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Cost and complexity of all-in-one marketing suites a barrier to SMBs seeking automation

There’s a huge disparity in the use of marketing automation software between large corporations (60%) and small to medium businesses (10%)*. According to Kraig Swensrud, CMO of email marketing start-up Campaign Monitor, the cost and complexity of all-in-one marketing suites, designed for the ‘big end of town’, have typically been barriers to SMBs seeking greater marketing efficiencies.

He spoke to Dynamic Business about this problem and the opportunity for SMBs to access the features of mega-vendor marketing clouds without losing their sanity or breaking the bank. The solution, he explained, involves multiple vendors and a move to a ‘best of breed’ marketing technology stack.

“The reason SMBs lag behind large corporations when it comes to marketing automation is simple: cost and people resources,” Swensrud said.

“The all-in-one marketing suites delivered by major vendors are usually big, bulky and expensive. These vendors don’t offer scaled-down solutions to smaller, growing businesses. They target Fortune 500 and larger corporations with deeper wallets and the manpower to implement the software, i.e. those that can afford to hire consultants and integrators to make the software provided suit them.

“At a previous company I worked for, we had a team of ten people and $1 million dollars to get a marketing suite from Oracle off the ground – and even then it took us a year. For large corporations with the resources available, this can often be a worthwhile endeavour.

“A growing business with a small marketing team won’t be able to bankroll a million-dollar system, won’t be able to afford the lengthy implementation time, and won’t have the resources for a dedicated technical team to implement and run a complex marketing suite. Giving someone access to a complex marketing automation suite, when they don’t have massive amounts of training or expensive consultants on hand, is like asking someone to fly an airplane with no training or instructions.

“However, for SMBs who perhaps don’t need every feature under the sun, a move towards a ‘best of breed’ (i.e. individual, tailored) marketing technology stack can save time, money and their sanity. The benefits of this approach for growing businesses means they only pay for the features they need, and receive support from businesses that specialise in one product or service. It means a few more tools, but it’s often much easier and much more suited to that business.

“Look beyond mega vendors, and you’ll find smaller software companies that offer marketing automation that helps guide marketers with self-service, point-and-click tools, empowering them to simply and quickly set up automated campaigns that improve customer engagement.”

* http://www.emailmonday.com/marketing-automation-statistics-overview

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James Harkness

James Harkness

James Harnkess previous editor at Dynamic Business

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