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Infusionsoft logo
 
Built for small- and medium-sized sales and marketing teams, Infusionsoft offers tools for managing customer relationships from contact to conversion. They serve users in a variety of industries from health care to hospitality.
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Built for small- and medium-sized sales and marketing teams, Infusionsoft offers tools for managing customer relationships from contact to conversion. They serve users in a variety of industries from health care to hospitality.
 
Marketo logo
 
Marketo offers a web-based email marketing platform for companies of all sizes to form and preserve engaging customer relationships. The solution features integrated modules that deliver a range of capabilities including marketing... Read More
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Marketo offers a web-based email marketing platform for companies of all sizes to form and preserve engaging customer relationships. The solution features integrated modules that deliver a range of capabilities including marketing... Read More
 
Pardot logo
 
Pardot, a Salesforce company, is designed for organizations that primarily focus on business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing automation. This email marketing system offers automated support for the longer timespan and multi-step... Read More
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Pardot, a Salesforce company, is designed for organizations that primarily focus on business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing automation. This email marketing system offers automated support for the longer timespan and multi-step... Read More
 
Campaign Monitor logo
 
Campaign Monitor is an email marketing solution that can help businesses add new subscribers, send email newsletters and generate various reports. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution offers several features that... Read More
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Campaign Monitor is an email marketing solution that can help businesses add new subscribers, send email newsletters and generate various reports. It is suitable for businesses of all sizes. The solution offers several features that... Read More
 
SharpSpring logo
 
SharpSpring is a fully integrated cloud-based marketing tool that offers customer relationship management, marketing automation, mobile and social marketing, sales team automation, customer service and more, all within one solution. SharpSpring... Read More
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SharpSpring is a fully integrated cloud-based marketing tool that offers customer relationship management, marketing automation, mobile and social marketing, sales team automation, customer service and more, all within one solution. SharpSpring... Read More

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Hatchbuck logo
 
Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read More
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Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read More
 
Act-On logo
 
Established in 2008, Act-On is a comprehensive marketing automation tool designed to offer a complete suite of applications, including email marketing, website visitor tracking, lead management, social media management, reporting and... Read More
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Established in 2008, Act-On is a comprehensive marketing automation tool designed to offer a complete suite of applications, including email marketing, website visitor tracking, lead management, social media management, reporting and... Read More
 
PlanPlus Online logo
 
PlanPlus Online is a complete online solution for customer relationship management and business collaboration. It includes modules for SFA, customer support and email marketing, all designed to enhance overall productivity.
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PlanPlus Online is a complete online solution for customer relationship management and business collaboration. It includes modules for SFA, customer support and email marketing, all designed to enhance overall productivity.
 
Delivra logo
 
Delivra is a cloud-based marketing platform designed for companies looking to manage automated email marketing campaigns. It’s suited for small to midsize organizations in a variety of industries, such as education, healthcare, real... Read More
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Delivra is a cloud-based marketing platform designed for companies looking to manage automated email marketing campaigns. It’s suited for small to midsize organizations in a variety of industries, such as education, healthcare, real... Read More
 
Reply logo
 
Reply is a cloud-based lead generation, contact management and email automation tool suitable for businesses of any size. The solution can be used for outbound and inbound sales, human resources and recruiting, business development,... Read More
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Reply is a cloud-based lead generation, contact management and email automation tool suitable for businesses of any size. The solution can be used for outbound and inbound sales, human resources and recruiting, business development,... Read More

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Net-­Results logo
 
Net-Results is digital marketing software built by and for data-driven marketers. The marketing automation system will work for companies of any size and offers multiple pricing scales. The system has native integrations with major... Read More
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Net-Results is digital marketing software built by and for data-driven marketers. The marketing automation system will work for companies of any size and offers multiple pricing scales. The system has native integrations with major... Read More
 
inboundli logo
 
inboundli is a social marketing platform intended to improve the inbound marketing efforts of businesses across all industries. It is a cloud-based solution that can be used by small to midsize businesses. inboundli analyzes an organization’s... Read More
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inboundli is a social marketing platform intended to improve the inbound marketing efforts of businesses across all industries. It is a cloud-based solution that can be used by small to midsize businesses. inboundli analyzes an organization’s... Read More
 
Salesfusion logo
 
Improve marketing efforts with newly-designed Salesfusion. This web-based software has helped many businesses increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and offers a scalable pricing structure.
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Improve marketing efforts with newly-designed Salesfusion. This web-based software has helped many businesses increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and offers a scalable pricing structure.
 
