Choosing Marketing Tools & Software
Choosing marketing tools and software for your marketing department can be an overwhelming task, especially given that there are thousands of marketing tools available. In fact, as of 2020, there are more than 8,000 martech tools available on the market — up by 13.6% the previous year.
So, how can you narrow 8,000 tools and solutions down to a selection that will help your marketing team execute and optimize their activities? Well, we’re here to recommend some of the best and most effective marketing tools and software available today.
What are marketing tools and software?
Marketing tools and software are online solutions that help marketing departments streamline their processes, automate customer communication, collate market data, and schedule marketing campaign activity. Marketing tools and software effectively supercharge a marketing department, helping them cut down on inefficient processes and carry out day-to-day marketing activities with ease.
Most companies will use a selection of marketing tools to address different needs. For example, a marketing department will most likely use one tool to schedule newsletters by email and another to optimize content for SEO.
Why are marketing tools important?
Marketing tools are important because they help expand marketing reach, finding and converting more people into customers. These marketing software solutions allow marketers to maximize their time and resources by providing information about what audiences to target, what channels to use, and what campaigns are most effective.
Marketing tools give teams detailed information about their customers so they can design the right methods of communication. These tools also help marketing departments maintain and develop relationships with customers through targeted messaging and strategic information gathering. From analytics to social media, SEO to automation, marketing tools and software are critical for long term success.
Different types of marketing tools
The marketing tools and software that make up a team’s martech stack will vary depending on the company’s needs, the channels they’ve chosen to use to reach their customers, as well as the size of their organization.
A small organization would most likely curate a smaller marketing technology stack, while a larger organization could require a marketing stack that can cater to more expansive activities. Similarly, a company that sells a range of sandals to teenagers would access customers differently than a company that produces large-scale events.
What types of marketing tools does your team need?
This selection of marketing tools and software types are the building blocks of a typical marketing technology stack. These marketing tools are essential for vital processes and activities.
- Social media management tools:
Marketers use social media management tools to find content to share, schedule posts to reach the most viewers, and gain insights on the effectiveness of social media campaigns.
- Business intelligence tools: When designing campaigns, marketers need to have a clear understanding of their customers’ characteristics, behaviors, and desires. Business intelligence tools deliver customer behavior data, allowing marketing departments to monitor targets, gain insights, and launch more effective campaigns.
- Content and digital asset management tools: Why waste time searching for images, logos, and up-to-date written content? Content and digital asset management tools allow marketers to access up-to-date, on-brand assets from any device or location.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) tools: Capturing customer information and data about purchasing history makes outreach more effective. The right CRM tools can improve proactive messaging and automate communication, leading to seamless and effective engagement across all customer-facing teams.
- Automation tools: Marketing automation tools are software platforms that automate and measure marketing activities and tasks across a range of channels, including email marketing, lead generation, landing page creation, and website personalization.
- SEO tools: Search engine optimization is an important factor in increasing organic search traffic to your website. Tools that help you determine the correct keywords to target are especially valuable.
- Email marketing tools: Email marketing is an excellent way to cultivate customers, offer them value, reach out to them with promotional opportunities, or even collect data through surveys and questionnaires. Email marketing tools enable teams to target, personalize, and schedule content quickly and efficiently, measure the results, and gain actionable insights.
- Marketing project management tools: While many marketing tools help teams manage one channel, a robust marketing project management tool will help a marketing department manage entire campaigns and projects with ease. Marketing project management software gives managers visibility across projects and allows them to assign tasks to team members and evaluate and allocate resources effectively.
- Team collaboration and communication tools: Communication and collaboration are critical for any marketing team working to increase brand awareness, improve customer relations, and promote products or services. Chat messaging and email integration tools that enable real-time collaboration and break down siloed communication are vital to a marketing team.
- Analytics tools: Analytics tools offer important insights designed to help guide a marketing team in their lead generation and retention efforts, website traffic and behavior analysis, and even customer preference research. Marketing analytics can help marketing teams maximize their budgets and time.
Best marketing tools and software for teams
With over 8,000 marketing automation tools and software options on the market, it’s difficult to know which tools are worth exploring for your company. Choosing the wrong tool can cost your team precious time and money. That’s why we’ve collected some of the most popular, effective, and useful marketing tools and software that will give you a starting point as you build the right martech stack for your company.
Social media management tools
There’s more to social media management than posting a photo to Instagram between meetings. The importance of social media marketing cannot be overstated. In fact, 3.6 billion people use networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, globally.
Social media marketing requires tools that can help you plan and optimize content, maximize engagement, thoughtfully reach an audience to build brand awareness, and drive sales.
- Buffer: Buffer allows marketers to schedule content across channels including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. For business accounts, it also offers built-in analytics that can help you drill down into each post’s engagement success. Buffer is useful for smaller companies or firms, and the free version offers quite a lot of features.
- Sprout Social: Another option for social media management is Sprout Social, which similarly allows users to schedule posts, manage accounts, and analyze performance across a range of social media channels. Sprout Social also offers audience discovery and customer relationship management, and its feature set makes it a good choice for medium and large companies.
