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More than ever before, platforms to maximize efficiency and optimize productivity are at the top of a modern marketing team’s discussions.

In a world where marketing is continually changing, you want to make sure that your marketing automation software is the best on the market. With different features, benefits, and integrations, choosing software that fits your company goals may seem overly complex.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into some of the highest-rated marketing automation systems to see how they compare to our software of choice: HubSpot.


What Is Marketing Automation Software?

Put simply, marketing automation software allows companies to up-level their businesses and outperform their competitors.

By streamlining your current manual business processes through the use of automation tools, you can give more time back to your marketing and sales teams, reach prospects more effectively, better qualify leads, and demonstrate a positive return on investment (ROI).


Should You Invest in Marketing Automation Software?

Whether you have an internal marketing department or are operating independently with no marketing team, there are several benefits of using automation technology to help you crush your goals.

The market is saturated with plenty of highly rated software platforms that offer similar features, like email marketing, lead management, social media marketing, and reporting and analytics. It can seem overwhelming to sift through multiple providers with similar service offerings.

Marketing Automation Software Showdown- How HubSpot Compares_Graphic 1 Freepik

If you’ve been tasked with finding a solid marketing automation platform for your organization, rather than focusing solely on the individual features, try to first hone in on the desired business results that you want to achieve.

Are you looking to increase lead generation? Improve your customer engagement and lead nurturing processes? How about improving your campaign targeting or overall marketing productivity?

After this, you can begin to identify what your marketing department does regularly and decide if it’s worth outsourcing through the use of automation software. Look for the gaps.

You may assess your current operations or needs and decide that an automation tool might not fit into your business — that’s okay!

Remember, marketing automation alone will not help you find your desired success without a solid digital marketing strategy in place. However, coupled with an efficient process, the addition of an integrated marketing automation platform can be a powerful tool to help your business grow.


Marketing Automation Software Showdown

Without further ado, follow us as we provide an introduction to some of the major key players in the world of marketing automation software.


HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and service platform that enables businesses to grow through the inbound methodology.

This system integrates marketing automation, a content management system (CMS), and a customer relationship management (CRM) system all into one platform that’s easy to navigate and tailored for everyday projects.

The software allows users to carry out tasks through lead nurturing, email campaigns, blogs, social media, landing pages, and more to help businesses yield their full potential.

Marketing Automation Software Showdown- How HubSpot Compares_Graphic 2

When it comes to HubSpot pricing, the base plan is $0/month for certain CRM and marketing automation features.

The free HubSpot option is perfect for small businesses just starting out. HubSpot's integrated CRM, CMS, and service functionalities enable users to find all the data they need in one place. And when the business begins to scale, all its information will be in the system ready to transition to an upgraded plan.

A brief disclaimer: LAIRE is a Platinum Agency Partner with HubSpot, so there’s no denying the fact that we’re a bit biased toward the platform — but for good reason! The company never settles or stops growing its feature list because they want to see customers succeed. They take feedback from their current customers and actually implement it.


Email marketing, CRM functions, marketing automation, and messaging are all included in ActiveCampaign. This software is a popular option for small to mid-sized companies to combine CRM activities with marketing automation.

The base plan starts at $29/month with 1,000 contact spots. If you are a small to mid-sized company with a tight marketing budget, ActiveCampaign is worth looking into.

One thing to consider is that ActiveCampaign does not have a built-in CMS for hosting blog content and website pages. To connect website data, a WordPress plug-in or other third-party plug-in will need to be installed for the two systems to communicate.

Another fault with ActiveCampaign is it lacks landing page development capabilities. Landing pages help increase your website’s conversion rates and the number of contacts in your CRM. Sites like Unbounce or Landigi will have to be used in conjunction with ActiveCampaign to develop landing pages.

Adobe Marketo Engage

Adobe Marketo Engage is a marketing automation software targeted to larger B2B companies with a pre-existing CRM. Leveraging advanced AI and analytics capabilities, the platform enables organizations to identify, engage, and nurture leads throughout the entire customer journey, from acquisition to advocacy.

With features like lead management, email marketing, social media integration, and campaign tracking, Marketo Engage equips marketers with the tools they need to deliver relevant and timely messages, optimize marketing efforts, and drive meaningful interactions with customers across various touchpoints.

The platform is available in several different packages, called Growth, Select, Prime, and Ultimate. There are also various value add-ons that you can purchase in addition to your recurring package cost. The website does not disclose the specific pricing, but according to Marketing Automation Insider, the pricing starts at around $895/month.

If you’re dealing with budget constraints, Marketo Engage might not be the best fit initially. We suggest trying out HubSpot's free account tools when getting started. Also, unlike HubSpot, the platform does not have a built-in CRM for sales management, so you’ll have to have a pre-existing CRM through Salesforce or another provider.


Brevo is an email automation, SMS, and chat company with a robust free plan. The purpose of the company is to help users communicate, personalize, and convert with their target audience through the platform's functionalities.

A basic plan with Brevo starts at $0/month for unlimited contacts. This plan even allows users to send up to 300 emails a day.