ActiveDEMAND logo
 
ActiveDEMAND is a web-based marketing tool designed specifically for marketing agencies. Subscriptions are based on the number of contacts loaded into the application rather than the number users, so agencies are able to create sub-accounts... Read More
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ActiveDEMAND is a web-based marketing tool designed specifically for marketing agencies. Subscriptions are based on the number of contacts loaded into the application rather than the number users, so agencies are able to create sub-accounts... Read More
 
CallidusCloud Marketing Automation logo
 
CallidusCloud was recently awarded a Bronze award by the American Business Awards for Best New Product or Service of the Year - B2B - Software. Their Marketing Automation product is web-based and incorporates Sales Automation.
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CallidusCloud was recently awarded a Bronze award by the American Business Awards for Best New Product or Service of the Year - B2B - Software. Their Marketing Automation product is web-based and incorporates Sales Automation.

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eTrigue DemandCenter logo
 
eTrigue DemandCenter gives businesses of all sizes the ability to create and execute demand generation campaigns using their existing resources. It enables marketing automation through a variety of web-based tools. This solution is... Read More
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eTrigue DemandCenter gives businesses of all sizes the ability to create and execute demand generation campaigns using their existing resources. It enables marketing automation through a variety of web-based tools. This solution is... Read More
 
Cosmos Integrated Marketing Portal logo
 
Integrated Marketing Portal (IMP) by Cosmos Communications is a marketing solution serving large companies in industries including accounting, agriculture, education, energy, insurance, manufacturing, non-profit, retail, telecommunications... Read More
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Integrated Marketing Portal (IMP) by Cosmos Communications is a marketing solution serving large companies in industries including accounting, agriculture, education, energy, insurance, manufacturing, non-profit, retail, telecommunications... Read More
 
Experiture Marketing Platform logo
 
Experiture is an all-in-one marketing automation and customer engagement platform used by small to mid-sized businesses in many verticals. In addition to creating marketing programs across email, web, mobile and more, the system... Read More
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Experiture is an all-in-one marketing automation and customer engagement platform used by small to mid-sized businesses in many verticals. In addition to creating marketing programs across email, web, mobile and more, the system... Read More
 
SAM logo
 

SAM

SAM is a web-based, fully integrated sales and marketing system. The main features of the system include email marketing, social marketing, content marketing, direct marketing, SEO, visibility, marketing intelligence, and marketing... Read More
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SAM is a web-based, fully integrated sales and marketing system. The main features of the system include email marketing, social marketing, content marketing, direct marketing, SEO, visibility, marketing intelligence, and marketing... Read More
 
MailChimp logo
 
MailChimp is a web-based email marketing service with millions of users worldwide. The application allows users to share newsletters on various social networks and track customer engagements. The application provides tools to create... Read More
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MailChimp is a web-based email marketing service with millions of users worldwide. The application allows users to share newsletters on various social networks and track customer engagements. The application provides tools to create... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: July 24, 2017


The marketing technology landscape is growing and diversifying. As more consumers go online to look for information and research products, more marketers are focusing on digital strategies. Over the years, new categories of marketing software have emerged to support this shift.

Today, there are a plethora of software options to help marketers manage and optimize digital campaigns. In fact, some experts estimate the greater marketing technology landscape now has close to 2,000 vendors across nearly 50 categories. If you’re new to marketing software, this breadth of options can feel daunting.

This guide will help you understand your many options and make an informed purchase decision. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Marketing Software?
Common Features of Marketing Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is Marketing Software?

In general, marketing software helps organizations perform the following functions:

  • Attract new customers and visitors 
  • Turn customers into leads that can be nurtured through the sales funnel
  • Deliver marketing and promotional materials (e.g., via email marketing, social media, etc.)
  • Surface insights about customers to improve marketing efforts
  • Automate time-consuming, repetitive manual tasks

Reporting dashboard screenshot in Pardot

Reporting dashboard screenshot in Pardot

While some products are sold as “best-of-breed” systems (i.e., they offer a single marketing application), others are sold as “marketing clouds” or “integrated suites” (they house multiple marketing applications all in one place).

Whether a business should choose a suite or a best-of-breed solution depends on the range of functionality needed. Marketing suites are generally more expensive, but allow users to do more without having to integrate products from multiple vendors.

Best-of-breed solutions tend to be more affordable, and are best for companies that want to focus more heavily on specific applications—or that want to build their own suite of marketing tools.

