Marketing Automation Software Comparisons

By: Puranjay Singh   Last updated: 20 Sep 2017

In-depth marketing automation software comparisons focusing on features, user-experience, pricing, support and community. We've compared some of the world's leading marketing automation tools individually against each other. You can also find pricing tables and feature comparisons for major tools on this list.

Most Popular Comparisons

The most popular marketing automation software comparisons in terms of page views and user interest. For a complete list of comparisons, see below or click here.

Comparison 1-Sentence Summary
Infusionsoft vs. Ontraport Infusionsoft's all-in-one platform is great for growing companies; Ontraport's lower upfront cost might appeal to smaller businesses.
Infusionsoft vs. ConvertKit Infusionsoft has way more features, but ConvertKit's affordable email marketing automation is perfect for bloggers and solopreneurs.
Infusionsoft vs. ActiveCampaign ActiveCampaign is more affordable and easier to use but lacks key features; Infusionsoft is better for larger busnesses (20+ employees).
ActiveCampaign vs. ConvertKit ActiveCampaign has substantially more features but higher long-term costs; ConvertKit is affordable and extremely easy to use.
Infusionsoft vs. HubSpot Infusionsoft focuses on marketing automation; HubSpot is mostly an inbound marketing software with some automation capabilities.

View All >>>

Our software comparisons are based on the software's features, user-experience, pricing, support and community. For a complete breakdown of our review methodology, see here.

Pricing Comparison

Pricing is obviously an important consideration when buying marketing automation software. Here's a look at how our top rated marketing automation tools compare on this metric.

For a complete breakdown of pricing, see our in-depth pricing comparison.

Software Cheapest Plan Recommended Plan Onboarding Fee Contract Term Min. Price
ActiveCampaign Cheapest $9/month $99/month None Monthly $9
ConvertKit $29/month $29/month None Monthly $29
Eloqua $2,000/month $4,000/month None Annual $24,000
HubSpot $200/month $800/month $600 to $5,000 Annual $3,000
Infusionsoft Best Value $199/month $379/month $999 to $2,999 Annual $3,387
Marketo $895/month $1,795/month None Annual $10,740
Ontraport $79/month $279/month None Monthly $79
Salesforce $400/month $3,750/month None Annual $4,800
Sharpspring $400/month $800/month None Monthly $400

As you can see, pricing varies a lot from software to software. The cheapest marketing automation software starts at just $9/month. The most expensive ones can go for as much as $50,000+ per year.

While pricing obviously varies by feature availability, software that targets enterprise customers is definitely overpriced. Software that focuses on solopreneurs and bloggers, on the other hand, is substantially cheaper.

Pricing in this software category tends to be complicated. There are a number of variables you need to keep in mind such as:

  • Onboarding Fee: Several marketing automation tools charge a mandatory onboarding fee. This can be as high as five-figures.
  • Annual Contracts: Some tools are billed on an annual basis. Meaning if you aren't satisfied with the software, you have no way to get your money back before the contract ends.
  • Contact-Based Pricing: A number of tools charge on the basis of your total contacts. A large number of contacts can greatly inflate your bill.
  • Add Ons: Some tools offer a number of add-ons such as premium support, additional functionality or extra users for a price. This can add to your bill.

Because of these factors, the pricing can often be misleading. ActiveCampaign, for instance, starts at $9/month, but this plan has severely limited features and contacts. Similarly, HubSpot starts at $200/month, but this plan gives you just 100 contacts, with each additional 1,000 contacts costing $100/month extra.

Keep these facotrs in mind when comparing pricing.

Based on this criteria, we chose Infusionsoft as our "best value" software. It gives you all the features you'll want at a (relatively) affordable and transparent price.

For a blogger-focused automation tool, consider ConvertKit. Enterprise customers can consider Salesforce or HubSpot.

Feature Comparison

Let's take a quick look at the features available in different marketing automation tools. This table only makes note of features built into the software, not features that can be purchased as an add-on or integration.

