Marketing Automation Tools Comparison

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Most business owners are currently looking for ways or platforms to drive all their marketing strategies (SEO, PPC, SMM, etc.) faster and seamlessly in one place, and the marketing automation tool is the answer.


Marketing automation software

Reports show that most business owners (over 50 percent) are currently using some marketing automation tools, and the number is increasing. For instance, the 2018 Forrester report revealed that about 55 percent of business owners or marketers are making plans to increase their marketing technology spending.

Hence, if you aren’t using a marketing automation tool yet in 2020, you shouldn’t hesitate to consider one ASAP.

Just as the name depicts, marketing automation tools automate marketing tasks or actions, streamlines marketing workflows, and evaluates marketing campaigns. Marketing automation tools provide automation features across several aspects of marketing, which include email marketing, digital advertising, social media marketing, direct mail, lead generation, etc.

More so, marketing automation tools create a central marketing database for all marketing interactions and information. This helps marketers and business owners to create personalized, segmented, and timely marketing experiences for both prospects and customers. 

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However, despite the necessity and importance of marketing automation tools, choosing the best tool is a complicated feat. There are many types of automation tools with various features and use cases, which makes getting the best tool a herculean task.

This post does a great task of making a comparison of some popular and industry-standard digital marketing automation tools to guide you into choosing the best marketing automation tool for your business.

Note: Marketing automation tools don’t generate leads on their own. More so, they will not magically supply you with all the marketing strategies needed to achieve your sales goals. Instead, note that marketing automation tools are just tools, and your success with using these tools will largely depend on how you strategically use them to offer thoughtful, relevant, and optimized content focused on attracting your target audience.

How can you choose the Best Marketing Automation Tool?

As stated above, there are many types of digital marketing automation tools with lots of different features and functions. Where some automation tools only offer CRM updates, drip sequences, and email action, other tools may help with SMS; sales lead rotation, lead scoring, etc.

While most marketing automation tools are best suited for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and Business to Customers (B2C) environments, Business to Business (B2B) operators and enterprise businesses may need an automation tool with wider capability. 

Here are vital areas to consider when evaluating available marketing automation tools to choose the one right one for your business:

  • Ease of Use: Marketing automation isn’t always a simple thing to implement. So, you must ensure that you understand the automation tool very well. Ensure that the interface of the automation tool will work with you and not against you. Before you decide on your final choice, check out the screenshots of the user interface of the app, and learn about its UX. This will allow you to establish whether the tool is simple and easy to use.
  • Analytics and Reporting: You should be able to monitor and measure the success of the marketing campaigns you’re running with any tool. So, make sure the automation tool you choose can be used to keep track of the metrics and results that are most useful to you. For B2B and enterprise businesses with lots of stakeholders, you may prefer a tool with advanced reporting abilities like automatic email reports or personalized dashboards.
  • Support: No matter how simple, easy-to-navigate, or easy-to-use a marketing automation tool is, as you explore the benefits of the tool, you may end up one day in a hitch and need some help or a scenario that may set you thinking if the tool can perform a certain function or not. In such an instance, you would need the help of the support team. Marketing automation tools shouldn’t be that technical. So, always look for tools that have customer support options, tutorials, robust knowledge bases, or any other support options.
  • Limitations: Some marketing automation tools may limit the access of users to some functions, database size, or some actions in a month based on the chosen plan. To avoid unexpected limitations, it is important to carry out a proper evaluation of the tool. Also, know the number of contacts/subscribers you have and the number of emails you send on average. This will guide you when selecting the best automation tool to accomplish your need and prevent unnecessary limitations.
  • Pricing and Scalability: As you consider the benefits, usefulness, and capability of the automation tools, you should also evaluate pricing. For instance, scaled-down marketing automation tools may be sufficient for SMB and B2C organizations that focus mainly on email automation. However, B2B and enterprise businesses with more advanced needs wouldn’t mind opting-in for scalable and pricier tools. Whichever way, always ensure to choose a tool that’s reasonably priced based on your budget but can also scale effectively – grow with you as your needs change.
  • Integrations: Finally, you must be concerned about how well your marketing automation tool works with your existing tools. Integrations enable you to manage your workflow and data and get more from your chosen automation tool.

