When it comes to staying on top of the latest updates and best practices in marketing, especially in a relatively new arena like marketing automation, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the sea of online information right at your fingertips. Spend just a few minutes navigating your way through a handful of different sites looking for information marketing automation options, and you’re still left with a few factors to consider.
Let’s begin with the fact that so much information is only a few keystrokes away. Accessibility is great but how do you determine exactly what’s credible? Once you’ve established some form of validity, are you sure you’re receiving the best possible solution for your needs? When you’re reading and soaking in this information are you being sold on a particular product based on that company’s best interest? There’s only one way to alleviate this headache…educate yourself on the subject.
Today we’ll be giving you knowledge on some of the top marketing automation software options and why they’re worth discussing. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of articles offering information on this subject. But if you’d like a quick organized path to marketing automation greatness we invite you to slide on your reading glasses, bookmark this page and take notes on this year’s top marketing automation platforms.
What exactly is Marketing Automation Software?
There’s more than enough definitions of Marketing Automation Software floating throughout cyberspace but here’s one from Techopedia that sums it up rather well.
“Marketing automation is the use of software and Web-based services to execute, manage and automate marketing tasks and processes. It replaces manual and repetitive marketing processes with purpose-built software and applications geared toward performance.”
Still a bit lost? Well, marketing automation software simply allow you to create and organize information that pertains to your customer base. You’ll be able to develop, implement and analyze campaigns down to a tee which will in turn give your business a major jump start and hopefully generate more revenue.
Now comes the hard part. You can’t simply close your eyes and pick one. You need to know exactly what it is you’re getting yourself into and what this new addition to your marketing department could mean for you and your company. But before we put all the facts on the table lets go ahead and list the heavy hitters of marketing automation software.
Today we’ll be comparing, contrasting and giving some need to know information on HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot & Oracle Eloqua. Each of these companies are near the top of this discussion and if you read below we’d be happy to explain why.
Why is HubSpot so popular?
Do any independent research on Marketing Automation Software and we can just about guarantee HubSpot will appear somewhere in your top 3 search results. Why is this? Because HubSpot has created a platform that’s easy to learn and difficult to refute.
Ever wondered why Apple is so popular? One word…Simplicity! This is one of the major areas where HubSpot shines. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to operate HubSpot and there essentially lies one of its greatest benefits. Taking the time to make what is assumed to be a difficult or timely experience condensed and easy to navigate for users is the first step to creating lifelong supporters and HubSpot has several. So for this reason HubSpot is ranked highly amongst its competition. Along with the style and design of the software HubSpot is also known for its Salesforce and Google Analytics integration giving users even more data to view and make more accurate adjustments from.
The pricing breakdown for HubSpot ranges from $200 per month for the Basic Package, $800 per month for the Professional Package and $2400 for the Enterprise Package. For those of you looking to try out their low priced Basic Package be aware that there is also a one-time $500 required training fee associated. And for the Professional and Enterprise clients you’ll find it useful to know that there will be a $2000 required training fee associated with both packages. Also HubSpot is not available on a month to month basis as a contract is required before service can be provided. But don’t let all of this information scare you off just yet, there’s a free 30 day trial offered by HubSpot to ensure whether or not they’re a good fit for you and your company.
What Do You Get With Marketo?
Marketo boasts a large variety of different customer sizes and we can understand why they each enjoy the service. They’ve even lowered prices on their Spark and Standard packages by $200 to give lower cost solutions a run for their money. But let’s discuss a few of the main pros and cons of this service.
In Marketo’s favor, users applaud the quick and easy set-up. Navigation of the software is also smooth and the integration of Salesforce is a huge plus. What does Salesforce integration mean for customers? More data! And with more data comes more opportunities to increase sales and your overall ROI (Return on Investment). Marketo has also been credited for their amazing customer service. Representatives are available through Live Chat, Phone or Email Monday through Friday 6am – 6pm.
