Marketing Platform Comparisons

Easily Compare 15 Marketing Software Packages

In today’s knowledge economy, the marketing landscape for businesses has changed dramatically. Companies that hope to effectively spread the word about their offerings, attract customers, engage with them and ultimately retain them, need to adapt to these changes. Those that fail to do so will fall behind. Below are 15 great marketing softwares that can help companies remain relevant and master marketing in the digital age:

For the costs where provided we selected the mid-tier package with an annual agreement for each as the basis of our cost calculations.


Marketo was founded in 2006, has over 2,300 customers, 300 + employees and over 100,000 users worldwide. Market has enjoyed explosive revenue growth, posting a 3,545% revenue increase over a three year period ending in 2011 ($32.9 million) and was named the 78th fastest growing business by Inc. magazine in 2012.

Marketo offers the ability to design emails with a visual drag and drop interface and the user doesn’t need any html skills to build a high quality design. Email can be sent based on actions, timing or a series of pre-defined steps. Testing email versions is simple and content can be changed dynamically to fit specific situations via rules and filter settings.  Email can include a social component with the Forward to a Friend feature. Reporting is available through a library of standard report formats.

Marketo offers a drag and drop interface combined with a range of pre-designed templates with which to create landing pages.  Data capture forms are set up for progressive profiling which means you can obtain more lead data over time as prospects fill out subsequent forms.

A/B testing is easy with Marketo’s automated process and landing pages can be easily converted into Facebook pages.  Landing pages can be personalized using Marketo’s dynamic content capabilities and text, images and calls to action can be customized using a number of attributes in the prospect’s record or based on the prospect’s previous activities on your site.

Marketo also offers a social sign in capability with its landing page forms – a site visitor can fill out form fields automatically by connecting with their social profile of choice, which, for some users, is a great sign-in alternative.

Marketo offers native integration (meaning the platforms seamlessly exchange data with each other) with Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics(as shown in the video below). Native integration allows for bi-directional data syncing – which means a change in Marketo will pass through to the CRM system and conversely, a change in the CRM system will pass to Marketo. This bi-directional syncing keeps both the sales team and marketing team aware of any changes triggered by either team and allows for more accurate tracking of prospects’ progress through the pipeline.

Marketo offers the capability to score leads based on an unlimited number of dimensions such as:

  • Demographics
  • Product-specific scoring
  • Sales rep input
  • Prospect behavior (downloaded a white paper, attended a webinar)

Marketo offers what they term “social media applications” in three areas:

  • Social sharing – which offers intelligent share buttons triggered by prospect actions, customization of the share message and image and the capability to build a database with social profiles and prospects’ sharing behavior
  • Social engagement – allows you to publish video content on your site and your Facebook page, engage your audience with polls and voting and embed forms across all your channels with reward or discount incentives
  • Social promotion – run sweepstakes offers for data capture and build socially driven referral programs

Marketo offers a library of standard reports showing email and landing page performance, web activity, and lead performance.  They also offer campaign performance results with customizable metrics, influence reports showing the impact of marketing campaigns and a revenue modeling capability that reviews the sales and marketing process at a high level.

If users want to look at specific performance data not provided in the library of standard reports, Marketo provides fully customizable reporting.


  • Along with Eloqua, it’s one of the most expensive automated marketing software available today, which can lessen the ability of certainly small-mid sized businesses from using the product
  • There are a very small number of actual partners
  • Does not support dynamic website content integration (Smart CTAs)
  • Arguably too Salesforce centric

Marketo Costs
Base Program Cost: $3,995 per month
Number of Users: Unlimited
Number of emails sent per month: Unlimited
Training Costs: Included
CRM Integration Cost: $200 per hour (avg. 50 hours)
CMS Integration Cost: $200 per hour (avg. 50 hours)

Total Annual Cost: $47,940


Pardot was founded in 2007, has over 1,000 customers, 59 employees and was named the 172nd fastest growing business in 2012 by Inc. magazine with a 2,001% growth rate over the three year period ending in 2011.   Pardon was acquired by Exact Target for $95.5 million in October of 2012.

Pardot also offers a WYSIWYG email design interface, along with 36 pre-built template designs. As with Marketo, email can be sent based on actions, time intervals or a range of other parameters and can include auto-responders. Email content can be configured dynamically – driven by prospect data fields and/or sales rep assignments. List segmentation, scheduling, social sharing and integration with preferred email programs (Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010, Apple Mail, Gmail, Mozilla Thunderbird and Chrome) round out the features. Pardon also features an integrated spam analysis and rendering engine that shows how your email will look in the leading programs and browsers and help in getting maximum inbox delivery.

