Despite being one of the fastest growing segments in the business software industry with 50% annual growth over the past few years, marketing automation still only has about 3% adoption in non-technology industries, making it ripe for even more growth in 2014. <<Tweet this stat
If you’re among those 97% of companies and plan to implement marketing automation this year, you might want to know how much to budget before you start your search. There are a variety of marketing automation software pricing plans and pricing models to be aware of, which we’ve covered at length before.
To summarize, typical marketing automation systems are priced based on:
- Number of contacts in your CRM or contact database (e.g. Pardot, Salesfusion, Marketo, Eloqua)
- Number of emails sent per month (e.g. traditional email marketing providers, not many Marketing Automation vendors use this model anymore);
- A combo of #1 and #2 (e.g. Hubspot, Infusionsoft)
- Number of unique active contacts per month (e.g. Act-On)
Additional fees may vary based on:
- Number of users
- CRM Integration
- Set-up and implementation (particularly for design services)
- Feature add-ons, such as social media management, SEO and content management plug-ins, file hosting, email deliverability testing, SPAM analysis, dedicated IP addresses, number of email domains you can send from, and customized landing page URLs, to name a few.
But knowing the pricing models only gets you so far. How much do the leaders in the space actually cost in real dollar amounts? And what do you get for your money? Below, I’ll break down the marketing automation pricing for seven major players in the industry so you can compare apples-to-apples. I’ve started my comparison with solutions geared toward small marketing teams, and I will work my way up the pricing ladder toward the more expensive, enterprise marketing automation solutions.
Hubspot vs Infusionsoft vs Act-On vs SalesFusion vs Pardot vs Marketo vs Eloqua Price Comparison
Hubspot is one of the most reasonably priced solutions on the market, and they’re ideal for small business marketers who are just getting started with marketing automation. Likewise, if you generate most of your leads through content offers, downloads, and other inbound sources (and therefore don’t rely too heavily on email) Hubspot is a great choice. Even though they do offer email marketing services too, they’re one of the only solutions we looked at that also offers a blogging platform.
Here’s a look at their pricing:
As you can see, the primary differences between the package levels are:
- Only 3 users with Basic package, but unlimited users for Pro and Enterprise
- Number of contacts increases exponentially, from 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 with each tier
- Hubspot caps email sending at 10x the number of contacts you’re allowed in all packages, unless you have less than 100 contacts, in which case, you can still send 1,000 emails
- Training costs $500 for Basic accounts and $2000 for Pro and Enterprise users. There are also advanced training sessions available for Professional and Enterprise clients, starting at $7000.
- The HubSpot Pro Package includes CRM integration, smart content and forms, custom lead scoring, sales notifications, prospect reporting, conversion assists, progressive profiling, and more of the traditional contact management capabilities of a traditional marketing automation system.
- The HubSpot Enterprise Package includes everything in Pro, plus A/B testing for landing pages and emails, as well as event-based segmentation, scoring, automation triggers, and reporting.
Billing Frequency= Annually
(Aside: Not sure what all this terminology means? Check out our Marketing Automation Glossary to get familiar with the lingo)
Infusionsoft is both a CRM and Marketing Automation system for small businesses, so it combines sales and marketing functions all in one system. If you have a small team that wears both sales and marketing hats from time to time, Infusionsoft is a great choice for you. They even offer e-commerce capabilities if you sell products and services online.
Infusionsoft prices its packages based on number of contacts, number of emails per month, and number of users. Infusionsoft differentiates its packages in a few ways:
- Depending on whether you need Contact Management (basic CRM features), Marketing Automation, Sales Automation (more advanced CRM features), or e-Commerce, there’s a package built for your specific needs.
- If you’re just a small marketing team with <3 people and no more than 2,500 contacts, the Essentials package fits the bill- especially if you don’t do much work with sales.
- If you have an inside sales team, then the Deluxe sales package is ideal because it gives you sales automation functionality. However, if you rely mostly on web sales and don’t have a sales team to proactively pitch your products or services, the E-Commerce package is priced the same, but more tailored to your needs.
