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It’s HubSpot.

That’s according to G2 Crowd’s new Grid report on marketing automation, its fifth on this category. HubSpot ranked first in both user satisfaction and market presence, the two dimensions used by the Grid. User satisfaction reviews are submitted by business professionals, and market presence is determined by G2 from vendor size, market share, and social impact.

Because of so many user reviews for this category — over 2,700 — the company decided to also create rankings for marketing automation products used by small business, mid-market, and enterprise, as well as a general report.

In addition to HubSpot, others in the top category of Leader in the general report were Oracle Eloqua, Salesforce’s Pardot, Marketo, Act-On, and InfusionSoft.

The first five of those are already considered heavyweights in this category. InfusionSoft saw the biggest improvements from the last report, moving from Contender to Leader by adding 35 points to its user satisfaction score and nine points to its market presence.

Also high in market presence, but lower in satisfaction, are Contenders. In that quadrant are IBM Silverpop, IBM Campaign, and Adobe Campaign.

HubSpot, Pardot for small and mid-market businesses

G2 Crowd president Tim Handorf told me via email they are treating IBM’s offerings as separate products because IBM does. Adobe Campaign — derived from Adobe’s acquisition two years ago of Neolane — is part of its Marketing Cloud, which arguably holds other marketing automation tools, but Handorf noted that Adobe specifically says on its website that Campaign is its marketing automation.

High Performers rank high in customer satisfaction but lower in market presence. Companies that landed in that quadrant in the general report were CallidusCloud, ONTRAPORT, Salesfusion, OutMarket, LeadSquared, Net-Results, Right On Interactive, Autopilot, eTrigue, and Hatchbuck.

G2 Crowd also places GreenRope in High Performers, although the visual Grid (see image top of this page, or go here for the live version) shows that company right on the dividing line with Niche companies. Those are the lowest-ranked for both customer satisfaction and market presence, and include Plumb5, Sales Engine International, and Teradata.

Both HubSpot and Pardot also scored as Leaders for Small Business users and for the Mid-Market. Act-On shared that top quadrant for Small Business, while Marketo joined in for Mid-Market. Leaders for Enterprise were Marketo, Oracle, and Eloqua.

Products from smaller companies that “serve smaller-sized customers tend to have more customers who are satisfied with setup and support,” Handorf said. He noted that the ease-of-setup scores were higher than usual for Autopilot, LeadSquared, and Net-Results.

Generally, reviewers said the marketing automation tool they use meets about 85 percent of their needs. But a central difficulty for comparing marketing automation products is defining what it includes.

Certainly, email marketing campaigns are central, and that functionality scored as the highest rated feature among all the products, with 90 percent satisfaction. Hatchbuck and ONTRAPORT were the products whose emailing generated the highest level of satisfaction, at 98 and 97 percent respectively.

“Marketing automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to automate repetitive tasks,” G2 said in the report. “Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing.”

Marketing automation suites, it noted, can include such other automated functions as social media marketing.

In analyst Andrew Jones’ recently published report on the subject for VentureBeat’s research division VB Insight, “Marketing automation: how to make the right buying decision (the first time),” 43 vendors were shortlisted for interviews with vendors and users, and for data analysis. That report also pointed out that less than five percent of businesses currently employ marketing automation platforms.

“The single greatest challenge when evaluating vendors,” Jones told me, “is simply understanding the differences in functionality between them.”

“It’s also challenging to ascertain each vendor’s relevance to your business type, size, and objectives. That’s where input from peers can provide tremendous insight.”

But, he noted, there are about 200 vendors today. “This [G2] report includes many of the most prevalent,” he said, “but 23 [shown on the Grid] may not be comprehensive enough to include all relevant vendors to prospects.”

In the VB Insight report, HubSpot scored with the highest market share for use on websites in the top million websites per Alexa, with the next five being Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, Act-on, and Silverpop.

But the ranking differed when looked at through the lens of top 10,000 websites, expense, or cost and return over 3.5 years.

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