Top 5 Marketing Automation Platforms

Thomas Raybell
, Marketing Director

Iphone with a navigating app

The days of “Easy Marketing” are over.

We can’t simply expect to buy a few ad spots and get results.

Customers and clients today expect more from us. And to get in front of them, and to get them to notice us takes a lot of work. People have high expectations and they should.

We need print ads, a website, social media presence, and an email list. The list goes on.

But these are just the first aspects of marketing. We have to be able to target the right prospects, and talk to them about what they care about. This means we need to know our customers profiles, also called “personas”. Each persona will require a slightly different marketing strategy as each person has different fears and dreams for example.

Added together this is a big shopping cart.

This is why market automation is so hot right now. And it has been. As a recent report showed the systems revenue for marketing automation in the U.S. market at $1.8 billion- a 50% year-over-year increase for the third year in a row. Marketing automation simply describes the use of web services or software to streamline a variety of marketing duties across a variety of channels. For example, marketing automation uses analytics to help track performances of campaigns or scheduled posts.

The end game for marketing automation is to empower brands to generate and deliver personalized experiences to customers through data and lead generation. As well as create the whole process of marketing more efficient, so teams can spend more time on strategy and less time on completing repetitive tasks.

That all sounds great? Right?

Well there are pros and cons of marketing automation as well a list of both good and bad companies to sign up with. Marketing automation is great for lead generation as well as lead nurturing. A recent studied showed that 84% of marketers say that marketing automation’s biggest benefit is lead generation. This is true for many because marketing automation runs on data from whoever is clicking around on Google or your website as they are being funneled to the desired Call To Action (CTA).

Marketing automation works with channels and funnels which lead different people to different places. For example, someone might have clicked on a pay per click ad that sent them to a landing page to sign up for a free trail, and then a week later sends them an email. And then for the next month certain ads will follow them around the internet. This is why many marketers say that marketing automation is great for lead generation as it mathematically hunts down future clients. And sometimes won't leave them alone.

Case and point.

One of the biggest benefits to these systems are the amount of content you don't have to manage after you have it all set up. This is one of the biggest draws to marketing automation because if everything happens as it should, it eliminates someone on your team from doing the same or similar task over and over. Marketing for marketing automation is easy as it saves time and money. However, there are questions as to if social media should be automated and if marketing automation can damage the user experience.

After reading more blog posts and articles than anyone should read on one subject. I took matters into my own hands. I knew most schools used pretty aggressive marketing automation and so I turned towards them. I went to a for-profit university and clicked on the request more information button. I received a package of information that wasn’t too helpful followed a phone call which was helpful. Now, for the last two months I get countless emails and phone calls trying to get me to sign up for classes. Currently, I feel similarly, as if I was reading a very interesting article on a site with a pop-up appearing about every minute.  I’m probably just in the wrong funnel for this University and most people probably would have signed up by now. But for someone who was at one point strongly considering it, I am no longer.

So, I see the case for marketing automation hurting the customer's experience.

Sometimes we need to email someone a handful of time before they remember or have time to email you back. But for me and this University, I am just a name on a list, which someone has to call once a week to make their quota for the day. Some say marketing automation is a set it and forget it system. To this is would disagree with because I think it can become too automated with poorly timed messages. However, marketing automation still brings in quality leads, providing customers with a unique experience each visit. On top of this it does save your marketing team time and money.

So, here is a list of the top 5 Marketing Automations:

#1. Marketo

Marketo is a big name when it comes it marketing automation. They have over a decade of experience enhancing marketing departments worldwide. One of the biggest success stories is Algonquin College, which reported an increase in lead generation of 71% year to year and a rise in sales of 18%.

#2. HubSpot

This is another big name for marketing automation as well sales, it's an all-in-one package. HubSpot primary tools are for inbound marketing and provides other features as SEO and content marketing. They have testimonials from small to large companies, however, HubSpot is one of the more expensive options in marketing automation world.

#3. Eloqua

Eloqua is a marketing automation platform offered by Oracle, and is one of the most comprehensive tools on the market. Eloqua is very customer oriented in terms of its approach to support. When it comes to being an Eloqua user you get coaching and guidelines that introduce you to the software and teach you have to use it. Currently, pricing starts at $2,000 a month.

#4. Activecampaign

Is company almost on the other end of the scale compared to Eloqua as its pricing starts at $9 a month. Activecampaign is ideal for email marketers who want to automate customers journeys. As they offer email templates builder that offers a wide range of preset options for each customer experience.

#5. Userfox/AdRoll

Lastly, this is a very lightweight interface which is used to trigger emails based on events and lets you map the customer's journey. Pricing starts at $100 a month and provides you with the ability to set up transactional emails to perform the heavy lifting for larger organizations.




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