17 Platforms That Will Make You a Better MarketerBy Natalie Burg January 13th, 2016
How did you choose your marketing platform? For many markers, the answer is somewhere between “This is the one we’ve always used” and “I’d heard of this one somewhere.”
It’s hard to fault these reasons because there are an insane number of tools out there:
Insane graphic via MarketingLand
But the options are overwhelming for a reason. Each marketing technology platform—or martech, because why not—has a different strength for a different type of business. And it’s to every marker’s benefit to know how to use… well, maybe not all of them, but at least the ones in their vertical.
Here are some of the best martech platforms available in key categories, broken down for small, mid-market, and enterprise businesses.
Content Management System (CMS)
Yes, it’s what your niece uses for her blog. But WordPress isn’t just about blogging anymore. With a range of options from hosted to self-hosting to tons of unique plug-ins, you can tailor WordPress to your needs—including your budget—with ease.
And when we say “with ease,” we mean without the help of anyone who has a Ph.D. in HTML. And if you get tripped up, you can always call your niece.
Google rules the world for a reason. It knows everything that happens on the Internet. (Or close to it, anyway.) That’s why Google Analytics is such a powerful analytics tool, even though you don’t have to pay for it.
While other paid options offer more in-depth profiling, Google’s analytics product is so robust for small businesses that it inspires quotations like this from Christopher Penn of email marketing company Blue Sky Factory: “If someone tells you that Google Analytics isn’t enough for a small business, then frankly they have no idea how to use it properly.”
Email Service Provider (ESP)
In a side-by-side comparison of ESP features, MailChimp’s biggest advantage jumps right off the page: $0. For small businesses with fewer than 2,000 subscribers, that’s hard to beat.
However, should your company need to send more than 12,000 emails per month, increase its subscribers, or add more features like advanced merge fields and segmentation, the price climbs a bit.
Right up there with MailChimp in terms of usability, Constant Contact may not be free, but it has affordable plans based on low subscriber numbers. Plus, all plans include an unlimited number of emails.
Though PC Magazine experienced some glitches when testing the product, small businesses can get a lot of great features on a budget out of Constant Contact.
According to CMS Critic, Sitefinity was “the first and only CMS” offering the three mobile development strategies of responsive web design, mobile websites, and mobile apps.
It’s also less technical than other CMS platforms aimed at larger companies, so you don’t have to be a developer or have one on hand to use it. CMS Critic also gives the technology props for its capabilities in e-commerce, multi-site management, and content personalization.
If your cybersecurity concerns outweigh your need for simplicity (and, honestly, they probably should these days) Drupal offers plenty of flexibility with more peace of mind.
The platform has flexible hosting options and plug-ins, and while it requires more developer savvy to use, “Drupal leads the way when it comes to CMS security,” according to Entrepreneurship Life.
For more robust ESP needs than the low-cost options, Campaigner offers some more advanced features like multiple user capabilities and automatic segmenting that give you sophistication. It also offers the unique benefit of 24/7 phone support and was named PC Magazine‘s Editors’ Choice for advanced email marketing tools (although it’s worth noting that J2 Global, the company that owns Campaigner, also owns PC Magazine.)
For mid-sized businesses with martech needs beyond a traditional ESP, a marketing automation platform can provide an all-in-one solution. Marketo, for example, offers ESP, social campaign products, analytics, native CRM integration, and business intelligence capabilities.
It’s one of the most comprehensive platforms of its kind, including just about every feature mid-market businesses will need.
In a side-by-side comparison, HubSpot and Marketo have a lot in common. The slight differences are that with HubSpot has more affordable entry-level plans, while Marketo ranks slightly higher on a number of quality criteria like campaign design and editing.
Marketo may have a few more bells and whistles, and be a more powerful platform, but HubSpot is still well received. Overall, it may be a friendlier option for growing, budget-conscious, mid-sized businesses.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Both HubSpot and Marketo integrate with Salesforce for customer relationship management. Universally acknowledged as the largest and most well-known CRM software, Salesforce offers ease of use, flexibility in the form of a widely customizable dashboard, and lots of functions, like lead gen tracking and sales forecasts, that track and analyze customer interactions. It also has a strong reputation for keeping all that customer data safe from security breaches.
Adobe AEM (aka Adobe CQ)
There’s no getting around the fact that Adobe’s CMS option is expensive—nearly every reviewer mentions the price, which frequently winds up in the millions. But for enterprises with deep pockets, the functionality can make Adobe CQ an essential tool for marketers.
In a Forrester analysis, Adobe’s software rated high for cloud deployment, native mobile app support, portfolio integration with marketing and commerce, testing, runtime architecture, and ecosystem support. As the report stated: “Adobe has built the best portfolio for companies with the greatest marketing need.”
The standard Google Analytics could be enough for small to mid-sized businesses, but enterprise level organizations have entirely different analytics needs.
Google Analytics Premium offers more detailed data on customer segmentation and shopping behavior; it’s also integrated with both Google products and data from non-Google sources. Additionally, it promises hand-on support in the form of a dedicated account manager and ongoing training.
Not all web analytics have to come from Google. IBM Digital Analytics (formerly IBM Coremetrics) offers comparative insights and benchmarks against industry leaders as well as a custom dashboard and actionable data.
The optional add-on IBM Digital Analytics Multisite fits into IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management software.
Oracle offers a broad range of analytics features, including ad-hoc analysis, automatic scheduled reporting, profit analysis, and predictive analysis. Software analysis firm ITQlick calls it “the BI and analytics to beat.”
Predictive analytics take data a step further—and into the future. Lattice Engines uses algorithms to recommend enterprise companies feature selection, data normalization, and predictive modeling. These powerful tools allow marketers to anticipate how consumers will behave, including what they’re likely to buy and when.
One of the top marketing automation platforms for enterprise businesses, Oracle offers detailed lead management capabilities, including two-dimensional lead scoring model, and has a relatively easy learning curve compared to platforms in its class.
While’s Adobe Campaign’s learning curve doesn’t rate as highly as Eloqua’s, it does come with a wide range of features including the ability to integrate with most major CRM platforms. It also has the advantages of integrating with Adobe’s many other marketing solutions for enterprises already leveraging the Adobe Marketing Cloud.Image by Ollyy