Finding software can be overwhelming. We've helped hundreds of businesses choose the right marketing automation software so they can measure campaign success and generate more leads.

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HubSpot Marketing HubFrontRunners 2020

HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Over 52,000 total customers in more than 100 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Marketing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 19 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
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SharpSpring

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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Recent recommendations: 15 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Act-On

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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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Net-­Results

Net-Results is a cloud-based marketing automation solution for small, midsize and large businesses. Primary features include lead management, lead scoring, marketing list management, email builder, social media management, insights... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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KIZEN

Kizen offers a cloud-based suite of marketing, customer relationship management (CRM) and sales tools suitable for small and midsize businesses in a range of industries. Features include contact and lead management, form automation,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 9 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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BenchmarkONE

BenchmarkONE (formerly 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. BenchmarkONE... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Delivra

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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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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ActiveDEMANDFrontRunners 2020

ActiveDEMAND is a cloud-based marketing automation solution that caters to marketing agencies and helps them to create and manage their marketing campaigns. The solution includes marketing automation functionalities for small businesses,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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emfluence Marketing Platform

emfluence Marketing Platform is a cloud-based marketing solution that offers tools to create, track and run online marketing campaigns. Key features include email marketing, form and landing page builders, calendars, social media marketing... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Red Spot Interactive

Red Spot Interactive is a web-based marketing solution which assists medical and health care centers with patient acquisition and retention. Its key features include ROI-based channel optimization, automated reminders, lead tracking... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Pardot

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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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Deployments: Cloud
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Trumpia

Trumpia is a SMS marketing automation platform that helps small to large businesses manage messaging campaigns and communication across all digital channels. The SaaS solution allows users to automate processes for sending messages,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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PinPointe

PinPointe is a cloud-based email marketing tool that helps small, midsize and large enterprises across various industry verticals to create, distribute, analyze and manage their email marketing campaigns.  PinPointe allows users... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Emercury

Emercury is a cloud-based email marketing solution designed for entrepreneurs, bloggers, speakers, marketers, and developers. Features include A/B testing, template management, WYSIWYG email editor, image library, campaign management... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 2 recommendations

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Twilio for Marketing

Twilio for Marketing is a cloud-based solution that helps small to large enterprises launch marketing campaigns and streamline communication with customers. The centralized platform comes with an admin console, which enables users... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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Sugar Market

Sugar Market (previously Salesfusion) focuses on what matters most to marketers — streamlining campaign creation, understanding engagement, improving conversions and driving more revenue. Attract traffic to your website using SEM,... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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iPost

iPost is a cloud-based marketing solution that helps small to large enterprises in retail, restaurant, gaming and other businesses launch email campaigns, facilitating sales processes. It comes with an administrative dashboard, which... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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KlaviyoFrontRunners 2020

Klaviyo is a cloud-based email marketing solution for e-commerce businesses. Key features include integration with multiple platforms, audience segmentation and performance reporting. Klaviyo allows users to send out targeted email... Read more

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DripFrontRunners 2020

Drip is a cloud-based email marketing solution catering to businesses of all sizes across various industries such as marketing and advertising, consumer goods and e-learning. Key features include workflow automation, multi-channel... Read more

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MoEngageFrontRunners 2020

MoEngage helps businesses grow their customer lifetime value (LTV) by engaging them in a timely, relevant, and personalized way. It caters to various industries, including e-commerce and retail, telco, banking and finance, travel and... Read more

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2020 Marketing Automation Software Pricing Guide

Learn about the key aspects of accurate software pricing before you make your purchase decision.

Includes:

  • Pricing models & ranges

  • Unexpected costs

  • Pricing of popular systems

Buyers guide


Last Updated: June 2, 2020

Marketing automation is a very active segment of the CRM software market. Not only are new vendors entering the market, but existing market leaders are constantly innovating and delivering new product updates. Today, the majority of solutions can be split into business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) solutions. The two groupings are very different and so are their functional needs.

Businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) firms have longer sales cycles and engage in more relationship building activities. Businesses that sell to consumers (B2C) rely more on brand and high-volume direct outreach efforts. This overview aims to improve understanding of how marketing software applications work and provide an update on trends every buyer should know.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Marketing Automation Software?
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
The Vendor Landscape

What Is Marketing Automation Software?

Henry Procter is credited with saying, “I know I waste half of my advertising dollars. I just wish that I knew which half.” This is precisely the question that this software answers. It assists firms in developing, executing and tracking campaigns. Media buying and planning applications help with planning advertising campaigns involving traditional and digital media. Managers use these systems to automate workflows, manage collateral, track prospect behavior and qualify leads before they are passed to sales.

B2B systems have sophisticated lead generation and lead management capabilities. For example, lead scoring functions score leads based on:

  • Demographics
    • Geography
    • Industry
    • Size
  •  
  • Behavior
    • Website activity
    • Responses to campaigns

The resulting scores ensure that the sales department only receives qualified leads that are close to making a purchase. For leads that are not ready to buy, marketing tracking software provides campaign management, which helps marketers to foster the relationship through techniques such as drip and “stay in touch” campaigns. 

