Marketing Automation Under $1,000/Month: The Mid-Market Platform Roundup

Adam Smartschan

Partner & Chief Strategy Officer

With a seven-figure budget, it’s easy to find a marketing automation platform. There are a ton out there. But what if money matters?

In this post, we’ll look at four of the best marketing automation platforms available under $1,000/month.

Website screenshots: Best marketing automation under $1,000/month

Here’s the criteria we used:

  • We’ve used each platform, and like what it has to offer.
  • There’s a clear, specialized use case for it.
  • You’re getting a full-featured version for less than $1,000 – not a stripped-down demo.
  • It provides at least email marketing, list management, task automation and CRM integration.
  • It’s usable enough for beginners, but advanced enough for experts.
  • You can access a real human for fast, useful support.

We DID NOT consider:

  • Industry hype. We don’t really care what’s “hot” right now; just what gets you results.
  • Self-contained blogs and CMS. You have a website for that. Use it.
  • Landing page builders. Ninety-nine times out of 100, we recommend Unbounce for this.
  • Social media integration. Unless you’re working at a huge scale, you can manage social by hand or with a platform like Sprout.

Finding Marketing Automation Under $1,000

When you start looking for a marketing automation platform, you’ll run across a few big names.

Guaranteed, someone will point you toward HubSpot. It’s a great platform, but it has its downfalls. First, you need to be all in with the Inbound methodology to make it work. And it gets over $1,000/month quickly if you need all the features or have a large list.

Then there’s Pardot. It’s the default choice if you use Salesforce as for customer relationship management. But it’s expensive, and the learning curve is steep for new marketing automation users.

Marketo turns up a lot, too. It’s an amazing platform. But like its enterprise-level counterparts (Adobe Experience Cloud and Oracle Eloqua), it’s out of the reach of SMBs.

Staying Below $1,000/Month

You can’t really go wrong with any of those platforms. But most clients we talk to want to stay below $1,000/month in their marketing automation spend.

The best way to do this is to think about what’s important to you and look at your existing technology stack. In many cases, the CRM you have (or lack thereof) will make the decision for you.

It’s critical that your marketing automation tool talk to your CRM. If it doesn’t, you’ll have multiple systems running in parallel. That’s bad news.

Here’s a flow chart to help you make your decision:

Flowchart: Finding Marketing Automation Under $1,000

Best Affordable Marketing Automation for Nimble CRM

Platform: 366 Degrees

Price: $125/month (Ignite plan), $366/month (Grow plan), $745/month (Expand plan)

Key Features:

  • Task automation
  • Analytics & reporting
  • Simple sales outreach
  • Drip campaigns
  • CRM sync (Nimble, Salesforce)
  • Lead scoring
366 Screenshot

366 offers the no-frills, high-performance marketing automation experience we love. It just … does stuff.

That’s not a knock! It’s a feature, not a bug.

Drip campaigns and one-off emails are built in a basic drag-and-drop campaign layout. Emails and landing pages come together in a (surprisingly rich) WYSIWYG editor.

Set your triggers and … stuff happens.

One interesting thing about 366 Degrees is that it doesn’t usually “contain” prospect records.

Most automation tools keep parallel records for each contact. They sync relevant information to the CRM.

366 Degrees is different. It pulls lists and contacts directly from other data sources (e.g., saved searches in Nimble CRM). Data and activity flow directly back to an Integration screen there; you don’t need to go to 366 Degrees to access it.

It’s a unique setup, and it takes some getting used to. But it works quite well in the real world.

Sign Up for a 14-Day Trial of 366 Degrees

Best Affordable Marketing Automation If You Don’t Have a CRM

Platform: SharpSpring

Price: $450/month (1,500 contacts), $650/month (10,000 contacts), $875/month (20,000 contacts)

Key Features:

  • Task automation
  • Analytics & reporting
  • Progressive profiling
  • Drip campaigns
  • CRM sync (Salesforce native, others via PieSync)
  • Key prospect highlighting
  • Web visitor identification

Thanks in part to its agency program, SharpSpring has become a major marketing automation player.

