The editors of Solutions Review highlight what has changed since the last iteration of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms and provide an analysis of the new report.
Analyst firm Gartner, Inc. recently released the 2021 version of its Magic Quadrant for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms. Gartner defines a B2B marketing automation platform as software that supports lead management, lead scoring, lead generation and lead maintenance activities across all marketing channels. According to the Gartner report, the primary goal of these platforms is “to capture, qualify, and nurture leads until they’re ready to sell, and then match them to the appropriate sales force to close. ”
The core functions of a B2B marketing automation platform include lead scoring, out-of-the-box reports, loyalty programs, lead workflow, and the ability to enter, sync, cleanse, and activate first-party data. Gartner also lists some optional features for these platforms. These include predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics and customer journey analytics.
In this Magic Quadrant, the first to focus on B2B marketing automation platforms, Gartner has identified what it believes are the 13 most significant vendors in the B2B marketing automation market and assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each listed vendor. It ranks them in the signature Magic Quadrant diagram, which shows how Gartner ranks vendors’ ability to deliver on their vision. The graphic is divided into four quadrants: leaders, challengers, niche players and visionaries.
Key takeaways: Gartner Magic Quadrant 2021 for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms
To qualify for the Gartner report, every marketing automation vendor had to meet certain criteria by April 30, 2021. These criteria include proven ability to provide lead management capabilities, at least 20 customers actively using their solution, at least 12 new customers in the past 12 months, business capability demonstrated by three years of revenue growth, a partner ecosystem, one Sales of at least 25 million, EMEA and Asia / Pacific.
Below is a breakdown of each of the categories listed and the companies associated with them.
Adobe is the highest-rated leader in the Magic Quadrant. The Adobe Marketo Engage product is equipped with multi-channel marketing automation, account-based marketing (ABM), and account-based lead qualification tools that can support large-scale B2B programs. Adobe’s strengths are its global support services and the extensive third-party integrations it offers through the Marketo LaunchPoint and Adobe Exchange marketplaces.
Oracle’s marketing automation platform, Oracle Eloqua, is a robust solution tailored to meet the needs of large, complex companies looking to improve their marketing. Eloqua has a lead management suite of features that integrates with other tools in the Oracle CX Marketing suite, including the advertising, commerce, content management, account intelligence, advertising and CDP modules. His strengths lie in enhancing the Eloqua user experience and data enrichment options (via Oracle DataFox, Oracle Advertising Data Enrichment, and third-party options available through the Oracle Cloud Marketplace).
Salesforce Pardot is part of its Marketing Cloud product suite and supports marketing automation solutions such as lead management, ABM and multi-channel engagement. The company works with medium-sized and large companies around the world, but specializes in the financial and high-tech markets. The Salesforce user interface receives high scores from Gartner Peer Insights users, as does the Trailblazer community, which provides a network for customers to share best practices and tips. Another strength is the reporting and analysis functions available in the Advanced and Premium Editions of Pardot.
Creatio’s marketing solution is designed to work with Creatio’s sales and service-oriented applications, all of which can be integrated on a single, unified platform. The company’s marketing automation tools are best suited for midsize and larger businesses, especially those in the financial services, high tech, and manufacturing sectors. Marketing Creatio’s strengths include its lead scoring capabilities, accessible pricing, and embedded machine learning and AI tools that help users manage traditional demand generation programs and ABM campaigns more easily.
The HubSpot Marketing Hub completes the “Leaders” category in the Gartner report. The Marketing Hub suite offers users a unified SaaS platform that is equipped with multi-channel customer loyalty, content management, sales management, prospect retention and service modules that all use the same interface and the same data model. HubSpot is valued for its ease of use, and Gartner Peer Insights users say the company strikes a good balance between functionality, extensibility, and flexibility. Additional strengths are its extensive partner ecosystem, which offers over 300 integrations and thousands of implementation partners, as well as its in-depth understanding of the marketing automation market and the way it is embedded.
Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Marketing Platform is the leading challenger in this year’s Magic Quadrant. The platform is part of the broader Dynamics product suite. It includes multi-channel marketing automation tools that can be integrated with Microsoft’s Power Automate Workflow Process Builder and Power BI analytics solutions. While Microsoft’s marketing automation capabilities may not have a strong presence in the marketplace, they benefit from well-developed add-on capabilities and partners. Dynamics 365 Marketing is also valued for its innovative Updates and Customer Insights CDP, which is available as an add-on module that helps users develop and expand their customer profiles.
Act-On bypasses the line between Challenger and Niche Player in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. The company focuses on growth marketing solutions for small to medium-sized B2B companies in North America with multi-channel marketing, automated lifecycle engagement and behavior analysis tools. Act-On’s pricing model is one of the key benefits, especially for smaller businesses, as it is based on the number of active contacts and there are no consumption fees for emails. The software has also benefited from several significant updates that have expanded its capabilities and enhanced its already well-respected multi-channel lead engagement solutions.
CRMNEXT and its CRM software suite are the first niche player in the Gartner report. It provides a marketing automation module designed to track and measure marketing campaigns across all channels, including social media, email, direct mail, and call centers. Gartner notes that there is room for improvement in the CRMNEXT user interface, but this is offset by versatile deployment options and an extensive suite of AI-based technologies and predictive models for lead scoring. The company also has extensive data and process management functions, which Gartner says are particularly relevant for larger companies.
Sugar CRM also offers well-respected lead scoring models as the company’s Sugar Market solutions allow marketers to run multiple models for leads, opportunities, and ABM initiatives. Users also have the option to use pre-built models and customizable fields to break down details to predict the rating. The company lacks comprehensive multi-channel support, but receives high ratings for its customer service and transparent pricing, packages and service approach.
Zoho’s CRM Plus product combines sales, marketing and service functions on a single platform to help global companies from all industries improve their marketing efforts. Its marketing automation tools are best for small and medium-sized businesses. These tools are only available in the Zoho CRM Plus package, which may not be ideal for larger companies. Thanks to the streamlined implementation and deployment processes, companies of all sizes can handle the onboarding process in-house or with the help of Zoho. Further strengths are flexible lead flow functionalities and a high customer retention rate.
BSI offers marketing automation as part of its BSI Customer Suite and is best suited for larger organizations in the banking, securities, retail and insurance sectors. Its strengths include the single customer view, which can help marketers improve their campaign effectiveness, as well as embedded AI tools and algorithms. BSI does not have the same number of implementation partners as other providers, but it is characterized by its open platform, which enables users to integrate web applications into their solutions.
Freshworks is the last provider listed in the Niche Player category. The Freshsales Suite product offers B2B marketers optimized lead management functions that are reinforced by the Freddy AI engine. The company concentrates its activities on medium-sized and medium-sized companies in the high-tech markets. Its strengths include the AI / ML-powered lead scoring qualifications and general usability that makes it easy for users to implement and launch campaigns. Freshworks doesn’t have an extensive partner network, but its pay-as-you-go model helps add value to its SMB customers.
Read completely Gartner Magic Quadrant 2021 for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms Here.
William Jepma is the Editor, Author and Analyst at Solutions Review aiming to keep readers across industries informed about the latest developments in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Business Process Management (BPM) and Marketing Automation. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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