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The Top 3 Marketing Automation Platforms for 'Him' & 'Her'

Updated on April 21, 2020
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Aleksandar's past leadership has had a noted effect on making a better world. Marketing Expert | Author | Marketing Director | Intrapreneur

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Not all marketing automation platforms fit all businesses.

So let's see what works for 'Him' and what works for 'Her'.

I refer here not to genders, but to the energy as defined as the ancient Chinese Yin and Yang. These energies or vibes determine how we look at the world and can shape decisions on an individual or corporate level. Men or women can be Yin or Yang, depending on which is their main motivating force in life & business.

So what are the 3 top marketing automation platforms for Yin and which are the top 3 marketing platforms for Yang? Also, why is there a difference among them?

Yin & Yang Forever In a Love Affair

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The Yang is the masculine, creative & innovative, the mover that is full of life and prefers to live by integrity & honor. Yang focuses on ideas more than on resources. Yang is white. Yin is focused on form, beauty, and rules, it prefers loyalty over creation, relationships over value. Yin is focused more on resources than ideas & values. Yin is the dark side. We need both Yin and Yang to survive.

— AVR, CEO at iSEE MarkComm

What Is Happening In 2020?

In 2020 there is a growing stream of marketing automation platforms that offer 'all-in-one' packages. It's true that it gets easier to make your own marketing automation tool with all those free coding libraries available nowadays so this trend is not a surprise. However, rarely when a platform is functional enough and allows a flawless execution of higher-level marketing strategies in one place. Even if the platform is mostly complete, there are many problems that arise the moment we need to decide on the one and only platform we are going to use for our company.

This decision is never truly rational. Our 'vibes' decide which platform we'll eventually choose.

So when businesses decide strategically which path to take, they usually opt for one platform that offers most, if not all of the features they need. There are two general divisions of these decisions. Masculine and feminine. Ying and Yang. We can categorize all marketing automation platforms in this manner and have an overview of the prevailing mindset in a company. That is why I divided the top choices for marketing automation in 2020 into two broad categories. For 'her' the Yin, and for 'him', the Yang. I repeat this is not about genders but prevailing energies.

Below I mention only the platforms that offer All-in-one, rather than individual services (email, SMS, CRM, etc.) and I divide the TOP 3 into the top 3 platforms that provide the best value (Yang) and the top 3 that provide the strongest brands (Yin).

The Top 3 Marketing Automation Platforms for Yin

Below are the top 'Yin' brands


IBM offers fully customized solutions that are built upon its advanced AI system. Sounds fancy? Well, in reality, IBM offers CRM and automation tools like all other companies, while its AI has limited value for most serious enterprises in the sales and marketing processes. The only main difference is that it's IBM. It has the scale and the know-how to win large public and corporate contracts.


SAP is a newer company compared to IBM but it was the de-facto standard in many European governments and corporates. It is focused on the same market segments as IBM with a bit of an edge in developing markets. SAP is the 'German pride' and the government oftentimes helps it with its expansion and customer acquisition. A startup cannot compete with this level of support to get the largest procurement contracts.

Adobe Marketo

Another Yin giant is Marketo, coming from the giant Adobe, which is part of the behemoth Oracle. Enough said. These people know how to acquire the largest contracts from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen. But the basic product is nothing special and allows literally the same functions as its lower-priced Yang rivals.

The Top 3 Marketing Automation Platforms for Yang

Below are the 3 top 'Yang' brands

Zoho One

Zoho is an independent company founded by an ex-Silicon Valley champion who decided that he wants to make an independent, VC-free, company match the Google G-suite. With time, he focused on creating the widest and deepest marketing automation and CRM automation platform in the world. Zoho ONE is unmatched when it comes down to the value in its functionalities and the relatively low prices it has. If you don't mind poor branding when you use the platform, then this works well for many 'Yang' people.


HubSpot invented the 'Inbound marketing' genre. They made CRMs and everything around them popular. Their branding and quality are second to none, while their functionalities are close to Zoho, although not quite there yet. HubSpot has a history of making successful companies and provides the satisfaction of knowing you work with the 'original thinkers'.

MailChimp All-In-One

MailChimp is no longer the emailing platform it used to be. With its long list of integrations and inter-operabilities with other platforms, it was used as a central part of many marketing automation systems out there. Now it has its own CRM system that is not as well developed as other ones but serves the purpose for companies that do not benefit from the heavy back-office workload.

