Marketing Tools

We’re all bombarded by marketing campaigns all of the time, but only the good ones stand out to us. A challenge for businesses, both large and small, is how to make marketing effective while remaining affordable. Luckily, there are a multitude of both online and offline marketing tools and services that help businesses and entrepreneurs make a big impact, without the cost of hiring a team of PR experts.

Below is a list of some of the most popular marketing companies currently helping Canadians with accessible tools and services to further their business; click on any of their names to discover more about them. And to learn everything you need to know about using these tools, keep reading!

Top Marketing Tools and Solutions in Canada

Product Type
CRM, Sales, Customer Service, Marketing,
FREE CRM Option. Paid packages ranging from: $12 USD/Month - $45 USD/Month
Ecommerce software, POS, Website Builder, Shipping, Payments
$29 - $299 USD per month
Digital Marketing, SEO, PPC, Content, Video, Social & More
Retainer Fees, Custom Quoted Solutions
Marketing Platform to track SEO, Advertising, Content, and SMM
3 different plans ranging from: $83.28/month- $333.28/month

What Are Marketing Tools?

Marketing tools and services are broadly defined as professional resources that market or advertise a business, person or service. They can also be used to assist in product development. Digitally, these services rely on promoting businesses through search engines, social media and paid channels.

There are many different facets to marketing services, including:

  • Market research surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Search engine optimization
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Social media management
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Email marketing
  • E-newsletters
  • Mobile marketing
  • VR marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Video services
  • Copywriting
  • Sponsored content
  • Web design

How Do Marketing Tools and Services Work?

Many of the companies and tools that exist in this sector offer a range of services, allowing businesses a one-stop-shop for all of their marketing needs, while others specialize in just one niche - for example, email marketing.

As you might expect, the cost of such services ranges; some providers offer basic functionality for free, and require subscription to a paid plan for more advanced assistance. Some offer free trial periods before you are compelled to pay for continued use, and others require paid membership upfront. On average, small to mid-sized businesses can expect to spend anywhere between 2% and 10% of their revenue on marketing.

As the vast majority of marketing these days occurs online, using a digital marketing service is an extremely cost-effective and efficient way to approach marketing. And almost all of the providers in this sector rely on a digital presence for the business or person seeking exposure. So if you don’t have a social media presence, website or other digital footprint, it will be necessary to create them - or get the marketing service you are working with to do so for you.

Source data: Business Development Bank of Canada

Who Uses Marketing Tools and Services?

Almost any business or venture that relies on interaction with others can benefit from marketing. After all, what’s a business without customers? The exact type of marketing tool used varies depending on a company’s needs, target audience and budget, so it’s important to understand what you’re hoping to achieve with your marketing before investing in any route. An established mid-sized business, for example, will have different needs than a small, individual venture, which is different again from a personality looking to expand their brand.

Basic Functions

  • Utilizing marketing tools can help you to:
  • Discover new customer bases
  • Direct potential customers to your business
  • Re-engage with existing customers
  • Understand customer needs
  • Utilize customer feedback in product development
  • Inform customers of business changes, sales or promotions
  • Analyze marketing or product success and re-target campaigns or products
  • Rebrand

Pros and Cons of Marketing Tools

Although online marketing services have become very popular, there are some disadvantages to their use, which should be weighed against their benefits.

Advantages include:

  • Wider reach
  • Increased exposure
  • Lower cost than traditional marketing routes
  • Quicker deployment than traditional marketing routes
  • Automation can simplify marketing processes significantly
  • Immediate, quantifiable results
  • Ability to track customer’s preferences and purchases
  • Integration with other business software and processes
  • Convenience for customers
  • Increased interactivity with customers
  • Customer personalization is possible

Disadvantages include:

  • Security or privacy issues
  • Prevalence of fraud
  • Dependence on technology
  • Maintenance costs (especially in developing technologies like VR advertising)
  • More competition thanks to a rise in globalisation
  • Opens the door to negative feedback becoming publicly visible

How to Choose the Right Marketing Service

With so many options and so much functionality, it’s crucial to know what you’re looking for before deploying any form of marketing. Choosing the right tool starts by asking yourself the following:

  1. What am I hoping to achieve? Be specific: if it’s more visitors to your website, how many people, over what period of time? 
  2. What kind of customers am I targeting?
  3. How do I want to engage with my customers? 
  4. What functionality do I need from my marketing tools?
  5. Does my marketing need to integrate with other tools, such as communication channels or sales platforms?
  6. How much work am I prepared to do by myself, or how much help do I need to manage my marketing strategies?
  7. What’s my budget?
  8. How much ongoing maintenance can I afford to do?
  9. What does success look like for my business?

