Automation is such an integral part of our everyday lives that we scarcely even notice it. From the dishwasher in your kitchen, to automatic monthly payment of your electricity bill, the majority of repetitive tasks are now done with some sort of automation. Why should marketing be any different?
What are marketing automation platforms?
Marketing automation platforms are software designed to automate a wide range of repetitive, ongoing marketing tasks. But in fact they do much more than that. Marketing automation platforms typically provide tools spanning content and campaign creation, personalization, distribution, customer journey funnels, analytics and reporting to enable efficient, streamlined execution of digital marketing processes, and – ultimately – to boost ROI of marketing activities.
What is marketing automation primarily used for?
Marketing automation is typically used for such digital marketing activities as email marketing, social media posting, push notifications, content marketing, paid or native advertising campaign management, e-commerce, audience management, lead scoring and much more. Marketing automation tools transform many manual, time consuming processes to fast, automated and digital-based, helping marketing departments to better manage, monitor and optimize their day-to-day activities.
What are the benefits of marketing automation?
Apart from the obvious workflow automation (what’s faster and easier – stacking the dishwasher or hand washing the dishes?), marketing automation provides other benefits too.
Marketing automation platforms can help consolidate and streamline marketing and sales departments, ensuring better use of time and resources for both. This supports lead generation processes and helps to drive more customers to the business.
Also, marketing automation tools come with built-in business intelligence, analytics and reporting functions. This means that marketers can properly manage and monitor marketing data, perform A/B testing and continually optimize their digital campaigns.
Marketing automation platforms are particularly useful in managing multiple marketing channels at once. Many platforms integrate with other marketing, sales and management software, providing a full picture of all marketing activities and data, and how they interact and affect one another. And by customizing automation workflows, marketers can achieve even higher click-through rates and open rates.
If you are not already using a marketing automation platform, and you want to join other marketers who see an 80% increase in lead generation with marketing automation, here are the 5 top marketing automation platforms to consider:
Best Marketing Automation Platforms
It’s been around since 2006, making Marketo one of the veteran marketing automation software platforms. In 2018, Marketo was acquired by Adobe, and it became part of the Adobe Experience Cloud. For marketers, this was something of a game changer, providing an amazing suite of marketing analytics, personalization and automation tools in one place. Marketo gets top marks for scalability, making it ideal for large and growing enterprises.
- Suitable for: Large enterprises
- Pricing begins at $895/mo.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud – Pardot
When Salesforce acquired ExactTarget-Pardot in 2013, it was the moment that Salesforce expanded its software offering to cover pre-sales and marketing. For companies using Salesforce, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers automation and analytics of online, social, mobile and email marketing, integrating data from Salesforce’s sales tools for a truly end-to-end marketing and sales automation solution.
- Suitable for: Medium to large enterprises
- Pricing begins at €1250/mo. (For US pricing, contact the company)
Hubspot is a king of inbound sales and marketing, with a comprehensive, user-friendly platform covering everything spanning the marketing to sales funnels, with a solid emphasis and expertise in the area of content marketing. Suitable and affordable for smaller and medium sized businesses, it integrates with Salesforce, provides email drip marketing tools, blog and landing page optimization, and the capability to create and track customer-journey-based marketing campaigns.
- Suitable for: All business sizes
- Pricing begins at $50/mo.
Just the right fit for small businesses all the way to medium/medium-large enterprises, Active Campaign is a popular tool for automated email marketing, personalized emails and email sequencing, website messaging tools, sales automation and CRM, custom forms, reporting and much more. Real time data analysis of website activity gives powerful insights to help constantly optimize and improve marketing results.
- Suitable for: Small to medium businesses
- Pricing starts at $9/mo.
Continuing what seems to be a recurring theme in the industry – massive corporations acquiring marketing automation platforms to integrate with their existing offerings – Oracle purchased Eloqua in 2013 for over $800 million. Now, as part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua provides targeting and segmentation, campaign management, lead measurement, and analytics for a solid enterprise marketing automation solution. Bonus point: Oracle Marketing Cloud partnered with WeChat to integrate China’s leading messaging app with Eloqua, which is a big plus for companies marketing in China.
- Suitable for: Medium to large enterprises
- Pricing starts at $2000/mo.
With so many great marketing automation tools on the market, the five listed above are just a glimpse of the possibilities to incorporate marketing automation in your business. Explore the best marketing automation platforms and start automating and optimizing your online marketing activities today.