The Best Marketing Automation Software and Solutions: The 2020 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Statista valued the global marketing automation market at $11.4 billion in 2017 and $15.6 billion at the end of 2019, and its projections suggest that by the end of this year, the market will have reached $17.8 billion. Forrester Research predicts that the marketing automation market will reach a valuation of $25.1 billion globally by 2023.

Statista also estimates that there are currently more than 100 marketing automation platforms in the field, and 90 percent of marketers today use at least one such tool regularly.

Further research has found that 44 percent of companies that have fully implemented automation in their marketing process see a return on investment (ROI) within the first six months, and 79 percent see results after a year.

Lead generation has always been among the most coveted marketing automation results, and analysts do not expect this to change. Other uses include nurturing leads, boosting sales revenue, upselling, improving engagement, increasing marketing productivity, and improving campaign measurability.

Among the technologies expected to have the most transformative impact on marketing ecosystems are artificial intelligence, real-time analytics, event-triggered activity, blockchain, conversational marketing, and multitouch attribution, according to Gartner.

The Top Five

When Adobe acquired Marketo in September 2018 for $4.8 billion, it propelled itself into the marketing automation space, and it hasn’t looked back since. Marshall Lager, an independent CRM analyst and consultant, puts Adobe’s Marketo at the top of his list. “This company has been absolutely killing it in this category for a very long time now, and getting acquired by Adobe hasn’t hurt it any,” he says. Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst of Constellation Research, says Adobe’s Marketo product is “rock-solid.”

The HubSpot Marketing Hub is probably one of the easiest products on the market to use, which places it on the leaderboard again this year. Though customers in the past have complained about rising costs and limited capabilities, the company is turning that around. “It’s easy to work with, runs well on top of a number of other business applications, and continues to add new features,” Lager observes. It also continues to add new integrations, this year bringing Chorus.ai, WP Engine, CustomerGauge, RollWorks, Madison Logic, and SurveyMonkey into its stable of partners.

Microsoft, which in the past hasn’t had a sustained presence on the CRM marketing automation leaderboard, this year ranked among the analysts’ top five, if only for its investments in the flagship Dynamics 365 product. “Microsoft continues to invest in building out its core marketing capabilities,” observes Rebecca Wettemann, CEO and principal of Valoir. Wang, though, says Microsoft still needs to do more. “New personalized buying experiences show some progress in journey orchestration, but progress in delivering mass personalization at scale requires some more investment,” he says. “Customers and partners like Dynamics 365’s Customer Insights (its customer data platform), and the Microsoft team gets kudos for a great user experience.”

Oracle has made a string of acquisitions in the marketing space in recent years, and as it now works to bring together the technology it gained in those deals, analysts couldn’t help but take notice. “Oracle’s product has undergone some good transformation,” Wang points out. “The best-of-breed offerings are better integrated, and users can now go from Eloqua, Responsys, Maxymizer, Infinity, CX Audience, CrowdTwist, CX Content, and CX Unity with more ease.”

Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, a category winner multiple times, this year didn’t fail to impress, especially when it comes to depth of functionality. “Salesforce arguably has the most complete set of features and capabilities for marketing automation,” Wettemann says. Wang agrees, but he was a little more subdued in his response. “New capabilities improve analytics, intelligence, and automation,” he says. “Customers and partners seek better integration with Commerce Cloud and Sales Cloud, but most are very happy with the product.”

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