Top 5 Marketing Automation Tools for 2018

The right use of marketing automation can increase customer lifetime value, make your marketing processes more efficient, and even help increase your revenue. By harnessing all the data at your disposal, automation can help you execute a more comprehensive marketing strategy that cuts across channels. For instance, you can follow users around on the web, delivering relevant messages to them when they are more likely to engage with them. Granular personalization is possible with automation, and it does not come as a surprise that most marketers swear by these marketing automation tools. However, to reap the benefits of data and analytics, you need to choose the right marketing automation tool for your needs. Here are five of the best out there, right now, ranked from top to bottom.

1. Pardot

If you are looking for a tool that can handle all your marketing automation tasks, Pardot should be on your priority list. In addition to having one of the most comprehensive template libraries for workflows, Pardot also has a built-in search marketing automation tool and social media marketing tool. The search tool can pick up data from Bing, Google and Yahoo, and you can post real-time updates on all leading social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Pardot even allows you to test your automated workflows so you can see all your imagined user-case scenarios in action before you make them live.

What we like about Pardot:

  • Really clean UI, which is very intuitive and easy to learn
  • Comes integrated with Salesforce, which allows seamless integration of your sales and marketing processes
  • You don’t really need API integration, thanks to Pardot’s form handlers. Even if you aren’t using Salesforce CRM, bringing your third-party data into Pardot is a breeze.
  • Comprehensive search marketing capabilities
  • Blended lead scoring and grading, which allows you to hone in on your most interested customers, and hence, improve your conversion rates.

2. Autopilot

Right alongside Pardot, in terms of capability, is Autopilot. This cutting-edge marketing automation tool offers seamless integration with Salesforce, Slack, Zapier and Segment. Perhaps the best part about Autopilot is its smart lists. You can combine lists, behaviors and UTMs to create dynamic segments. These segments can then be engaged with predefined action-based workflows. Autopilot releases new integrations and features regularly, and most of them are handy for marketers.

What we like about Autopilot:

  • Clean and intuitive UI
  • Neat drag-and-drop functionality
  • A 30-day free trial for those new to marketing automation
  • Real-time activity reporting, which allows you to optimize your campaigns in real time
  • There is no cap on third-party integrations

3. Marketo

Marketo is one of the most popular marketing automation software out there. While it may not be the most intuitive automation tool, it has an extensive feature set. Marketo’s in-depth reports are especially useful for marketers. The predefined templates allow you to get off the blocks quickly, and the report templates can also be customized extensively, depending on what you want to focus on.

The tool takes a modular approach to marketing. Marketing automation, customer engagement, marketing management and real-time personalization are all different modules that you need to pay for separately. This means you pay for only what you need. However, it can lead to more expensive marketing automation for companies that need all the features.

The software’s landing page and newsletter builder are a bit clunky, too. If those are your primary marketing objectives, you might be better off elsewhere.

What we like about Marketo:

  • A comprehensive feature set that covers the whole gamut of modern-day digital marketing
  • Native integrationwith Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics, which allows you to integrate your sales and marketing reporting easily
  • Deep reporting, with report templates to get you started quickly
  • Fast and reliable customer support

4. HubSpot

HubSpot’s marketing automation tool is meant for small businesses. The beautifully designed UI is intuitive enough that you won’t need to hire an IT expert. The capabilities are limited, especially when it comes to handling complex workflows. In fact, the custom automation workflows only give you “Yes” and “No” options. However, if you are a startup or a small business, HubSpot has plenty to meet your needs. Lists are easy to make, and integration with third-party CRM is a breeze. If you want A/B testing functionality, you will need to pay for HubSpot’s highest plan.

What we like about HubSpot:

  • A quick learning curve — HubSpot is intuitive enough for someone new to marketing automation
  • Really neat landing pages, with impressive built-in SEO for fast results
  • An active community and a huge reservoir of knowledge on marketing and marketing automation — especially useful for first-time users
  • Free trial

5. Infusionsoft

Like HubSpot, Infusionsoft is also popular among small businesses. It is one of the best designed marketing automation tools, and its campaign builder is especially impressive. The company also allows easy integrations with over 300 third-party tools, although there is no native integration. Infusionsoft can be useful for small e-commerce stores, given its built-in inventory tracking and payment processing capabilities.

What we like about Infusionsoft:

  • Universal tracking, which allows you to track your audience across channels
  • Integration with more than 300 third-party tools in the marketplace, which cover almost everything in marketing automation
  • The intuitive campaign builder — easy for creating complex marketing workflows
  • Decent testing capabilities

When deciding on a marketing automation tool, keep in mind your primary objectives and the size of your campaigns. For instance, if A/B testing landing pages forms a big part of your digital marketing strategy, Marketo might not be the ideal choice, given its clunky design capabilities. Take into account what you want to achieve with marketing automation. It is the best long-term strategy to fully utilize the power of data and analytics.