– The rise and evolution of content marketing has changed the way businesses and customers find each other. Instead of chasing down prospects, the most effective marketers now lure them in, nurturing each lead until they are primed for Conversion into a sale.
The Inbound Marketing process, however, isn’t easy. In fact, it can be downright challenging if you don’t have a system in place. That’s where marketing automation software comes in. Marketing automation software provides a framework for engaging customers and?nurturing them for Conversion. The software is usually based around email campaigns, but can also include tools for managing your blog, social media, and other content and communications.
There are numerous packages to choose from. However, most businesses choose one of three providers. HubSpot, Oracle’s Eloqua, and Salesforce.com’s Pardot are the three biggest marketing automation software providers. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to see which is best in 2014.
Pardot was founded in 2007 and was recently purchased by Exact Target, which was then purchased by Salesforce. Pardot does offer some strong middle-of-the-funnel capabilities, like lead management. It also can integrate well with Google Analytics and AdWords and offers an easy-to-use WYSIWYG email interface that has dozens of pre-designed templates.
The biggest knock on Pardot is its cost. With a $1,000 per month entry point, the system offers little room for a small business to grow into a plan. Pardot is also lacking in some key areas, mainly SEO and event management.
Founded in 1999, Eloqua is one of the earliest marketing automation services. It was acquired by Oracle in early 2013. It’s still a bit early to see how that acquisition will affect the marketing automation platform.
Eloqua’s strength is how robust it is as a content management system. Eloqua offers comprehensive capabilities to design and manage email campaigns, social media, landing pages, and more. The software can also be integrated with numerous CRM’s and offers detailed reporting options.
However, those features come at a price. Eloqua’s entry point is $2,000 per month, which may be a bit rich for small-to-mid-size businesses who are new to marketing automation. The software also isn’t particularly easy to use. You need a bit of technical expertise to get up and running.
HubSpot is one of the most popular marketing automation systems, with more than 10,000 users worldwide. HubSpot was founded in 2006 and prides itself on being the leading resource on Content Marketing for its users and for the general public.
One of the biggest points where HubSpot trumps its competitors is in top-of-the-funnel functions. While most marketing automation systems focus on pushing prospects through the funnel, HubSpot does that while it also pulls leads into the funnel.
HubSpot offers WYSIWYG email design and?SEO, CMS, and social media tools to help businesses create and manage content. HubSpot not only offers a comprehensive Content Marketing suite, it also offers an ROI analyzer to help businesses make more informed marketing decisions.
Finally, HubSpot offers an accessible entry point for even small businesses. Their entry package starts at $200 a month. Businesses can start there and then move into larger plans as they grow.
If you’re looking to dip your toe into marketing automation in 2014, the good news is you have a wide variety of quality choices. However, when you look at breadth of features, quality of training and support, and pricing, HubSpot is the clear favorite.
Contact us today for a free demo on how HubSpot can help your business.
Marketing Matters Inbound?is an inbound marketing firm specializing in online conversions, content?strategy, PPC campaigns and traditional media placement. Our experience in?B2B digital?marketing?and?traditional media?allows us to deliver results through a strategic media mix. We believe in?aligning and merging marketing and sales/operations for optimal return on your marketing investment.