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Top 4 marketing automation tools and why you'll love (and hate) them

James A. Martin | Oct. 16, 2015
A handful of professional digital marketers weigh in on their favorite marketing automation tools, and spotlight pros and cons of each. Some of the picks were the usual suspects — HubSpot and Hootsuite — while others were surprises.

Saves time. "Hootsuite allows us to push content out to multiple social sites, which saves us a significant amount of time. It also allows us to auto-schedule our future social media updates. This lets us plan much of our marketing ahead of time as well as when the content needs to go out. We also use their reporting features frequently." — Mark Tuchscherer, president, Geeks Chicago

hootsuite dashboard
Hootsuite dashboard

Hootsuite's room for improvement

Better Instagram integration. "Instagram is our fastest-growing channel, so naturally we were excited when integration was announced between Hootsuite and Instagram. Much to our disappointment, we quickly learned that while we could use Hootsuite to schedule Instagram posts, that really only means we would receive a push notification (basically a reminder) from Hootsuite, which then prompts us to open the Instagram app and publish the image. Sure, the reminder is helpful at times and allowed us to distribute posts across multiple channels at the same time. But Hootsuite doesn't truly automate the process with Instagram." —Ryan Worthen, owner, Reel Special Productions 

(Note: Instagram currently doesn't permit posting from third-party tools, but Hootsuite offers "several handy time-saving features" for social teams that use Instagram, according to Marketing Land.)

3) Pardot

Pardot (four votes, and a few honorable mentions) is a B2B marketing automation platform that was acquired by Salesforce in 2013. Pricing starts at $1,000 a month.

Why marketers love Pardot:

Solid, all-around marketing tool. "We purchased Pardot in place of MailChimp after we implemented Salesforce. We can now track visitors coming to our site, manage customers and prospects between Salesforce and Pardot, create targeted drip campaigns, and quickly create and duplicate landing pages and dynamic forms. It's really amped up our marketing abilities." — Emily Verner, director of digital marketing, Great Eastern Energy

Dramatically boosts organic search results, email subscriptions, and more. "We adopted Pardot in 2011 to establish a formal process for attracting and following-up with leads. Since implementing Pardot and Salesforce, developing buyer personas, defining our content strategy, and creating a lead scoring and grading model, we have experienced a 53 percent increase in organic search; a 40 percent jump in regular email subscribers; a 23 percent increase in leads assigned to the sales team; and 129 percent year-over-year growth in content conversions." — Shellie Hutchens, marketing director, Mediacurrent 

Billy Cripe, CMO, Field Nation reports the following benefits since implementing Pardot: 123 percent increase in volume of leads; 237 percent increase in Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs); 241 percent jump in sales forecast dollar values; and 20 percent increase in sales team productivity.

 

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