- Hootsuite: With 16 million users across 175 countries, Hootsuite is a social media management tool that’s well-established in the market. It can help teams schedule and share posts and monitor feeds. Hootsuite offers a free package for a single user to schedule up to thirty posts per month across three social channels, which can offer a solid start for those entering into social media management.
Business intelligence tools
Understanding your customer and their impact on your business is vital. This is why marketing teams need business intelligence tools like marketing automation tools. 90% of marketing and sales teams say business intelligence is crucial to getting their work done. It can also lead to faster, more informed decision-making and guide marketing campaign planning by using data about customer preferences, audience trends, and even competitor insights.
- Tableau: Tableau collates analytics data into a simple dashboard so marketers can pull trends and behavior easily. Tableau offers real-time analysis, and it is able to blend different streams of data for in-depth analysis.
- Sisense: Another business intelligence tool is Sisense, which offers analytics, reports, and visuals that any marketer can understand, no matter their comfort level with data. Sisense is designed to be scalable and handle large data sets.
- Looker: Looker is a browser-based business intelligence tool that helps users collate and visualize data. Users can show trends, engagement, and behavior using a variety of different charts and graphics, from heat maps to word clouds.
Content and asset management tools
Managing the various forms of content and marketing assets in a marketing department is no small task. Marketing teams can waste considerable time searching for individual images or files stored in different places. Content and asset management tools are critical for busy marketing departments.
- WordPress: WordPress is a useful tool for many marketing departments when it comes to website management and content creation. The CMS integrates with a host of apps, meaning users don’t have to have knowledge of coding to create and maintain web pages with reasonably high functionality.
- MediaValet: MediaValet is a cloud-based digital asset management software, offering the ability to preview and store 200 different types of files. MediaValet also integrates with other tools like WordPress, Wrike, and HootSuite, streamlining the process of creating valuable content for customers.
- Canto: Another established marketing software solution, Canto, was founded in 1990 and helps users store, organize, and leverage their digital assets. Within Canto, users can search for assets, preview and edit them, and then share them in a range of ways — from standard email or Slack messages to social media.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
A marketer might be able to maintain a relationship with a handful of customers using their inbox. However, customer relationship management tools allow marketers to maintain relationships with hundreds, thousands, and even millions of customers. CRM tools help marketers identify, target, personalize, nurture, and convert customers using a range of communication tools.
- Intercom: One CRM option is Intercom, which allows marketers to communicate directly to specific customers at the right time, based on their behavior or demographics. Intercom also offers AI-based chat boxes integrated into websites, creating an opportunity to further support the customer journey.
- HubSpot: Hubspot is another CRM tool that helps marketing departments manage their inbound marketing and sales functions. HubSpot also offers a CMS so users can use the tool to build and host their websites and create and manage landing pages.
- Zendesk: Zendesk is a cloud-based customer support software that helps marketing and sales teams communicate with customers across a range of channels, from social media to email to a website ticketing system. Zendesk can also help marketing companies assist their customers by providing and managing common FAQs.
Marketing automation tools
Marketing automation tools are on the rise, with 51% of companies currently using some form of this technology in their day-to-day processes. Automation tools streamline a marketer’s job, making it possible to communicate more often and effectively.
- Active Campaign: Active Campaign creates automated communication functions for customers depending on their behavior on your website. It's a marketing automation tool that can create specific recipes for email follow-ups, abandoned cart reminders, and lead scoring — all depending on a customer’s journey through the site.
- Marketo: Marketo is a marketing automation tool that helps marketers increase their understanding of their visitors and then assists them in designing automated campaigns that can help convert leads into customers. Marketo is built on Google Cloud software and incorporates several Google features as well.
Search engine optimization is an essential part of any marketing department’s remit. Ensuring the right keywords are targeted, content is optimized correctly, and ads are well-placed is a precise science. The right software can give marketing departments an edge over the competition, helping them rank higher and attract more organic visitors to their websites.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is an SEO tool that helps marketing departments with backlinks, keywords, and competitor rankings. You can also use Ahrefs to find out what keywords your company should optimize on Google, Amazon, YouTube, and other sites.
- Google Search Console: When it comes to SEO, you’ll want to go straight to the source by using Google Search Console, a free set of tools that help marketers monitor search performance in the Google search index. You can find out which sites link to your website and receive alerts when your site is marked as spam.
- SEMrush: Another SEO tool, SEMrush, also helps websites monitor and optimize their search results. In addition to offering other services like managing pay-per-click advertising and social media campaigns, SEMRush can audit your web pages for SEO keyword opportunities and can give you valuable information about your competitor’s SEO rankings and trends in your industry.
Email marketing tools
Email marketing is an easily measured and affordable way to reach customers in real-time, and marketing departments have relied on the method for a long time. Email marketing tools should allow marketing departments to easily reach the right customers.
- Mailchimp: One of the most well-known email marketing tools, Mailchimp has over 11 million users who rely on it to design, schedule, send mass emails, and optimize timing using A/B testing. Mailchimp also enables marketers to send emails to over 10,000 users every month for free, making it an attractive platform for newly formed companies.