Your goals must be identifiable, specific and measurable for you to ensure a successful, targeted and cost-effective use of any marketing tool.

Source: Statistica. Data as of 2017.

Major Providers

There are any number of providers in the marketing industry, both online and off, but here are some that you may want to investigate as you get your marketing off the ground:

Main Utility Costs
Mailchimp All-in-one marketing platform Basic use - free
Essentials - $9.99+/month
Standard - $14.99+/month
Premium - $299+/month
InfusionSoft Email marketing and
automated marketing campaigns
Initiation fee - $2000
Subscription fees - $199-$599/month
Buzzsumo Content marketing Basic use - free
Pro - $99/month
Agency - $299/month
Enterprise - $999/month
Canva Graphic design and digital content Basic use - free
Canva for Work - $12.95/month
Ahrefs SEO $79-$2500/month
Buffer Social media marketing and
content automation
Basic use - free
Paid plans - $10-$250/month
Optimizely Customer experience optimization $50,000+/year
SEMrush SEO Basic use - free
Pro - $99.95/month
Guru - $199.95/month
Unbounce Landing page design and conversion Launch - $80/month
Optimize - $120/month
Accelerate - $200/month
Scale - $300/month
Lumen5 Video content creation Basic use - free
Starter - $29/month
Premium - $79/month
Business - 199/month

Frequently Asked Questions About Marketing Tools

What is a marketing tool?

Marketing tools are professional resources that market or advertise a business, person or service. Digitally, these tools rely on promoting businesses through search engines, social media and paid channels.

What can I use a marketing tool for?

Marketing tools can be used for a wide range of purposes, including search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, video marketing, customer research, marketing automation, website design, paid advertising, and much more.

Do I need a website to use online marketing?

It’s not a strict requirement to have a website in order to run an online marketing campaign, but it’s pretty important! A website gives your customers somewhere to go, to view your products or business, purchase items or otherwise engage with you. If you don’t have a website and are utilizing digital marketing, you should definitely have some other form of online presence - for example on social media.

How much does marketing cost?

Marketing can cost almost as little or as much as you like, depending on your needs, your company’s size, and what you’re hoping to achieve. Many online marketing tools have free options that provide some basic functionality to get you started, but advanced features and more targeted help usually only comes with paid services. These can range from a few dollars a month to thousands.

How technical do I need to be to use online marketing?

You don’t have to be a technical whiz to use many of the online marketing tools now available; more advanced users, or those wishing to perform complex tasks, might need some technical know-how (or familiarity with a specific platform) to get full use of all available functions, but many tools are deliberately made easy-to-use and intuitive, so even novices can deploy them.

What counts as a successful marketing campaign?

The success of a marketing campaign depends on its aims and goals, and how much money and time was spent on it. Each person’s measure of success will depend on their expected outcome for the resources they input.

What’s the most cost-effective form of marketing?

Traditionally, email marketing and search engine optimization are the two most cost-effective forms of marketing, with the highest ROI.

Written By Smarter Loans Staff

The Smarter Loans Staff is made up of writers, researchers, journalists, business leaders and industry experts who carefully research, analyze and produce Canada's highest quality content when it comes to money matters, on behalf of Smarter Loans. While we cannot possibly name every person involved in the process, we collectively credit them as Smarter Loans Writing Staff. Our work has been featured in the Toronto Star, National Post and many other publications. Today, Smarter Loans is recognized in Canada as the go-to destination for financial education, and was named the "GPS of Fintech Lending" by the Toronto Star in 2019.