Pardot also offers pre-defined templates and a visual drag and drop landing page builder to facilitate landing page creation.  Progressive profiling, dynamic content personalization and custom fields are additional features incorporated into Pardot’s landing page functionality. One unique feature is the ability to block the input of both invalid email addresses and free email addresses on landing page forms, which can help in providing higher quality leads to your sales team.

Pardot natively syncs with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite and SugarCRM. Pardon also offers developers an API (application programming interface) with which to connect other third party CRM platforms.

Pardot divides this process into two sub-components – lead grade and lead score. The lead grade is based on demographic factors such as company size, industry and prospect title, while the lead score is based on prospect activities. The scoring component can be customized by adjusting the points assigned to the various activities included in the scoring model.

Pardot offers a social posting capability that connects with users social accounts and allows for posting to those accounts with custom pro urls which allows tracking of retweets, likes and comments.

Pardot also scans for prospect profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Klout. Location and prospect summary data, if available, will display by the prospect’s name. Two versions of Pardot offer this social profile capability – Pardot Enterprise and Ultimate Edition. A third party resource (Full Contact) provides the social information.

Pardot relies on a third party resource for reporting – GoodData (shown below). Users can create custom reporting using the GoodData visual interface and then schedule report frequency and distribution – highlighting specific metrics tailored to the recipient.

Pardot also offers a connector to Google Analytics, which passes data from your Google Analytics tagged site into Pardot to be synced with your CRM system.  This provides a review of marketing effectiveness at both the campaign and individual level.

Also included in Pardot’s reporting and analytics is a campaign ROI calculator which shows cost per lead, cost per sale and ROI data.


  • Not a strong social marketing tool
  • Lead sourcing is also limited to identifying only a single source (if they are a repeat lead, this can be a problem)
  • Only basic lead nurturing is offered

Pardot Costs
Base Program Cost: $2,000 per month
Number of Users: Unlimited
Number of emails sent per month: Unlimited
Training Costs: Included
CRM Integration Cost: $200 per hour (avg. 50 hours)
CMS Integration Cost: $200 per hour (avg. 50 hours)

Total Annual Cost: $27,600


Eloqua was founded in 1999 and currently has more than 1,300 clients and over 100,000 global users, with about 400 employees. On Dec. 20th 2012, Eloqua made big news by announcing it had signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Oracle Corporation for $871M.

Eloqua has a very robust email platform, with multiple templates to choose from and customize while using a very simple user interface. In fact, the interface for building an email with Eloqua is the same interface they use in their landing page creation. No matter what segmentation you’re trying to achieve when dealing with your database, there are many possibilities, including behavioral filters, which lends itself to precision targeting for best results.

Just as it was with email, Eloqua shares many of the same characteristics as Pardot and Marketo when it comes to landing page creation—predesigned templates, dynamic content, drag and drop images, powerful form customization, etc.

Eloqua does not act as its own  CRM, and instead uses what they refer to as their “integration studio”—which natively syncs with, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Oracle/Siebel CRM On Demand.

Eloqua’s “Co-Dynamic Lead Scoring” technology uses common lead quality definitions such as Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline, as well as key qualification data, including lead response, activity and behavior. Also, Eloqua released an updated lead scoring engine in 2012 which allows a company to run multiple scoring models at the same time so they can have different lead scoring modules for various geographies, product lines, etc. and a prospect’s score always updates in real time based on what they’re doing online or responding to.

When it comes to Eloqua, “Social Suite” is the hub of their social media marketing, and is a collection of apps broken down into three core categories:

  • Social apps that allow you to drag social content directly onto landing pages from within the Eloqua editor.
  • Social data apps that pull in and manipulate social data from leading social sites
  • Social reports and dashboards for measuring social conversions.

“Eloqua For Sales” offers the following 4 main feature:

  • Eloqua Discover for Salesforce: A prioritized view of the hottest, most engaged prospects and accounts to increase lead generation quality.
  • Eloqua Profiler: The most intuitive graphical summary of prospect online activities and behaviors that helps sales people focus conversations on topics that resonate with buyers and create qualified sales leads.
  • Eloqua Engage: A tool that lets sales professionals customize, send and track pre-built email templates from the iPad, CRM, or web.
  • Web Visit Alerts: Real-time lead generation email alerts sent directly to sales when hot prospects visit your website, containing visitor details like pages visited, length of visit and search terms used.