- Sender: Another option is Sender, which allows users to send emails for free without requiring any coding or design knowledge. Sender is known for strong analytics that can help marketers build buyer profiles to target.
- Omnisend: Omnisend is an email marketing tool that incorporates an e-commerce function, allowing users to select products to include in emails sent to potential and current customers. Omnisend can also set up email marketing that is cued by behavioral triggers and customer engagement.
Marketing project management tools
Marketing departments are charged with planning, managing, and evaluating projects and campaigns throughout the year, and the sheer number of moving parts can be unwieldy. Marketing project management software should help managers organize, communicate, and execute campaigns — from the big picture to small details.
- Wrike: Wrike’s project management software and features enable managers to get a 360-degree view of campaigns and projects in real-time. Wrike for Marketers Performance features one-click Gantt charts, template creation from your most successful campaigns, and shared documents and @mentions for team collaboration.
- Trello: Trello allows teams to collaborate by displaying marketing projects in board view, with digital notes that assign tasks to team members. Similar to a Kanban board, Trello shows who is working on the task and the current task phase as well.
Team collaboration and communication tools
A marketing department’s fast-paced environment requires tools for agile communication and collaboration. These tools should streamline brainstorming and planning and ensure teams are working together well. Marketing collaboration software can ensure teams are able to communicate while working remotely or in hybrid working environments.
- Slack: Channel-based messaging system Slack is a helpful marketing collaboration tool, allowing users to communicate asynchronously or in real-time. A marketing department can create a channel for specific users based on marketing functions, like social media or lead generation, or based on individual projects, like an upcoming product launch or website revamp.
- Zoom: No one could have predicted that Zoom would become one of the most recognized household names because of the worldwide pandemic. Now, most people know that Zoom allows for multi-person video and audio chats that can help teams collaborate and communicate across time zones.
- G Suite: For shared documents accessible from anywhere, G Suite is a good base for any marketing department. Users can create and access a range of document types, from slideshow presentations to standard word documents, share them with team members, and use the commenting or track changes function to collaborate more efficiently.
Without analytics tools, marketers simply wouldn’t be able to discern which marketing campaigns and activities work best. Marketing analytics tools help marketers understand how successful their campaigns are through the analysis of website traffic and pageviews, click-through rates, and other key metrics.
- Google Analytics: Widely known and free to use, Google Analytics is a website traffic tracking tool. You simply place a piece of code into your website and Google Analytics can report back with real-time information about your website visitors, their journey through your website, and even information about how they were led to purchase your product.
- BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is another analytics tool, but it offers a bit of a twist. BuzzSumo allows you to find data on the popularity of content shared in relation to keywords on other sites and social media channels. This makes it a valuable research tool that can help you plan and create shareable content.
- MixPanel: MixPanel takes analytics to another level, tracking user behavior with regard to your website as well as your product. With MixPanel, you can also create product experiments, test different messaging, and even customize product options to different users.
How to choose marketing software for your business
Choosing marketing software for your business can be a tricky endeavor. Each chief marketing officer or marketing manager will have to weigh several different elements when choosing what tools will work best to streamline, automate and improve efficiency.
When making choices about marketing software, it’s helpful to start with these basic considerations:
- Budget and ongoing costs: The size of your budget, and the percentage of it that can be dedicated to martech, will greatly determine the number of marketing tools your team will be able to engage. It will also determine whether you’ll be able to engage paid options when free services are no longer satisfactory. It’s also important to consider the ongoing monthly costs of marketing tools and how much the price will increase if you add more users over time.
- Size of team: Your team’s size will also determine which marketing tools will work best. Certain tools will only work for a certain number of users, whereas others enable teams from various departments to use the tool at once. Marketing software tools are often priced by the number of users.
- Ability to integrate with others: When marketing tools can perform more than one function very well, that can give them an edge over the competition. Marketing with tools that can interface with each other can save your whole team time and energy.
- Consider how it works with what you already use: If your team already uses a few marketing tools, consider which new tools can interact with your existing tech stack. You’ll need to weigh whether integration can be facilitated in-house or whether you’ll need to pay a fee to incorporate your existing tools.
- Look at trends: Before you click purchase on a marketing tool, it’s important to have an understanding of the marketing tools and software trends — from all-in-one platforms that incorporate all your marketing solutions to artificial intelligence that can personalize content.
- Test out first: Trying out marketing tools or software before making a purchase or even before committing to rolling out a free service to your whole department is critical. You should be able to sign up for a free trial of most software options to determine whether it meets your marketing needs.
Wrike offers marketing project management software that can help your team excel. Wrike includes features like built-in approvals that can streamline your asset management, team dashboards that can help your team communicate and collaborate, and a range of marketing automation features that will save marketers time and help effectively reach more customers.
Wrike also integrates with over 400+ apps, including many of the solutions we outlined above, like Salesforce, MediaValet, and Tableau, making it one of the most effective marketing platforms available.