With each passing year, we see technology advance with record-breaking speed. What was brand new yesterday is old news today. As you look ahead to 2020, you should start thinking about which cutting edge marketing tools you want to add to your CMO’s toolbelt in the coming year. And we recommend starting with marketing automation in 2020.

If you’re not using a marketing automation platform, you’re already behind. Marketing automation allows you to put lead generation and customer connections on autopilot. A carefully strategized system of automation targets the right buyers in the right way on your behalf. That means more time for you to develop new products or dream up even more campaigns.

That said, if you do a search for “marketing automation in 2020,” you’ll find that there are a lot to choose from. We’ve put together a list of our seven favorites, including their individual strengths and weaknesses. These tools aren’t just the best of the best. They’re also backed by teams dedicated to innovation. Even as technology evolves throughout 2020, you can count on these platforms to keep pace.


If you’re a small business, Ontraport is a great way to go. This marketing automation tool is designed specifically for entrepreneurs and small companies.


Ontraport provides a CRM platform and allows you to automate email campaigns and SMS texting. You can also use this tool for ecommerce, landing page creation, and forms that sync with your database.

The reporting interface for this marketing automation tool is especially helpful for small businesses. The insights Ontraport provides give you a crystal clear picture of how well your campaigns perform. You don’t need a specialist to interpret these metrics.


ActiveCampaign is more complicated to operate than Ontraport, but it’s also one of the most comprehensive tools out there. If you’re a larger enterprise with a tech-savvy marketing expert on staff, it’s worth considering this marketing automation tool.

email marketing

ActiveCampaign goes above and beyond, offering several features under the categories of:

  • Email marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Sales & CRM
  • Messaging
  • Machine Learning

This tool is known for affordable rates, excellent customer service, and sky-high deliverability ratings. ActiveCampaign is also one of the most innovative tools out there. They are constantly updating and improving their features, so you can trust this software to keep up in 2020.


This is another affordable marketing automation tool, starting at around $10/month. GetResponse is incredibly easy to use and especially effective for email newsletters and other basic features. However, if you’re looking for marketing automation software that can handle complicated conditional logic, this might not be your best bet.

marketing automation in 2020

Otherwise, upgraded plans help you grow your business with tools such as:

  • CRM
  • Email marketing
  • Auto responders
  • Landing pages

GetResponse also offers ecommerce and list building tools.

Drip Marketing Automation

Do you run an ecommerce business? Then Drip may be the marketing automation tool you’re looking for. This tool focuses specifically on the features that matter most in ecommerce. You can create customer segments based on things like browsing and purchases. You can create social media campaigns that are both automated and personalized to the buyer. And drip is especially known for exceptional email automation features.

marketing automation in 2020

Also important: Drip helps you keep analytics simple with comprehensive, easy-to-understand insights.

HubSpot Marketing Automation

This is a popular option for small business owners who are looking to scale their business but aren’t ready for all the complex bells and whistles. HubSpot Marketing Automation is best known for being intuitive and integrating seamlessly with other applications. HubSpot also has excellent customer support, so if you get lost, it’s pretty easy to find help.

Marketing Automation

Beyond automation, HubSpot Marketing allows you to:

  • Create landing pages
  • Optimize blog content
  • Manage and monitor social media marketing
  • Track ROI of digital advertising

 . . . among many other things. In short, HubSpot is a good catch-all for businesses that are ready to up their game, but aren’t quite ready for expert-level tech.

Keap by Infusionsoft

Another marketing automation tool for small businesses and solopreneurs is Keap. It’s incredibly easy to create a decision tree with Keap, and you can get just about as complex as you need to.

small business marketing automation

In addition to marketing automation, Keap provides a strong CRM platform and features to streamline messages and appointments. This tool even helps you track leads and clients more easily with the sales pipeline feature.


Pardot is a powerhouse cloud marketing automation tool designed by Salesforce for B2B marketing. You can do a lot with Pardot, but you need to make sure you have experts on staff who are capable of learning the platform. This one can get complicated, but for good reason.

B2B marketing automation

When you use Pardot, you have access to:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead management
  • Sales alignment
  • ROI reporting
  • Email marketing tools
  • Artificial intelligence

This tool even helps you track web interactions and build predictive lead scoring. In other words, you can get a sense of will or will not work, so you’re wasting less time on marketing mistakes.

How to Use Marketing Automation Tools for Business Growth in 2020

Innovative technology can help your business grow exponentially. Marketing automation tools allow you to do more with less . . . less time, less money, less manpower. In a digital age, this tech allows you to make personal connections with buyers.

But to make the most of this opportunity, you need two things.

First, you (or someone on your marketing team) must be willing to learn whichever tool you choose. Learn it inside and out. This takes time, patience, and trust that the learning will pay off. (It will.)

Second, you absolutely must have a predetermined digital marketing strategy. Every automated workflow should be designed to integrate with a larger overall objective. You need to know who want to reach, where to find them, and what messages to convey. You should know what your competitors are doing, what your buyers are talking about, and how to stand out.

What Do Marketing Automation Tools Do in 2020?

The term “marketing automation” refers to the use of software and technology to activate automatic marketing processes. In the language of marketing automation, these processes are called “workflows.”

Let’s say you want to send an abandoned cart email to potential buyers who never clicked “checkout.” Then when they do make a purchase, you want to send a thank you email. Then a shipment notification, a request for reviews, and special deals in the future. Marketing automation tools do these things for you automatically.

And it isn’t just email. Various marketing automation platforms help you create workflows for social media, text messaging, pay-per-click campaigns, and so on.

Essentially, these tools help you scale your business by targeting buyers and helping you nurture leads. Of course, some tools are more helpful than others. Here are the seven best, with the advanced technology necessary to help you excel in the coming year.

You can learn more about designing a solid digital marketing strategy here. And if there’s anything we can do to help, let us know.