- If you have up to 10,000 contacts and need a greater email sending limit despite your sales methodology, the Complete package is a great value at only $379 per month.
- Infusionsoft also offers a Kickstart service to get you set up on the system, and they’ll even provide you plans to create a marketing strategy to capture, nurture, and convert leads, starting at $1,999. Kickstart is actually required for all packages.
Billing frequency: Monthly, no contracts or annual fees
Act-On, like Hubspot and Infusionsoft, also targets smaller marketing teams. They traditionally priced based on number of emails sent, but now, Act-On looks at the number of active contacts you have per month, which can mean the number of contacts you emailed that month and/or inbound leads that interacted with your marketing automation content.
Act-On offers the same basic functionality for everyone, regardless of how many contacts you have. The beauty of this pricing model is that you can have a slow month and pay the $500 fee for 1,000 active contacts, but then ramp up during a busy month and pay for 10,000 or more contacts without having to tier up. Act-On does have some pricing differentiators from its competitors though, including:
- A setup and implementation fee starting at $399
- Act-On Inbound, an add-on capability for anyone who already uses their marketing automation. Act-On Inbound is based off of number of keywords and pages, starting at $249 per month for 400 target keywords and 1,000 pages, up to $999 month for 10,000 keywords and 10,000 pages. Inbound functionality includes a Google AdWords integration, advanced SEO for marketing content, a blog integration for SEO & calls to action, and website SEO capabilities.
Billing frequency: Month-to-month contracts, so they “earn your business every month.”
SalesFusion targets a variety of marketers, from SMBs to enterprise-class customers. I’d say they are ideal for marketing teams with 3+ members. All of their packages start with 30,000 contacts included, giving you a greater value at the base price than many of their competitors who start at 10,000 contacts by default.
Here’s a look at what you get with each of SalesFusion’s pricing packages:
- Live daily training and on-demand training videos are available to all customers, regardless of their package, plus they offer office hours with their client success team from 3 am- 8 pm EST.
- SalesFusion gives you unlimited bulk email sending with all 3 packages, as well as lead nurturing, lead scoring, basic spam analysis, split A/B testing, SEO analysis, social sharing, native CRM integration, and several other features that their competitors do not offer at a basic level.
- With the Enterprise edition, you get advanced email rendering and spam analysis, 3 email sending domains, event listener, dynamic content, a YouTube integration, RSS feeds, webinar/event management, and a Google Adwords integration.
- With the Ultimate edition, you get all the functionality in the Enterprise version, but also advanced A/B testing (on emails and landing pages), 6 sending domains, a dedicated IP address, and advanced segmentation.
Billing frequency: Annually
In 2013, Pardot was acquired by Salesforce.com, making it an ideal choice for Salesforce users since they’ve got a built-in integration with their parent CRM. That said, Pardot still integrates with other CRMs, and most other marketing automation vendors still integrate with Salesforce, so your CRM doesn’t make Pardot a deal-maker or a deal-breaker. Pardot traditionally had an email-based pricing model instead of a contact-based model, but that has changed since the Salesforce acquisition. They also historically targeted SMBs , but now Pardot is gaining ground in the mid-market and with enterprise level companies as the industry expands.
The big differences between Pardot’s packages are:
- All pricing is based off of the number of prospect records you have in the system, but they’re all priced out based on up to 10,000 contact records by default, meaning that adding additional contacts will increase these 3 package prices.
- With Standard you get only email support, with Pro you get email and chat, and with Ultimate you get email, chat, and phone support.
- Training is primarily web-based, but it is offered free of charge to all Pardot users.
- Pro includes more advanced dynamic content in your emails, an integration with Googe AdWords, and API Access, which is especially needed if you have an in-house CRM you need to integrate or sync with the system. You can also see your prospects’ social media profiles in Pardot’s Pro edition.