Marketo's pricing currently consists of $895 for the B2B Spark Package, $1795 for the Standard B2C Package and $3195 for the Enterprise Package.
Once you’ve established your budget and agreed upon what you can spend you may discover that certain benefits your company needs are only included in the higher tier of the software. Meaning you’re spending at least $900 extra per month for an additional one or two features that weren’t offered on the software you originally set your sights on. There’s several benefits of this service but it’s not difficult to see why, even with great reviews, some would continue browsing through additional options.
Is Pardot Best For Your Company?
Each software offered these days will have its own unique list of benefits but it’s important to analyze what your companies needs consist of before looking too deeply in any direction.
To keep things brief, Pardot is designed specifically with B2B users in mind. Many of the bells and whistles aren’t included with Pardot and for your company this may be precisely what you need. Features like Pardot’s Lead Deck are beneficial for those looking for constant updates on prospects activities. So not only will you be alerted once a lead has visited one of your pages but from that page you’ll be able to send that prospect an email all in one click. And for those of you not sure how long you’d like to try out Pardot you’ll be happy to know you can sever ties at any point since no contract is required upon sign up.
With the Standard Package being $1000 per month, Pro being $2000 per month and Ultimate being $3000 per month, upgrading packages may be required to access the features you're really after. So once again small changes or additions can either double or triple your price bringing much more confusion than answers to those looking to invest. Also, social media functionality lacks in comparison to others mentioned on this list. So although Pardot may be a perfect fit you’re now forced to ask if you’ll be getting out more from this software than you’re now putting in to access it?
Oracle = Enterprise?
If you haven’t gathered it by now Enterprise companies are dropping some serious coin each month to keep their consumer base coming in, and Oracle Eloqua seems to be the drink of choice that many larger companies tend to sip from.
Alongside its enterprise price tags sits a list of features sure to knock almost any marketing guru’s socks off. Lead Nurturing, A/B Testing, Lead Scoring, Revenue Tracking and Social Marketing are all included in each level of Eloqua. Professionals who have experience using Oracle Eloqua on a day to day basis praise the functionality of the software.
During a side by side comparison with Marketo, Sales & Marketing Blog Capterra discovered that several marketing professionals expressed more overall satisfaction with Oracle Eloqua in almost every area.
All those features listed above sound good? Well hopefully for you and your company it’s the right decision. Not only is Oracle Eloqua known for being expensive but there’s no trial available and you’re required to sign a lengthy contract in order to get started. Pricing for Oracle Eloqua consists of $2000 per month for 10 users, $4000 per month for 50 users and you’ll have to dial 866-327-8764 and get a custom pricing quote if you’ll need additional users for your business.
So we’ve analyzed the top marketing automation software options and took a look at the good, the bad and the utterly unattractive sides of this business. So after all this who do you pick? Easy, you pick the one that fits best for your business. We could tell you to pick a certain software based on our own preferences but the fact of the matter is this decision is about you and your business.
For 98toGo we’ve chosen to work exclusively with HubSpot when assisting our clients. It ranges in functionality, we train our clients on how to use it and it covers most of the bases we need to get companies up and running quickly. So at the end of the day you need to choose a software that matches up with your current business model and what you see as a better fit for your team. Since you or your marketing team will be the ones becoming familiar with the product we encourage you to try out the different trials and take a look at as many demos as possible until you come across the one that makes the most sense for you.
Looking for tips on how to get the most from HubSpot?
Even though HubSpot is simple, there’s still a learning curve involved. After setting up and customizing dozens upon dozens of HubSpot accounts for clients, we’ve learned a thing or two about working the software. Plus, our whole team is HubSpot and Inbound Certified!
We put together this guide to help you get the most out of your new HubSpot subscription. Download it if you’re looking for that extra HubSpot boost, or if you’re interesting in seeing some behind the scenes HubSpot action to help you make your marketing automation platform decision. Click the button below to get your copy of the free guide.
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