Marketing automation software industry is constantly evolving, as new contenders try to capture a slice of the market and gain traction with customers. As more options enter an already crowded marketplace, its becoming harder for marketers to choose one platform over another.
With so many variables at play when selecting an automation tool, how do you know which ones will have the biggest impact on your business? Each year Statista looks at the biggest players in the market. According to their 2021 report, the top five marketing automation solutions chosen by global industry professionals as of May 2021 were Hubspot, Adobe Experience Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud, Active Campaign, and Salesforce Pardot. These players account for slightly more than 63% percent of the market. We'll review them in a little more detail down below and share the pros and cons.
What Is Marketing Automation Software?
Marketing automation software is a set of tools that help automate many of the tasks involved in digital or offline marketing. It enables marketers to build up their customer databases, segment them into groups based on interests and behavior patterns, and send out personalized messages through email campaigns or social media channels.
"Consumers are researching and soaking up knowledge more than ever now. They expect businesses to communicate relevant messaging or else they will move on to a competitor who's delivering the right information at the right time," said Alex Gosney, Marketing Automation Manager at Raleigh, NC-based Device Magic. Automation aims to increase engagement rates with customers by delivering content based on what they want at the right time.
Related Article: What Is Marketing Automation and How Does It Help Marketers?
Why Companies Need Marketing Automation Software?
Customer journeys have become complex and fragmented. Increasingly, people are researching options, engaging with brands, and completing purchases across multiple channels and multiple devices. The impact of this has grown dramatically over the past year as the shift to ecommerce and online services has been accelerated through the pandemic.
With competition growing and all companies fighting to get consumers' attention, marketing automation software has become crucial, according to Cheryl Cade, Senior Marketing Director at Plano, TX-based ArganoKeste. He considers that "beyond just improving marketing efficiency, fully integrated marketing automation software empowers sales and ecommerce functions with accurate data to close deals fast. Businesses without this functionality are going to have a hard time competing in today's digital economy."
Plus, not only is the customer journey more complex than in the past, but customers are less patient, more easily distracted, and have higher expectations. They want messages that are relevant and timely and are less tolerant of messages that are not. This is a difficult line for businesses to tread when commercial pressures are significant. New customers are harder to find, so keeping existing customers and increasing their lifetime value is paramount. In-house resources are stretched, and return on investment is a critical concern.
Balancing all these factors and delivering the best experience for customers at scale, in an increasingly diverse and saturated marketplace is almost impossible without the help of automation. Here are Statista's top 5 Leaders.
Based in Cambridge, MA, Hubspot is the marketing automation tool with the most market share (29.51%). Hubspot is a truly all-in-one platform for everything marketing, automation, sales, and customer support-related. It even includes a free CRM. You can also use it as a CMS to build your website. However, users from review sites such as G2 and Capterra shared that despite its great offering, Hubspot isn't very modular, and for marketers who need more flexibility or a best-of-breed tool, Hubspot may not be the best pick.
Adobe Experience Cloud
Based in San Jose, CA, Adobe Experience Cloud (AEC) is the second tool with the most market share worldwide (12.11%). AEC provides a comprehensive content management solution that can help you to build websites and applications. The drawback of AEC, according to reviewers from G2 and Capterra is that while it’s great as a CMS and it offers extensive marketing automation tools, it can be unwieldy because of its very steep learning curve.
Oracle Marketing Cloud
Based in Austin, TX, Oracle Marketing Cloud is the third most used automation tool worldwide (8.63%). Oracle Marketing Cloud is an all-in-one suite of marketing automation tools oriented to the enterprise market that boasts integrations with other big players in the marketing field. Nevertheless, users from the aforementioned review sites cite Oracle Marketing Cloud as the most expensive tool of the bunch; they also state that it can be slow to implement.
Based in Chicago, IL, Active Campaign has the 4th largest market share of marketing automation software today (8.01%). Active Campaign's offering is more geared toward the SMB sector and offers a clean interface that's easy to use and integrate. On the flip side, Active Campaign’s CRM isn’t really good and it can be hard to get clear reports from the tool, according to reviewers.
Based in San Francisco, CA. Salesforce is the fifth most used automation tool worldwide (4.89%). Pardot offers different types of plans for different kinds of users, but it's a bit on the expensive side for SMBs, especially for those marketers interested in leveraging the most advanced marketing automation features of the tool. On the other hand, Salesforce Pardot doesn’t play well with other CRMs, according to reviewers, and it seems that the best way to use it is through Salesforce itself.