The Reasoning Behind The Division Between Yin and Yang

The difference between the top brands (Yin) and the top value-creating marketing automation platforms (Yang)? Yin would charge a lot more than Yang brands for its similar services. Why is that the case? It's because of political power and branding.

These platforms speak the lingo of boardroom executives and usually have the off-shore accounts to afford them. They know how to win large contracts and where to get them. They are experts in charging highly. A brand is an intangible value in peoples' minds. Not always a brand can justify its attractiveness with the value it creates. The top Yin 3 brands for marketing automation are those that are large, have a deductive top-down approach to App development, and whose price premiums enable focus on the largest corporate clients.

The top 3 Yang marketing automation platforms, on the other hand, started from the button up, serving the little guys (SMEs). They focused on competing with one another on an open market so they had to learn with the smaller companies and adjust to the changing markets. They are superior in providing the value at a lower price.

According to the theory of Clayton Christensen laid out in his book ‘The Innovators’ Dilemma’, these smaller guys would learn how to function with smaller margins and more effectively approach the market. With time, they are expected to encroach on the incumbents. However, as long as the people are the way they are and vote the politicians the way they vote them, Yin corporates will continue to grow and crush or buy out everybody else. So Clayton's theory could work only if people become better following the bright example that he has given.

By being focused on numerous industries and companies of all types, large and small, Zoho One, HubSpot, and MailChimp they are focused on creating value rather than making a brand per se. These Yang brands have outdone Oracle, IBM, and SAP in the value they create. Comparing their prices with the value created no one from the Yin category can even get near them.

Think of the top 3 Yin brands as of the IBMs in the 90s. And obviously, IBM is still the same old IBM. On the other side, think of the top 3 value-creating Yang marketing automation platforms as the Microsofts and Huaweis in the 00s. The challengers who don't go to the 'big corporates and governments' but serve the people with approachable pricing.

Surely, some companies would care about the brand first and the value second. They would endure technical fallacies and astronomical prices only to have a better-refined nuance of colors in their emails. If your philosophy revolves around looking pretty first and doing things second (Yin) then opt for the best brands. If you want to optimize the value you and your company create, choosing the top marketing automation platforms (Yang) would be a rational choice.

Whatever you chose for your company you can conclude which energy is dominant in your business. Is it the destructive, corrupted, and appearance-focused Yin, or is it the proactive, innovative, and unsullied Yang?

However, there’s something in between the transparency and down-to-Earth nature of Yang and the seductive attractiveness of Yin, and given that we live in a grey world, no wonder its revenues are $13 billion only from providing CRM-based marketing services. Reaching a balance between Yin and Yang for your niche appears to be very profitable!

And that’s SalesForce.


We Need Both Yin And Yang To Survive

Yin & Yang Conclusion

Salesforce started by serving the little guys (SMEs) and now is moving upstream with approaches that are more similar to SAP than to Zoho One. I would say this movement to be a natural progression as money at the high end come more easily. We could say that Salesforce is somewhere in between Yin and Yang right now.

But why do corporations tend to be (d)evolving towards Yin as they grow and are hiring disproportionally Yin-like personalities? Why are the founders of these large companies who are now passed away or not actively managing the business mostly highly motivated, creative people who shared the Yang mentality? And why once they retire they leave Yin people to take over their companies?

While Yang creates value, once a company is large enough to provide safety and shelter to employees, it then starts to attract mostly Yin-type people who appreciate its power and security. The corporation at that point is not hiring many Yang people as they are labeled as 'risky'. This happens even in governmental agencies and international bodies such as the UN. Most of the people there seem to be Yin. Procedures and rules that limit self-expression make such behemoths less interesting for the creatives, mindful, and entrepreneurial people who oftentimes create value by rocking the boat. Men and women.

With time, this cycle of Yin and Yang happens as part of the natural growth of each company. Surely, as time passes, the added-value of the Yang founders and their heirs would be diminished, but the scale and political power of the company they have created would prevail and so will the off-shore accounts, mostly managed by Yins. This opens the downfall of the Yin-stacked brands that creates a market opportunity for new Yang challengers (startups) or executives (outside CEOs) who would take the corporation on a new path to prosperity.

An eternal cycle, so it appears.

So whatever the platform for marketing automation you choose, it would show you which is the dominant energy in your company. Yin or Yang.

Aim To Meet In The Middle


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Aleksandar V Ribak


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