SharpSpring is tremendously full-featured. It delivers basically everything most marketers could need at a fraction of the cost of the “big” platforms.

The biggest plus of that? You can deploy SharpSpring as both your marketing automation platform and CRM simultaneously.

(If you’re on a budget, CRM and MAP for less than $1,000/month is a great value.)

If there’s a knock here, it’s that the sheer breadth of SharpSpring makes it a bit onerous for new users. You get a lot for your money, but if you’re not an experienced automation user, the learning curve can be steep.

But if you want tons of options and a true “build your own adventure” experience, it’s hard to top SharpSpring for the cost.

Get a Demo of SharpSpring

Best Affordable Marketing Automation for SugarCRM

Platform: INBOX25

Price: $399/month (Start Up plan), $899/month (Pro plan)

Key Features:

  • Task automation
  • Drip campaigns
  • Customer journey builder
  • CRM sync (SugarCRM, SuiteCRM, Salesforce)
  • Marketing AI
  • Predictive analytics

We’re bending our rules a tiny bit to include INBOX25 on this list. Its Enterprise plan, which includes all features, starts at $1,499/month, and all plans have a contact limit.

So why is it here if it often costs more than $1,000/month?

Simple. If you use SugarCRM or SuiteCRM for customer relationship management, you won’t find a better option.

A lot of MAPs “integrate” with Sugar and Suite. (Pun!) But it’s usually a basic trigger-action relationship through Zapier. INBOX25 embraces them as natively as Pardot treats Salesforce.

(INBOX25 syncs with Salesforce, too. But so do lots of others.)

INBOX25 does an excellent job at bringing marketing automation and the CRM (read: the sales team) closer together. Its SymSync technology brings data from multiple platforms under one roof, giving a holistic view of the prospect.

No data siloes? That sounds like a win to us, particularly under $1,000/month.

Account-based marketing and AI-driven lead generation tools are available at higher price points.

Get a Demo of INBOX25

Best Affordable Marketing Automation If Email Is the Focus

Platform: Campaign Monitor

Price: $89/month (Basic with 10,000 contacts), $149/month (Unlimited with 10,000 contacts), $249/month (Premier with 10,000 contacts)

Key Features:

  • Drip campaigns
  • Email automation & journey builder
  • List management
  • Email analytics
  • API
Campaign Monitor Screenshot

Yes, Campaign Monitor is an email platform. But it’s on our list of marketing automation platforms under $1,000/month. Here’s why:

Most people use marketing automation as a glorified email platform.

Campaign Monitor isn’t a 1-to-1 replacement for a SharpSpring, let alone a HubSpot, Act-On or Infusionsoft.

But it does do email extremely well. Templates are easy to build, and automation flows can be set up in minutes.

If you don’t really need lead scoring or complex data flows, this is a completely reasonable platform under $1,000/month. Heck, it’s often under $100/month, depending on your list size.

Conclusion: Marketing Automation Under $1,000/Month Is Possible

You don’t need to spend a ton to get the benefits of modern marketing automation. HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo and the like are great. But they’re not for everyone.

Instead, take a look at your budget, your needs and your existing tech stack. Whether you’re using Salesforce, a smaller CRM or none at all, there’s a fit for you under $1,000/month.

Sign Up for Campaign Monitor

Not sure what to choose? Our marketing automation consultants can help. Contact us today or call 610-421-8601 x122 to get your automation journey moving today. We can even offer further discounts on many major platforms!

Adam Smartschan

Adam Smartschan heads Altitude's strategic marketing and branding efforts. An award-winning writer and editor by trade in a former life, he now specializes in data analytics, search engine optimization, digital advertising strategy, conversion rate optimization and technical integrations. He holds numerous industry certifications and is a frequent speaker on topics around B2B marketing strategy and SEO.
Adam graduated from Northeastern University in Boston in 2007. He grew up in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, just miles down the road from Altitude's headquarters in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.