B2C systems tend to manage vast databases of customer data—often millions of records. These systems have sophisticated tools for analyzing and segmenting customers into different categories of buyers. Markets can then execute specific campaigns, or “treatments” for each segment. Campaigns are typically designed to elicit a direct response, such as returning to a website to make a purchase. Alternatively, campaigns may feed a target prospect list into a call center systems for telesales outreach. 

MA software also provides companies with advanced reporting and analytics tools to measure the performance of initiatives. This allows managers to see which campaigns and channels are driving leads, along with the costs and revenue of those initiatives. In the end, this helps organizations decide how to better allocate resources.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

We believe that most buyers segment into the following four categories:

B2C enterprise buyer. These buyers work for firms that market to consumers. With millions of prospects and huge volumes of data, they need sophisticated analytics and segmentation tools to define, select and reach members of their target markets.

B2B enterprise buyer. These buyers work for firms that market to other businesses, and engage in longer sales cycles. They are primarily seeking capabilities that help them nurture relationships with prospects. Lead nurturing, lead scoring, sales force automation (SFA) and sales coordination and enablement tools are all critical for optimal performance.

CRM suite buyer. These buyers have less sophisticated requirements, but value integration with their other customer relationship management (CRM) programs. They are typically content to trade feature depth for native integration with CRM, SFA and other applications. 

Email emphasis buyer. These buyers work for small businesses that want to engage in more sophisticated email outreach, but are not ready to deploy enterprise-class MA. Marketing campaign management software buyers are primarily focused on managing a database of contacts and executing regular email campaigns.

For detailed analysis of the top buyers trends among marketing automation buyers, visit our Marketing Automation Software BuyerView | 2014 report here.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Buyers who successfully implement a MA system should expect to realize the following benefits:

Identify and qualify more leads. MA allows firms to better target potential customers, quickly qualify leads, and send them to the appropriate sales rep.

Improved sales coordination. MA helps firms better coordinate inter-team activity. For example, a firm can promote a single product and track the effectiveness by looking at the number of qualified leads generated and comparing that to the number of leads converted to sales.

More effective campaigns. MA lets firms measure their campaigns and adjust those campaigns based on what they learn. 

Decrease costs. The savings per dollar shows up in several ways. Two of the most important are number of the employees in the department and the dollars spent on outside support. 

Issues with MA software often results from unrealistic expectations and poor implementations. For example, this software cannot make a bad service or product into a good service or product. If the collateral is bad or misses the point, MA will simply deliver a bad message more efficiently. Finally, if the wrong target market is selected, effective delivery to that target market will not help the bottom line.

Market Trends to Understand

There are a number of market trends that buyers should understand, including:

Software as a Service (SaaS). In the MA market, SaaS is less of a trend than it is the dominant model for deploying software. Buyers will find that the majority of solutions—with the exception of some high-end B2C solutions—are delivered through the online marketing software model where the system is hosted by the software vendor and accessed over the Internet by user. A benefit of Web-based email marketing software is increased accessibility. They can be accessed on multiple devices and from any operating system, whether you're a Mac or PC. Interested in learning more about email marketing software? Check out our catalogue and buyers' guide specific to this category here.

Social media. Social networking gives managers a new channel. Firms tweet coupons to customers and post special offers to friends on Facebook. Advertising videos are successful if they go viral on YouTube. MA is embracing all of this. Social networking integration will drive the next generation of MA.

Use of two-dimensional barcodes. Two-dimensional (2D) bar codes are seen more and more often on print ads, bill boards, bus stop benches and even as tattoos. Customers can use smart phones as code readers to get information about a product or service immediately on their mobile browser. Current solutions can use 2D bar codes with third-party solutions, but new versions will have built in support.

MA vendor consolidation. Large ERP and CRM vendors will acquire some firms, while some niche providers will combine to remain competitive. IBM and Terradata both made significant acquisitions by picking up Unica and Aprimo, respectively. Oracle purchased the assets of Market2Lead. Buyers should expect to see more M&A activity going forward. 

The Vendor Landscape

This type of buyer... Should evaluate these systems
B2C enterprise buyer Aprimo (Terradata), Unica (IBM)
B2B enterprise buyer Eloqua, InfusionSoft, Marketo, Manticore, Pardot, Genoo
CRM suite buyer Oracle CRM, SAP, Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Email emphasis buyer Alsamarketing, Constant Contact, InfusionSoft, Vertical Response

To see additional reviews and comparisons, visit MA Software Guide.

FrontRunners

Your Guide to Top Marketing Automation Software, April 2020

Software Advice uses reviews from real software users to highlight the top-rated Marketing Automation Software products in North America.

Learn how products are chosen

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“Usability” includes user ratings for Functionality and Ease of Use.“Customer Satisfaction” includes user ratings for Customer Support, Likelihood to Recommend and Value for Money.Reviews analysis period: