5 Best Salesforce Marketing Cloud competitors and alternatives

Katie Morley

Oct 5, 2023

Katie Morley

Oct 5, 2023

Salesforce has been a massively popular tech company since the early 2000s. 

While this was initially due to their successful customer relationship management (CRM) software, the company expanded into marketing territory with a series of acquisitions, including Radian6 in 2006, BuddyMedia in 2012, Exact Target in 2013, and Evergage in 2020.

These acquisitions formed the backbone of today’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud — a collection of products for use cases like:

  • Real-time personalization.
  • Customer data unification and analytics.
  • B2B and B2C marketing automation across email, SMS, push notifications, and other channels.
  • And many more.

Despite Salesforce being a staple in the industry, marketing teams often decide to move away from their Marketing Cloud. Most of them are looking for a more modern platform with tools built in-house (instead of via acquisitions), fast support provided by internal teams (instead of system integrations), or more cost-effective and flexible pricing plans.

In this guide, we’ve gathered the five best alternatives to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, including:

Table of Contents
  1. Insider

  2. Emarsys

  3. HubSpot Marketing Hub

  4. Oracle Marketing Cloud

  5. Adobe Experience Cloud

  6. Get started faster, speed up ROI, and scale personalization across channels with Insider

We’ll look at each of their main tools, features, and use cases to give you a good idea if they’re right for you. 

Before we dive in, note that: 

  • The first three options are more modern and intuitive cross-channel marketing and automation solutions. 
  • The last two are classic marketing clouds. This means that they come with similar benefits (flexibility and support for lots of use cases) and limitations (difficult setup, tools that aren’t built in-house, and lack of native support) as Salesforce.

1. Insider: Modern, intuitive, and native alternative to Salesforce Marketing Cloud 

Insider is a platform for unifying customer data, segmenting and predicting future behaviors with AI, personalizing all customer touchpoints, and automating cross-channel campaigns. 

Our platform brings together the most extensive set of personalization capabilities for websites and mobile apps, as well as for channels like email, SMS, WhatsApp, push notifications, and more. 

Thanks to this versatility, Insider has been ranked as a top solution by G2, Gartner, and Forrester across categories like:

You can click here to see how customers rate Insider compared to Salesforce Marketing Cloud in terms of main features, ease of use and setup, quality of support, and other key areas.

Insider also comes with a global, experienced, in-house support team that drastically reduces our customers’ time to value, speeds up their ROI, and helps them maximize their marketing budget.

Over 1200 leading brands across the globe use Insider, like:

In the next sections, we’ll discuss how and why Insider can be a perfect alternative to Salesforce Marketing Cloud for marketing teams in midsized and enterprise companies.

Global, experienced support team for fast deployment and smooth management (no third-party system integrators)

Most businesses using Salesforce Marketing Cloud have to rely on third-party system integrators to help them set up the platform and utilize it properly. This adds another layer of complexity to the already difficult task of running a lifecycle marketing program.

That’s why we’ve ensured all Insider customers have access to our experienced in-house support team. There’s no need to involve system integrators, agencies, or any other third parties when setting up and managing our platform. 

This commitment to customer support has led to Insider being ranked as a top solution in categories like ease of use, ease of setup, and support quality.

Our support team:

  • Helps you set up Insider (with no extra setup charge). Our experts assist you in laying a good foundation by involving the right commercial and technical stakeholders in the process, bringing together enough reliable customer data, integrating with other parts of the marketing stack, and much more.
  • Shows you how the platform can work based on your needs. Our team ensures you understand how each relevant Insider product works before you start using it. They also look at your website and analytics data and give you ideas for implementing various marketing strategies so you can see a return on your investment as quickly as possible.
  • Migrates customer journeys to our platform. For example, if you’ve used Salesforce’s journey builder (or an equivalent in another platform), you likely have lots of automated flows, journeys, and entire campaigns set up. Instead of having to rebuild them from scratch, our team will migrate them to our customer journey builder for you.
  • Answers and resolves questions quickly. As a global company with 26 offices on six continents, Insider is uniquely positioned to provide fast support to businesses all over the world. And since you’ll always be working with an in-house support team, you can be sure that your queries will be handled by people with know-how and experience in the Insider platform.

Lastly, Insider also reduces your time to value with a huge library of proven templates. We offer templates for individual channels (e.g., email, push notifications, and SMS), use cases (e.g., cart recovery, gamification, and churn reduction), industries (e.g., eCommerce, finance, and banking), and much more.

These templates are easily customizable, allowing customers to send high-converting, personalized messages or launch entire campaigns incredibly quickly and conveniently.

Flexible deployment and tools built for the personalization era

Insider offers flexible setup options that help customers deploy our platform as hassle-free as possible. For example, eCommerce businesses can:

  • Use our tag to crawl their website or mobile app. The tag can create a product catalog automatically, which is perfect for teams that want to start fast and experience the Insider platform with minimal effort.
  • Upload their product catalogs manually. For more granular control over every piece of data, businesses can upload product catalogs as CSV or XML files or feed the data through an API.
  • Collect website and mobile app user data in real time automatically. Insider was built on top of native listeners that can read and process website and mobile app data in real time. As a result, customers don’t have to spend tons of engineering hours setting up our listeners and ensuring they’re working correctly. 

Insider was also built to make marketers’ lives easier in the personalization era. That’s why all our personalization and automation tools are created in-house, so they’re modern and intuitive and can share data seamlessly. This includes our:

Tailor every element of your website or mobile app to each customer

Insider enables you to personalize every website or mobile app element — including content, messaging, and product recommendations — to each customer’s interests and preferences. 

This is a crucial capability if you’re looking to maximize your digital marketing spend because it helps you increase conversion rates and revenue. 

Here are some examples of key website elements you can personalize with Insider:

  • Product recommendations: Insider can automatically individualize all product recommendations for each particular user. Our platform also lets you implement a variety of product recommendation strategies, like top sellers, frequently viewed items, products often purchased together, and many more. For example, Chow Sang Sang used our AI-powered Smart Recommendations to show relevant products to each website visitor, leading to a 10.5% uplift in conversions.
  • Site search results: Insider has a special product for delivering personalized site search results called EUREKA. This product uses AI to automatically show the most relevant results to each customer using your site’s search functionality based on their past and predicted behaviors. It also offers advanced filters and instant search to help shoppers find the products they’re looking for.
Insider EUREKA personalized website search results
  • Categories: Our Category Optimization can automatically change how your site’s categories are presented to each customer for easier navigation. Adidas used this capability to increase their mobile conversion rates by 50.3%.
Insider Adidas website category optimization
  • Stories: Insider’s InStory lets you add dynamic, Instagram-like stories to your site or mobile app. These stories can be personalized to each user who opens them, which enables you to put mobile product discovery on autopilot. For example, Dover Saddlery used InStory and other parts of Insider’s personalization suite to drive $1.7 million of incremental revenue and achieve a 29x ROI.

Individualize messages across all external channels

Besides your website and mobile app, Insider lets you easily personalize communications across all external channels, like:

  • Email. Insider has a simple, drag-and-drop email builder that lets you build highly personalized emails with dynamic content. You can also use our AMP email blocks to create an interactive email experience that lets users browse products, book reservations, answer surveys, and much more right inside the email. Learn more: 12 Best email marketing platforms for different use cases.
  • SMS. Just like with email, building personalized SMS messages is very simple with Insider. You can select from a variety of dynamic content options, use frequency capping to avoid overloading subscribers with too many messages, and leverage lots of other advanced features. Learn more: 8 email and SMS marketing software tools for both channels.
  • WhatsApp. Insider is a Meta-verified Business Solution Provider. This lets us deliver the full range of WhatsApp marketing capabilities to our customers. For example, you can use Insider to send personalized promo messages, price drop alerts, and event reminders or even design end-to-end shopping experiences in WhatsApp. Learn more: A detailed review of the best WhatsApp marketing tools.
  • Push notifications. Insider lets you choose from a variety of web and mobile app push notifications for cart recovery, product discovery, price drops, and tons of other use cases. You can even send personalized push notifications to anonymous visitors, which is a cost-effective way to bring them back to your site and turn them into customers. Learn more: 11 push notification tools for web and mobile push.
  • Social media and search ads. Our platform also enables you to build highly targeted segments using standard, predefined, and predictive audiences. You can then target these segments across Facebook, Google, or TikTok ads and improve key metrics like cost per click (CPC), acquisition costs (CAC), and return on ad spend (ROAS).

Easily scale personalization across all channels

As you can see, Insider lets you personalize each touchpoint in your customers’ journeys. But that’s not where our platform’s capabilities end.

You can also use Architect — our cross-channel journey builder — to tie these touchpoints into a consistent customer experience. Like all other Insider tools, Architect is built in-house. It comes with a simple, user-friendly interface and a drag-and-drop editor which lets you set the rules for each customer journey or automated flow — including how it starts, which channels it takes place on, and when each message gets triggered.

As you can see above, you can even A/B test different messages and journey flows against each other right inside Architect.

Overall, Architect is an incredibly versatile cross-channel orchestration and marketing automation platform that lets you build all kinds of flows and campaigns, including:

  • Simple email campaigns, purchase confirmations, or order update flows.
  • Cart or browser abandonment automations via cost-effective web push notifications and follow-ups across SMS and WhatsApp. Note: Vodafone used on-site cart reminders to increase conversion rates by 159%.
  • Complex omnichannel marketing automations that are personalized to each customer’s preferences.
  • And much more.

Additionally, Architect comes with powerful AI capabilities that can help you improve your campaign results and save you tons of time and effort. For example, our send-time optimization (STO) and next-best channel predictions ensure your messages are always sent at the right times and on the right channels.

Then, there’s our A/B test Winner Autoselection. With this feature, you don’t need to worry about interpreting the results of your tests and manually changing each journey based on them. Insider will do that for you automatically after the test depending on a winning metric you’ve selected — whether that’s deliverability, opens, clicks, conversions, or revenue.

You can view the results of each flow or campaign right inside Architect or in dedicated, fully customizable dashboards, like the one shown below.

For more automation examples and ideas, check out:

Versatile integrations and data unification capabilities

Today’s marketing stacks are incredibly diverse and complex. That’s why marketing teams that want to streamline workflows and achieve the best results need to ensure each technology they use plays well with the others.

To make that process easier, we’ve made sure that Insider can integrate and share data with different kinds of solutions, including:

  • CRMs like Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zoho, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Channel-specific marketing software like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, and Constant Contact.
  • Analytics and attribution platforms like Mixpanel, Amplitude, and AppsFlyer.
  • Customer data platforms (CDPs) like Segment, mParticle, and Tealium.
  • Marketing automation tools like Pardot, Keap, and Marketo.
  • Live chat software like Drift and Intercom.
  • And many other popular SaaS solutions.

This versatility lets you seamlessly plug Insider into your existing infrastructure and workflows based on your needs

For example, if you’re already using other products in the Salesforce ecosystem — like their CRM, Commerce Cloud, or Service Cloud — you can rely on Insider for all your marketing needs while keeping the other Salesforce services connected with our platform.

Additionally, Insider can also become your single source of truth for all customer data thanks to our Actinable CDP

This CDP (which is free when you’re using the Insider platform) is built to:

  • Aggregate customer data from all online and offline sources, including CRM software, content management systems, analytics software, customer service tools, point-of-sale devices, APIs, and many others.
  • Automatically create accurate, 360-degree profiles of all your customers. These profiles contain invaluable information for running marketing campaigns, like customers’ names, contact information, reachability by channel, interest in certain products and attributes, likelihood to purchase or churn, discount affinity, and more.

Our CDP even creates profiles for anonymous website visitors. These profiles contain information about where they clicked, which product categories they browsed, what they added to their carts, and so on. You can use these insights to personalize their experience in real time, which drastically lowers the time and resources needed to turn visitors into paying customers. For more details on how Insider can help you maximize your marketing spend, personalize all customer touchpoints, and unify your user data, book a live demo with our team.

2. Emarsys

Emarsys is a cloud-based omnichannel customer engagement platform that was acquired by SAP in 2020. The platform still continues to exist as a standalone product under the SAP umbrella. While it doesn’t support use cases like site search personalization or WhatsApp marketing, Emarsys still helps marketers set up SMS and email marketing automations, personalize web and mobile app content, unify their data, and orchestrate customer journeys.

Learn more: 9 Best Emarsys competitors and alternatives (detailed review)

3. HubSpot Marketing Hub

Marketing Hub brings together lots of HubSpot marketing tools for individual creators, small businesses, and midsize companies. The Hub is known for its advanced automation capabilities, email and SMS features, and landing page builder. While it doesn’t support as many channels or have the advanced personalization capabilities of other platforms on this list, Marketing Hub still offers compelling packages for businesses looking for a cheaper solution that’s natively connected to other HubSpot solutions (like their CRM platform, CMS, or Operations Hub).

4. Oracle Marketing Cloud

Oracle Marketing Cloud is a collection of marketing solutions for use cases like data unification cross-channel marketing, automation, lead generation, and customer support. Similar to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, this platform is also primarily made up of products that weren’t built in-house by Oracle but acquired over the years, like:

  • Eloqua, which is a marketing automation solution.
  • Maxymiser, which is an A/B testing and optimization tool.
  • Infinity Behavioral Intelligence, which is a platform for unifying and analyzing customer data.

5. Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe Experience Cloud is another classic marketing cloud that comprises over 20 products for data unification, marketing automation, personalization, journey orchestration, content management, analytics, and more. Among the most widely used of these products are:

  • Adobe Target — an A/B testing, personalization, and marketing automation software (acquired by Adobe in 2009). 
  • Marketo Engage — an automation and lead management solution for B2C and B2B marketing and sales teams that want to personalize communications and automate various tasks (acquired by Adobe in 2018).
  • Adobe Campaign, which is a campaign management software for cross-channel marketing.

Get started faster, speed up ROI, and scale personalization across channels with Insider

Insider is a perfect Salesforce Marketing Cloud alternative for midsize and enterprise businesses that want:

  • To make the most out of their marketing efforts and budget.
  • A fast, experienced, and in-house support team that can ensure fast deployment, easy management, and quick problem resolution.
  • Advanced on-site and in-app personalization for increasing conversion rates by tailoring content, messaging, and product recommendations to each user’s preferences.
  • Native and intuitive tools for building, automating, and analyzing campaigns across all channels — including on-site email, SMS, WhatsApp, and push notifications — from a single place.
  • A vast library of proven templates for any channel or use case — from generating lots of new leads fast via gamification to automating cross-channel cart abandonment journeys or cross-sell campaigns.
  • AI-powered segmentation and automation that reveals customers’ preferences and ensures every message is always sent to the right audiences, on the right channels, at the right times.

Click here to book a demo with our team and learn how Insider can help you reach your business goals

Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over eight years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).