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If marketing automation is only five percent penetrated, but growing rapidly, there must be a lot of anxious, wondering marketers looking for systems to manage their campaigns.

Especially with up to 200 vendors in the space.

VB analyst Andrew Jones has taken that massive number, boiled it down to 43 that matter, and ranked them according to best bets for both B2B and B2C at various company sizes. He’s also calculated the return on investment from marketing automation, and found that it’s pretty good, overall.

“We have clear confirmation that marketing automation provides ROI,” Jones told me today. “Eighty percent of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77 percent saw the number of conversions increase.”

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Marketing automation vendors segmented by B2B, B2C, enterprise, and SMB.

Above: Marketing automation vendors segmented by B2B, B2C, enterprise, and SMB.

Image Credit: VB Insight

Interestingly, while there’s an increasing push for marketing automation capabilities in B2C industries — an expansion from marketing automation’s initial B2B stomping grounds — there’s simultaneously an increasing separation between B2B-style automation and B2C “orchestration.”

Marketing automation: How to make the right buying decision (the first time)
is now available on VB Insight for $299, or free with your marketing tech subscription

“Marketo, Hubspot, and especially some others on the SMB end of the spectrum are trying to provide a single, customizable solution to both B2B and B2C companies, while most of the larger enterprise vendors are focusing on one or the other, or both,” Jones said. “In addition, we see B2C solutions trying to distinguish themselves from traditional B2B-focused marketing automation, instead calling themselves ‘Journey Builder’ (Salesforce), ‘Program Orchestration’ (Oracle), or ‘Campaign Management/Orchestration’ (Adobe).”

Perhaps that’s a recognition of the particularly complex B2C customer journey.

marketing automation roi

As a nod to the countless companies starting to explore marketing automation, Jones’ report focuses on how to evaluate vendors by checking nine factors, including user experience, integration, cost, and the scope of your customers’ journeys.

User experience is important for all, but critical, apparently, for smaller companies.

“User experience ranks highest for all companies overall in criteria for vendor selection, although particularly high for companies with revenues in the range of $25 million to $100 million,” Jones said.

marketing automation ROIPerhaps just as important as evaluating a vendor pre-purchase is planning your implementation post-purchase. Jones said that defining exactly what you will automate is the first of 11 keys, which include pre-planning your integrations, segmenting your customers, and identifying what will be your database of record.

Finding the right vendor, however, is a not-insignificant challenge.

“As we suspected, the greatest challenge in selecting a vendor is simply understanding the differences in functionality between them,” Jones said. “Vendors have a wide variety of features, cater to different types of businesses, and prioritize different parts of the sales cycle.”

Best bets:
Jones’ best bets include Eloqua, Marketo, and Pardot in the B2B enterprise quadrant, but he suggested smaller enterprises also review CallidusCloud, HubSpot, and eTrigue.

In B2C enterprise, Adobe Campaign, IBM’s Unica, Redeye, and Marketo get top nods, while Selligent is a solution smaller enterprises should consider.

For the crowded B2B SMB space, Jones said that HubSpot, Salesfusion, Right On, Net-Results, and Autopilot are worthy of consideration, while for B2C, he picks Greenrope, SALESmanago, and LeadSquared.

Each of the best bets is profiled in depth in the report.

Companies profiled in the report include:

  1. Actito
  2. Act-on
  3. Autopilot
  4. CallidusCloud
  5. dbSignals
  6. Etrigue
  7. Drip
  8. Eloqua [Oracle]
  9. Emarsys
  10. Greenrope
  11. Hatchbuck
  12. Hubspot
  13. Infusionsoft
  14. Intercom
  15. Ion
  16. iPresso
  17. Launchpad
  18. LeadLife
  19. Leadsius
  20. LeadSquared
  21. MakesBridge
  22. Marketing Optimizer
  23. Marketo
  24. MindMatrix
  25. Neolane [Adobe]
  26. Net-Results
  27. Ontraport
  28. Pardot [Salesforce]
  29. Prospecteye
  30. RedEye
  31. Responsys [Oracle]
  32. RightOn Interactive
  33. Sales Engine / Manticore
  34. SalesFusion
  35. SalesManago
  36. Selligent
  37. SharpSpring [SMTP]
  38. Silverpop [IBM]
  39. SimplyCast
  40. Spokal
  41. Teradata
  42. Unica [IBM]
  43. Vocus Marketing Suite

Marketing automation: how to make the right buying decision (the first time) is now available on VB Insight.

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