One of the most powerful tools in an inbound marketer’s toolbelt is email marketing. Creating fun, informative and engaging email campaigns is one of today’s most effective methods of gathering leads and retaining customers. As such, a dynamic email service provider is key to the success of your email marketing — and it’s even more important when you’re an enterprise.
Email service providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact are great tools for mid-sized and small businesses alike. However, large enterprises need more specialized enterprise email marketing platforms that can handle the vast amount of data and subscribers that enterprise marketers deal with.
What’s the Difference Between SMB Email Marketing and Enterprise Email Marketing?
When it comes to the difference between email marketing platforms designed for SMBs vs enterprises, the main difference comes down to the available features. As you can imagine, enterprise email marketing platforms offer a wider variety of features than those for SMBs do. Additionally, these features are oftentimes more powerful.
One of the most common differences is the amount of lead storage. Since enterprises generally market to many more people, they need more lead storage than their SMB counterparts. Similarly, this higher amount of leads requires segmentation in order to send the right messages to the right people. Although some SMB email marketing solutions offer segmentation features, those in enterprise platforms are often better.
In addition, enterprise email marketing platforms generally offer more reporting capabilities, including the ability to create custom reports. Other features commonly found in enterprise platforms include A/B testing, dynamic content and automated lead scoring.
So now that you know what makes an enterprise email marketing platform suitable for an enterprise, let’s look at the top vendors. We gathered a shortlist of the best enterprise email marketing solutions, so you can start your search to find your best-fit software. In no particular order, here are the top six:
It’s rare to find a list of top marketing software that doesn’t feature at least one Salesforce product. This list is no exception.
Salesforce’s Pardot is an all-in-one marketing automation solution that provides lead management, ROI reporting and data analytics. It’s predominantly marketed towards B2B companies, although there are some B2C companies that have used it successfully. But let’s focus on what you came to this article for in the first place: the enterprise email marketing features.
Pardot takes your email campaigns from beginning to end. Its email builder tool allows you to create custom email templates with a responsive design. This email builder uses a visual editor, making it easy to learn and use for anybody.
As you probably know by now, personalization is key to effective email marketing. Pardot’s email marketing platform customizes your messaging to create more personalized interactions. For example, it can change the content based on a person’s previous engagement while automatically segmenting your customers.
Additionally, Pardot includes spam filters to optimize your email deliverability.
Marketo is one of those vendors whose software fulfills the needs of a range of business sizes. Although it offers affordable options for small to mid-sized businesses, it’s no slouch when it comes to robust enterprise email marketing capabilities.
Marketo emphasizes learning about your customers. They want to make sure you don’t make the mistake of sending a generic bulk email to your entire email list. Rather, they want to help you segment your customers and leads so that you can send them the most relevant content possible.
Thanks to the “smart marketing database,” you can collect data on your customers to get a 360 degree view of each customer. This, in turn, helps you segment them based on their demographics, interests and behavior.
Automation is at the core of an enterprise email marketing platform. After creating emails for your various campaigns in Marketo, those emails are triggered to send to your customers at various points based on their behavior. The system also provides real-time reporting and A/B testing features so you can update your campaigns whenever you want.
IBM’s Watson Campaign Automation is another all-in-one marketing automation tool. It has a plethora of lead management and analytics functionality, in addition to various campaign management tools. By offering campaign management tools for channels including mobile, social media, web and, of course, email, IBM allows marketers to create complex, multi-channel campaigns.
IBM’s email marketing functionality includes your standard enterprise email marketing features, such as an email builder and dynamic content. But it also includes more powerful and unique features, too. For example, thanks to its multi-channel support, you can integrate your email marketing efforts with other channels to create complex campaigns. With this integration, you can send emails in real-time to customers based on behaviors outside of email, such as social media interactions or a website visit.
Of course, IBM also helps you optimize your campaigns as well. The link tracking and testing features are easy to use, so you can accurately assess why your click-through rates are too low (or, hopefully, why they’re so high). Send Time Optimization is another useful feature that sends your emails during the times when your customers are most likely to see and open them.
Oracle’s Eloqua marketing automation software feels like a combination of several of the other vendors in this list. Like Pardot, the system is mainly focused on B2B marketing. Similarly to IBM’s Watson Campaign Automation, it provides multi-channel campaign integration. And like Marketo, it provides real-time reporting capabilities.
Despite this, Eloqua is still very much its own unique system. It’s easy to use thanks to an intuitive interface and interactive dashboards that display real-time data. Part of what makes it easy to use is its visual user interface. For example, you can map out your multi-channel campaigns to get an easier-to-understand visual overview of your customer journey.
One of Eloqua’s unique features is its high-level analytics. Businesses that place a large emphasis on leveraging their data love this system because of the insights it can provide. The system provides closed-loop reporting and complex “best-of-breed” web analytics, along with your standard enterprise email marketing analytics.
Most people think of Photoshop and Illustrator when they hear the name Adobe, but the company develops powerful automation solutions for marketers and other business users as well. One of those solutions is the marketing automation tool Adobe Campaign.
As you’d expect, Adobe Campaign comes with standard campaign management features. But it also comes with unique features, such as multilingual campaign support. It also pulls data from both online and offline sources, giving you more context on your customers, which can lead to a higher likelihood of conversion.
Additionally, when you integrate Adobe Campaign with Adobe Target, you can create ultra-real-time emails. These emails automatically change their content based on factors such as the time of opening, the day it’s opened, the location of the contact and other factors.
As with all Adobe software, Adobe Campaign integrates easily with other Adobe products like Adobe Target, Analytics and Experience Manager. If you’re already using an Adobe product, or if you have a need for one, the seamless integration is always a big selling point. Your data can transfer back and forth with ease, without fear of duplication or alteration.
Lastly, we come to ActiveCampaign. It’s not a name brand platform, but it’s just as capable of improving an enterprise’s email marketing.
One of ActiveCampaign’s most unique and powerful features is its contact data collection. It can find and store a person’s age, gender, location, social media profiles, interests and more based solely on their email address. This means you don’t have to create an extensive subscription form; all you need is their name and email address. This helps increase the number of people who fill out these forms, which means more leads for you to work with.
Speaking of subscription forms, ActiveCampaign comes with subscription forms that you can add to your website to collect your website visitors’ contact information. After a visitor fills out the form, their information is automatically imported into your email lists so that they’ll receive your campaigns. Little manual work is involved in the process, which makes collecting and marketing to new leads a much less pain-staking process.
In addition, ActiveCampaign constantly analyzes their users’ campaigns to help prevent your emails from being identified as spam. Specifically, they compare good senders vs bad senders and relay that information to you, so you can adjust your campaigns accordingly.
Finding the Right Platform
If you’re in the market for enterprise email marketing platforms, this article is a great starting point, but you’ll need to do a lot more research before implementing one. Assess your needs carefully, separating the “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves.” And make sure you don’t focus too much on shiny new features that you’ll never actually use.
Whether you choose one of these six providers or not, make sure you keep your focus on one thing, and one thing only: finding the best enterprise email marketing platform for your business.