Marketing Automation : Which tool is right for your business?

Marketing Automation : Which tool is right for your business?

Marketing automation has in the last few years risen to be one of the most talked about digital marketing tools. The industry has grown fast, and is predicted to keep booming, reaching $7.6 Billion by 2025. So what is all the hype about? First, let’s start by looking at what marketing automation is.

Marketing automation is a software tool that helps business automate simple but laborious marketing tasks, such as email marketing or database management. The main benefits center around the increased efficiency of both marketing and sales operations. Other benefits include improved customer experience through mass personalisation, and improved decision-making through data-enabled closed-loop reporting, to mention a few. The range of features varies from tool to tool, and some vendors offer a more comprehensive solution than others. Besides just the range of features, the price and usability also differ quite drastically between the different tools.

Unlike the software vendors, we argue that there is no single best tool for every business. The “right” tool depends on your business; it’s characteristics and the benefits you want to achieve from automation. To help you determine which automation tool matches your business needs best, we compared three automation tools: HubSpot, ActiveCampaign and Marketo.


HubSpot is one of the first things that come to mind when discussing marketing automation. Why? Well probably because aside from simply offering software solutions, the company promotes a comprehensive approach to inbound marketing. This methodology focuses on attracting customers and making them come to you, instead of you reaching out to them, by providing the customer with the right information at the right time. The approach has gained notable attention in the past few years, becoming one of the key points of discussion within marketing managers and consultants alike.

HubSpot marketing automation software offers a comprehensive solution that goes beyond email marketing. Available features include workflow management, email automation, sales force integration, lead-gen and content management as well as CMS and social media solutions. The HubSpot reporting and analytics functions are comprehensive, to the point where it might be inconvenient as it may take time to dig though all the available data. However, it is worth pointing out that HubSpot offers a solid support system for its users. HubSpot Academy is a great support and training center, consisting of valuable resources for marketers learning about various marketing-related topics.

If you are looking for a comprehensive solution that brings together your marketing and sales teams, HubSpot may be the right tool for you. However, like any tool, it has a few drawbacks. Firstly, HubSpot’s marketing automation tool is quite comprehensive, meaning that the adoption process can be disruptive. Secondly, the cost of the software can be seen as a notable drawback, as the tool is definitely on the pricier side compared to some of the other marketing automation softwares.


ActiveCampaign is good option for marketing and sales automation. Its key features include automated emails, workflow management, site tracking, lead tracking and scoring, bolstered by  advanced analytics. The main benefits of this tool include the intuitive and easy to use interface and more affordable pricing, making it a desirable tool for many small and medium sized businesses. Through Zapier integration, ActiveCampaign integrates with over a 1000 apps, including Facebook Ad Leads or Google Sheets. While this integration allows you to connect your workflow with many apps, you might need a paid Zapier Pro account to get best use out of this function.

Besides having no native integrations, the main weakness of ActiveCampaign is often noted to be the email and CRM builder. The functionality does not quite match the overall easy-to-use interface and can feel a bit clunky. Also, as with any new software, learning how to use all the features may take some time and resources, and may seem a bit intimidating at first. Luckily, ActiveCampaign has a good support team and Education Center that covers all bases.


Marketo offers a more corporate-friendly solution to marketing automation. It is a powerful marketing automation tool with a long list of features including email automation, campaign management, social marketing, landing pages, mobile marketing, lead generation, scoring and segmenting, as well as advanced analytics to mention a few. Marketo was recently acquired by Adobe, which makes it an interesting tool to follow. We predict that the combined resources of the two companies will enable the creation of new cutting-edge features for improving the customer experience as well as internal workflows; we’ll be following it closely.

One of the existing key benefits of Marketo includes the ability to customise the tool to match the needs of a more demanding user. It also offers industry-specific customisation, to match the specific needs of financial services, healthcare and media businesses for example. Besides this, Marketo’s automated email tool and Salesforce integration are often mentioned as two key strengths of the software tool.

The main drawback of Marketo can be argued to be its price. It is an expensive investment and especially the jumps in price between the different packages can be quite steep. Besides this, Marketo can seem a bit overpowering at first, as the adoption comes with a learning curve.

From the three tools mentioned here, Marketo requires the most training to get started with. Nevertheless, once you get a hang of it, you realise how effective it can be!

If you are still not sure about marketing automation, why not start with a less involved solution – email automation. Take a look at Mailchimp as a good option who offers a variety of email automation solutions at a very affordable price!


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