The Best Marketing Automation Software and Solutions: The 2022 CRM Industry Leader Awards

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The Market

Research firm Global Industry Analysts (GIA) valued the worldwide marketing automation market at $3.9 billion in 2020 and expects it to reach $6.3 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 percent.

Of those totals, GIA expects cloud-based software to grow at a 9.6 percent CAGR to reach $4.6 billion by 2026, while the on-premises segment will see a 6.8 percent CAGR for the next seven years. On-premises deployments currently account for a 37.3 percent share of the total marketing automation market, the research finds.

GIA says the growth of the overall market is being driven by the rise of digital advertising, sharp increases in e-commerce, and the surging popularity of social media. Other advanced technologies impacting market growth include voice-based marketing, artificial intelligence, and mobile platform integration, the firm says.

And while still a few years away now, the inevitable phase-out of third-party cookies—along with a de-emphasis on third-party data in general and growing legislative and industry standards around data privacy—will completely upend the market in the next few years. Marketers will need to prepare far in advance to meet these challenges before they are forced to do so.

The Top Five

Both Adobe and Marketo by themselves would be powerful forces in the marketing technology space, but together since 2018, they are among the industry’s best for sure. “Either name deserves notice, but they synergize even better,” says independent CRM analyst Marshall Lager, who notes that Adobe today offers “some of the best creative web analytics technology available.” Ray Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research, agrees, calling Adobe “one of the top players in the market.” Add to that the Adobe Digital Experience Platform—which Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group, calls “a bit of a diminution of what it really does”—and it’s hard to deny that Adobe has the most diverse and comprehensive portfolio in the market, analysts argue.

HubSpot is fast becoming an analyst favorite in marketing automation, but it is also gaining traction among end users, particularly in the midmarket segment. There, “customers continue to rate it highly for its full-suite approach,” Wang says.

And HubSpot continues to get stronger, constantly rolling out “more integrations and connectors, still with the ease of setup and use,” Lager says. “HubSpot has identified its core value proposition and is pushing it for all it’s worth.”

Microsoft has always found strength in its ability to integrate the marketing capabilities within its Microsoft Dynamics 365 product with its own wide selection of business applications, but Microsoft now has been pushing out its product to external sources as well. The company has also shown a unique ability to steadily improve the product internally as new market forces emerge. “The product has improved over the years and is really starting to gain traction,” Wang observes.

Whether through acquisitions or internal product development, Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud and related products have a long history of dominance in the space, but its recent work, particularly in analytics, has really garnered attention. But that’s not all: “Salesforce continues to invest in marketing automation and ancillary areas, such as loyalty management, that enable customers to provide more targeted personalization,” says Rebecca Wettemann, founder and CEO of Valoir. Lager agrees: “Between Pardot and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud itself, businesses will find what they need to keep the leads flowing, the campaigns running, and the messages resonating.”

Although Zoho is a relatively new entrant in the marketing space, analysts argue that it cannot be ignored. The company’s Marketing Plus should be especially attractive “for midmarket customers looking for core marketing automation functionality and value-adds, such as content and digital asset management, events management, collaboration, and project management,” Wettemann says. Marketing Plus, she adds, “ticks the boxes for marketing automation, customer journeys, and omnichannel engagement.” It brings together many products in the Zoho technology stack, including Campaigns, Social, Webinar, Analytics, Marketing Automation, WorkDrive, PageSense, Survey, and Backstage. Greenberg also appreciates how Zoho includes sophisticated capabilities in a package ideal for smaller firms.

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