Marketing automation is a big investment for many firms and everyone is keen to show serious results from using the tools. Before you can do that, however, you need to take a look at the pricing options available.
Learn how to calculate the estimated price of a solution
- Record Count: In your Salesforce.com system’s Setup, expand Data Management and click on the Storage Usage link. Look for and add up the Record Counts of Leads and Contacts. [Updated: thanks to David Carnes at OpFocus for reminding me to fix this one!]
- What you want to do with the system. Do you need email? automation? landing pages? inbound and outbound? For instance, if you just need an inbound blog platform, HubSpot may do. If you want automation and outbound options, you may like Marketo more.
- Review all the marketing automation features you need and are offered.
- Your maximum ability to spend. Keep in mind the system may be worth 1-2 FTEs in total time savings and increase in the number of tasks you can manage with one person.
When building your budget, don’t take the current amount you are spending on email software as the only reference point. Sure, you can reallocate those funds quickly, but I bet if you were just sending emails, it will not be enough. Take into account the time saved from automation of tasks (email creation, lead flow management, deduping) and the leverage you create by having a tightly integrated sales funnel.
The Big Marketing Automation Pricing Comparison
- Marketo Pricing: Marketo’s pricing for SMBs is in three tiers from Spark to Select, then a fourth tier Enterprise. Fees are monthly, quarterly, or annually. Expect to pay between $30K to $70K per year in most cases. Pricing is based on your record count at the start of the contract. Typically includes on-boarding process and standard support which is usually enough. There are no per email fees. Extras like dedicated IPs can be negotiated. List prices may be negotiable. Marketo recently upgraded all tiers to unlimited Marketing Users, which is a big plus.
- HubSpot Pricing uses a 3 tier base system plus a monthly fee for the size of your database. Expect to pay $20K-$50K per year, up front. Smaller businesses which use the Basic package can start lower than $10K. There are no per email fees. HubSpot does require one time setup and training fees which add $2,000 to $7,000. If you are new to the web, blogging, and inbound it could be worth it. You can effectively use HubSpot as your website and analytics tool if that helps you drop other services.
- Pardot Pricing (ExactTarget) also has a three tier base system starting with 30K records and adding $300/mo for each additional 30K. There are no per email fees. There are file, landing page, and other limitations which other services do not have. Billing is quarterly for the annual fee. Some fees and extras may be negotiable.
- Act-on Pricing is simple and potentially limiting. They charge per active contact tier starting at $500 for 2,500 contacts you can email per month. That means if you email 2500 people in a month, that’s it. No more emails until you pay more. [Update] According to Act-On staff, there are unlimited plans, but I was unable to review them for this post.
- Eloqua Pricing (Oracle) also has three pricing tiers with a base price plus a fee for contacts over 10K. Eloqua does limit Marketing Users. They have a range of add-ons and pricing can be negotiated. Expect to pay $24K to $100K depending on your database size. There are no per email fees.
Are There Alternatives to Marketing Automation?
That depends on what you need. If you are looking primarily for email marketing, tracking, and basic management, there are plenty of tools. The most popular and reliable are:
- Mailchimp is what I use here to manage my list. If you want to help me and Mailchimp out, get me to 2,000 subscribers and I’ll start paying. The system is quite good and can be more flexible if you have someone who can create email templates and use the API. Expect to pay $100 to $3,000 per year. There are no per email fees.
- ExactTarget started out with email solutions which are robust. I’ve never used it and they aren’t posting pricing. Expect contact or per email pricing.
- Silverpop also has a marketing automation solution which they acquired. I hear their deliverability services are quite good.
- ConstantContact is still primarily about email marketing. Their pricing is similar to Mailchimp’s: based on records. Expect to pay about $1,800-$3,000 if you have a larger database.
Of course, if your team needs to leverage automation, email, pages, and scoring to be effective, you need to go with a fully featured marketing automation solution. Email platforms aren’t going to cut it.
Marketing Automation Consulting Fees
Fees for consulting implementation or other services, such as Marketo training, vary widely depending on what you need done and when. Here are some general ideas to get you started:
- Full Marketing Automation Agencies including Marketo Professional Services: $200-250/hr. LeadMD posts their pricing in a fairly transparent manner.
- Independent Marketing Consultants: about $100-150/hr. Anyone who is charging less is probably not worth it based on what I’ve heard from clients. Similarly, anyone who offers me less does not value good work.
- Enterprise level integration companies like BlueWolf are more appropriate for major work. Expect to pay over $30,000 to start.
Calculating the Marketing Automation Total Cost of Ownership
You probably forgot to also include costs such as integration time and fees, consultant fees (like me), and design fees. Many of the people I work with take a Marketo implementation as a good moment to upgrade email and page templates, since most of those templates are out of date. You can take advantage of the propensity to spend while spending to upgrade whatever you need. Some firms may lack expertise to run the combined automation system and will need to hire a Marketing Programs Manager, Marketing Operations Manager, or a Demand Manager to be at the helm.
- Email Templates: $500-1500. Marketo will take your templates and load them for you for $500/hr. I can do this for $145/hr or your designer can do this too.
- Landing Page Templates: $500-2000. Again, Marketo or a consultant can help you here because there is critical HTML code to make this work properly.
- Operations or Demand Gen Manager: currently running at $80,000 to $95,000 in many areas of the US. Additional database skills such as SQL or SFDC Admin will cost more.
- SFDC Admin or Certified Consultant: a good one could start at $250/hr. Good FTEs are often $100K+. I recommend having one on call if your SFDC is complex or very large.
- Marketo Partner Agency: $200-250/hr
- Independent Marketo Consultant or small agency: $145/hr
If you don’t need to hire additional staff, your TCO may run between $25,000-$75,000 per year. If you decide you need to hire someone or a consultant for any stage of the implementation, you may need to add another $2,500 to $20,000. So even if in the first year you spend $100,000 to setup, learn, and enhance your automation system, your productivity will be at least twice that of a single FTE you could have hired.
What are your experiences buying email or automation platforms? Let us know below.
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