Which Marketing Automation Systems are the Best?

Cecile Baltazar

Monday, July 22, 2019

4 Assumptions to Avoid When Shopping for an MAS

As your business grows, it only makes sense to invest in a marketing automation system to scale, repeat, and analyze your marketing efforts. After all, statistics show that 79% of high-performing companies have been using marketing automation for three or more years. But which marketing automation system is the bestMarketo, Hubspot, Eloqua, Pardot? 

It’s hard to say which marketing automation tool is the best. Rather, companies should vet out different systems and find the one that’s best for them.There are a lot of variables to consider when shopping around. What type of business are you in? What internal resources do you have for maintaining and operating the system? Will you need to integrate data with a CRM, e-commerce, ERP, or any other application? What’s your budget? Pricing for marketing automation tools vary based on the tool and amount of features. Basic licenses can start anywhere from $200/mo and reach as high as $7000/mo. 

The key takeaway is not to assume what worked for another business will work for yours. Here are some other important things to consider when shopping for a marketing automation system.

#1 Don’t Assume Every Marketing Automation System Works for Every Size Business

Are you an SMB, mid-market, or enterprise company? The amount of internal resources you have should play a role in the MAS you select. If you’re a one-person marketing team or medium-sized business, you probably won’t have the bandwidth to take on systems that require more time and maintenance. Some systems will require JAVA or other coding knowledge.

Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) can probably find a more budget-friendly, comprehensive system that includes email marketing, lead scoring, and social media tools. But keep in mind that these lower budget systems aren’t as robust. They are often limited in reporting, complex logic, and integration capabilities. Some of the better systems for SMBs include Hubspot and Act-On

For mid-market and large companies, you’ll want to research enterprise-level marketing automation systems that offer deep customization, advanced reporting, and integration versatility. Some of the most well known large scale systems include Marketo, Pardot, IBM, and Eloqua.

#2 Don’t Assume Every Marketing Automation System Tool Works for Your Industry

What industry are you in and who are your customers? Are you selling apparel to consumers or banking services to businesses? Obviously, your marketing strategy for a B2C industry will be different than a B2B industry. Customers claim Oracle’s Eloqua is better for B2B than B2C, because while it lacks e-commerce capabilities that most consumer companies need, it’s well regarded for form processing and multi-step campaign capabilities that drive email campaigns. 

If you have a B2C business, you’re most likely selling to the mass market. This means you’ll want to leverage more channels and appear more frequently to the customer. You’ll also be gathering more information about each customer digitally and market your products in a more personalized way. So aside from bulk email campaigns, you probably want a marketing automation system that integrates well with customer identity platforms to host targeted offer campaigns. To date, Marketo is the only marketing automation system to integrate with a customer identity platform, like LiveRamp. You’ll also want to think about e-commerce capabilities for abandoned shopping cart campaigns and landing pages. 

For B2B, relationships and leads are everything. You’ll want to generate more interest by educating prospective businesses on your products or services. B2B companies report that Marketo’s lead scoring system is a definite advantage. Because sales people are able to qualify leads before pursuing them, it saves time. Other MAS features that are important to B2B companies include the ability to amplify educational content through a few relevant channels, automate drip campaigns, and leverage account-based marketing (ABM). 

#3  Don’t Assume Every Marketing Automation System Integrates With Your Martech Stack

Data integration between your marketing automation system and business applications will be critical for efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing initiatives as well as other areas of your business. If you have a CRM, you probably want to look for a marketing automation system that allows real-time, bi-directional syncing between the two systemsor between multiple systemsso that you have the most up-to-date, accurate information in all systems. Data integration is especially important for lead nurturing and scoring. 

But keep in mind that not every MAS will allow you to integrate with different applications. So make sure you inquire about all the applications you want to sync. Also note that some marketing automation systems come with native integrations that can be difficult to troubleshoot, because they aren’t programmed to diagnose errors and tell you how to resolve them. More advanced data integration platforms can help troubleshoot problems and be configured to your needs.

#4 Don’t Assume You’ll Get All the Same Features and Capabilities with Every MAS System

Marketing automation systems will offer some standard baseline services such as email marketing, lead management, lead scoring, reporting, analytics, and landing page creation. But if you’re looking for advanced features like web conferencing, social media management, cross-channel campaign management, marketing resource management, progressive profiling, or advanced analytics, search for a system that includes the tools you need.

There’s a big chance that you won’t have all the features or capabilities you need in one system. For instance, if you want to run account-based management reports and analytics that uncover leads, attribution, and ROI, you will likely have to find a marketing automation system that integrates with your CRM.

So What is the Best Marketing Automation System for You? 

To determine the best marketing automation system for you, iron out what your specific needs are for the industry you’re in. As marketing automation technology continues to advance, make sure you research all your options to get most of your needs met. 

For features that aren’t available within certain MAS systems, talk to a Vertify representative to learn about an integration platform that can host a number of connections that will sync information across your organization.