Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

3 Marketing Automation Myths Debunked And 11 Platforms You Should Know

Have the knowledge you need and don’t be fooled by these common marketing automation myths.

Marketing automation is a valuable tool for companies of all sizes and across all industries. It allows you to eliminate the manual aspect of your day-to-day activities and free up much needed time. 

By making the decision to invest in a marketing automation platform, here are just a few of the benefits you can expect to see: 

  • Increased efficiency by eliminating time-consuming tasks
  • Generate more leads and use scoring to identify who is most qualified
  • Gather customer data across various channels and devices to have a more comprehensive profile
  • Align better with your sales team to define what a qualified lead looks like
  • Improve conversion rates and ROI 

While there are tons of benefits, there is also plenty of misinformation out there on what automation platforms can and can’t do. In this article, we’ll debunk 3 marketing automation myths and provide you with 11 platforms to consider for your business. 

Just looking to learn more about each platform? Here’s a peek at the ones we’ll cover: 

  • Listrak
  • Omnisend
  • ActiveCampaign
  • MailChimp
  • RD Station
  • Keap
  • SharpSpring
  • Autopilot
  • Oracle Eloqua
  • Marketo
  • Pardot

3 Marketing Automation Myths.

When it comes to marketing automation, there are plenty of rumors floating around out there. It’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t when every article you read has a different opinion on how you can benefit from automation. 

That’s why in this section, we’ll help you weed out the bad information and understand how investing in a platform can benefit your current marketing efforts. By helping debunk these 3 marketing automation myths, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the benefits that you can expect to see. 

1. You Can’t Incorporate Personalization.

Myth number one: you can’t incorporate personalization with a marketing automation platform. 

This is actually far from the truth. In fact, marketing automation platforms provide you with the ability to learn about your customers on a much deeper level and improve your personalization efforts.

And knowing that 90% of leading marketers say personalization is significant to their business profitability — you can’t ignore the opportunity to improve your personalization efforts. 

Personalization has been proven to improve profitability for businesses across all industries. With the help of a marketing automation platform, you can take your personalization to the next level and improve your customer engagement. Image courtesy of Think With Google

It’s all done by gathering and analyzing customer data. Knowing more about how your customers are interacting with your brand and their personal preferences will allow you to provide a more personalized experience. 

An automation platform will gather data and analyze this data for you — taking the manual work out of the equation.

Here are just a few of the common data points you can better understand with the backing of a marketing automation platform: 

  • General demographics 
  • Real-time behaviors and engagements
  • Purchase history
  • Browsing history

Once you have the necessary data about your customers, you can use it to incorporate personalization in a variety of ways. 

These are just a few examples of how you can integrate personation into your marketing efforts with the help of an automation platform: 

  • Create and send trigger emails based on customer behaviors and interactions
  • Pinpoint customers who are more likely to make a purchase with a coupon and those who will purchase at full price
  • Understand what content each customer engages with and continue to send them content that interests them
  • Provide predictive product recommendations to encourage customers to spend more and help them find the products they didn’t even know they needed

All of these different scenarios can be a great way to integrate personalization into all of your marketing channels. When you consider that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences — it’s important to make the most of it. 

2. You Can Set it and Forget it.

A big mistake many people make when thinking about marketing automation is assuming you can simply set it and forget it. While you technically could use this strategy for your marketing campaigns, it’s not encouraged. 

Using automation does allow you to create campaigns that don’t require manual intervention at every touchpoint, but you still need to revisit and review the success of your campaigns.

This means to have a successful campaign, you should be regularly monitoring success. It will also help you to identify any potential issues or new opportunities to help expand your efforts and see even better metrics. 

When developing automation workflows, you can expect to see an increase in engagement with your customers. That’s because each interaction is relevant to the wants and needs of your customers. 

There are tons of options when it comes to automated workflows. Whether you’re looking to develop trigger emails based on customer actions or find ways to grow a more loyal customer base — there’s an automation campaign out there for your needs. Image courtesy of Omnisend

Here are a few examples of automated campaigns you can create that your customers are very likely to engage with: 

  • Trigger emails based on a customer interaction such as a welcome campaign, re-engagement campaign, or abandoned cart campaign
  • Lead nurturing campaigns to help move customers through the purchasing process and turn  new subscribers into purchasing customers
  • Engagement campaigns to re-engage customers who are inactive or likely to churn and bring them back to an active status
  • Loyalty campaigns to help bring customers back and rewards those who are loyal to your brand

When it comes to developing automated campaigns — the possibilities are endless. But you have to remember you should never develop a campaign and then set it and forget it. You won’t be happy with the results and you may be setting your customers up for a poor experience. 

