A Comparison of Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs)

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted in 2018. It was updated in 2021.

Long buy cycles. Extremely busy salespeople. Digital consumers… These are some of the primary reasons that marketing today, particularly in the B2B sector, is so difficult. They’re also the reasons marketing automation has become such a valuable tool to companies looking to do a better job of staying in touch with leads and more effectively progressing them down the sales funnel.

Because it’s such a hot topic and a tool companies should at the very least have a basic understanding of, marketing automation has been the focus of several of our previous blog posts:

Once you’ve realized the benefits of marketing automation and want to implement it, the next step is finding a marketing automation platform (MAP) to utilize. As you would expect, there are numerous providers from which to choose. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s definitely nice to have options, but it makes the task of selecting one that much harder. To help you with this process, we’re going to compare some of the most popular MAPs and provide some insight that will hopefully make your decision a little easier.

The Big Players


Cost: $44,400 (First Year) / $38,400 (Annual)*

For a full list of features, click here


Cost: $33,300 (First Year) / $28,800 (Annual)*

For a full list of features, click here


Cost: $26,000 (First Year) / $24,000 (Annual)*

For a full list of features, click here


Cost: $27,000 (First Year) / $24,000 (Annual)*

For a full list of features, click here


Cost: $10,187 (First Year) / $7,188 (Annual)*

For a full list of features, click here

The Adventure Alternative

With the previously listed companies, you pay to use the platform, but it’s up to you to put it to work. You’ll be provided with resources and basic training to get you started, but you’ll either need to hire employees to build and execute programs or you’ll need to pay extra to have your MAP provider do it for you, if available. At a minimum, you will need to employ a Marketing Coordinator with an understanding of multi-channel marketing, a Graphic Designer and a Programmer/Coder. When you combine the monthly cost, one-time launch fee and essential personnel, your total can easily be over $200,000 per year.

Here at Adventure, we offer an alternative option that combines the capabilities of a marketing automation platform with the manpower and knowledge of marketing experts… at a fraction of the cost! We have a partnership with SharpSpring and offer both annual programs and one-off campaigns. Our monthly licensing fee is just $570, and in some cases, depending on the amount of the agreed-upon contract, we may even waive this fee. Rather than trying to wow you with the bells and whistles of SharpSpring and try to sell you on things you don’t need, we focus on the strategy that will get you the results you’re looking for… regardless of what they are. We can do programs or campaigns for lead generation, conversion and nurturing, using the right combination of channels (email, direct mail, ads and landing pages) to achieve maximum impact with your target audience.

In addition, you are able to utilize the diverse skill sets of our Crew of Experts, who have years of experience — Adventure has been providing strategic marketing and marketing services since 1999! We firmly believe that companies have a better chance of succeeding with marketing automation by tapping into our resources as opposed to trying to implement the technology themselves. And just for the sake of comparisons, you can sign an annual contract with Adventure that will get you multiple programs for around $20,000.

As one of our sales reps likes to tell current and potential clients, “I can utilize this technology and not only replicate your best salesperson, but I can also, at the same time, create more opportunity for all of your other salespeople.” In short, Adventure’s marketing automation program can exceed the production of your top salesperson without you needing to pay the equivalent of that salesperson’s salary.

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The Longevity Factor

A final piece of advice we want to share is to not take longevity for granted. Because of the popularity of marketing automation, new providers and platforms are popping up all the time. In many cases, they are among the most affordable options because they don’t have a history of success to compete with the big boys, so price is their differentiator. However, many of these startups fail, which will throw your operations into chaos. Think long-term about which company will be around and adapt to the changing marketing landscape to help you meet your needs both now and in the future. An established company is usually your best bet.

* Pricing information provided by SharpSpring

For a quick comparison reference of the marketing automation platforms mentioned in this article, check out this infographic:


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