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The Best Marketing Automation Software and Solutions: The 2019 CRM Market Leader Awards

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THE MARKET

The global marketing automation market is expected to reach $32.6 billion by 2024, growing at a compound annual rate of 13.6 percent, according to research from Prescient and Strategic Intelligence. It attributes the growth to rising adoption of digital marketing and growing social media usage across the globe.

The research firm expects cloud-based deployments to register faster growth due to the development of cloud services worldwide and a growing focus on mobility and scalability. Particularly in North America, companies are focusing their marketing budgets on digital platforms to support a population that increasingly spends time online, it finds.

Another trend noted is the rising adoption of automation tools in the retail sector, with particular focus on tying marketing systems with point-of-sale and other purchasing operations.

THE LEADERS

Adobe had a strong presence in the marketing space in its own right, and its acquisition a year ago of Marketo for $4.8 billion just cemented that leadership position, according to Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research. The company this year posted scores of 4.0 in depth of functionality, 3.9 in company direction, 3.8 in customer satisfaction, and 3.5 in cost. Going forward, customers will expect more integration, Wang maintains, but they “have been happy to date.”

Last year’s One to Watch, Hubspot advances to the leaderboard this time around, buoyed by a 4.1 in customer satisfaction, but those numbers are in jeopardy going forward, according to Wang. “Hubspot customers are starting to complain about the growing cost of ownership,” he says, adding that “customers like the product but are starting to grow out of its capabilities.” The company did well in the other categories, posting a 3.8 in depth of functionality, a 3.9 in company direction, and a 3.7 in cost.

Oracle maintains its spot on the leaderboard this year. The company had strong scores across the board, with a category-leading 4.5 in depth of functionality, a 3.8 in company direction, and a 3.7 in both customer satisfaction and cost. Wang says that the “new leadership with Rob Tarkoff brings a fresh perspective.” He goes on to say that the company “has all the assets for an end-to-end suite” and that “with proper investment, they can put together a killer cloud.”

Salesfusion, which was acquired in May by SugarCRM, surfaces on the leaderboard this year thanks to scores of 4.1 in customer satisfaction and cost. And despite a score of 3.9 in company direction, “customers remain confused about the acquisition by SugarCRM” and its “product road maps remain in disarray,” Wang says. However, Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Nucleus Research, offers a different perspective, saying that “this will be an interesting year for Salesfusion as the Sugar acquisition comes to fruition and we see the benefits of integrating its capabilities in a full CRM suite.”

THE WINNER

Salesforce.com claims the winner’s spot once again, despite a category-low score of 3.2 in cost. Its performance was otherwise strong, with a 4.3 in depth of functionality, a 4.4 in company direction, and a 4.1 in customer satisfaction. Wang says that the company has made “great progress” incorporating its Einstein artificial intelligence engine into its marketing technology stack. “Customers are starting to see the fruits of labor with all the reinvestment brought together by Bob Stutz and his team,” he states. Wettemann offers a similar perspective, saying that the company “delivers significant ROI for customers, with automation driven by Einstein, enabling greater marketing productivity and scale.”

ONE TO WATCH

Infusionsoft has a long-standing reputation in the space, but the company recently changed its name to Keap, which has presented a number of problems. As a result, the company fell from the leaderboard in 2019 despite solid scores of 4.1 and 3.7 in customer satisfaction and cost, respectively. Its 3.0 score in company direction was a category low. “Most customers dislike the new name, Keap,” Wang says. 

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