) Sorted by Most Reviews

iContact Pro Select
9 ratings
3 reviews
iContact Pro Select (formerly Outmarket) includes email marketing, landing pages, social media management, press outreach, and analytics. The software was originally Vocus Marketing Suite, and then was known as Outmarket. It was acquired by Cision
Omnisend
8 ratings
3 reviews
Omnisend (formerly Soundest) is an email marketing solution built specifically for eCommerce platforms, from the London based company of the same name.
MindFire Studio
4 ratings
2 reviews
MindFire Studio is a marketing automation platform built specifically for agencies and marketing service providers. Features include contact management, multi-channel campaign management, personalized campaigns, SMS messaging, microsites, direct mail, and social media publishing.
INBOX25
2 ratings
2 reviews
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.
SalesGenius
6 ratings
2 reviews
Genius is marketing automation product designed for SMBs. While email marketing, lead capture, etc are standard features in both editions, there is an additional fee for "premium" features like drip marketing capability, landing page designer, web analytics, and advanced sales and marketing analyti…
Netcore Smartech
4 ratings
2 reviews
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 …
Vbout
5 ratings
2 reviews
Vbout is a marketing automation solution focused on agencies. Features include email marketing, lead scoring, social media management, and behavioral marketing.
ActiveDEMAND
4 ratings
2 reviews
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 as c…
Marketo ABM
34 ratings
2 reviews
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 management,…
Resulticks-mCloud
2 ratings
2 reviews
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, mo…
OutreachPlus
2 ratings
2 reviews
OutreachPlus is a personalized email outreach software which provides functionalities for increasing traffic through link building, exposure through PR, build authority, and through influencers. According to the vendor, OutreachPlus helps to improve retention and sales with partners and customers, a…
Right On Interactive
2 ratings
1 reviews
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 prospect o…
zigihub
1 ratings
1 reviews
zigihub is an Integrated Marketing Automation and CRM Platform. According to the vendor, the product uses machine learning to suggest the next best action.
Thryv
2 ratings
1 reviews
DexYP (formerly Dex Media and YP) offers Thryv, an all-in-one small business marketing solution providing CRM, marketing automation, calendaring and appointment reminders, directory listings, and other features.
SimplyCast
1 ratings
1 reviews
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 clients. …
Mindmatrix
1 ratings
1 reviews
Mindmatrix is a marketing automation platform encompassing asset management, marketing automation, sales enablement and channel marketing automation functionality.
ConvergeHub
2 ratings
1 reviews
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 are o…
PFL Tactile Marketing Automation
3 ratings
1 reviews
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 beha…
ContactPigeon
1 ratings
1 reviews
ContactPigeon is an all-in-one marketing automation solution for eCommerce. It combines powerful features such as email marketing, dynamic pop-ups, segmentation, automation flows and real-time analytics for marketers to maximize results when it comes to visitor remarketing. We enable eCommerce and B…
Envoke
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 programs…
Gold Lasso eLoop
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.
CommuniGator
CommuniGator Marketing Automation includes drip marketing, lead nurturing, lead scoring and remarketing capabilities. Based in the UK, the company also offers other products including email marketing, surveys, event marketing and social media management.
Campaigndock
Campaigndock is a marketing automation platform that includes email marketing, landing pages, surveys, lead qualification, and web tracking capabilities.
Boingnet
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.
Akero Labs
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 personaliz…

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do companies use marketing automation software?

Marketing automation tools can help companies and marketing teams be more efficient by automating repetitive processes. One of the biggest uses cases for marketing automation software is to design and set up email campaigns. The software can then be used to track campaign performance and report on its success. The main benefit of marketing automation platforms is that it helps marketers save time and execute their marketing campaigns more precisely.

What are the best marketing automation platforms for small businesses?

Not all marketing automation software is created equal, some products are better suited for enterprises while others are better for small businesses. Some of the top-rated products for small businesses include:


Features like advanced reporting and cross-channel campaign management may be too expensive for SMBs and small marketing teams. For more information, read reviews of marketing automation software from fellow small business professionals.

What’s the difference between email marketing and marketing automation?

Marketing automation and email marketing software both include features that help marketers create, run, and track email campaigns. These capabilities include things like email templates, WYSIWYG editor, dynamic email personalization, email A/B testing, triggered email sequences, campaign tracking and reporting, and integrations with CRM software.


The biggest difference is that marketing automation software also includes features that allow marketing teams to orchestrate and measure marketing campaign performance across other channels as well. These channels include social media platforms, SMS, mobile applications, and paid and organic search.

How much does marketing automation software cost?

The price of marketing automation software typically depends on the number and complexity of features included and the size of your contact list. For SMBs and small marketing teams, pricing can start as low as $50/month and go up to multiple thousands of dollars per month.


Most vendors that provide enterprise-level plans do not disclose pricing information on their website but will provide a quote on request.