3. You Can Only Use it to Automate Your Email Marketing.

While an email automation platform does focus mainly on the email aspect — a marketing automation platform is much more encompassing. Of course, email is still generally part of the package, it’s just not the whole package. 

Marketing automation has grown from simply automating your day-to-day tasks to learning, understanding, and predicting your customer needs — all without your intervention. On top of that, you can also use your automation platform to create a seamless cross channel customer experience by bringing your entire strategy together. 

Here are just a few examples of what marketing automation platforms can do beyond simply automating your emails: 

  • Collect and analyze both real-time and historical customer data
  • Predict future wants and needs through this data collection
  • Create, send, and manage SMS messages, social media, and digital advertising
  • Build automated workflows to move customers through the sales funnel 
  • Integrations available to connect all of your marketing platforms and see a holistic customer view

The list of capabilities goes on and on. But each platform is a little different and may offer some or all of these tactics. That’s why you need to take the time to learn more about each platform and align those capabilities with your company goals. 

11 Marketing Automation Platforms to Consider.

When it comes to choosing the right marketing automation platform for your business, it all comes down to the features you need. And this can vary greatly based on your company size, goals, and marketing channels. 

Here are just a few common marketing automation features companies look for: 

  • Email segmentation, easy-to-use editors, and campaign management
  • Lead scoring and nurturing capabilities
  • Seamless website and CRM integration
  • Predictive analytics and progressive lead profiling

Before you make the decision to go with a new automation provider, you need to first understand what you’re looking for. So take the time to sit down and understand exactly what your company needs and plans to take out of a marketing automation platform. 

Once you have an idea of where you’re headed and what your must-have items are, you’re ready to dive in and start looking at the different platforms available.

In this section, we’ve broken down features and pricing of 11 popular platforms to help get you started. To help you find the platform that fits your business needs, we’ve divided the platforms up based on business size: platforms for all business sizes, platforms for small businesses, and platforms for enterprises. So whether you’re a small business or enterprise, you’ll find something to get you started. 

Platforms for All Business Sizes.

The first group of platforms we’ll look at are designed for businesses of all sizes. These platforms offer a wide range of features and many have flexible plan options to fit your budget on any level. 

1. Listrak.

Listrak is a marketing automation platform that allows you to manage all of your marketing needs in one central location. 

Easily meet your customers where they are – wherever that might be. Sending the right message, at the right time, on the right channel will help set your campaigns up for success. Image courtesy of Listrak

This platform goes beyond your typical marketing automation and puts your customer data to work for you. Manage all of your marketing channels, create a seamless brand experience, and understand and predict your customer needs with Listrak. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Email and SMS automation and management to reach customers at the right place at the right time
  • Cross channel capabilities to create intelligent journeys across all channels and create a seamless customer experience
  • Track and understand customer data through real-time customer behaviors and engagement
  • Predict future customer needs and improve personalization through historical data to increase conversion rates

Here’s what it will cost you: 

  • Pricing for this platform is based on your business needs

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“A data-driven, easy to use tool for marketers to automate their SMS, email, and CRM programs.” – Listrak Customer Testimonial 

2. Omnisend.

Omnisend is another marketing automation platform that allows you to do more with what you have in and provide your customers with an improved brand experience. 

From connecting your lead generation tactics on your website to your email marketing will allow you to create a more comprehensive customer journey. Image courtesy of Omnisend

Bring all of your customer interactions together from lead generation, email, and automating the buyer’s journey with one easy to use platform. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • The ability to create custom forms to better understand customers and move users from new subscribers to purchasing customers
  • Automation workflows to help move users through their journey without manual intervention
  • Personalization and the ability to send content and product recommendations based on previous customer behaviors
  • Integration across various platforms to manage all of your needs in one central location

Here’s what it will cost you: 

  • The Free plan will allow you to do easy-to-build email campaigns
  • The Standard plan will allow you to automate your emails and SMS marketing for $16 per month
  • The Pro plan that allows you to take your automation omnichannel for $99 per month
  • The Enterprise plan that is customized based on your needs, pricing is custom for this plan also

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“The great advantage is that you can easily automate some tasks as welcome emails, abandoned cart. Variety of signup forms were really useful to grow our subscriber list.” – Omnisend Customer Testimonial

3. ActiveCampaign.

ActiveCampaign is a marketing automation platform that has what you need to reach your customers throughout their entire journey, from new subscribers to converting them to a brand evangelist. 

With the help of ActiveCampaign, you can manage your marketing needs and CRM within one platform to see the full picture of what your customers need. Lead scoring, win probability, and automation will make landing sales easier than ever. Image courtesy of ActiveCampaign

With ActiveCampaign you can streamline your marketing efforts while also organizing your customer data within one platform. 

