Best Marketing Automation Software: Marketo Engage or Act-On? 

What's the best marketing automation software? Marketo Engage? Act-On? Let's investigate cost, integration, and implementation factors.
Article Outline

Adobe claims their Marketo Engage is the best marketing automation software—we beg to differ. But we’re not the only ones: Act-On beats Marketo in a face-to-face match-up based on G2 reviews of both platforms. (Did we mention we also wipe the floor with Marketo software alternatives like Pardot and Eloqua?). In fact, this summer, business software review aggregator G2 ranked Act-On as a Leader or the Best in our Class in more than eight categories.

As marketers ourselves, we weren’t surprised. It’s the same thing we’ve been saying since we decided to come out swinging against Marketo marketing automation and others like them last year. Act-On is the most user friendly, quickest to implement, most adaptable, and dare we say best marketing automation software on the market. Plus, our estimated ROI compared to the competition will make you the finance team’s favorite marketer.  

Let’s jump in and explore how Act-On and Marketo compare in three key dimensions: implementation, integrations, and pricing.

Act-On and Marketo functionality and implementation time

When you choose Act-On, we get you up and running fast. We understand that implementation can make or break your marketing goals. When you do it right, you set yourself up to get things done quickly and start knocking your campaigns out of the park. You can get started with Act-On in just a few weeks. 

Most importantly, implementation isn’t an added cost. It’s included in the price we quote you. We work with every customer as a true partner from data migration to set up, and through launch. When implementation is included, you’ll have more control over your costs and start sending campaigns faster — so you see ROI for your marketing automation faster.

Let’s compare that to Marketo. Often, Marketo implementations are run by third-party partners.* You won’t get the same personalized attention and assistance that comes standard with Act-On. To find an implementation vendor, you’ll need to do the legwork. You’ll have to find them and negotiate pricing with them. This is on top of the licensing costs you’ll pay. Eager to get up and running with your campaign? Sorry, it could take weeks or even months before you’re ready. Your shiny new marketing automation platform has to sit in the box a little bit longer.

We’re not trying to pick on Marketo Engage here (although, it is pretty fun). For us, it comes down to a difference in approach and philosophy. We understand the fast-paced world of marketing better than any of the too-big-to-care market leaders. We know that time is of the essence. We prioritize getting you up and running fast. Then you can stop worrying about setup and start setting goals, sending campaigns, and kicking butt. 

When setup is included in the cost, like it is with Act-On, you have more control over your budget. You won’t have to set aside money and resources (and precious time!) on top of the investment you’re already making in marketing automation. 

“I am a new customer, but not new to marketing automation. I’ve just completed initial onboarding and am very happy with the pace with which we were able to move through it as well as the depth of information covered. Now I’m excited to dig in on using the platform with my team.”

-Trish Keen, Tines Security 

Act-On and Marketo capabilities and CRM integration options 

Look, we’re trying to be a part of the martech ecosystem; other companies are just out to acquire it. We work closely with partners across the industry, and integrate with more CRMs than Marketo. 

But robust integrations are about more than bragging rights: effective marketing automation requires good customer data for lead scoring, segmentation, and nurturing. Without information flowing between all your systems, your dreams of personalized campaigns will be dead on arrival. 

Fortunately, Act-On plays well with others. With five major native CRM integrations compared to Marketo’s two, Act-On far outpaces Marketo Engage in choice and flexibility for your martech stack. Act-On pairs seamlessly with popular CRMs including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.

You can easily integrate Act-On with your CRM system, allowing for efficient lead scoring, segmentation, and nurturing. And since our partners include the most popular webinar, data, and ABM providers, you can plug and play with the best players in the martech landscape. 

We believe you should be able to leverage your preferred tools to enhance your marketing campaigns. You shouldn’t be locked into the tools and solutions one provider thinks are best for you. Say goodbye to the limitations of disconnected systems and hello to a world where your information flows smoothly between all your systems, enabling you to create targeted and personalized campaigns that resonate with your audience.

Act-On continues to improve their already great platform as digital necessity changes in the landscape. Our team at Act-On has helped us tremendously to tailor the platform to our specific needs.”

-Brian Evancho, Schneider Downs 

Lower pricing, better value: Act-On and Marketo cost comparison

How much does Marketo cost? We’re not sure. If you figure it out, let us know. The reason it can be difficult to figure out Marketo pricing is that Adobe has several tiers. The lowest tiers make you pay extra for features like custom data objects and fields, webinar marketing integration, predictive content, and marketing calendars.**

Further, Marketo Engage and other marketing automation software like it set your price based on your total email database size. That’s all well and good if you email every single contact on a regular basis…but most businesses don’t. This pricing model means any inactive contacts end up inflating your price. 

As marketers, we know how it feels to be nickeled and dimed by a vendor. (Hint: bad). You need a cost-effective solution that maximizes your return on investment. Enter Act-On. We only charge you for the emails you actively send to, not every email in your database. 

“Act-On technical support always surpasses my expectations. I have put to the test many times the ability to reach support over chat and to get expert advice any time of the day 24×7.”

-Hector Martinez, National Auto Dealers Association

Since active contacts usually represent 40-60% of your customer database, our approach delivers significant savings over Marketo pricing.*  We’ve crunched the numbers: with Act-On, you’ll typically save up to 50% over Marketo, freeing your marketing budget up to drive demand and retain customers. (Did we mention we don’t charge extra for essential features like integrations?)

We understand that marketing automation software is a big investment. But it should also be a lever to get more value out of what you’re spending. According to G2 reviews, our estimated ROI outperforms other enterprise marketing automation platforms. Our transparent pricing model and cost-saving approach ensure that you get the most value for your marketing budget. So why pay more for features you don’t need or for inactive contacts? 

Ready to explore your options?

Set up a demo today to learn more about how Act-On can help you move down your list of marketing goals and check “Done.” 

Need more information? We knew you were smart: more information on Act-On vs. Marketo Engage, including details on how easy to use our platform is, and how our support team helps our customers. 

*All Marketo intelligence based on independent research conducted by a third party and commissioned by Act-On.

**Based on Adobe’s own pricing sheet for Marketo.


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