Having said that, here is a cultivated list of popular digital marketing automation tools with some comparisons to guide you through your options and help you choose the best marketing automation tool for your business or marketing team.

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Digital Marketing Automation Tools

Although there are lots of free marketing automation tools in the market, this post will focus on the comparison of these seven most popular marketing automation platforms:

  • ActiveCampaign,
  • Autopilot,
  • HubSpot,
  • SendinBlue,
  • ConvertKit,
  • Omnisend, and 
  • Rejoiner.

Don’t forget that the best marketing automation tool for your business will largely depend on your budget and business requirements.


ActiveCampaign is the most popular and most used marketing automation software for small businesses. More so, it’s one of the overall best CRM and marketing automation platforms. ActiveCampaign is so intuitive and enables users to build complex automation sequences with little or no training or support. 

More so, ActiveCampaign comes with predictive content, predictive sending, and automation split tests that enable the automation sequences to optimize themselves using machine learning.

ActiveCampaign has impressive pricing that makes the tool very affordable irrespective of your business size – a starting price of $9. For instance, while HubSpot starts cheap and grows expensive with increasing contacts, ActiveCampaign remains affordable as your business grows.

To ensure that it meets up with today’s rising need and stay in the lead, ActiveCampaign constantly releases new features. For instance, it was last year when ActiveCampaign released the site messages, attribution, and predictive content. ActiveCampaign also allows users to import and share automation techniques in a couple of clicks within the ActiveCampaign community.

However, ActiveCampaign has a poor reporting feature, though it’s reporting feature is still better than most automation providers.


Autopilot has the best-designed canvas for building email automation sequences. Those familiar with creating email automation sequences would understand how confusing creating one can be. Autopilot can solve this in a peculiar way, enabling users to annotate their automation sequences with explanations, stickers, and emojis. This makes it easier for marketing teams when collaborating on building automation sequences. Users can even revisit an automation sequence built about a year ago.


Another impressive feature of Autopilot is its strong third-party integrations. Users can trigger actions inside Autopilot from other tools. This is time-saving and eliminates the need to configure integrations using other tools like Zapier. 

Autopilot also enables users to set a goal for each automation sequence. This is very useful in the lead nurturing journey. As a result, users can later view reports about how that automation sequence meets the specified goal. For instance, if a user set a goal to convert 20 percent of contacts into customers, Autopilot can help such user to generate a report showing whether the goal is met, exceeded, or not:

Autopilot’s starting price is $49 per month for 2,000 contacts. This makes Autopilot one of the cheapest marketing automation software for small businesses. Although Autopilot is a very intuitive and useful tool for marketing teams that need to collaborate on powerful email automation sequences, a significant downside of this tool is its lack of an in-built CRM. 


Though the HubSpot CRM and marketing automation tool is also one of the best digital marketing automation tools out there, it is over-hyped. This is because almost everything offered by the HubSpot marketing automation tool can be found on other less-expensive tools. HubSpot indeed provides a free version of its automation tool, but this free version lacks all necessary marketing automation features. So, if you want to use the HubSpot tool for marketing automation, you would need to budget about $800 per month (paid annually) and an extra $3,000 as onboard fees. Altogether, your marketing automation budget must be over $12,600 per year to enjoy HubSpot for marketing automation.

Nevertheless, HubSpot is an intuitive and non-technical software. The analytics are also extremely good, helping business owners quickly know which strategies are working and which are not. HubSpot would have been the best and impressive automation tool for small businesses except for its high pricing. However, if many small companies can afford the price, HubSpot does precisely what it promised by enabling companies to grow faster.

