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, planning tools, CRMs, campaign scheduling software, and others.
There’s a long list of great marketing tools out there—how to choose?
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.
CRM & Marketing Software Comparison Criteria
What are we looking for when we select process mapping tools for review? Here’s a summary of my evaluation criteria:
User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Does the UX look and feel contemporary or antiquated?
Usability: Is it easy to learn? How comprehensive is the company’s tech support, user support, tutorials, and training?
Features & Functionality:
CRM: Does it provide tools and functions that help you deal with customers and keep notes on their prior purchases, troubles, successes, or interactions?
Automation: Does it offer automation options for repetitive or pipeline tasks, like workflow management or emails?
CodingOptions: Does it have a low-code option for not-IT users as well as advanced coding capabilities for more advanced users to lean on?
LeadAcquisition: Does it provide reliable tools for lead generation and control? Does it provide metrics on success with KPIs like conversion or clicks?
Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? Can it import documents from other software? Can it export documents in a variety of formats?
Valuefor$: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent and flexible? Do they offer any try-before-you-buy options?
The Best Marketing Software List
Here’s an overview of each of the top marketing software and what they do.
1. Salesforce Pardot – Marketing automation and CRM designed to generate more pipeline and empower sales deals.
Guide customers through an intended Pipeline with automations to help engagement.
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.
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 – A digital solution for lead management and account-based marketing that is made by developer Adobe.
Use triggers, filters, send emails, change values, check user status for marketing initiatives.
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.
Simple email marketing with drag-and-drop elements, auto-scheduling, analytics, and more.
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.
4. HubSpot Marketing – Marketing, sales, and service software with a set of free tools that can be added to for a cost as you grow.
Use HubSpot to track different landing pages to note views and other engagement KPIs.
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 – No coding needed digital marketing tools that can help you design a professional webpage or launch an e-newsletter.
Track e-newsletter performance using a variety of KPIs, like open rates, unsubs, and clicks.
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.
6. Maximizer CRM – Modules for sales management, marketing automation, customer service, third-party integrations and mobile CRM.
A top-level dashboard gives access to everything from contact lists to calendars and files.
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.
7. Tune – A flexible SaaS platform for managing marketing partnerships across mobile and web, be it anything from affiliates to agencies.
Browse details about any offer and generate a tracking link or preview a landing page.
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.
8. Creatio – Formerly BPM’online, Creatio is a low-code, process automation and CRM platform for business-IT alignment.
Use the Dashboard to track leads, opportunities, invoicing details, conversion rates, and more.
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.
9. SumoMe – Low-code BPM and CRM to enable both IT and non-IT employees build processes and apps quickly and easily.
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.
10. Freshworks – Includes software solutions for customer support, calls, sales, IT service, live chat, recruitment, and more.
Engage with website visitors and product users for sales and customer service strategy.
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.
Marketing Software FAQ
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions I come across when people ask about marketing software:
What is marketing software?
Generally speaking, these technologies are designed for marketing departments to effectively market on various online channels and automate tasks. These platforms help streamline sales and marketing by replacing the repetitive, high-touch manual processes with automated solutions.
What are the benefits of marketing automation?
Marketing software frees marketers up from repetitive tasks that waste time. This way, they can focus on high impact tasks. By having this spare time, marketers have the opportunity to be more creative, deliver more, and think more strategically. By allowing your team to reach their full potential in this way, the ROI of your marketing efforts will increase every year.
Other Marketing Tools
Here are a few more that didn’t make the top list. If you need additional suggestions, check these out.
TargetBay – An eCommerce marketing cloud for reviews, product recommendations, email campaigns, and more.
ActiveCampaign – Customer experience automation with email marketing, dynamic content, and other CRM tools.
Moz – SEO software and data with site audits, rank tracking, backlink analysis, keyword research, and more.
Epixel MLM Software – MLM software solutions for configuring custom pay plans and automating compensation rules.
EngageBay – Marketing and sales CRM with form and landing pages, 360 customer view, live chat tools, and more.
Blueshift – Customer data activation, artificial intelligence, and multi-channel automation in a single, scalable platform.
Amperity – Customer data management with features like raw ingestion, identity resolution, and comprehensive views.
Zinfi – Create a mobile-responsive partner portal that partners can use to navigate through your channel programs and quickly find relevant content.
Bynder – A digital asset management, brand portal, and media library with workflow solutions for versioning, annotation, and approvals.
Iterable – An integrated, cross-channel platform built for marketers, which includes an Iterable Intelligence Suite and more.
Privy – An integrated suite of web conversion and email marketing tools with items like banner design, embedded forms, pop-ups, and more.
SharpSpring – A sales and marketing solution with behavior-based email, campaign tracking, dynamic landing pages, a blog builder, and more.
Greenrope – A CRM tool with marketing automation, sales pipelines, customer service, real-time tracking and analytics, and more.
Act-On – Marketing automation with website lead generation, social media tools, CRM connectors, robust analytics, and more.
Funnel – Connected marketing and advertising data from over 500 available sources, including social media, shopfronts, email, and more.
Insightly – A modern customer relationship platform with customer journeys plotting, sales data, project management, and more.
SendinBlue – A sales and marketing toolbox with email, SMS, landing pages, ads, workflow automation, GDPR-compliance, and more.
I also have a few other lists you should check out if you’re looking for more specific marketing tools, such as: