The term “B2B marketing automation” gets thrown around a lot. But what is marketing automation, really? And what kind of tools are you likely to need as your company grows?
It’s not just you. People everywhere are talking about “B2B marketing automation.” But what is marketing automation, really? And what tools might your company need as it grows?
There are two universal truths about digital marketing automation tools:
Not every business or marketing team needs marketing automation software.
For those that do, choosing between digital marketing automation platforms requires a lot more finesse and depth than just buying the first all-in-one tool that pops into your head (usually Marketo or HubSpot).
With that in mind, choosing the right marketing automation software for your team comes down to two things:
Knowing when you’re ready for an automated marketing platform
Understanding your use case and needs
More than 90 percent of marketers have implemented a marketing automation platform. But too many marketers unknowingly make a mistake on that first part — diving into an automated marketing platform long before they really need it. And too many roundups miss the mark on the second part, listing robust, expensive, all-in-one tools that not every marketing team needs.
In this article, we cover how to know whether your team and your organization are ready for full-fledged marketing automation platforms. Then, instead of just listing them, we categorize the best digital marketing automation tools by seven of the most common use cases — so you can be more precise in finding the right fit for your situation.
Most businesses today buy a marketing automation tool without stopping to consider whether they really need it yet. As the outstanding buzzword of late, automation can feel like an obvious step toward scaling your marketing operation — but you need to have a true marketing operation first.
Adding digital marketing automation platforms before you're ready is worse than not having them in the first place.
From our experience, businesses aren’t ready for marketing automation until they tick at least three of these boxes:
You have a marketing team of at least one person: Using digital tools to automate marketing tasks can make things easier and help you reach more people. However, it won't replace knowing how to market well. If you're starting a business or part of the initial team handling various tasks, thinking that just adding an "automation tool" will solve everything isn't the solution to your challenge.
You’ve found at least one marketing channel that works for you: Marketing automation tools help scale your marketing efforts, but you don’t want to scale something that doesn’t actually work yet. If you think that simply adding a marketing automation platform will help you find a channel that works in the first place, it (more than likely) won’t.
All of your marketing efforts flow from a defined strategy: For the same reason as above, you don’t need an automation tool to throw more spaghetti at the wall in hopes that something sticks.
Your marketing team has more money than time: A plan for automating marketing tasks lets your team do a lot more in less time. But to gain that time, you need to be OK with spending money on these tools. Automation tools make it simple to automate repetitive tasks and save time.
You've started following a growth marketing strategy: Growth marketing tactics are important to plan for each stage of the funnel. You don't want to subscribe to a new tool without a plan for how that tool will move your business forward.
Once three or more of those scenarios apply to your business, then you can start to consider digital marketing automation platforms.
But you don’t have to go all-in from the start. Many businesses over-invest in an all-in-one solution when they need only email automation, for example. Take some time to consider where your needs really lie — then find your use case for an automated marketing platform.
Lastly, if you want to learn more about who we are (Leadfeeder) and what we do, you can skip straight to the customer journey automation section, where we explain how we fit into the marketing automation landscape.
Organizations looking for an all-in-one marketing automation platform usually already have found several effective marketing channels, regardless of which ones they are. That means:
You’ve seen success across more than one or two channels.
You’re already financially investing in scaling your marketing operation.
Your team needs to scale the channels that are working and/or experiment with additional avenues.
If that sounds like your team, these marketing automation tools can handle it all. From email automation to ad buying to lead nurturing, all-in-one automation tools can help you scale and streamline every aspect of your marketing operation.
As a marketing automation tool, ActiveCampaign does the best job of working automation into real human processes. The reality is that marketing automation platforms can’t handle everything — there are certain aspects of marketing that need a human touch.
ActiveCampaign built its software around that idea, adding features like notification emails that empower marketers and salespeople instead of replacing them.
ActiveCampaign costs anywhere from $29 to $149 per month, based on the features and number of contacts.
Sender is a powerful yet affordable email and SMS marketing automation platform that lets you grow your business without breaking the bank.
The platform is designed to help e-commerce store owners, small-business owners, bloggers, and B2B startups automate their email and SMS marketing campaigns.
Sender offers intelligent automation, segmented lists, and a form/pop-up builder, among other features. It's an excellent tool for businesses aiming to expand their subscriber lists, boost audience engagement, and increase their revenue quickly.
Sender's monthly pricing starts at $15, varying based on subscriber count, emails sent, and extra features. It also offers a free plan for up to 2,500 subscribers and 15,000 emails per month, which remains free forever.
It’s hard to find a more comprehensive tool than Omnisend. The omnichannel functionality sets this marketing automation platform apart from the others on this list. It allows you to add several channels to the same automation workflow: email, SMS, push notifications, Facebook Messenger, and more.
This means you can create an immersive omnichannel experience for your customers, so you can automatically send them messages via the channel they’ve opted in for. With advanced targeting, split automation, and an easy drag-and-drop builder, Omnisend is worth a look.
Omnisend offers a free plan for essential email marketing. The automation packages begin at $16 per month and can be customized for enterprise-level pricing, contingent on the automation features required and the number of contacts.
Marketo claims to offer marketing automation that covers any channel and every type of engagement. Since Adobe’s acquisition, the list of tasks that work together on Marketo has only multiplied.
The full-featured software can handle everything from digital advertising to social media to account-based marketing — making it a perfect option for larger marketing operations.
Contact Marketo for pricing information.
Eloqua, currently under the Oracle suite, stands out by seamlessly collaborating with various marketing tools. With more than 700 integrations, Eloqua personalizes and streamlines every facet of your marketing journey. It's among the select all-in-one solutions that are explicitly designed to cater to B2B marketers and enterprises.
Contact Oracle for pricing information.
HubSpot's Marketing Hub fundamentally differs from other marketing automation tools for a few reasons. Its focus on inbound marketing (including content and search marketing) is unparalleled. It also offers the added benefit of CRM, Sales, and Service Hubs, which means your team can work better together — even across departments.
HubSpot's pricing ranges from $800 to more than $3,600 per month, depending on the features needed and the usage scale.
Pardot's Marketing Cloud Account Engagement is a B2B-focused marketing tool. It supports B2B analytics and account-based marketing solutions. A collaboration with Salesforce integrates Pardot into a suite of products for enhanced teamwork between sales and marketing.
Pardot's pricing spans from $1,250 to $20,000 per month, determined by the level of automation and analytics required.
Although the comprehensive tools mentioned so far are well-known, email automation is the first thing most people think of when they hear the phrase "marketing automation platform."
Email marketing automation tools are significantly more cost-effective than these all-in-one solutions. Hence, investing in more than what your team requires or will actively utilize is impractical.
Email automation also has some of the widest use cases. Your team could likely benefit from it if:
You’ve seen some level of baseline success with email marketing.
You need to send transactional emails, in addition to marketing material.
Someone on your team has been manually sending the emails for every campaign.
Email marketing automation tools handle tasks like sending triggered emails, and they enable marketers to build complex automated marketing campaigns and personalized audience segments.
Mailchimp is in the process of growing from an email marketing tool to a full-blown marketing automation solution. While its expanded features remain to be tested, Mailchimp is one of the original email marketing tools, and it’s turned that experience into a rock-solid email automation tool that’s a breeze to use.
The pricing for Mailchimp varies between $6 and $175 per month, depending on the features included and the number of contacts you have.
Automizy is a marketing automation platform that’s designed to streamline and enhance email marketing campaigns. It offers various tools and features to help businesses initiate, manage, and optimize their email marketing efforts. Automizy provides functionalities like AI subject line testing, email templates, automated workflows, A/B testing, segmentation, analytics, and more. It also maintains message consistency and personalization for your audience.
The pricing for Automizy starts at $9 per month and can go up to $119 or more, depending on the number of active subscribers.
10. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is a widely recognized email marketing automation platform that empowers businesses to effectively create, send, and track email campaigns. It offers a user-friendly interface with a range of tools.
You can create automated trigger campaigns, automatically collect new emails, and send segmented follow-up messages. With Constant Contact, your email program has all of the features you need without the clutter that some other tools drown you in.
Constant Contact offers a tiered pricing structure, varying between $12 and $80 per month, based on the selected features and the size of your contact list.
Customer.io is a versatile platform that’s primarily focused on behavior-based email and messaging automation. It allows businesses to create targeted and personalized communication campaigns based on user behaviors, interactions, and specific triggers. With Customer.io, you can send tailored messages through various channels such as email, push notifications, and SMS.
Tons of integrations make it easy to funnel data from across your technology stack and turn it into automated segments and email campaigns that resonate with your audience.
Customer.io's pricing structure spans from $150 to upward of $1,000 per month, depending on the chosen features and level of support provided.
Drip’s email marketing automation is built for e-commerce businesses — meaning it works with all of the other e-commerce tools you use. You can create relevant, personalized content and automate your campaigns based on customer behaviors. Drip also offers more than email automation, so your messages stay consistent and work together to drive customers toward a purchase.
Drip offers a pricing model that varies between $39 and $1,899 monthly, depending on the number of active subscribers. Additionally, it provides a 14-day free trial period for users to explore the services.
Social media automation tools automate social marketing tasks such as scheduling, monitoring, and analyzing content. They simplify managing your social media efforts.
That said, you probably don’t need a full-fledged social media automation tool unless:
More than one person is publishing under your brand’s social media accounts.
Your brand is active on multiple social networks.
You’re using social media for multiple purposes, like paid advertising and providing customer support.
Hootsuite is one of the most comprehensive social media automation tools. It allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one place. With features that help you schedule content, curate from a preapproved library, and monitor conversations about your brand and industry, Hootsuite has everything you need to establish a social media presence that makes a difference for your brand.
Hootsuite's pricing varies between $99 and $249 monthly, depending on factors like social profiles and users.
Originally a social media content scheduling tool, Buffer has grown to reflect how today’s brands use social media. Buffer is designed to simplify and streamline the process of scheduling, publishing, and analyzing content across various social media platforms. It allows users to manage multiple social accounts, collaborate with team members, and analyze performance metrics to optimize their social media strategies.
Buffer's pricing starts at $6 per month and goes up to $120, determined by factors like social accounts, users, and post volumes.
CoSchedule’s automation tool offers one of the best solutions for planning and strategizing social media content in advance. By mapping out all of your content, including what you’ll say and when, it’s easy to get a bird’s-eye view of your end-to-end social production process.
Plus, CoSchedule’s analytics and suggestions clarify what resonates with your audience so that you can reuse popular posts and create more similar content. These features streamline marketing workflows and ensure consistency across various channels, all within a single interface.
CoSchedule's pricing begins at $19 per month, varying with the number of social profiles, users, and included features.
16. Sprout Social
Sprout Social has one of the broadest feature sets among the social automation tools on our list — with individually tailored solutions for everything from social management and marketing to customer care, employee advocacy, and data and intelligence.
Sprout Social includes features that enable you to gather, analyze, and derive actionable insights from your social media data, helping you make informed decisions and optimize your strategies based on the collected intelligence. The publishing wing of Sprout Social’s solution is also great for teams, making it easy to collaborate on strategies and execution.
Sprout Social's pricing varies between $249 and $499 per user per month, depending on the included features and the number of social profiles required.
Leaning hard into the social listening aspect of social media marketing, Mention enables brands to track mentions across the digital media landscape. You can keep track of how your campaigns spur conversations across the web — not just on social media. Plus, Mention also makes it easy to automatically track competitors and industry trends.
Mention's pricing starts at $41 and goes up to $149 monthly, depending on the scope of your social listening needs.
When we talk about customer journey automation from a marketing perspective, we’re talking about three main stages of the lead management process:
The automated marketing platforms in this section are designed to make one or more of those steps work more efficiently without a human babysitter.
Customer journey automation tools are best suited for enterprise and B2B marketing and sales teams. They could help you scale your operation if:
You’ve already mapped out the journey a customer takes from new lead to sale.
Your marketing and sales teams work closely together to manage the customer journey.
You’re using an account-based sales or account-based marketing model.
Pricing: 14-day free trial; paid plans start at $99 per month
Rating: 4.3 stars on G2 (based on 772 reviews)
Leadfeeder tells you which companies visit your website, even if they never fill out a form or contact you.
Leadfeeder also shows you contact information for employees at the company. This allows you to follow up with visitors who have yet to inquire about your product or time your outreach efforts for potential leads in your sales pipeline.
To try out Leadfeeder, all you need to do is install the Leadfeeder Tracker (it takes less than five minutes!).
A 14-day free trial is available, with paid plans starting at $99 per month.
To sign up for Leadfeeder, follow these steps. We can start sending you leads in minutes.
Leadfeeder is one of the best marketing automation platforms, if we do say so ourselves.
Note: Want to generate more leads from your website? Sign up and try Leadfeeder for free for 14 days to see all of the companies that visit your site, plus info on the pages they looked at, how much time they spent there, and more.
Act-On’s marketing automation software is designed for enterprise brands. It allows you to automate personalized and targeted customer interactions throughout the sales funnel with features such as email creation, lead scoring, automated workflows, CRM integration, and reporting.
The tool helps connect two essential things:
Your marketing and sales teams
The breadcrumbs that leads drop across the web
That means it’s easier to identify (and agree upon) the best leads to pursue — making Act-On an excellent option for large and B2B companies following an account-based marketing strategy.
Act-On’s pricing starts at $900 per month.
LeadSquared is a customer journey automation tool that’s primarily focused on the lead nurturing phase of the process. The tool is designed to help move leads through the funnel faster so you can land more new customers in less time.
It's tailored to manage and streamline your lead capture efforts, lead engagement, sales pipeline, and customer data. You can set triggers, conditions, and actions to automate your drip marketing — so you never miss an opportunity to advance leads toward a purchase.
LeadSquared’s pricing ranges from $400 to $2,500 per month, based on contacts and features.
Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, is a robust CRM and marketing automation platform that’s primarily designed for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It offers a suite of tools that help manage customer relationships, sales processes, and marketing campaigns in an integrated manner.
The platform aims to help businesses organize their contacts, automate repetitive tasks, nurture leads, and streamline their sales processes. Keap has made it easy to optimize email campaigns, workflows, landing pages, and more from prebuilt templates.
Keap's pricing structure begins at $159 and goes up to $229 per month, contingent upon the number of contacts you intend to manage within the platform.
If you want to stay competitive amid changes to your competitors' pricing structure or refine your own pricing strategy, pricing automation software can simplify your adjustments, turning your pricing approach into an advantage.
Pricing automation tools are typically tailored for e-commerce scenarios. If you sell products in a competitive, price-sensitive market, employing a pricing automation tool can be a valuable choice for your business.
Prisync’s pricing automation software is designed for e-commerce. It’s a competitive pricing intelligence platform that’s designed to monitor and analyze your competitors' pricing strategies. With Prisync, you can track and compare prices across different e-commerce platforms, gaining valuable insights into market trends, pricing fluctuations, and competitor activities.
Since the e-commerce industry tends to harbor some of the most price-conscious consumers, it’s vital that brands can react to competitive pricing changes in a hurry. Prisync automates that process so that you’re always on top of competitors’ pricing strategies and how they compare to yours.
This tool can help you optimize your pricing strategy, make informed decisions, and stay competitive in your market. It costs between $99 and $399 per month, based on the features and the number of products.
Wiser is an advanced retail analytics and pricing intelligence platform. It gathers valuable data on competitor pricing, product assortment, and overall market trends. The tool can help with everything from A/B testing your prices to estimating demand and finding the sweet spot to maximize your bottom line.
As demand and other market forces change, Wiser does the heavy lifting so your pricing strategy always works — for you and your customers. Contact Wiser for pricing information.
Informed is a repricing automation tool for e-commerce businesses and online sellers. With support for 13 different marketplaces, the tool works wherever you sell online. Informed’s approach to repricing is unique because the solution allows you to choose between establishing your own pricing strategy from scratch or following the lead of its AI-powered suggestions. Pricing ranges from $99 to $299 per month, based on marketplaces, repricing strategies, support, and more.
Skuuudle is a competitive intelligence platform that’s designed to empower businesses in the e-commerce sector. It provides comprehensive data and insights on product pricing, assortment, and market trends. Designed for brands with an extensive catalog of products, Skuuudle makes it effortless to monitor competitor pricing and match products at scale so you never miss a sale because of the price.
Skuuudle is one of the few pricing automation tools that pull customer data from e-commerce marketplaces and direct sellers. It monitors your competitors' pricing strategies, tracks product availability, and analyzes market dynamics. By leveraging Skuuudle's data-driven insights, companies can make informed decisions, optimize their pricing strategies, and stay competitive in the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape.
Contact Skuuudle for pricing information.
With everything that goes into creating and optimizing digital ads these days, most marketers need a helping hand. From building creative ads across channels to optimizing bidding strategies, advertising automation tools are one of the best ways to scale digital ad campaigns.
Similar to the all-in-one tools, you don’t need advertising automation until:
You’ve gained traction on more than one advertising platform (e.g., Facebook and Twitter or Google Ads and Instagram).
You’re looking to refine your creative material and bidding strategies instead of heavily testing them from scratch.
You want to advertise to hyper-targeted segments, like remarketed audiences.
AdRoll is probably one of the best-known digital advertising automation tools, and for good reason. You can use it to retarget potential customers who've checked out your website before. It helps by tracking what users do on your site and then showing them tailored ads on the different online platforms they visit later.
With AdRoll, you can create personalized campaigns to reconnect with these visitors across websites and social media platforms. It's a handy tool that lets you fine-tune your ads based on user behaviors, aiming to boost conversions and engagement with your audience.
AdRoll’s pricing starts at $36 per month.
Metadata.io is one of the only tools that enable B2B marketers to run account-based ads. With Metadata.io, you can automate and optimize your demand generation efforts as a marketer. The platform uses AI and machine learning to make creating, running, and fine-tuning digital ad campaigns easier across different channels.
It's all about simplifying the complex tasks involved in managing campaigns. Metadata.io offers tools that help you target specific audience segments, generate leads, and improve the overall performance of your campaigns. By constantly analyzing data and campaign results, this platform helps you fine-tune your marketing strategies to maximize your ROI and efficiently achieve your objectives.
Metadata.io’s pricing ranges from $4,450 to more than $9,400 per month, based on monthly ad spend, channels, and more.
Zalster is an advertising automation tool that handles Facebook and Instagram ads. This platform is all about simplifying the way you manage your ad campaigns. It offers tools and features that help you create, optimize, and analyze your ads more efficiently.
Zalster uses automation and algorithms to boost your ad performance, target your audience better, and allocate your budget more effectively. Through its dashboard, you can monitor campaign metrics, make data-driven decisions, and fine-tune your ad strategy for improved outcomes.
Contact Zalster for pricing information.
With Revealbot, you can automate and optimize your ad campaigns across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google Ads, and more. This platform simplifies your advertising efforts by providing tools to help you create, manage, and analyze your campaigns more effectively.
AI-driven optimization allows you to set up campaign-specific rules that drive better results. These rules trigger automatic adjustments based on the metrics you choose, helping you optimize your ad spend, target your audience better, and ultimately improve your performance and ROI.
Revealbot’s pricing starts at $99 per month, based on monthly ad spend.
Trapica leverages AI to optimize your digital ad campaigns across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. This tool uses machine learning algorithms to analyze your real-time campaign performance data.
Based on this analysis, it automatically adjusts your targeting parameters, creative material, and bidding strategies. Trapica aims to maximize your performance by continuously learning from user interactions. The algorithms offer a deeper look into who your audience is, and the robust targeting features help you reach that audience at just the right time to spur a purchase.
Contact Trapica for pricing information.
Shoelace focuses on what it calls "customer journey retargeting." Shoelace guides your customers through their purchasing journey by crafting personalized ad sequences based on their interactions with your brand. It automates the creation of these sequences, aiming to re-engage customers at different stages of the sales funnel.
The software offers segmentation that enables hyper-targeted ads and sequences that prevent ad fatigue. Contact Shoelace to learn about its pricing structure.
Loyalty and referral marketing is often included in the conversation around marketing automation, but it needs to capitalize on the most powerful marketing tool of them all — word of mouth.
An automated loyalty or referral program could be a good fit for your business if:
You’ve already seen tangible results from word of mouth.
Your products don’t require extensive research or negotiations to arrive at a buying decision.
Your industry’s average customer lifetime value is high enough that the up-front investment makes sense.
If so, these tools will help you spur and take advantage of buzz, taking your referral and loyalty programs to new heights.
32. Referral Rock
Referrals are powerful, but you must be proactive about encouraging and capitalizing on them. Referral Rock makes it easy to set up the correct type of referral program for your business — from refer-a-friend to influencer marketing to business partner programs — so you can set it up once and let the referrals roll in on autopilot. You can customize your referral programs, track referrals and rewards, integrate additional tools, and analyze how well your program is doing.
Referral Rock’s monthly pricing ranges from $200 to $800, based on the number of members, programs, and more.
TapMango’s customer loyalty automation platform takes the punch card of the old days and modernizes it for today’s customers. It provides tools to set up loyalty strategies such as points, rewards, and personalized offers to keep your customers engaged and returning for more. With TapMango, you can track customer behaviors and program performance through analytics, empowering you to make informed decisions to improve your customer retention efforts.
Contact TapMango for pricing information.
Ambassador makes it easy to build a powerful army of brand ambassadors. From hand-selecting the customers you want to mobilize to automating and testing incentives to find the right mix of rewards, Ambassador puts brand advocacy on autopilot for you.
Its tools help companies design and manage their referral campaigns, allowing them to leverage their existing customer base to acquire new customers. The platform provides many integrations and prebuilt templates so marketers can get their programs off the ground quickly.
Contact Ambassador for pricing information.
Clutch’s unique approach to loyalty marketing emphasizes building a deeper understanding of what drives loyalty for your unique customers. The integrated platform makes it easy to attribute sales from any channel, and the flexible rewards help you appeal to every type of customer and their motives.
Contact Clutch for pricing information.
Referral Factory is a platform that assists businesses like yours in creating and managing referral programs. Its features help you design customizable referral campaigns to leverage your existing customer base to attract new customers. With Referral Factory, you can set up various types of referral programs, track referrals, manage rewards, and analyze the performance of your referral initiatives.
Referral Factory’s pricing ranges from $95 to $400 per month, based on the features.
Brevo, formerly Sendinblue, is an all-in-one marketing platform that’s designed to assist businesses like yours in managing their marketing and communication efforts. It offers tools for email marketing, SMS campaigns, marketing automation, and more.
With Brevo, you can create and send personalized emails and SMS messages, set up marketing automation workflows, manage contact lists, and analyze campaign performance through reporting and analytics.
Brevo has a free plan, but prices may vary from $25 to $65 per month based on your chosen features.
The field of marketing automation continues to evolve. Even today, many contrasting viewpoints remain regarding the most suitable digital marketing automation tool for individual businesses, particularly when you consider that many businesses require multiple tools to comprehensively cover their marketing needs.
Consequently, only some companies or marketing teams are fully prepared to implement automation. However, when the moment arises, leveraging the right digital marketing automation tools can propel a well-crafted marketing strategy to unprecedented success.
By recognizing your distinct requirements and selecting the appropriate digital marketing automation platforms to fulfill them, you can transform marketing insights into exceptional execution on a large scale. This allows you to minimize the amount of time you spend on intricate details and allocate more of your focus toward business growth.
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