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5 Best Places to Research Marketing Automation Solutions for SMBs

Dustin Hall - Firesnap, Inc.

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If you’re here reading this, you already know how important marketing automation solutions have become within the greater marketing  landscape. Most would now argue marketing automation adoption is a “when,” not an “if” for today’s businesses. This is especially true for small to mid-size businesses, who are turning to SaaS providers like Marketo, HubSpot, InfusionSoft, Salesforce Pardot, Oracle Marketing Cloud, and others to help them gain momentum (or even remain relevant) in their increasingly competitive markets.
So if you know you need it, how do you go about finding the right one for your particular business? More specifically, where can you find candid, centralized, and objective comparisons between all of the solutions out there?

Here are 5 of the best online resources for finding your own answers to your marketing automation vendor questions. I’ve listed them in order of sites I feel deliver the most relevant and objective feedback, however, I welcome your input and additional recommendations in the comments section.

1. TrustRadius
TrustRadius is an increasingly popular site where business software users can submit feedback on their experience with different solutions, ranging from CRM to Analytics. They state their mission is, “to bring transparency to the world of enterprise technology by helping technology users learn from their peers to find better solutions, implement them more effectively, and share best practices.” I think they’re doing a pretty good job of this.

One of the things I like most about TrustRadius is how incredibly thorough they are in vetting reviewers and their reviews. It’s nothing like Yelp, where you can quickly login, blast out some emotional rant and get back to your day. You have to go through an extensive review process which I feel leads to more reliable and detail oriented reviews.  Find TrustRadius reviews here.

2. G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd, like TrustRadius, also seeks to provide trustworthy and transparent reviews of business software. One thing that makes G2 Crowd unique is their handy graph that shows you where each solution fits on a various spectrums ranging from customer satisfaction, market share, number of ratings and even their own “G2 Score.”

You’ll find that each software provider has hundreds (if not thousands) of reviews, which definitely makes for better analysis.
Find G2 Crowd reviews here.

3. Software Advice
Software Advice is another great resource for marketing automation reviews. It also offers a helpful, 3 step process that seeks to assist you in your decision. One thing I would point out here is that the number of reviews for all solutions seems a bit skewed. Just like analyzing anything else, you want to make sure your sample size is large and varied, which I’m unsure this site (and the others below) accomplishes. You’ll have to determine how much data is satisfactory for yourself.  Find Software Advice reviews here.

4. Digital Marketing Depot (Report)
Digital Marketing Depot (AKA Third Door Media), like many others, has compiled a report that compares marketing automation solutions. The reason I’ve listed this report instead of one from a more recognized researcher like Forrester, is that this one contains virtually all solutions. While I love Forrester, their report was not comprehensive as some major automation vendors declined inclusion in the latest reports.

Nonetheless, this is a decent report that includes a comprehensive set of vendors, is focused toward marketers and doesn’t require a fee to download.  Find the Digital Marketing Depot 2014 report here.

5. Capterra
Capterra is another online review site that has a pretty stout list of vendors. When you visit, you’ll find the downside is its lack of numerous reviews. It’s also a bit hard to determine the validity of the reviews themselves. However, I’ve listed it here because it’s still a good resource to see all of the vendors listed back-to-back with company info, feature lists, quick access to demos, etc.

While Capterra is a good source for general data, I would recommend visiting the others on this list first and including this one to round things out (if you feel it’s necessary).  Find Capterra reviews here.

Finding Your Own Answers
The above resources are merely an avenue for you to see other’s experiences, view the solutions in a central location and get a quick glance at what’s offered by each vendor. You’ll also find that a many of the above sites offer their own comprehensive reports that you can download…some for purchase, some free. Of course, at the end of the day, your decision will come down to what solutions best fit your unique needs and budget.

Have any other great resources for marketing automation solution comparisons? Please share in the comments below.

Photo - Dustin Hall - Velocity Network Solutions

Dustin Hall, President
Firesnap, Inc.


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