Common Features of Marketing Software

Below is a list of common types of marketing applications that may be available either on their own, or bundled as part of a marketing suite:

Marketing automation Used for developing, executing and tracking marketing campaigns. Automates workflows, tracks prospect behavior and qualifies leads.
Lead generation Automates the capture, segmentation and assignment of leads to improve targeted marketing communications and shorten sales cycles.
Lead management Automates the movement and tracking of leads through the life cycle from acquisition to conversion.
Email marketing Used to create, send and track email campaigns and autoresponders.
Social media management Provides the means for users to create, launch and administer social campaigns and promotions. Manages creative assets on social media platforms.
Social media monitoring Identifies words used in association with brands, and locates where on social media platforms these conversations are occurring.
Social media analytics Measures campaign performance and impact, and tracks a brand’s share of voice across social channels to determine how effective social media efforts are.
Mobile marketing Handles the routing, management and delivery of SMS messages.
Marketing resource management Manages marketing projects, digital assets, workflows, budgets and approval processes across teams, departments or agencies.
Marketing analytics Measures marketing activities across multiple online and offline channels to get a view of those channels’ return on investment (ROI).
Content marketing Helps manage the distribution of content across the Web. Creates, deploys, manages and stores content on Web pages.
Search marketing Helps businesses generate traffic by providing information or advice to improve marketing content so it’s optimized for search engines.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before making a purchase, companies should evaluate their marketing strategies to determine how to choose software that supports overall business objectives.

Outbound marketing.

Outbound marketing is when a marketer contacts prospects, hoping for engagement. Tactics can include advertising on search engines, paying website publishers to post your ads or sending emails to lists of leads. Businesses that primarily want to reach out to customers in these ways should look for applications that offer email and/or mobile marketing functionality. Most marketing automation platforms include outbound email marketing capabilities. You could also consider lead generation and lead management solutions.

Inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing gets buyers to find you. This is done by providing interesting, helpful content on websites, blogs or social media that engages buyers. Businesses using inbound marketing tactics should look for software that helps optimize marketing content for Web search (so that buyers can easily find it) and provides lead nurturing functionality—for example, inbound marketing automation, content marketing or search marketing applications.

Social media marketing.

If you use (or plan to use) social media channels to connect with customers, consider applications that monitor social media conversations, track the results of social media marketing activities and allow you to measure the results of these campaigns. While social media marketing functionality is sometimes included in marketing automation platforms, many vendors also offer this as a best-of-breed solution.

Planning and measurement focus.

Marketers that want to measure the ROI of marketing projects should look for software that provides detailed analytics. While this functionality is often included in other types of marketing software, you may want to consider the in-depth reporting tools offered by best-of-breed marketing analytics and social media analytics software. Additionally, businesses that need help planning and executing marketing campaigns can consider marketing resource management software.

It's important to note that marketing functionality can also be incorporated into suites outside of the typical marketing software industry. For example, leading event management software often includes some element of marketing, such as tools for creating customizable websites, email marketing and push messaging campaigns. These are described in more detail here.

Key Considerations

To further narrow things down, here are two key factors to keep in mind as you evaluate marketing products:

Prioritize the applications you use most often

Avoid purchasing systems with bells and whistles that don’t support your business processes. However, do consider any applications, features and functionality that you will need in the future, even if you’re not quite ready to use them today.

Make sure your new system supports necessary integrations.

When comparing options, you’ll want to know whether—and how well—a given marketing system will synchronize with your existing data and tools. For example, you may want to consider marketing software that offers native CRM integration. If you plan to access the system while on the go (via mobile phones or tablets), consider a system with a native mobile app. If you’re building your own marketing technology stack, be sure to check that the systems you combine will work together seamlessly. You may also want to look for vendors that offer integration support and services.

Recent Events You Should Know About

Cincopa adds video intelligence to email marketing. In September 2016, video hosting and web management platform Cincopa announced new compatibilities with most email marketing platforms. This allows for video marketing analytics to be added to email campaigns in MailChimp, Constant Contact and GetResponse, amongst others.

Streamsend launches new marketing automation platform.In February 2016, email marketing vendor StreamSend launched a new platform, StreamSend Insights. It helps users track a subscriber’s actions on business websites (such as browsing trends and cart abandonment) to enable behavioral-based marketing campaigns.

OtherLevels announces release of OtherLevels2. In September 2016, digital marketing automation vendor OtherLevels announced the release of their OtherLevels2 platform. This new platform is designed to use big data and statistical models to maximise audience reach and message delivery. It leverages this data to optimize the delivery of content to the end users’ preferred channel, increasing the likelihood of engagement.

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Marketing Automation Software Pricing Guide

 

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