Feature ActiveCampaign ConvertKit Eloqua HubSpot Infusionsoft Marketo Ontraport Salesforce Sharpspring

Visual Editor

Built-in CRM

Built-in CRM

Landing Page Editor

E-Commerce

Payment Processor

Pipeline Management

SMS Marketing

Blogging

Blogging


As you can see, there is a lot of variation when it comes to feature availability. Generally speaking, "all-in-one" automation software like HubSpot or Infusionsoft boast features for every stage of the funnel (lead acquisition, nurturing and closing).

Other tools, such as ConvertKit, focus on only one aspect of automation (such as email). Hence, their feature availability is poor.

This is why it's hard to evaluate marketing automation software based on features alone. Just because a software has a particular feature doesn't mean it is actually useful to you, as a business owner.

For instance, a number of "all-in-one" marketing tools offer a built-in CRM. If you are an established business, there is a good chance you already have a CRM solution in place. Any built-in CRM is likely not going to be of much use to you (will be underpowered, won't fit into your workflow, etc.).

Hence, when you evaluate features, don't look at what's available, what's not.

Instead, ask yourself: is this feature actually going to be useful to my business?

Best Rated Marketing Automation Software

Here are the best-rated marketing automation software as per our expert reviews.

Infusionsoft

$199/month

Ontraport

$279/month

ActiveCampaign

$9/month

HubSpot

$200/month

ConvertKit

$29/month

ConvertKit

$29/month

ActiveCampaign

$9/month

Ontraport

$279/month

Infusionsoft

$199/month

HubSpot

$200/month

Salesforce

$400/month

Eloqua

$2,000/month

HubSpot

$200/month

Marketo

$895/month

Infusionsoft

$199/month

How to Choose Marketing Automation Software

Figuring out which marketing automation software to choose can be a challenge. This is a complex software category with wildly varying prices and feature availability. Unlike, say, email marketing, there is hardly a clear choice between two near rivals.

There are, however, a few general rules you should follow when buying marketing automation software:

1. Choose Software that Fits Your Business Size

A golden rule for buying software is to pick something that aligns with your business' size and stage. If you are a startup with zero experience in marketing automation, don't pick something that's clearly designed for established, enterprise customers.

Similarly, bloggers should pick software that's designed for bloggers (like ConvertKit). Small businesses with under 20 employees should pick software meant for businesses their size.

Don't underbuy (i.e. buying software that's too limited for your needs). Don't overbuy. Carefully analyze your business size, goals and future growth to find that "Goldilocks" zone of software that is just right.

2. Pay Attention to Hidden Pricing Issues

Lots of marketing automation tools appear to be cheap, but once you start using it, you realize that's not the case. Some providers indulge in opaque billing practices where you'll learn that you need an 'X' essential feature for extra cash only after you've already signed-up.

Before you start, make sure that you understand that you're getting and what kind of additional expense you can expect.

Also make sure that you understand the billing terms - onboarding fees (if any), contract length, and cancellation/refund policies - before you start.

3. Categorize Your Features

Every business has its own list of "must have" and "nice to have" features. Make sure that whichever tool you choose has your "must have" features. The rest of the features are essentially "garnishing" to make the package look good.

For instance, if having a built-in CRM is a priority for you, then limit your choice to tools that offer this (like Infusionsoft or HubSpot). If you absolutely must have a visual editor for making automations, make that a priority during software selection.

4. Consider User-Experience and Ease of Use

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when buying software is to only consider the features and overlook the user-experience.

Here's the truth: it's better to have an easy to use software without features than a feature-rich software that's hard to use.

Why?

Because the easy to use software will actually get used. But a hard-to-use, feature-rich offering will go underutilized.

This is a part of software deployment few people talk about. Make sure that whatever tool you choose offers a user-experience you are comfortable with.

5. Make Sure it Plays Well with Your Existing Tools

Finally, whatever marketing automation software you choose should play nicely with your existing set of tools. This could be anything - your CRM, your accounting software, your email marketing tool, etc.

Check all integrations before you decide on a tool. Consider whether the software offers free API access to develop custom integrations as well.

Picking marketing automation software can be challenging. Hopefully, our comparisons and marketing software reviews will help you make a better decision.


Need personalized recommendations based on your business needs? Or need help choosing the right marketing automation software? Use the Contact Page to get in touch with us.