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Understanding marketing software can be overwhelming, especially since thousands of marketing platform types are available. But marketing software is necessary to help your business engage with customers and develop relationships with potential leads to grow brand awareness and sales. Marketing software can be powerful for your organization and help you reach a wider audience with less work.

In today’s digital economy, the marketing landscape is constantly changing. Adapting to these changes can help your business spread the word about its offerings, attract customers, and engage with and retain them. Failing to do so will leave your business behind. In this article, I’ll help define what marketing software is, the different types of tools available, the features these platforms offer, and their benefits to your business.

What Is Marketing Software? 

Marketing software is a tool that your business can use to automate and measure promotional tasks. These platforms help with everything from email marketing to social media management. The right software can help your organization save time and money on marketing efforts.

The software also tracks visitors' interactions with your website, digital products, and email campaigns. This behavioral information can then trigger targeted content via emails, push notifications, SMS messages, social media posts, web content, and more. These actions will help your business accomplish its marketing goals faster, smarter, and without mistakes.

Types Of Marketing Software

When it comes to marketing software, 50% of marketing professionals say their most significant frustration about buying software is the extensive number of options on the market. I can’t blame them either. So, I’ll go over the different types of marketing software you’ll find in the market and explain what each one does and the features you can implement. Most MarTech stack examples will combine two or more of these tool types.

1. Marketing Planning

Marketing planning software can help your team get organized, think strategically, and enable you to make more decisions based on the data you receive. These tools make your team’s job easier and empower them to create detailed marketing plans and timelines. They can help you focus on more significant details without forgetting deadlines, resources, and dependencies. With marketing planning tools, your team will have everything they need to start and optimize future campaigns.

Examples include solutions such as Asana, Hubspot, and MarketPlan.

Key Features

Here are some key features marketing planning tools provide:

  • Marketing Calendar: A calendar, to-do list, or timeline tool will be essential for planning your campaigns. This will help track when each element is due (copywriting, graphic design, manager approval), as well as when the intended launch date is and on what platform(s). 
  • Collaboration Tools: Working together as a team is essential for success, and marketing planning software will typically offer features to integrate collaboration space for your team to share feedback, ideas, and progress on marketing plans.
  • Approval Process: Marketing planning software also helps teams implement a quick and efficient multi-level approval process that enables managers to provide instant feedback and approvals from within the platform, speeding up marketing initiatives and ensuring consistency.
  • Digital Asset Management: Media libraries act as a centralized place that allows teams to store and manage marketing assets, empowering teams to upload, organize, and retrieve various content types, including everything from images to videos to PDFs.

2. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation software is a technology platform that helps businesses automate and streamline their marketing efforts, tasks, and processes. It allows companies to target specific audiences with personalized messages across multiple channels, such as email, social media, websites, and more. By using marketing automation tools, businesses can nurture leads, track customer behavior, and analyze data to make informed marketing decisions. 

Examples include marketing automation solutions such as Hubspot Marketing Hub, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Adobe Marketo

Key Features

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from the following marketing automation tool features.

  • Email Marketing Automation: This includes sending personalized and targeted emails to specific segments of your audience based on their behavior, preferences, or demographics. It allows businesses to nurture leads, send follow-up emails, and engage with customers at various stages of the sales funnel automatically.
  • Lead Management and Nurturing: Marketing automation tools help businesses capture, track, and manage leads effectively. They enable lead scoring, where leads are ranked based on their interactions with your content, website, or emails. This scoring system helps identify hot leads that are ready for sales engagement. 
  • Analytics and Reporting: Marketing automation software provides detailed analytics and reporting capabilities. Businesses can track the performance of their marketing campaigns in real-time, monitoring metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. 
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3. Email Marketing 

Email marketing software will help your business engage customers, offer value, and disseminate promotional opportunities. You can also use these platforms to collect data through surveys and questionnaires. Email marketing tools enable your team to target, personalize, and schedule content, measure results, and receive actionable insights.

Examples include email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and ActiveCampaign.

Key Features

The following are some of the key features you will find in email marketing tools to help enhance email campaigns for your business.

  • Drag-and-Drop Email Design: This allows users to create visually appealing and responsive email campaigns without any coding knowledge. Marketers can simply drag pre-designed elements like images, text boxes, buttons, and social media icons, dropping them onto a canvas to customize the layout and design of their emails.
  • Spam Flag Avoidance: Mass-sending emails always runs the risk of your communications being marked as “spam” and never making it to your customers’ inbox. Email marketing software has built-in features to avoid this, ensuring high deliverability rates for your campaigns. 
  • Send Time Optimization: This feature allows you to optimize messaging by sending them during the highest engagement times with customers; this feature uses data the platform provides to give you insight into ideal times to schedule emails.

4. Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing software helps to find content worth sharing, schedule posts to reach the most viewers, and gather insights on their social media campaigns’ effectiveness. These tools can also help your business capitalize on conversations about your brand by searching for social media content related to your company. After implementing social media marketing software, you can directly analyze your audiences’ sentiments surrounding your organization.

Examples of social media marketing software include platforms such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer.

Key Features

You can take advantage of the following features when implementing social media marketing software in your business.

  • Scheduling Tools: If you have multiple social media accounts, social media marketing software can display all profiles in a centralized area; you can also add tags to posts that help provide context to conversations.
  • Audience Analytics: As your social media campaigns reach more users and collect shares, these platforms can monitor all metrics, such as likes, comments, shares, and more, to help you make decisions based on evolving trends.
  • Paid Ads: Social media networks offer opportunities to pay for ads that are highly targeted by audience demographics. You can even target ads according to pages people follow—like competitor brands, niche interest groups, or celebrity fan pages. 

5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer relationship management software (CRM) can house all customer data, from transactions to demographics. Collecting customer information and purchasing history data can make your outreach campaigns more effective. CRM platforms can enhance proactive messaging and automate communication, resulting in simplified and effective engagement across all channels. CRM solutions can also automate marketing tasks like emailing customers about new products or services.

Examples include CRM software solutions such as Zoho CRM, SugarCRM, and Creatio CRM.

Key Features

While your business might benefit from niche CRMs, the following features can help every business operate efficiently.

  • Contact Management: This feature helps your business gather and organize detailed prospect and customer information, allowing you to develop robust relationships and do better at retaining customers; customer profiles created under this feature contain social media connections, demographics, and all client interactions.
  • Sales Automation: CRM systems automate the sales process by tracking leads, managing opportunities, and monitoring sales activities. They enable sales teams to prioritize leads, forecast sales, set reminders for follow-ups, and automate repetitive tasks, streamlining the sales pipeline and improving efficiency.
  • Customer Service and Support: CRM software facilitates customer service by allowing businesses to log customer issues, track their status, and manage support tickets. It ensures timely responses to customer inquiries, helps in resolving problems efficiently, and maintains a record of customer interactions.
  • Reporting and Analytics: CRM systems provide powerful reporting and analytics tools that enable businesses to gain insights into their customer data. Users can generate reports on sales performance, customer behavior, and trends. 

6. Content Marketing 

Content marketing platforms help you simplify the content creation process by providing tools that can easily create and manage your content. With these solutions, your marketing team can manage all marketing content from a single library, design and execute marketing plans, and deliver content according to precise schedules.

Examples include content marketing platforms such as ContentStudio, SEMrush, and Contently.

Key Features

The following are some of the top features that a content marketing platform will have to help you achieve your goals.

  • Content Creation: A content marketing solution will help your team get content pieces to move more efficiently by implementing stages to enable approvals, allow others to add their inputs in a structured manner, keep everything on schedule, and keep everyone on the same page.
  • Content Support: Content marketing platforms can support your content strategies by providing flexible tools that allow your team to create various content, such as blogs or videos.
  • Search Engine Optimization Tools: Content marketing teams should also be search engine optimization (SEO) experts, allowing them to bring in traffic at low costs with faster lead conversions; built-in SEO tools within a content marketing platform can help you select targeted keywords while creating content, keyword density calculations, and automate sitemap submissions.

7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization tools help your teams determine the best keywords to target. They can improve your site’s search engine ranking by optimizing your site for the keywords your audience is searching online. You can manipulate and filter SEO metrics to help you find what aspects are performing best, what you should do more of, and where you can focus your efforts. You can also use the technology to spy on your competitors’ strategies, identify unique link-building opportunities, and optimize content for search engines.

Examples include search engine optimization tools such as Ahrefs, Moz Pro, and KWFinder.

Key Features

The following are some of the features you can find in SEO tools.

  • Keyword Research and Rank Analysis: This feature empowers your team to understand which terms your audience uses to find your website, how your pages rank for different queries, and how to use them in your content.
  • Custom Site Crawls and Audits: Content quality is becoming a cornerstone for many SEO strategies, and site crawls or audits are essential for getting recommendations for page structures, keywords, and crawlability.
  • Link Analysis and Acquisition: Many SEO platforms provide link analysis, link building or removal recommendations, and reports that help you identify link acquisition opportunities.

8. PPC Ad Management

Businesses using PPC marketing in their digital strategy can see a return of $2 for every $1 spent. PPC ad management tools help your business manage and optimize pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategies. These solutions can automate different aspects of your campaigns, such as ad creation, performance tracking, and bid management. PPC ad management tools can help your team simplify campaign creation and management, as well as enhance their effectiveness. When using these platforms, you can set up PPC campaigns based on your budget and bidding amounts. When this is done, the software places PPC links on the specific channels where your ad will run.