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Precise targeting to find the fight prospects and grow your subscriber list through subscription forms, custom audiences, and more
  • Advanced segmentation and dynamic content capabilities to grow and nurture your customers
  • Lead scoring and contact management to allow you to pinpoint what customers are likely to purchase and an easy integration with Salesforce
  • Message your customers where and when they want through SMS, email, and more

Here’s what it will cost you: 

  • The Lite plan starts at $9 per month
  • The Plus plan starts at $49 per month
  • The Professional plan starts at $129 per month
  • The Enterprise plan starts at $229 per month

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“It’s our CRM system. It’s our sales pipeline. It’s our integrated email marketing system. It’s our integrations. So it’s the central point for all of the things that we do.” – ActiveCampaign Customer Testimonial 

4. MailChimp.

MailChimp was previously known for its email marketing capabilities, but in recent years has expanded to a full-scale marketing automation platform. 

MailChimp will help you understand your customer data, pull all of your marketing channels together into one comprehensive experience, and much more.

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • An audience dashboard that allows you to quickly understand your customer data and then take the necessary actions
  • Landing page and sign-up form capabilities to help you grow your business and capture new leads
  • Social media posting and ad management 
  • Cross channel marketing campaigns to help you create more customer touchpoints and provide a seamless experience

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • The Free plan
  • The Essentials plan starts at $9.99 per month
  • The Standard plan starts at $14.99 per month
  • The Premium plan starts at $299 per month

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“With Mailchimp, we can see what messaging worked for email, what worked for ads, and very easily apply those learnings because everything is in one place. It saves us time, it saves us resources, and it’s intuitive.” – MailChimp Customer Testimonial 

Platforms for Small Businesses.

If you’re looking for an automation platform for your small business, your needs look very different than those enterprise level companies. That’s why you may choose to work with a company that is designed to understand and meet the needs of where your business is currently at. 

Each of these platforms are a great option for small businesses and can help you continue to grow through automation. 

1. RD Station.

RD Station is an all-in-one marketing tool that helps small to mid-sized companies manage all of their digital marketing needs in one central location. 

Designed with small business in mind, RD Station is a great option when looking for a platform to manage all of your digital marketing needs from social media to landing pages and customer forms. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Social media management and Facebook ad creation to help you bring in more qualified leads
  • Website landing pages, forms, and pop-ups to help convert more leads and integrate your platforms
  • Customer data insights to help you connect with customers throughout their entire journey
  • Analytics on all of your efforts to help you optimize and measure the success of your campaigns

Here’s what it will cost you: 

  • The Lite plan that starts at $5 a month
  • The Basic plan that starts at $149 per month
  • The Pro plan that starts at $269 per month

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“With RD Station Marketing, we’ve achieved 32 percent growth within just the last 8 months. But most impressively, we’ve achieved this milestone growth impact after 2 years of stagnation.” – RD Station Customer Testimonial 

2. Keap.

Keap is a sales and marketing automation platform that is designed to help small businesses continue to interact with customers and grow. 

With the help of Keap, you can grow your business and never miss an opportunity to reach your customers. From appointment reminders to automated follow-up responses, Keap can help you take your strategy to the next level. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Automated follow-up responses via text and email such as personalized email greetings, automated reminders, and more
  • Repeatable sales processes that automatically move leads from one stage to the next without manually having to move each lead yourself
  • An easy to use campaign builder that allows you to automate any sales or marketing process you can think of
  • Integrated marketing and sales processes to know exactly where customers are within their journey

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • The Keap Grow plan starting at $24 per month
  • The Keap Pro plan starting at $45 per month
  • The Infusionsoft plan starting at $60 per month

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“Keap is now a modern tool that I use daily at my business. From Contact / Pipeline / Task management, but the campaigns and the most effective tool i was able to find. And I jump around CRM and marketing systems on the past.’ – Keap Customer Testimonial 

3. SharpSpring.

SharpSpring is a marketing automation platform that will help you not only develop professional and automated campaigns, but also understand customer insights to improve future efforts. 

By integrating your marketing and CRM efforts into one platform you can see a full picture of how your campaigns are performing and what your customers are engaging with. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Smart email and CRM marketing to start, personalize, and track conversations with your customers
  • Dynamic forms that will help you collect leads and integrate them directly into your CRM software
  • Workflow capabilities that allow you to use logic to engage with customers based on their behaviors and interactions 
  • Their VisitorID tool will help you understand your leads on a more granular level and you’ll receive a list of the hottest leads in your list

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • For 1,500 contacts, you’ll be charged $550 per month
  • For 10,000 contacts, you’ll be charged $850 per month
  • For 20,000 contacts, you’ll be charged $1,250 per month
  • If you’re a marketing agency or enterprise business, there are custom plans available 

Here’s what their customers are saying:

“With SharpSpring, we’re able to track the entire life of a lead to show genuine ROI on our campaigns. Now we can see what efforts actually turn into dollars. SharpSpring produces quick wins and real revenue.” – SharpSpring Customer Testimonial 

4. Autopilot.

Autopilot is a marketing automation platform that is designed to help move your customer through their journey and make your everyday marketing easier. 

