If you’re to believe the song lyrics, apparently ‘the best things in life are free’. But unfortunately this saying doesn’t extend to marketing automation software.
Admittedly there are a number of ‘free’ marketing automation solutions available in the marketplace. And perhaps they offer some support to microbusinesses who are dipping their toes in the water when it comes to lead nurturing.
But, on the whole, these no-cost or low-cost solutions can actually end up being very expensive indeed.
This is commonplace with ‘freemium’ business models, where there is no initial charge for the use of core products and services. At first glance, such a pricing structure may seem quite attractive. However the functionality associated with such e-CRM solutions is often limited, which means the true ongoing costs soon escalate when users seek the tools they really need. These ‘add ons’ are charged at a premium price – they’re how the providers generate their revenue after all. So, before the users know it, these inexpensive solutions have become far from affordable.
I suppose that’s where another age-old saying comes in – ‘you get what you pay for’.
To truly reap the value – and desired return – from marketing automation software, CMOs must look beyond a ‘one size fits all’, stripped back e-CRM product. There are much more intuitive solutions available that leverage smart tech as well as the best practice insight and knowledge of humans, to develop tailored, revenue-generating conversations and meaningful customer relationships.
Whilst certainly not ‘free’, these platforms are available on transparent ‘pay as you go’ pricing structures, with competitive rates on email sends, that allow marketers to plan for – and stick to – budgets. You can allocate project-specific costs too, safe in the knowledge you have a greater chance of measuring the return.
So, look carefully at the marketing automation marketplace and take time to distinguish between what options are available and why the pricing structures may look different.
The cheap end of the marketing automation sector is being somewhat eroded by email providers such as Autopilot and MailChimp. But they don’t offer all the other parts of the jigsaw that bridge the delta between sending generic batch and blast emails and cultivating intelligent journeys that engage and communicate with customers throughout their buying cycle. They don’t promote real, personalised and humanised conversations. And they don’t have the secret to achieving results from day one.