Examples include PPC ad management software such as TrueClicks, Google Ads Editor, and AdBeat.

Key Features

The following is a brief list of key capabilities you can find in most PPC ad management solutions.

  • Campaign Management: PPC software can help your business prepare and execute campaigns, including processes such as keyword grouping and selection, bidding, budgeting, and keyword updating; campaign management also handles campaign launches, scheduling, tracking, and fast planning.
  • Conversion Tracking: This consists of the process of determining which clicks end in conversions, which can be any action that leads to a lead, positive engagement, or a purchase; PPC ad management tools can help you identify which ad groups, campaigns, and keywords are successful, allowing you to focus resources on replicating or optimize them.
  • A/B Testing: You can use A/B testing capabilities within PPC ad management tools to test various versions of your PPC campaigns and identify which one performs better; these tools can also help you optimize search ads by deploying your variations.

9. Influencer Management 

Influencer marketing software can help your brand identify the best influencers for your campaigns, track campaign performance, and analyze data to enhance your results. These solutions are invaluable for building relationships with influencers via communication, contract management, and payment processing tools. Influencers have built-in audiences, are trusted information sources, and can help businesses enhance social media engagement. 

Examples include influencer management tools such as Meltwater, GRIN, and Upfluence

Key Features

To help you find the best options, you can look for tools with the following features.

  • Campaign Tracking: You might provide an influencer with a unique coupon code or affiliate link. This software will help you track how many times it’s been used and the ROI you’re getting out of the partnership. 
  • Audience Demographics: Your chosen influencer’s demographics don’t always match up, so implementing an influencer management tool that offers access to audience data is essential; this feature allows you to ensure your campaigns reach the right audience in the right place at the best time.
  • Lookalike Recommendations: A lookalike recommendation system will help you discover similar influencers after finding a creator, allowing you to broaden your reach; these relevant recommendations help you save time and quickly expand your network.

10. Public Relations 

Public relations software provides comprehensive capabilities that enable your business to effectively manage communication strategies. Public relations platforms help you create and distribute content, monitor media coverage, and effectively respond to crises. These tools also provide a centralized place for your business to manage all communication efforts and simplify PR processes, allowing you to achieve better efficiency. When done correctly, public relations software has essential advantages for businesses. These include increased visibility, creating solid product launches, improving customer engagement, and enhancing leadership within an industry.

Examples include public relations software such as CoverageBook and PRweb.

Key Features

The following details some of the key features you’ll find in public relations software.

  • Media Monitoring: This is a core feature of public relations tools, and it enables your business to track media coverage and monitor industry trends; it also allows you to track brand, competitor, and industry keyword mentions across multiple media outlets.
  • Media Planning: PR software can help your business plan and schedule communication strategies; you can use this feature to create content calendars, schedule social media content, and plan email campaigns.
  • Crisis Monitoring: Monitoring crises is a critical feature of PR platforms, and it allows you to respond effectively; crisis monitoring also helps you track your brand’s mentions during a crisis, monitor conversations across social media channels, and identify issues before they escalate.

3 Key Benefits Of Marketing Software

Marketing software can provide several benefits to your business, enabling everyone on your team to effectively manage campaigns. Here are some of the key benefits of implementing marketing software within your marketing department.

1. Frees Up Time

Simplifying tools into a single platform can help ensure your team’s time isn’t lost working out incompatible software integrations or doing busy work. Using marketing software that offers multiple functions allows your team to spend more time handling higher ROI activities.

2. Improves Lead Quality

Marketing software can help you align your marketing team with sales on what a qualified lead is, how to measure quality, and what each department should do to nurture relationships. Marketing software can help growth teams create mutually beneficial feedback loops that make high-quality lead generation, improve team alignment by keeping everyone on the same page, and focus on measurable goals.

3. Builds Trust

Using marketing tools can help your organization build trust with customers and prospects. It does this by empowering you to create consistent messaging through your customers’ buying journeys.

Conclusion

Discovering the most suitable marketing software for your business can be challenging, but the best platforms will help you quickly launch, track, and analyze campaigns. The suggestions I added above can help you with different aspects of your marketing strategy, so experimenting with a combination of the different types of marketing software until you find a good match is essential. 

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Stephanie Hood
By Stephanie Hood

Stephanie Hood is an experienced marketing professional and Editor of The CMO. With nearly a decade spent as Marketing Manager at Discover Holidays and Executive Editor at VIVA Lifestyle & Travel, she built her career leading editorial and marketing teams and strategies that turn six-figure budgets into seven-figure profits. She now enjoys connecting with the world's top executives to learn their secrets to business success, and shares those insights right here with her community of like-minded professionals. Curious what she’s uncovered? Be sure to sign up for The CMO newsletter.