If you’re a marketer, business owner or just an online marketing enthusiast - chances are you’re familiar with a number of marketing automation tools and platforms. If you’re considering purchasing a marketing automation tool for the first time or thinking about switching from one to another, you should know what to look for. You should have a good understanding of which software would be a good fit for your type of business/company.
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to sound pretty negative. This post will be #1 in a series of 6. In this post, I am simply summarizing a few of the disadvantages marketers commonly associate with each of these marketing automation platforms. In my subsequent posts, I will break down each platform in more detail and compare it specifically to HubSpot- my marketing automation software of choice.
We’re a HubSpot Partner Agency and having personally worked at HubSpot in the past, I can’t promise I’m not a little biased in my love for HubSpot. But, alas, they are voted #1 by you - the consumer!
We’ll be talking about some of the big guys that play in the sandbox like Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua as well as what I consider to be some of the newer, smaller guys (functionality and robust-ness) like Infusionsoft and Act-On.
Let’s get started!
- Not truly an “all-in-one” platform - multiple tools are required, making it much harder to measure its effectiveness
- Customers report multiple logins, bills and support lines (or no support line at all)
- Very difficult to integrate - can take from 6 months to a year before you’re up and running and takes a very technical team including development resources to implement
- Marketo is centered around email automation - while their email automation is sophisticated, it doesn’t support full-funnel, multi-channel marketing making reporting difficult or inaccurate
- It takes a sophisticated marketer to use Marketo:
- Different interfaces for landing pages, emails and blog
- Custom coding is required to make landing pages and emails responsive
- It's an extra cost just to access phone support
- Very costly - their most basic subscription is $1,000/month and this doesn’t include any phone support
- They don’t offer a free trial so the only way you’re seeing the software prior to purchase is through a Pardot sales rep
- Steep discounts in the first year when paired with purchase of Salesforce and then large price jump in Year 2
- Really meant for large enterprise teams
- Manual integrations required for channels such as blogging and social media
- Multiple tools requires making it difficult to measure effectiveness of marketing campaigns
- Focused on email automation and doesn’t include tools for generating leads - as a result, many users end up purchasing lists of contacts
- Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud offers many tools, but they’ve all been acquired by the giant and are not all fully integrated
- Limited functionality suited for beginners - marketers quickly “grow out of it”
- Multiple tools required making it hard to measure effectiveness
- Doesn’t provide closed loop analytics
- No social monitoring tools
- Poor email deliverability rate
- Shows # of visits and leads but doesn’t compare which channels they came from
- Requires a manual export of data from CRM and importing it into Act-On to attempt revenue reporting
- No top-of-the-funnel tools or inbound capabilities (blogging, SEO, social media publishing/analytics, sources reporting, responsive landing pages etc.)
- Infusionsoft is built to serve very small businesses and lacks scalability
- Software is known to be “buggy and unreliable”
- Weak customer support - customers report that support reps often can’t offer a solution and support emails going unanswered
So there you have it- whether these aspects are important or relative to your marketing initiatives, you should at least an idea of what you should be on the lookout for during a demo of any of the above platforms. Ask hard questions on the above bullet points when evaluating these platforms prior to signing a contract and make the sales representative demo the exact functionality that will argue the above points.Stay tuned for posts 2-6 in this series as we dive into more specific features like usability, customer service, implementation and everything in between. Most importantly, we’ll tell you how they compare to the #1 ranked marketing automation platform, HubSpot.