Also,  Eloqua offers closed-loop reporting and since “Eloqua Insight” is built on a BI platform, Eloqua provides powerful reporting and dashboards that companies can customize to uniquely meet their reporting requirements and needs.


  • Like Marketo, BIG pricetag
  • Can be slower to implement
  • Does not integrate with PPC/Adwords so as to achieve better ROI metrics for keyword campaigns

Eloqua Costs 
Base Program Cost: $4,000 per month 
Number of Users: 50  
Number of emails sent per month:   
Training Costs: Included 
CRM Integration Cost:  
CMS Integration Cost: 

Total Annual Cost: $50,000+

This is the software Fritz and Andre uses. It is a good blend of power, usability and price. HubSpot offers a powerful inbound marketing solution as a personalized and more effective alternative to traditional marketing strategies which can tend to harass consumers. It has developed a host of marketing apps which include tools for blogging, social media, lead management and even marketing analytics that people love and respond to. Founded in 2006, the company recently raised $35 million.

Hubspot has positioned itself as the go-to solution for small and medium-sized businesses. It provides robust solutions for business owners who aren’t technologically savvy.

Hubspot’s all-in-one functionality allows you to blog, create lead capture forms, control social media, and monitor your success from a single interface. The package also includes SEO features. Hubspot offers significant training resources, annual conferences, and certifications. As one of the most affordable options on the market, it’s a top choice for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

HubSpot Cost
Hubspot is sneaky when it comes to pricing. As with most Marketing packages the main pricing factor is the number of contacts you are allowed. You'll find you get to 2500 contacts pretty fast. 

The Basic package, an entry tool for those new to inbound marketing, is $200 per month and includes up to three users and 100 contacts. 

The Pro package, an integrated solution for professional marketers, is $800 per month for unlimited users and up to 1,000 contacts. 

The Enterprise package, an advanced platform for marketing teams, is $2,400 per month for unlimited users and 10,000 contacts. 

This can be scaled to suit your business by purchasing extra contacts in increments of 1,000 for an additional fee. 

Onboarding services are required for new customers and cost a one-time fee of $600, $3,000 or $5,000, depending on the package purchased.

Clate Mask and brothers Eric and Scott Martineau co-founded eNovaSys in Arizona in 2001, with the dream of revolutionising the way that small businesses grow through sales and marketing automation. 

The company later evolved into Infusionsoft, which is now used by over 15,000 small businesses. Mask is the current CEO of Infusionsoft and has written articles on entrepreneurship for such publications as VentureBeat, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. Clate Mask and Scott Martineau also co-authored Conquer the Chaos, a New York Times best-selling book.

Infusionsoft is one of the only sales and marketing software built exclusively for small business and promises that you’ll spend less time chasing dead ends and more time building relationships by automating the repetitive tasks in sales and marketing process. 

Their cloud-based software will allow you to centralise all customer interactions and daily activities in one place, while their email marketing capabilities will capture new leads, automate follow-up and turn them into customers. 

The lead scoring feature identifies the hottest leads so you can close sales faster, while custom segmentation allows you to create lists based on demographics, lead score, and behaviours like email clicks, purchases and payment history. 

E-commerce shopping carts allow you to sell more online and collect payment with one centralised system. To further customise your experience, Infusionsoft Extras are additional Infusionsoft-created products and tools that plug in seamlessly to their software. An example of this is Infusionsoft Sync, which allows access to Infusionsoft’s sales and marketing features while working in gMail or Outlook.

Infusionsoft Costs Kickstart Services are required for all new Infusionsoft customers and include one-on-one consulting and training resources at an additional one-off cost of $1,999.

Infusionsoft has a tiered pricing structure:

Essentials package starts at $199 per month and is designed for companies with basic marketing automation needs.  Essentials includes 3 users and 2,500 contacts.

Complete, which costs $379 per month and is suited for companies with a sales team and online store.  Complete includes 5 users and 10,000 contacts.

Optify is a cloud-based service which gives a marketer complete control over lead generation programs. With Optify it’s possible to generate new leads, nurture existing leads and even measure the success of marketing efforts. Optify has raised a total of $8.85 million.

Optify’s marketing suite offers digital marketing generation, content dissemination, and marketing ROI measurement. The tool tracks web traffic, visitor research trends, and lead capture from your site and social media activity. Business owners can then measure the impact of all marketing channels in a single interface. Optify also offers advanced SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing capabilities.

