Marketing Automation has become a buzzword over the last few years. With all the tactics available to marketers today – social media, blogs, content, paid ads, and more – it's no wonder companies are looking for platforms that help them execute all their marketing under one roof.
Of course, there are both good and bad marketing automation platforms. How do you tell them apart? Where do you start?
Before answering those questions, you first need to know that marketing automation features aren’t going to generate leads on their own, nor will they magically provide you with a marketing strategy to reach your sales goals. Marketing automation tools are just that: tools. Your success will be a result of using those tools strategically to offer relevant, thoughtful, optimized content focused on the people you want to attract.
Think you’ve got that content part down? Great! With that said, I’ve broken down four top marketing automation platforms for your business to consider.
Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013, is a marketing automation software that's primarily aimed at B2B companies. With Salesforce as its parent company, Pardot excels in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and the two teams work together to create new features.
Some online reviews suggest that its marketing arm has some work to do, though. People describe it as a "simple, straightforward email automation tool," suggesting that it may need to expand its capabilities to go beyond setting up and automating lead nurturing email campaigns.
Pardot does use data-driven programs that help with lead generation and speed up sales cycles. With the feature called Salesforce Engage, users can view a custom, real-time feed of prospect engagement and view interactive and graphical dashboards so reps can easily monitor and control campaigns.
Marketo was founded in 2006, and in June 2016, Vista Equity Partners acquired the platform for approximately $1.79 billion. Reputable companies that use Marketo include: Centurylink, Charles Schwab, Panasonic, and CA Technologies.
Marketo receives huge praise for being an intuitive marketing platform, with the ability to execute simple and complex nurturing campaigns, depending on your business needs. Marketo also provides free training, course catalogs, and certifications through their Marketo University program. However, some users complain about the UI/UX being outdated, and lag times can be a real issue during peak hours.
Also known as Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua was one of the first companies to offer marketing automation. Oracle was built in 1999, 11 years before marketing automation became adopted by organizations around the world.
Because of their tenure, Oracle is considered to be one of the best in their class, which explains their high cost, starting at $2,000 a month. Double that price if you’d like to use advanced segmentation, advanced data cleansing and deduplication, sales alerts and email reports, and more.
HubSpot, founded in 2006, provides its customers with a complete set of tools for marketing, sales, and service that easily ties all aspects of their business together. HubSpot is a market leader when it comes to marketing automation for small to medium-sized businesses.
This platform brings your entire marketing campaign together, whether that’s social media, web analytics, webpage creation, or customer relationship management. It helps replace interruptive marketing with marketing tactics by attracting, engaging, and delighting prospects as part of the inbound marketing methodology, and then keeping the momentum going through what Hubspot refers to as the flywheel effect.