From better understanding the needs of your customers through improved segmentation to automating the customer journey to move them towards a sale — Autopilot can help your business grow. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • An easy to use customer journey building  platform that helps you automate the process and land more sales
  • Segmentation capabilities to ensure your customers are receive only the most relevant content
  • Drag and drop email editor to create professional messages without having to know coding or design
  • Collaboration capabilities to ensure your entire team can work together seamlessly and accomplish your goals

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • The Silver plan (2,00 contacts) is $49 per month
  • The Gold plan (5,000 contacts) is $149 per month
  • The Platinum plan (10,000 contacts) is $249 per month
  • For companies with more than 10,000 contacts, a custom quote is required
  • There are also various add-ons that you can choose to have included in your plan

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“In the past if you think about marketing automation you have one person who owns that tool. Everybody goes to that person. We don’t have that dynamic here. Our whole team can use Autopilot across the entire funnel.” – AutoPilot Customer Testimonial  

Platforms for Enterprise Businesses

Last but not least are the marketing automation platforms that are best for enterprise-sized companies. While these can work for smaller businesses, they provide a very robust platform that may best be suited for large companies looking to integrate a variety of tactics. 

1. Oracle Eloqua.

Oracle Eloqua is a marketing automation platform for B2B companies looking to engage with customers across various channels and create meaningful experiences.

Oracle Eloqua will allow you to bring dynamic marketing and lead scoring capabilities into your everyday communication with your customers. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Adaptive campaigns that utilize dynamic content, respond to customer interactions, and simplify repetitive manual tasks
  • Lead scoring capabilities to help you identify what customers need to be enrolled in re-engagement or nurturing campaigns
  • Account based marketing strategies to help you score and prioritize leads
  • Optimize communication send time by understanding customer engagement data and pinpointing the time their most active

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • Pricing is based on business need 

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“Oracle Eloqua’s artificial intelligence technology helps us modify our lead-scoring algorithms and determine the best engagement model for each type of prospect.” – Oracle Eloqua Customer Testimonial 

2. Marketo.

Marketo is a digital marketing automation platform that helps enterprise-sized companies automate their day-to-day activities and improve the customer experience. 

No matter how big your business is, Marketo can help you create personalized experiences for every single one of your customers. From account based marketing to email automation – there’s a solution for you. Image courtesy of Marketo

Marketo offers a wide variety of marketing automation capabilities ranging from identifying qualified leads to implementing your cross channel strategy. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Lead management that will help you improve the quality of your leads, identify sales ready leads, and much more
  • Email automation that includes things like segmentation and 1:1 conversations 
  • Cross channel marketing capabilities to help you target, attract, and acquire customers on various channels
  • Account based marketing capabilities such as insights, profiling, and contact discovery

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • Pricing is based on business needs

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“Marketo is really driving towards constant innovation. We would definitely be at a disadvantage if we did not have a marketing automation platform like Marketo.” – Marketo Customer Testimonial 

3. Pardot.

Pardot is a B2B marketing automation platform that provides businesses with everything they need to be successful in their automation journey. 

Know exactly what your customers are interacting with and see every touchpoint you’re making through a visual dashboard. Image courtesy of Pardot

Pardot makes connecting your marketing efforts with the needs of your sales team. By integrating with Salesforce, you can see the full picture of what your customers are engaging with and identify and act on qualified leads. 

Here’s what you’ll get: 

  • Lead management and generation to help you land more sales and continue to grow your subscriber list
  • Email automation to make creating emails easier and more effective
  • Seamless integration with Salesforce to ensure your sales team is aligned and up-to-date on all customer engagements
  • Workflow automation to move customers through the steps you want them to take

Here’s what it will cost: 

  • The Growth plan is $1,250 per month
  • The Plus plan is $2,500 per month
  • The Advanced plan is $4,000 per month
  • The Premium plan is $15,000 per month
  • There are additional add-on items available 

Here’s what their customers are saying: 

“There’s an opportunity within the organization to really blur the lines between marketing and sales. Pardot is absolutely helping us do that.” – Pardot Customer Testimonial 

Get Started on Your Automation Journey.

Now that you know what and what not to believe about marketing automation and have a solid listing of platforms to get you going, it’s your turn to take the lead. Figure out what your marketing goals are, identify what capabilities you need from a platform, and start getting demos and quotes from the platforms that best meet your needs. 

Once you’re up and running, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do this sooner! 

Share

Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

Tagged as: ,