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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.
 
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 a cloud-based email marketing solution that helps businesses manage new subscriptions, send email newsletters and generate reports. It caters to businesses of all sizes across various industry verticals. The solution... Read More
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Campaign Monitor is a cloud-based email marketing solution that helps businesses manage new subscriptions, send email newsletters and generate reports. It caters to businesses of all sizes across various industry verticals. The solution... 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
 
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

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Textedly logo
 
Textedly is a cloud-based SMS marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. The system offers mass group texting, text scheduling and customizable auto replies. Users can send texts over 300 characters long. The system also offers a... Read More
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Textedly is a cloud-based SMS marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. The system offers mass group texting, text scheduling and customizable auto replies. Users can send texts over 300 characters long. The system also offers a... Read More
 
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
 
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
 
Net-­Results logo
 
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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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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EZ Texting logo
 
EZ Texting is a cloud-based text marketing solution that caters to businesses across various industry verticals and helps them to communicate and share promotional material and alerts with their contacts via SMS messages. Key features... Read More
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EZ Texting is a cloud-based text marketing solution that caters to businesses across various industry verticals and helps them to communicate and share promotional material and alerts with their contacts via SMS messages. Key features... 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 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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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
 
Growlabs logo
 
Growlabs is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system for small to midsize companies in the following industries: accounting, advertising, insurance, legal, media, nonprofit, real estate, and software/IT. The Growlabs... Read More
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Growlabs is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system for small to midsize companies in the following industries: accounting, advertising, insurance, legal, media, nonprofit, real estate, and software/IT. The Growlabs... Read More
 
ActiveTrail logo
 
ActiveTrail is a cloud-based email marketing and newsletter solution suitable for small and midsize marketing agencies. Key features include marketing automation, landing page builder, SMS marketing, online surveys and third-party... Read More
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ActiveTrail is a cloud-based email marketing and newsletter solution suitable for small and midsize marketing agencies. Key features include marketing automation, landing page builder, SMS marketing, online surveys and third-party... Read More

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eTrigue DemandCenter logo
 
eTrigue DemandCenter is a cloud-based marketing automation solution that caters to SMBs in various industries including advertising, healthcare, technology, transportation, utilities and B2B. DemandCenter's drag and drop interface... Read More
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eTrigue DemandCenter is a cloud-based marketing automation solution that caters to SMBs in various industries including advertising, healthcare, technology, transportation, utilities and B2B. DemandCenter's drag and drop interface... Read More
 
emfluence Marketing Platform logo
 
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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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
 
Katabat Marketing Automation logo
 
Katabat Liberate is a cloud-based marketing automation solution that helps businesses to manage workflows and customer relationships. The solution caters to a variety of industries including telecom, retail banks, credit-based consumer... Read More
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Katabat Liberate is a cloud-based marketing automation solution that helps businesses to manage workflows and customer relationships. The solution caters to a variety of industries including telecom, retail banks, credit-based consumer... 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
 
Enabler logo
 
Enabler is a cloud-based email marketing solution featuring lead management, lead generation, campaign management and marketing analytics. It is suitable for businesses across a variety of industries in the UK.  In Enabler, users... Read More
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Enabler is a cloud-based email marketing solution featuring lead management, lead generation, campaign management and marketing analytics. It is suitable for businesses across a variety of industries in the UK.  In Enabler, users... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: July 16, 2018


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?
A Comparison of Top Marketing Solutions
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.

A Comparison of Top Marketing Solutions

There are many popular marketing solutions on the market, and it can be hard to know what distinguishes one product from another and which is right for you. To help you better understand how the top marketing systems stack up against one another, we created a series of side-by-side product comparison pages that break down the details of what each solution offers in terms of pricing, applications, ease of use, support and more:

Top Act-On Comparisons Top AWeber Comparisons Top Constant Contact Comparisons
Act-On vs. HubSpot
Act-On vs. Marketo
Act-On vs. Pardot
AWeber vs. Constant Contact
AWeber vs. MailChimp
AWeber vs. Constant Contact
Top Eloqua Comparisons Top HubSpot Comparisons Top MailChimp Comparisons
Pardot vs. Eloqua Act-On vs. Hubspot AWeber vs. MailChimp
Top Marketo Comparisons Top Pardot Comparisons  
Act-On vs. Marketo Act-On vs. Pardot
Pardot vs. Eloqua

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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