More so, HubSpot has a complete business growth suite that includes marketing software, sales software, support software, etc. All integrate seamlessly and automatically with HubSpot’s CRM. This makes you have all your data and growth activities in one place, enabling you to take advantage of the combined effect to unleash lots of creative automation possibilities that would have been impossible or difficult with separate tools.

HubSpot is a powerful workflow tool whose automation is beyond just email. This will enable you to scale your business growth and spend less time on repetitive tasks. For SMBs and beginners with a sufficient budget, HubSpot is an all-inclusive and powerful automation tool. Otherwise, we would advise that they spend their budget on ActiveCampaign, which is a more advanced marketing automation tool. With the leftover, SMBs can get a pro subscription on a good SEO tool like Deepcrawl or SEMrush (try semrush free here) and undergo useful and related training on Google Analytics.

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SendinBlue used to be considered an underdog tool in the digital marketing automation world until 2015 to 2016, when it began to make waves. Although SendinBlue doesn’t have a beautiful visual marketing automation builder as ActiveCampaign, it is now a powerful marketing automation software for small businesses. Using SendinBlue’s automation builder is so easy and straightforward and doesn’t require contacting support or reading documentation to accomplish a basic task. 

SendinBlue has a starting price of $49/month, which makes it one of the most affordable marketing automation tools available. At this pricing, users can have access to unlimited automation workflows. 

Although some users complain of poor deliverability rates while using SendinBlue, our observations did not indicate any low deliverability rates. In fact, SendinBlue offers a feature that is lacking in most other automation tools, which include SMS messaging and real-time deliverability reporting.

A major shortcoming of SendinBlue is its sending limits. While most other marketing automation tools place a limit on only the number of email contacts per plan, SendinBlue places a limit on the number of emails users can send daily. This may be a major issue for some business owners as they would have to hold on until the next day if they exceed their daily quota.


This is undoubtedly the simplest digital marketing automation software in this post. ConvertKit is mainly designed for bloggers and content creators. It is also a great marketing automation tool for beginners who are looking for simple and easy-to-use marketing automation platforms.

ConvertKit lacks bells and whistles as well as email templates. More so, ConvertKit encourages sending plain-text emails to increase engagement.

If you’re running a blog or just launching your business website, ConvertKit is an affordable and decent option. Nevertheless, this tool is only viable for content-based businesses.


This is a relatively new automation tool but striving to become one of the leading marketing automation tools for eCommerce businesses. Omnisend may not be attractive or have the best designed, but it has lots of innovative features, such as integrations with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to help eCommerce businesses to automate their marketing across many channels. 

More so, Omnisend can seamlessly integrate with your eCommerce platform. So, whether you’re using Magento, Shopify, or any other major eCommerce platform, Omnisend will integrate, enabling you to trigger your marketing campaigns based on your customers’ behaviors and also generate reports on how your marketing automation effort impacts sales.

Omnisend features email templates specially designed to solve specific challenges facing eCommerce businesses today, which include product reviews and cart abandonment. The templates, coupled with a user-friendly WYSIWYG visual builder, make creating emails, popups, landing pages, forms, and workflow quick and easy.

Aside from its less-than-average look and feel, another downside is its high cost. To enjoy HubSpot for marketing automation, a user would need a PRO account, which starts at $199 per month for 10,000 contacts. Unlike HubSpot, this price doesn’t increase as your business grows; instead, it remains quite reasonable.


Rejoiner is the final marketing automation tool on our list. It is a managed marketing automation platform and is suitable for those who wish to assign the management of their marketing automation to an expert marketing team.

Unlike most other automation software where users pay subscription fees and then figure out how to use the tools to grow their businesses, Rejoiner has this accountability. Rejoiner is best suited to eCommerce, SaaS, and any other business where incremental improvements can result in major uplifts in revenue. Its amazing features include copywriting, design and deliverability testing, etc.

