Marketing automation software sets marketing departments free to concentrate on more valuable tasks, by taking over the more repetitive aspects of the job. It can also help by providing clear goals, checklists and processes that everyone from consultants to part-time marketing staff can follow, so marketing is less error-prone as well as more streamlined. From its origins as a method for automating marketing emails, marketing automation has expanded radically and although only 5% of business use it (VentureBeat Insights, 2015), many more should: 80% of companies that use marketing automation saw an increase in leads in 2014 and 77% saw an increase in conversions (VentureBeat 2015).
It’s not always plain sailing with marketing automation though. Many businesses are dissatisfied with their marketing automation software and as many as 20% of marketers in a recent survey were in the process of switching to a new marketing automation tool (Third Door Media, 2015). While the problem is sometimes that implementation is flawed, there is a big difference in the range of tools available. While no brief introduction can cover the variables or the huge range of options, it can offer a list of the best places to start.
Eloqua is for the truly committed. It’s features-packed, comprehensive and expensive. One of its major benefits is that the company offers incredible support, basically tutoring individual customers in how to get the best out of the tool on their terms. Offering seriously tight CRM integration and a great marketplace, Eloqua is priced at $2, 000 per month.
2: Constant Contact
On the other end of the scale from Eloqua, Constant Contact is a light, small business-friendly and fast out of the blocks. If you want email marketing automation, and nothing else, right now, this could be the tool for you. It’s very user friendly and simple to use, and compared to some other options on the market it’s very affordable. If you’re planning a more comprehensive automation drive down the line though, Constant Contact won’t be able to follow you there. It’s email-only. Constant Contact is priced at $15 per month.
HubSpot is the ‘Jack-of-all-trades’ of marketing automation. It does everything, while specialising in nothing. In some ways that’s a big advantage and HubSpot doesn’t even concentrate on marketing automation, seeking to offer ‘inbound automation’ instead, with its marketing automation just a component of that. For businesses looking for software that functions like a marketing department in a box, this is the nearest you’re going to get, with a proven track record and a reasonable price tag of $200 per month.
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