Marketing teams and agencies use many different types of marketing software, from marketing analytics tools to SEO dashboards, asset managers, landing page builders, marketing automation tools, and others.
There’s a long list of great marketing tools out there—how to choose?
Marketing strategy has grown infinitely more complex thanks to online marketing mysteries, requirements, and tools. Even small businesses are having to suss out how to play friendly with any given search engine as well as how to use personalization to make the customer journey more attractive.
That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend employing marketing software to make your life as a business owner or brand manager easier. However, “marketing software” is such a broad category that it’s hard to find a all-in-one solution unique to your needs.
I’ve put together this trustworthy list of software and outlined exactly what each marketing hub does best.
In this article, my goal is to help you quickly compare and evaluate the best software that top marketers are using to plan, build, and measure digital marketing campaigns this year.
What are we looking for when we select marketing software for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Marketing platforms often have a lot going on at once so that means organization is crucial. Are each of the marketing features presented in a clean, intuitive, and modern interface?
Usability: Marketing platforms are used by managers, admin assistants, social media teams, sales teams, and so on. That means they have to be easily adoptable and quick to get up-and-running. Is the marketing software easy for tech and non-tech teams to jump into feet first?
Features & Functionality:
Lead management – Are there lead generation tools that track leads according to what marketing channels and campaign they come from? Does it provide lead scoring as well as options for quick or automated follow up? Is the lead follow-up personalized for the user to better attract engagement?
Email campaigns – Does the marketing tool provide email templates for email marketing activities? Or, does it integrate well with email marketing software like Constant Contact and MailChimp? Can you do A/B testing on headlines to track differences in open rates and conversion rates?
Social media marketing – Does the marketing automation software cover the basics of social media management, like scheduled posting, metrics and analytics, drip campaigns, post boosting, and keyword optimization?
Reporting and analytics – Marketing software should help you measure the performance of your content marketing activities. There’s no perfect report, but I generally look for some type of customizable dashboards in your tools so you can track what you care about most, whether it’s tracking general engagement on social media platforms or more conversion-related goals like visits to specific web pages.
Integrations: Does the marketing software integrate easily with social profiles like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as popular CMS and CRM tools like Google Suite and Google analytics, Microsoft 365, and WordPress?
Valuefor$: Does the marketing technology support marketing efforts all across the product/service lifecycle: lead nurturing, customer relationship management, etc., or do you have to pay for multiple services and/or add-ons? Does it have both SaaS and on-premise solutions?
Overviews Of The Best Marketing Software
Here’s a brief description of each of the marketing software that are featured on this top 10 list.
Pardot, B2B marketing automation by Salesforce, offers a marketing automation solution supporting the needs of B2B organizations with features like streamlined lead management, email marketing, robust ROI reporting, AI tools, and more. It’s a great tool for automating a lot of your inbound marketing efforts with automated workflows, autoresponders, etc.
Integration with Salesforce can be hugely helpful. If you are already in the Salesforce universe, Pardot will be an intuitive and welcome addition to your strategy.
Salesforce has a ton of partners and integration options, like Mailchimp, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Adobe Sign, Amazon Connect CTI, Zoom, Quickbooks, task-based specialty apps, and many more.
Though they’ve promised to fix this by Winter 2020, there is no drag-and-drop editor available. Therefore, code must be used in most cases, detracting from their Usability marks per the evaluation criteria.
Salesforce Pardot starts at $1,250/month and has a free demo.
2. Marketo – Best for integration with Adobe Experience Manager assets
Marketo Engage, a program by Adobe, promises to carry you from “acquisition to advocacy” in your marketing funnel strategy by employing features like attracting top-of-funnel traffic through inbound and outbound programs and convert leads with landing pages and progressive forms.
Marketo is relatively easy to use for an Adobe program and it has a lot of documentation to help you get started. Once set up, there is a huge range of tools and features for a fairly mid-range price.
Other than the obvious integration with the Adobe suite of programs, Marketo Engage connects with apps like SalesLogix, ACT!, Pipedrive, MailChimp, Zoho CRM, Teamgate, WordPress, Magento, TextPattern, and many more.
