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There is the running joke that marketers automate everything. Haha… very funny, right? But behind every joke is a little bit (or a lot) of truth to it and this is no different. Automation has made our jobs much more simple and practical. So what is marketing automation, why do we want it, and which company do we turn to for it?

Marketing automation in simple terms is just a blend of Inbound Marketing Strategy and software that empowers your company to transform leads into happy and delighted customers. The idea is to automate repetitive tasks and help streamline the process. There seems to be a negative connotation when you say ‘automation,’ but it is completely unwarranted. The first image that comes to mind is robots and dehumanization and none of us want that; but marketing automation is actually provides an extremely personalized insight, brand recognition, and loyalty.

So now that we have a better understanding of what automation means, why do we want it? We want it because it makes blogging, social media, analytics, email marketing, and so forth easier for us. And who doesn’t want that? No one. Automation brings all of your ‘stuff’ into one integrated system.

Here are the top four marketing automation systems available:

  • Hubspot: “The world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform.” They have over ten thousand customers in 65 countries! Their system includes social media publishing and monitoring, SEO, email marketing, reporting and analytics, website content management, blogging, and marketing automation. They help companies generate more inbound leads and conversions.
  • Pardot: “Full featured marketing automation system that’s easy to use.” Their system provides email marketing, lead nurturing, CRM integration, social posting, ROI reporting, and lead scoring and grading. The idea is to help foster the smarketing team working together under a common goal.
  • Marketo: “Easily create, automate and measure engaging campaigns across all your marketing channels.” Their system offers your business the flexibility and power to rapidly develop and execute highly targeted campaigns across various marketing channels. This helps to create more revenue with less manual effort. The idea is to provide ease and speed but still maintain enterprise-level power.
  • Eloqua: “They use award winning technology and expertise.” Their system helps marketers build customer-driven cultures, power revenue performance, and create the perfect customers. They utilize truly knowing the customer and engaging them with cross-channel marketing. Eloqua is all about a better customer experience.

Obviously there are some great aspects to all four of these companies, so how do we decide which one to use? It really just depends on the size of your company and how much you’re willing to spend. Growlot summed up each company quite nicely:

  • “If you’re planning to have a small marketing team and not scale into super complex campaigns, you’re likely to have the most success with Hubspot.”
  • “If you’re growing and really want to move to a full marketing automation platform plus you’re in a B2B company where you need good Salesforce integration, think about Pardot.”
  • “If you are either an organization with significant marketing requirements or an aggressively growing company with an advanced marketing team, go with Eloqua.”