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Marketing Automation: an industry ripe for change?

Is the Marketing Automation Industry about to be disrupted? 

Marketing Automation software is on the rise. In today's digital landscape, most marketing departments have to automate tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier, by enabling companies to connect with their various customer segments or personas at designated times, based on set parameters that respond to a customer's relationship or previous interactions with a brand.

As marketing teams are required to establish more frequent and bespoke conversation with customers and other potential clients, marketing automation software has fast become a staple of most marketing teams.  

HubSpot and Marketo are the pioneers in this field, and remain the most widely used marketing automation platforms on the web, with tens of thousands of companies using them to optimize and automate their inbound marketing efforts. While HubSpot has traditionally focused on SMBs with their 'out-of-the-box' solution, Marketo is often used by bigger companies that require more complex integrations with additional platforms such as CRM, advertising or billing platforms.

But with fast growth and adoption of new technology comes competition, and the industry witnessed a seismic shift over the past year which could challenge the current landscape. New marketing automation platforms that cater to different niches and provide additional value to their customers have been growing aggressively. 

New data from SimilarTech shows the annual growth of the leading automation platforms in 2016. The insights show which platforms are more widely used among the biggest sites in the world (top 1 million). The chart below shows that HubSpot remains the undisputed leader, with over 4000 sites opting for what many consider the creators of the 'inbound marketing' concept as we know it today. In second place, Marketo remains a leading platform but TowerData and LiveRamp have nearly as many users. 

Some of the fastest-growing players such as LiveRamp are focusing on collecting and providing superior customer data to empower their customers to personalize their campaigns more efficiently. Other companies are focusing their platforms on perfecting a single element of the outbound marketing operation. For example, TowerData's platform focuses on email marketing - with a product that that aims to increase email engagement and conversions. 

If we look at the annual growth, we can see how LiveRamp and TowerData are exponentially growing. However, all other players have increased their customer base by at least 40% in the past year, showing that there's ample room for growth across the entire industry. Pardot, OutMarket and Emarsys managed to double their penetration among the biggest sites in 2016 alone.

Today, more than 335,000 websites rely on one (or multiple) marketing automation platforms and as the annual growth stats show, it's an extremely fast-growing industry. It will be interesting to see what happens over the course of 2017. The only thing we can be certain of is that new players are entering the market with great force - as this market matures and expands, today's leading platforms can't afford to rest on their laurels.  

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