Marketing automation provider Act-On Software boasts that its new analytics capabilities lets users access marketing data from within its platform and export it to business intelligence systems for “deeper analytics.”

The Beaverton, Ore.-based provider made these features available this week through Act-On Data Studio, which allows users to access pre-configured datasets and aggregations. It also allows users to create their own datasets using point-and-click queries and filters.

Act-On officials call marketing automation platforms “the central point for prospect and customer engagement data” — naturally so, since they represent a marketing automation platform. They add that data gathered from digital interactions is “massive,” and claim Act-On Data Studio makes it possible to readily access and extract the data collected in the marketing automation system.

The capabilities include:

  • Selecting any data that exists within the Act-On platform by either using pre-defined data templates or by using point-and-click queries, filters and aggregation options to create custom views into the data
  • Visualization tools to analyze the data sets chosen to ensure they warrant more in-depth analysis
  • Export the data either on-demand or on a scheduled basis to any variety of external systems ranging from third party business intelligence tools to Microsoft Excel

Why Act-On?

Why does Act-On stand out in a flooded space? Well, Gal Josefsberg, vice president of product management and marketing at Act-On, doesn't think it's a flooded tech space, to start.

act-on, data studio

“Traditionally,” he added, “marketing automation systems allow you to either see your data in the form of dashboards, stand alone reports or bundled into a full BI system within the MA platform. The first two do not give the marketer enough flexibility and access into what they need, and the last forces them to have to use a particular BI platform. We provide marketers with the flexibility to get access to all the underlying data in Act-On, package it, and analyze it with any tool they choose; ranging from Excel to Tableau to Enterprise level BI tools.”

One customer case example provided by Act-On included a company that rolled up campaign engagement data from all marketing activities and conducted analysis against sales data inside Tableau. Another exported its marketing engagement data to blend it with its CRM data to get granular insight into the touches that factor into orders.

Integration Points

Josefsberg said Act-On does not expect any integration challenges because Data Studio enables users to develop views into customer data and export them into any number of formats that are readily accessible by external tools such as Excel, Tableau, Domo, Birst, Good Data and others.

Data Studio is part of its Enterprise Package starting at $2,000. It is a new product feature. Act-On releases new features and updates to the platform every two weeks and does major product releases at least once every two months.

Asked about competitors in this space, Josegsberg said Hubspot and Pardot do not provide this type of capability. “Marketo,” he said, “gives you far less flexibility by tying you into their third party BI system called Pentaho.”

Act-On was founded in 2008 and launched its first commercial product in 2009. It has more than 3,000 customers and almost 400 employees.

Competitors Respond

Michael Berger, director of product marketing at San Mateo, Calif.-based Marketo, said the statement by Act-On is “incorrect and misleading.”

Marketo offers, he said, a powerful set of analytics capabilities in its standard reporting that are “more robust than those of Act-On, and are not reliant on third-party tools.”

“Our standard reporting includes the ability to customize reports in ways not available in Act-On, such as advanced filtering, adding or removing columns, re-ordering columns, adding custom criteria and more. Again, this is all available with our standard reporting.”

For businesses with more complex business environments, Berger said Marketo offers a purely optional add-on product called Revenue Cycle Analytics, which is delivered through and accessed from Marketo, and better meets these more sophisticated needs.

“The reality is that many Act-On customers are small businesses with very basic requirements, and their reporting capabilities reflect this fact,” he said. “In contrast, Marketo is used both by very small businesses as well as large global enterprises, and to satisfy the needs of these very different customers, we offer different options.”

Nathaniel Eberle, HubSpot’s director of public relations, answered Act-On’s charges. He told CMSWire Cambridge, Mass.-based HubSpot “does indeed provide some of this functionality, both native to our platform and through our integrations with partners like DataHero.”

HubSpot provides charts and graphs for immediate on-platform analysis, “while we give our users the ability to better segment and report,” he added.

“So data export functionality is provided at the individual report and app level. With the HubSpot-DataHero integration, users can create and share customized dashboards and charts with HubSpot data and merged data from other business services.”

A Pardot official said Salesforce/Pardot did not have any comment.