The user interface looks a bit dull and dated, which makes it an outlier in most Adobe software. Thus, they lost a few points in the UX category of the evaluation criteria.
Marketo starts at $895/month and has a free demo.
Great multichannel integration
Professional-looking emails, landing pages, forms, and campaigns
Bronto, by Oracle, is a part of Netsuite that includes tools for personalization, automation, segmentation, transactional emails, abandoned cart emails, browse abandonment emails, recommendations, pop-ups, integrations, analytics, reporting, and more.
Oracle Bronto is known for its attentive and comprehensive customer service. Additionally, they provide online learning, documentation, and live tutorials. With Oracle backing them, they score well in the evaluation criteria for Usability.
Integrations include AddShoppers, Ascent 360, Baynote, Bounce Exchange, FlowLink, Kibo, Adobe Magento, Pixlee, Playable, Salesforce, Shopify, Stitch, SmarterHQ, Sezzle, Qubit, Mozu, Movable Ink, and more.
Some reporting options could be more comprehensive; for example, a Legacy Report option would assist in identifying hard-versus-soft email bounces. Currently, you have to segment or sort yourself.
Oracle Bronto Marketing Platform starts at $1666/month and has a free demo.
Quick to launch drip campaigns on multiple triggers
HubSpot is a leader in the digital marketing sphere and their own tool, HubSpot Marketing, boasts features like marketing automation with smart content, content creation tools with SEO strategy built-in, custom event triggers and reporting, website traffic analysis, and more.
With a low monthly cost and a freemium version available, HubSpot scored highly on the Value for Price category of the evaluation criteria. They don’t skimp on features, either.
Integrations include Gmail, RollWorks ABM, Jira, briX, AdRoll, Twitter, Cradle, Dialpad, Zipwhip, Helpdesk Migration, Sakari SMS, Eventbrite, Automate.io, Mailchimp, LeadDyno, Instagram, Workplace by Facebook, GoToWebinar, and over 1000 more through Zapier.
Duplicate entries can become a problem, as HubSpot primarily uses email address the customer identifier. Additionally, their drag-and-drop design functions can be a bit limiting.
HubSpot Marketing starts at $50/month and has a freemium version.
5. Mailchimp – Best free email marketing campaigns
MailChimp, a familiar name in email marketing, boasts an all-in-one platform that also caters to audience insights, retargeting ads, A/B testing, 1-click automations, marketing CRM, behavioral targeting, advanced audience segmentation, pre-built content templates, and more.
Completely free, MailChimp scores well on the Value for Cost on the evaluation criteria list. Small businesses will benefit from their basic email marketing tools.
Integrations APIANT, Accelo, Acuity Scheduling, AddThis for MailChimp, Advances RSS Email Automation, AgencyAnalytics, Airsquare, Attendstar, Attentive.ly, Automate.io, Autopilot, BEE Pro, Batchbook, Bloom Intelligence, HootSuite, and more.
Mailchimp’s Features and Functions list is rather smaller than most on this list, which dinged them in our evaluation. While they do have additional marketing capabilities, they are primarily an email marketing tool.
Mailchimp starts at $9.99/month and has a freemium version.
With offices in Australia, Canada, and England, Maximizer has been in the CRM sphere since the 1980s. Their current software offering has email marketing, campaign optimization, a web form builder, built-in FAQs and SLAs, feature-rich mobile-friendly CRM, and more.
Maximizer has a huge amount of integrations, including all the big names you would expect. Additionally, they are compatible with Zapier, adding hundreds more. This means they scored well in the Integrations category of the evaluation criteria.
Integrations include Outlook, MailChimp, Quickbooks, Microsoft Excel and Word, Quilio, HubSpot, QuoteWerks, MYOB, VOIP & Telephony, SharePoint, Bing Maps, and over 1000 more through Zapier.
The feature-rich nature of Maximizer may be too complex for users who are only looking for the basics of CRM. It comes with a steep learning curve.
Maximize starts at $40/user/month and has a 30-day free trial and free demo.
Well-organized common database of customer information
7. Tune – Best for marketing subscription services
Founded in 2009, Tune specializes in partner marketing for advertisers and networks with a toolset that features a measurement of cross-channel with cookieless postback tracking, real-time reporting, complete event logging, and API-driven data sharing, and more.
Building report templates is easy and intuitive. The user interface is clean, organized, and straight-forward. Overall, a good score in UX within our evaluation criteria checklist.
Partner integrations include AffiliTest, Axonite, Billoid, Invoca, Optizmo, UnsubCentral, Forensiq, TrafficGuard, FraudShield, Branch, Kochava, AppsFlyer, Adjust, Singular, and more.
Wait time for customer service can be long, even for Enterprise level clients. You will hit the limit of the Basic plan, 100 offers, quite quickly if you are anything other than a small business.
Tune starts at $279/month and has a 30-day free trial.
Easy-to-use payout rules with customizable approvals
Called BPM’online until recently, Creatio is a marketing CRM tool that sports intelligent business process management, sales and service integrated on one platform, sales automation software, low-code functionality, professional consulting services, workflow automation, and more.
The interface, reporting tools, and flexibility of integrations/add-ons are all stand-out features for Creatio. Despite having so much to pick from, they are relatively easy to pick-up and learn.
Integrations can be found in their Marketplace and include Process First, Make It TSI, Agovo, Amdocs, Evoqia, Meritus, Onmiline, Technology Advisors, Softline, ITS, Navicon, Orange Process, and many more.
The pricing system is a bit misleading, as the base price doesn’t count for additional services like certain levels of technical and customer support. They lost some marks of Value for Cost because of the lack of transparency.
Creatio starts at $25/user/month and has a 14-day free trial.
Stemming from tools used for the AppSumo newsletter, Sumo is a set of free automation tools that—the company claims—grew them to over a million subscribers. Features focus on collecting names and emails with the likes of pop-ups, banners, landing pages, and more.
SumoMe is free to use, making them a standout in the Value for Cost category of the evaluation criteria list. If you need more features or scalability, you can purchase additional tools.
Integrations include ActiveCampaign, Aweber, BriteVerify, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, Drip, Emma, Feedblitz, GetResponse, HubSpot, iContact, InboxFirst, Infusionsoft, Klaviyo, Mad Mimi, MailChimp, and more.
More notification options would be welcome, like being pinged in real-time when you receive a new contact or subscriber through the software.
SumoMe is free to use.
Powerful all-in-one suite of apps
Easy, excellent email list building
Audience can easily highlight-to-Tweet your content
Sumo’s pop-up/slider gets in the way of certain pages
Not as much of a focus on trending keywords
Requires end-user to have the latest OS/browser software installed
Freshworks is a collection of software that includes Freshdesk, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshchat, Freshmarketer, and so on. You can customize your marketing approach by selecting the tools you need most, be it call tracking or sales.
The Freshworks line has everything you need without having to leave the ecosystem. They score well in the evaluation criteria for Features and Functionality simply because they offer everything with the ability to mix-and-match what you need.
Visit their Marketplace to find integrations like Mailchimp, Migrate, TeamViewer, Attachment Manager, Office 365, Paypal Invoices, Textline, Justcall for SMS, Slack, Google Analytics, Atlassian JIRA, and more.
The mobile application chugs a little bit, which is only a downfall if you do a lot of work on a smart device. The emailing function isn’t as flexible and robust as others on this list.
Freshworks starts at $15/user/month and has a 21-day free trial of paid plans but also has a freemium version.
Excellent list of first- and third-party integrations
Easy to automate follow ups with potential leads
Comprehensive visual representation of sales pipeline
Let me know in the comments below if there’s a tool you love that isn’t on the list. I’d love to check it out and let other members of our community know!
What Do You Think About These Marketing Software?
Have you tried out any marketing software listed above? Which marketing solution does your team prefer? What marketing automation platform would you add to this list if you could? Let us know in the comments.
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