Sales & Marketing Tech

Category Compare: Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation Software

By | 4 min read | Published

In this report, we define and compare email marketing software and marketing automation software so you can decide which tool is right for your business.

Despite having many overlapping features, email marketing and marketing automation are two distinct software categories. This report will highlight the similarities and differences between the two tools so you can decide which one better suits your business needs.

What is email marketing software?

Email marketing software automates email communication between a business and its prospects and customers. These systems help manage mailing lists, monitor marketing campaign effectiveness, and increase email marketing efficiency. They can be used to strengthen brand recognition, announce new product launches, and promote services, among others.

Email marketing software is primarily used by email marketers to automate and streamline email campaign distributions, send bulk blast emails, and track recipient behavior.

What is marketing automation software?

Marketing automation software helps businesses automate marketing processes and allows for end-to-end management of marketing campaigns, including campaign design, metrics tracking, content publishing, customer segmentation, and marketing analytics.

Marketing professionals use marketing automation software to automate repetitive campaign creation, distribution, and tracking tasks across email, social media, website, and other online marketing avenues.

What do they have in common?

Both tools help streamline and scale the distribution of marketing campaigns and engage your audience. But while email marketing software automates email marketing campaigns, marketing automation software has a broader scope and includes more channels than simply email.

Email marketing software features

Marketing automation software features

Which tool is right for you?

If your primary work involves email marketing and your data needs are limited to email recipients, opt for an email marketing tool. But if you wish to track user behavior beyond emails and monitor audience interactions on your website and social media, among other platforms, select a marketing automation tool.

Once you get an idea of which software to use, head to our email marketing software and marketing automation software category pages where you can find a sortable list of products, software reviews from verified users, and comprehensive buyers guides.

Want to narrow down your search to only the most popular and highest-rated solutions? Check out Capterra’s Shortlist reports for the top email marketing and marketing automation software tools—our reports are based on an analysis of thousands of user reviews.

12 top-rated email marketing and marketing automation software

These 12 products, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top rated in both software categories:

ActiveCampaign Logo


Number of reviews: 1398
Read user reviews
AWeber Logo


Number of reviews: 170
Read user reviews
Constant Contact Logo

Constant Contact

Number of reviews: 1,869
Read user reviews
ConvertKit Logo


Number of reviews: 134
Read user reviews
Emma Logo


Number of reviews: 121
Read user reviews
GetResponse Logo


Number of reviews: 276
Read user reviews
MailChimp Logo


Number of reviews: 14,582
Read user reviews
MailerLite Logo


Number of reviews: 603
Read user reviews
Omnisend Logo


Number of reviews: 448
Read user reviews
Remarkety Logo


Number of reviews: 91
Read user reviews
Sender Logo


Number of reviews: 109
Read user reviews
Sendinblue Logo


Number of reviews: 961
Read user reviews

Note: Reviews and ratings data in the product cards is as of Oct. 26, 2021. New reviews may have been added since the publication of this article, so the reviews data in this piece may not reflect current conditions.

The products in the category comparison images are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations by Capterra. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.


To be included in the list, the products must:

  1. Be listed under Capterra’s 2021 Shortlist report for email marketing and marketing automation software. Learn more about the Capterra Shortlist methodology here.
  2. Meet our software market definition for email marketing and marketing automation software:
    • Email Marketing: “Email Marketing software helps users leverage their email channel to deliver and optimize marketing messages — such as brand newsletters or contextually relevant, real-time and personalized communications — in support of multichannel engagement across the customer life cycle.”
    • Marketing Automation: “Marketing automation software streamlines marketing functions by managing processes, workflows and multifunctional, omnichannel campaigns that can be automatically triggered by lead behavior and interactions. Marketing professionals use marketing automation software to automate repetitive campaign creation, distribution and tracking tasks across emails, social media, and other website marketing avenues.”

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

About the Author

Ashish Upadhyay

Ashish Upadhyay

Writer @ Capterra, helping digital Davids beat Goliaths. I cover small business trends in CRM, accounting, real estate, insurtech, and emerging tech. B.A English, University of Delhi. Currently pursuing my master’s in English Literature. When I’m not working, I’m planning my next trek, playing video games, or working out.

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