Marketing automation isn’t the wave of the future—it’s a current necessity for any business that intends to maintain or hone its competitive edge. Why is marketing automation software so important in today’s marketplace? There are a few reasons, but two of them stand out.
1. There are many more avenues and channels to consider in designing a comprehensive marketing campaign. That may seem overwhelming, but because many of these channels, like social media and email, are ideal for automated approaches, they don’t have to be.
2. Marketing has always been both an art and a science—but the science is getting better and better. Data-driven campaigns aren’t just more common; they’re more successful. Most marketing automation software solutions include data management tools as well, like lead management databases, analytical CRM (Customer Relationship Management) resources, and much more.
Top 5 Marketing Automation Vendors
Marketing automation software does more than automate your campaign. It gives you the tools you need to plan and execute a campaign around the quantifiable wants and needs of your customers, as efficiently as possible. It’s not a replacement for intuition or creativity. On the contrary, this type of software frees up time and resources that you can devote to creative approaches, by taking the guesswork and busywork out of the equation.
Here are five of our favorite picks for 2016’s marketing automation software:
Hubspot’s claim to fame is a simple one: it promises to transform your former “outbound” marketing techniques into inbound techniques, effortlessly. Which means what, exactly? Hubspot is all about building a strong web presence that brings customers to you, rather than putting the onus on you to go out and find them.
Their philosophy is one that resonates with many contemporary consumers. People install adblockers on their desktops and mobile devices to avoid interruptions. They skip commercials (if they even bother to watch on a platform that features them), they toss junk mail in the trash, unopened, and they filter email that they didn’t sign up for.
Hubspot’s philosophy is that automated marketing solutions should be designed to attract customers, rather than pursue them, and it gives you a plethora of tools to do just that.
Marketo bills itself as a best-in-class marketing automation, and many of its customers would agree. One of its most lauded features is its ease of use, even when dealing with large scale customer bases and broad marketing campagins. How easy is it? Easy enough to use that it requires little to no in-house IT support, and what support you might need is provided by Marketo itself.
Marketo claims its success rests on three pillars: sales intelligence, building long term customer relationships, and optimized marketing programs. In short, know who to contact, engage them effectively, and do both of the above efficiently—and you’ve got yourself one of the world’s best marketing automation solutions.
Oracle Eloqua is a marketing automation software solution that has been built especially for business to business (B2B) applications. This alone gives Eloqua an edge when it comes to their niche, but they have a lot more to offer as well.
First off, Eloqua has dominated the B2B marketing automation software solution market for seventeen years—long before marketing automation was even adopted by mainstream enterprises. They’ve had the time and motivation to develop some of the industry’s most powerful and specialized tools. No wonder Sony, LinkedIn, and American Express turn to Eloqua for their marketing needs.
One of Eloqua’s main competitors in the B2B marketing automation software sphere is Salesforce’s solution, Pardot. Salesforce is another trusted brand, so it’s no surprise that many of their customers have turned to them for marketing solutions as well. Is one better than the other? It’s really dependent on your organization’s needs.
While both Pardot and Eloqua share many parallel features, Pardot outsources their analytical tools, while Eloqua doesn’t, allowing a bit more customization within Eloqua. Eloqua’s social marketing is also a bit more robust. On the other hand, Pardot is a bit less expensive for companies that may not need the scale that Eloqua offers, and is generally faster in terms of deployment and implementation.
IBM brings Silverpop to the market, continuing the trend the company has set in terms of focusing on SaaS and similar offerings. Silverpop is designed to streamline marketing, especially email marketing. It’s not nearly as socially oriented as the other offerings, but it can be a powerful tool for campaign reporting as well as email campaigns. It has a fantastic API that allows for integration with numerous other programs—just don’t expect it to be a stand alone marketing solution unless you have very specific needs.