- Pardot Ultimate includes all Pro features plus custom user roles, which allows you to give different permissions to different members on your team, a greater API bandwidth for more frequent syncing, and a dedicated IP address for your emails and landing pages.
Billing Frequency= Annually
Marketo had the most flexible pricing of all the solutions we looked at, with different packages for B2B and B2C marketers, plus a range of prices depending on how many contact records you have. Since most companies adopting marketing automation software in 2014 are in the B2B space with longer sales cycles, we evaluated those packages instead of B2C pricing. Marketo’s pricing is also based off of number of contact records, but the starting packages were for <10K contacts, making it a better choice for mid-sized or enterprise-level organizations with larger databases.
Marketo also offers three editions- Spark, Standard, and Select. Here are the primary differences in those packages:
- All three have unlimited marketing users, but the size of your sales team can determine which package to go for. To access the Marketo sales dashboard in your CRM (which is great so your sales reps don’t have to constantly login to two systems), you can have 5 sales users with Spark, 10 sales users with Standard, and 20 sales users with Select.
- Spark is limited to 5GB of content management and file hosting, while the other two packages have unlimited hosting.
- Spark users only have web support access, Standard users have web, phone, and email support, while Select users have web, phone, and email support 24×5 globally, plus 4 mentoring sessions per quarter. Only 2 users can contact support with Spark, while 4 can contact support with Standard, and 6-8 can contact support with Select.
- Insturctor-led virtual training is included in the cost of all three packages.
- Standard gives you more advanced marketing automation capabilities, such as lead scoring, dynamic content, progressive profiling, A/B testing, extended API and CRM integrations, and social engagement applications. You also receive more in-depth reporting and analysis with the Standard package.
- With Select (or as an add-on to Standard), you can automatically limit the number of messages any individual receives on a weekly or daily basis. Likewise, you can use trending engagement metrics to determine how your content engages prospects over time.
- With Select, you can even create social promotions such as referral offers or sweepstakes, and you can create role-based permissions for your users. You also get a dedicated IP address with a Select account.
- Select users also get more advanced reporting than Standard with Marketo’s Revenue Modeler, which analyzes prospects at each stage of your marketing-sales funnel.
Billing Frequency= Annually, or quarterly payments available at an additional 10% per month
Of all the companies that listed their pricing online, Eloqua was by far the most expensive, but also among the most robust in terms of capabilities. To be fair, several of the enterprise-level marketing automation companies don’t list pricing on their website at all (we’re looking at you IBM & SAS), so Eloqua stands out for their transparency. Needless to say, Eloqua is best for larger marketing departments with multiple marketing automation professionals, though they do cater to some SMBs with more sophisticated marketing needs.
Eloqua’s pricing model differentiators are:
- All prices are based off of databases with fewer than 10,000 contacts. I would expect that’s rare for many Eloqua users, so expect pricing to inflate with your database size.
- Basic accounts are limited to 10 marketing users, Standard accounts get 50, and Enterprise accounts can have unlimited users.
- Though they offer coaching and online educational resources, their live, in-person training, Eloqua University, comes at an additional fee for all three packages. Though they don’t list the fee online, we were quoted $2500 for Eloqua University when we considered Eloqua two years ago. (Prices may have gone up since then.)
- Dedicated IP addresses and URLs are available with the Standard and Enterprise packages, as well as deliverability testing, advanced segmentation, data-cleansing, de-duplication, multi-model lead scoring, advanced routing capabilities, custom CRM integrations, API access, and custom security roles for users.
- Enterprise users also get premier support, a sandbox test environment, unlimited scale (pageviews, emails, forms, users), multiple databases for separate business units, and 3 licenses to Eloqua’s Insight Analyzer, a custom reporting dashboard.
Billing frequency= Annually
While these seven solutions give you a taste for the industry’s pricing, check out all of your options in our comprehensive list of marketing automation software, and visit their websites to get customized quotes for your specific needs.
I’m curious, if you’ve already bought marketing automation, which system did you choose and how important was price in your ultimate decision?
Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.