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Act-On Marketing Automation Software Review

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 203 votes)

Act-On Software Best Fit, Alternative Solutions & Competitors

Sweet Spot
Short list Act-On Software when:

  • You are seeking to automate marketing and lead management processes (such as digital lead tracking, lead acquisition, lead scoring, nurture campaigns, lead transfer, etc.) for the first time.
  • You have a mixed B2B and B2C market and email marketing is your primary marketing method. The product's design (and the founders' heritage) favors organizations with an email marketing focus. Act-On Software should be considered for SMB's where email is your primary marketing campaign method and you seek simple marketing automation. Act-On Software is ideally situated between basic email systems and entry-level marketing automation.
  • You regularly employ Webinars using WebEx. The integration between Act-On and WebEx facilitates contact data exchange and importing webinar attendees into the Act-On system.
  • You are an small business with fewer than 100 employees and 5 to 10 marketing staff, and seek a simple to use and quick to deploy marketing automation software system. With fewer feature sets, configuration options and administrative functionality, the marketing software has limits but can be up and running in as little as a day.
  • Total cost of ownership is a key decision driver. Act-On Software is a strong candidate when you desire marketing automation system functionality but incur budget constraints which rule out the top tier vendors. Act-On marketing software is a strong alternative solution to the more pricey systems such as Eloqua and Marketo.
  • Internal technical resources are light. Act-On Software is less technically complex to implement than comparable marketing automation solutions. Further, while many vendors claim to provide some up front assistance, Act-On's claim goes beyond the talk, and actually delivers the hands-on assistance to on-board new customers and get those new customers to a production environment.

Alternative Solutions
Marketing software buyers may be best advised to consider alternative marketing automation software products in the following circumstances:

  • Larger enterprises with subsidiaries, larger numbers of marketing staff and sophisticated marketing programs, including offline events and programs.
  • You seek to use a common marketing automation system for multiple products or product lines.
  • You are an enterprise or decentralized organization with many marketers and require sophisticated user access and security permission controls.
  • You use a CRM software system other than, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SalesLogix or SugarCRM.
  • You're a global company that seeks local or regional support outside the United States. While Act-On Software does have a small presence in the UK, the company offers no data center delivery outside the U.S., no global security and privacy certifications (ISO 27001, Safe Harbor or Directive 95/46/EC), no multi-currency controls (i.e. currency exchange rates) and no languages other than English.

Act-On Software Competitors

Act-On competitors cross overlapping email marketing and marketing automation software sectors. In the email marketing sector, Act-On faces competition from Genius, Silverpop and even the more focused email providers such as Constant Contact, ExactTarget, iContact, Mailigen, Responsys and VerticalResponse.

Act-On software competitors in the marketing automation software industry include Aprimo, Eloqua and Unica at the higher end; HubSpot, Manticore, Marketo and Pardot in the SMB market; and eTrigue, Genoo, Loopfuse, MarketingPilot, Net-Results, TrueInfluence and a slew of many others in the small business market.

Concluding Remarks

Act-On Software is a competitive email marketing, lead management software and marketing automation application for SMB's. The marketing software's strength is a dual combination of ease of use and a competitive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). While these benefits carry significant weight, they also carry inevitable risk.

While ease of use should not be underestimated, it's no longer a unique competitive advantage or provides differentiation among a crowded marketplace of marketing software systems who have nearly all honed in on social designs, consumer technologies, intuitive applications and delivering a user experience that is simple and rewarding.

Business systems that find differentiation on acquisition price and TCO generally find that advantage short lived as markets mature. The marketing software industry is accelerating and marketing software pricing is incurring rapid change. With new entrants and more aggressive competition, the acquisition cost and TCO of marketing automation software is falling. For example, SMB products such as Infuionsoft or Genoo are part of an expanding low-cost marketing software group that are priced at less than half of Act-On. Similarly, competitors such as Marketo and Pardot are offering lower cost express editions at much lower fees—a trend we're sure will continue.

Further, as CRM and other enterprise software vendors build or buy marketing automation applications, they generally include the additional functionality at no additional price with their core applications. For example, after Oracle acquired the Market2Lead marketing automation software, it embedded the application in Oracle CRM OnDemand without any change to price. We expect this practice to continue.

Act-On offers far fewer advanced features than competitors —such as offline events, sophisticated nurture campaign workflows and scoring models—however, this shouldn't necessarily be taken as a limitation. Most SMB's use only a fraction of the available feature sets in marketing automation software. It is of course incumbent upon the buyer to determine if fewer features deliver a simplified system or may represent a growth ceiling at which time a marketing system replacement will be required.

While the Act-On Software product continues an aggressive maturation, the company incurs a mixed and muted reception in the marketplace. Like all marketing automation software publishers, the company engages in self promotion, but the messaging doesn't seem to resonate and is not syndicated by the broader industry. Act-On Software flies below the radar of influencers, media and most prospects. The company has an interesting story to tell, but unfortunately is seldom heard. Similarly, the company's messaging is clear (simple software, low price), but doesn't gain a lot of traction. We're hopeful as the company continues its growth, it will exercise a larger voice in the community.End


Act-On Software ReviewAct-On Marketing Software ReviewAct-On Email MarketingAct-On Marketing SoftwareAct-On Social MarketingAct-On Technology ReviewAct-On Software PriceAct-On CRM IntegrationAct-On Software ViabilityAct-On Strengths and WeaknessesAct-On Software Competitors

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Comments (6) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Ahmed Hasama
  Excellent evaluation. I had never even heard of Acton software before this review. I hope crmsearch provides more information on this marketing software in the future.

Guest jacobssaunders
  We've been an Act-On software customer for about a half year. Our marketing automation needs are simple and Act-On has helped us transition from batch-and-blast email distributions to more intelligent emails based on customer behaviors and activities. Software configuration takes some time, and creating the necessary content takes even more time, but once you get there the process is almost set it and forget it.

Guest Laureen McGovern
  You say that the next marketing software acquisition phase and transformation process is inevitable and customers should plan accordingly. You seem very confident and that may be, but how can you be so sure? I’ve not seen this elsewhere, where’s an industry comparison for this?
  Denise Chuck Schaeffer
    I think the most analogous and relevant example I can think of is the SFA software market. Remember when, MS Dynamics CRM, Oracle CRM OnDemand, SAP Sales On Demand and others competing in that space were only SFA products? How many of them are today only SFA products? The SFA industry morphed into the broader CRM software industry to the extent where standalone SFA products failed to exist (or at least failed to secure any type of credible leadership or market share position) and I suggest the same will happen with marketing automation. While I believe that this consolidation is a certainty, that's not to say that all marketing automation software vendors will choose to participate or be left behind — as some may continue to flourish in new ways while many others will fail.
  Guest samknows
    I think the acquisition of Manticore Technology by Sales Engine International is a clear example of what you are predicting. In this case the acquisition wasn't by a CRM vendor, but that's largely because the Manticore technology failed to keep up with the fast moving industry and ultimately languished into a dying product that's now being used to support a different business model all together.
  Denise Chuck Schaeffer
    Not to belabor the point, but I just finished a conversation with Forrester analyst Kate Leggett and her comments seemed relevant to your question. Our discussion was primarily about contact center strategies and technologies, and when getting into the many disruptive technologies in the contact center space – social, voice of the customer (VOC), enterprise feedback management (EFM), customer experience (CX) and others – Kate gave a similar analysis and prediction that these point solutions will morph into the broader contact center and CRM suites. I firmly believe that the technology consolidation will occur as the technologies mature and CRM software vendors acquire these specialty solutions to either plug holes or remain competitive.



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