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SALESmanago Marketing AutomationFrontRunners 2020

SALESmanago is the no-code, AI driven CDXP (all in One Customer Data Platform & Customer Experience Platform) used by 2000+ midmarket and large Enterprises in 50 countries including Starbucks, Vodafone, Lacoste, New Balance, Victo... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

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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 ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 8 recommendations

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Akero

Designed and developed exclusively for student-specialist marketers and recruiters, Akero helps you improve marketing performance and increase student enrollments. It’s an easy-to-use, subscription-based platform that sits as an e... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 7 recommendations

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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 H... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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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 solutio... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 6 recommendations

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Keap

Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) is a cloud-based sales and marketing solution that offers customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and e-commerce functionalities in one suite. Keap helps small businesses across v... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 recommendations

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Maropost

Maropost is a cloud-based marketing solution enabling marketing teams to strategically engage with their audience through marketing automation and analytics. It has proved to be successful for businesses of all sizes across multip... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 5 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 ... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 3 recommendations

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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, insight... 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, re... 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... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 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 us... Read more

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Recent recommendations: 1 recommendations

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MailchimpFrontRunners 2020

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 crea... Read more

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Constant ContactFrontRunners 2020

Constant Contact provides a range of intuitive marketing applications designed to help small businesses and nonprofits expand their customer bases and nurture relationships. Solutions include email marketing, event marketing, soci... Read more

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Wrike

Wrike is a cloud-based project management platform for teams of 20+ that is suitable for both large enterprises and SMBs. It supports remote work for various teams. This solution comes with Gantt charts, calendars, workload view f... Read more

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Semrush

SEMrush is a marketing solution designed to help enterprises streamline processes related to keyword research, search engine optimization (SEO), advertising campaigns, brand monitoring and more. Professionals can monitor domains' ... Read more

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ActiveCampaignFrontRunners 2020

ActiveCampaign is an integrated marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) suite with a foundation in email marketing. Targeted towards small-to-midsize businesses, the software is designed to help organizations build th... Read more

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Marketing 360

Marketing 360 is a cloud-based marketing platform suited for entrepreneurs as well as small and midsize businesses. This solution allows organizations to run social media advertising campaigns, conduct search engine optimization (... Read more

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SendinblueFrontRunners 2020

SendinBlue is a cloud-based email marketing tool suited for organizations of all sizes. It offers marketing automation, email campaigns, transactional emails and SMS messages functionalities within a suite. SendinBlue allows ... Read more

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Marketo Engage

Marketo Engage, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, offers a cloud-based email marketing platform for companies of all sizes to manage and monitor engaging customer relationships. This solution features integrated applications that de... Read more

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2021 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: May 5, 2021

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

Explore FrontRunners

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Software Advice
“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: The reviews analysis period spans two years and ends on the 15th of the month prior to publication.