Inbound marketing is one of the hottest marketing techniques in business today, yet managing a great campaign requires significant human and technical resources. Choose an automated software that can help you create, disseminate, and measure your content’s success with ease.

Optify costs: $300 to $800 per month

Act-On is a cloud-based marketing solution which is designed to automate marketing tasks increasing efficiency. Act-On offers tools for organizing marketing campaigns, converting leads and integrating marketing efforts into sales systems. It has over 1000 customers and a total of $30 million in funding.

Oregon-based Act-On Was founded in 2008 and CEO Raghu Raghavan is the product visionary and driving force behind it. A seasoned entrepreneur, Raghu led the initial design of the Act-On service and the development of its core technology and infrastructure.

Act-On provides a cloud-based integrated marketing automation platform that enables small and medium-sized marketing teams to effectively acquire customers, build loyalty and expand their relationships with them through inbound, outbound, and advanced marketing automation capabilities. 

Functionality includes email creation and delivery, social media campaign creation and management, webinar/event communications and management, website visitor tracking, advanced SEO for websites and marketing content, integration of SEO with blogs and CMS, Google AdWords integration, lead management, lead scoring and nurturing, out-of-box CRM integration, API access for third party integration, and reporting.

Act-On Costs: All tiers include the same features Prices range from $600 per month to $8,750 per month, based on the number of active contacts and whether billing is monthly or annually.  Fees for implementation and training are not included and are an additional $500 to $2,500.

Vocus VOCS 0% is a leading cloud-based marketing software which helps with customer acquisition and retention by making it easier for marketers to reach out via social media and other online media channels.  Vocus offers a comprehensive suite of tools which integrate social media marketing, search marketing, email marketing as well as effective PR. Vocus reported 2012 revenue of $170.8 million, a 49% increase from the previous year.

Yesware is an email platform which makes it easier for salespeople to manage and track emails and thus close more deals. The platform tracks email opens, provides in-email analytics as well as data on user engagement. Yesware syncs seamlessly with CRMs like Salesforce, Microsoft MSFT +0.13% Dynamics and Oracle ORCL NaN% CRM saving time and increasing efficiency. Yesware  raised $4 million less than a year after its initial seed funding round, making it a startup to watch this year.

Sailthru aims to increase user engagement and conversion through smart data which marketers can use to better understand and respond to users in real time. This results in a personalized user experience in the form of targeted emails, for example, or a homepage tailored to an individual’sinterests. Sailthru’s clients include Business Insider, AOL AOL +0.21%. Huffington Post and Newsweek among others. The startup recently raised$19 million.

Optimove’s retention automation platform leverages proprietary customer modeling technology to help marketers at online companies maximize the value of every customer. The software helps Internet businesses convert more leads, increase customer spend and engagement, reduce churn and win back more lost customers. By affecting customer behavior through highly-relevant, personalized offers and incentives, Optimove helps businesses — including clients like Conduit and GetTaxi — understand customers and maximize revenue.

LocalVox is a platform for local, social and mobile marketing for businesses, helping them generate news and engage local customers across the web, a network of local publishers, mobile, social media, email newsletters and search. After raising a total of $8.65 million and acquiring Postling in late 2012, LocalVox looks set to transform how local businesses market themselves.

MailChimp makes it easy to customize emails to suit a particular marketing campaign. Other features include analytics, the option to A/B test and geo-target as well as spam filter diagnostics. MailChimp has more than 2 million users and is growing at rate of about 6,000 users a day.


ThriveHive provides small businesses with all the tools they need to excel at marketing. This includes building a custom marketing plan tailored to suit the company’s unique needs. ThriveHive’s services range from marketing consultation to SEO optimization. This startup recently raised $1.5 million.

Demandbase aims to give B2B marketers the tools they need to improve conversion rates and turn website traffic into sales. This software works by identifying a website’s traffic and tailoring the site’s content to those visitors thus providing an experience which is personalized and relevant. Demandbase recently raised $15 million.

WordStream aims to optimize search engine marketing and helps marketers get better results out of their SEO and PPC campaigns. It lets marketers effectively manage and create paid as well as organic campaigns. In 2012, the company raised $6 million, bringing its total funding to $16 million.

CAKE provides real-time analytics and tracking for  efficient marketing campaigns. CAKE organizes all information in one place  and lets the marketer control everything from location, device and even traffic source to be targeted. Launched in 2007, the company has a client base which includes ScoreBig, Convert 2 Media and Lifescript among others.