Even though this free plan is enticing, Brevo does not have complete all-in-one capabilities like HubSpot. Having only email, SMS messaging, and chat doesn’t allow companies to fully unlock their hidden growth potential.

Blog content, social media posts, website call-to-action (CTA) buttons, and landing pages are additional ways to generate leads, and Brevo does not have the capacity to do these vital marketing functions.


Drip is known for its e-commerce CRM and email automation functionalities. The company prides itself on customer data, personalization, engagement, and optimization to drive conversions.

The basic plan starts at $39/month for 2,500 contacts and unlimited email sends. The enterprise package pricing varies as the number of contacts increases, so this is something to note when choosing marketing automation software.

Similar to ActiveCampaign, Drip does not have landing page development capabilities. This poses an obstacle for users since landing pages are an imperative piece to the marketing puzzle. Those using Drip will have to find another platform to create landing pages to drive leads through the marketing funnel.

Also, Drip does not have split testing (A/B testing). The ability to test campaigns is important in determining what works and what doesn't. Without this feature, campaigns can not be effectively analyzed to reach optimal potential.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Formerly called Pardot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a software that has lead management, email marketing, ROI reporting, and AI tools. The base price starts at $1,250/month with 10,000 contacts, but what do the capabilities actually look like?

Compared to HubSpot, there are a few big differentiators. The main difference is that the platform lacks blog, site chat, and ad capabilities. Also, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps you automate your marketing efforts across touchpoints, it’s not truly designed for nurturing leads.

Marketing Cloud also requires users to pay an add-on fee in order to add custom dashboards and leverage sales data.


A strong competitor to HubSpot, SharpSpring from Constant Contact offers a client management console with a single sign-on, designed for agency-specific needs. The platform offers an open API and universal CMS compatibility.

A big draw to SharpSpring is the overall affordability, along with unlimited users in their contact management piece. A commonly specified downfall for SharpSpring is their execution of certain features, particularly with email automation.


How to Choose the Right Marketing Automation Software for Your Business

Marketing Automation Software Showdown- How HubSpot Compares_Graphic 3 Freepik

There are a lot of very comparable marketing automation solutions when it comes down to features and functions. To help you make a decision, we’ve outlined a few topics for your consideration that move beyond the basic functionalities.


This is an obvious point for most, but it’s important to note how the platform relates to your budget. What is your budget for a marketing automation platform? What’s the starting price point for your business needs and if/when the price changes, what will determine that? It’s wise to note these things upfront so there are no surprises later on.


This may not be something you thought of immediately, but you should pay attention to the user experience that is being advertised to you.

Do you like how the user interface (UI) looks? Is it easy to follow? Do you think this will be easily understood by your team members? Sure, looks aren’t everything — but for a robust, data-driven solution, looks do count.


How scalable or customizable is the platform you’re considering? Will the software grow well with you as your organization grows, or will you be looking to upgrade within two years or so if you outgrow it?

In terms of customization, what kind of branding is available to your company? Don’t forget to ask these questions to understand limitations.


If your team utilizes a good amount of third-party applications for daily tasks, can the two systems work well together? What types of integrations does your potential marketing automation platform offer?

Integrations may not be a make-or-break factor for you, but it’s really nice to have preferred vendors that can work together in the background to make your job easier.

Customer Service

Customer support is huge. You don’t want to be a lone ranger navigating the scary waters of your new platform with no one to call on when/if something goes awry. Does your platform have training or a knowledge base that you can utilize?

Perhaps ask questions about their onboarding process to learn a bit more about how your relationship and customer experience will be. Is there a user community that you can reach out to for help? A positive customer service team will set a marketing automation platform apart from its competitors.

Customer Feedback

Finally, consider what others are saying about the platform. You’d read reviews before making any other major purchasing decision, so why not now?

More than likely, paying customers will be brutally honest about their interactions and experiences with the software provider. Pay close attention to the positive and negative comments.


Why LAIRE Chooses HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and service software that works really nicely for our agency. Because everything is housed under one “roof,” we’ve found that our teams have a greater marketing and sales alignment.

The HubSpot platform caters to all of our inbound marketing needs and allows us to amplify the buyer’s journey. We’re able to capture lead data to generate qualified leads, effectively engage with prospects that turn into customers, and, finally, convert customers into promoters.

Targeted email campaigns, trigger notifications, lead nurturing/scoring, and custom workflows are among some of our most-used technologies that HubSpot offers within the marketing automation software. And aside from the features, HubSpot’s customer service is top-notch.

Trust us, we could go on and on about our loyalty to this platform, but this is your decision — we’ve already made ours!


Putting Marketing Automation to Work for You

It’s no secret that as a HubSpot Platinum Certified Agency Partner, we are raving fans of the platform.

If you decide to choose HubSpot for your marketing automation software, great choice! To ensure you're making the most of your account, download a copy of our free checklist and see which HubSpot tools you need to check out.

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Todd Laire

Todd Laire

B2B Sales and Marketing Leader | CEO at LAIRE, a Digital Growth Agency - Co-Founder, Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, Marketer, Sales Team Builder, and Change Advocate.