Although Rejoiner had the highest satisfaction scores for customers, it has a hefty price tag. Rejoiner’s starting price is about $4,000 to $6,000 per month for full access to its platform and services.

This may not be the best tool for beginners and SMBs. However, Rejoiner is the best tool for large SaaS or eCommerce businesses that need a marketing automation platform but don’t want their marketing campaigns to use up so much of their internal resources.

Other useful digital marketing automation tools include GetResponse, Drip, Mautic, InfusionSoft, Pardot, etc.

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Marketing Automation Tools Comparison

Here is the side-by-side comparison of the different digital marketing automation tools listed above.

ToolBest forSetup feeStarting price
ActiveCampaignSmall businessesNo setup fee$9/month
AutopilotStartups to Fortune 500No setup fee$49/month
HubSpotB2B and agencies$3000 – $6000 for PRO/Enterprise plans$143/month
ConvertKitBloggersNo setup fee$29/month
OmnisendeCommerce companiesNo setup fee$16/month
SendinBlueHigh-deliverability and transactional email automationNo setup fee$25/month
RejoinerAll business sizesNo setup fee$95/month

Price Comparison

Here is the side-by-side price comparison of the different digital marketing automation tools listed above.

It’s important to note that some price quotes in the table below are based on the number of users, while some price quotes are based on available features or the number of email contacts or subscribers.


Although no digital marketing automation software is absolutely the best, the seven automation tools summarized above are some of the industry’s best marketing automation tools for businesses of different sectors and sizes. However, some tools are better suited for some business size than others, as shown below:

For Small Businesses and Startups

As far as small businesses and startups are concerned, the best CRM and marketing automation tool is likely to be ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is the best tool if you need an all-in-one sales and marketing tool with a CRM. However, if you’ve already got a CRM, you can consider Autopilot if the budget allows because Autopilot has an automation journey builder that is second-to-none.

However, if you have an eCommerce business, the Omnisend marketing automation tool is the best for you.

For Medium-Sized Businesses

The best digital marketing automation tool for medium-sized businesses can be any of ActiveCampaign, Autopilot, or HubSpot based on budget and the number of contacts you have. Don’t forget that HubSpot is a pricey investment, so the tool is a good option for medium-sized B2B or agencies where the cost of subscribing for a HubSpot plan would be offset by revenues from one or two new customers per year.

If you’re running an eCommerce business, then consider Omnisend and if your budget allows, consider Rejoiner. Either of these two tools are far better than the three tools listed above.

For Large B2B and Enterprise Businesses

For large B2B enterprises or any other larger business, it’s important that you consider marketing automation tools that feature training, support, security, deliverability, etc. Most marketing automation tools containing these amazing features are frankly pretty average, and their functions are difficult and complex to use – the likes of Oracle Eloqua, Pardot, and Marketo.

However, ActiveCampaign and SendinBlue are some of the few exceptions that include the necessary enterprise features that you would want as an enterprise customer. Rejoiner is the best tool for large eCommerce businesses.

If for any reason, you aren’t still sure about which digital marketing automation software is right for you, you can of for the free trial period to try all tools out and see which one fits your business requirements.

Are you clueless about what Marketing Automation entails?  Click this affiliate link to learn more. 

Luis Gillman
Luis Gillman

Hi, I Am Luis Gillman CA (SA), ACMA
I am a Chartered Accountant (SA) and CIMA (SA) and author of Due Diligence: A strategic and Financial Approach.

The book was published by Lexis Nexis on 2001. In 2010, I wrote the second edition. Much of this website is derived from these two books.

In addition I have published an article entitled the Link Between Due Diligence and Valautions.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information published on this website is accurate, the author and owners of this website take no responsibility  for any loss or damage suffered as a result of relience upon the information contained therein.  Furthermore the bulk of the information is derived from information in 2018 and use therefore is at your on risk. In addition you should consult professional advice if required.