Marketing automation software penetration is still on the wrong side of “woeful.”
Even if you reduce the total marketplace to B2B organizations alone — those that are more likely to use a marketing automation platform (MAP) — penetration is still around 10 percent.
MAP providers, with a few exceptions, have stuck to their pricing guns and continue to pitch solutions at the $1,000+ per month mark, which could be one good reason the needle hasn’t moved much in the last few years.
Today, Wishpond has announced a new pricing model that is designed to shake up the MAP industry — a “free forever” plan designed for small businesses. The Vancouver-based company, which was founded in 2009, launched its MAP in 2012, and has since attracted over 5,000 users.
“Solutions like Hubspot and Marketo require thousands of dollars in training and consultants just to get setup,” Wishpond CEO Ali Tajsekandar told me. “Obviously this is far too much for the average small to medium-sized business. This cost is often one of the main barriers that keep companies from using marketing automation solutions.”
Under Wishpond’s free plan, businesses can create an unlimited number of landing pages, website popups, newsletters and automation campaigns. The plan enables businesses to generate up to 200 leads, after which they can sign up for one of Wishpond’s paid plans, which start at $69 per month — still a far cry from the four-figure asking prices touted by other vendors.
But is Wishpond a direct competitor to the likes of Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, and others in the space? I took some time to understand how the product differs from those of some of the heavy-hitters.
Most marketing automation solutions focus on email marketing at their core. Wishpond, on the other hand, had its genesis in sweepstakes and competitions. As a result, it has an incredibly mature landing page builder — one that provides fully responsive designs with previews that show how the page will look on tablets and smartphones. This, it could be argued, is the current core of the platform.
But that doesn’t mean Wishpond is lacking in the email department. Far from it.
“We have been able to learn a lot from our own use of other [email-focused] tools over the past few years,” Tajsekandar said. “This allowed us to create an incredibly robust email tool of our own. However, most marketing automation solutions have neglected their top-of-funnel tools for creating landing pages, forms and other lead-generation campaigns, to the point where their users have to use third-party tools or programmers to create the quality of campaigns they need.”
Building pages and email campaigns in Wishpond is a breeze, too. I’ve used a lot of page design tools over the course of analyzing, reviewing, and reporting on the varied solutions that make up the current marketing technology universe, and Wishpond’s is one of the slickest I’ve tried. It includes a huge raft of pre-built templates for those that are design-challenged, and has a strong focus on mobile design, which is an important area for B2B sales. Why is it important?
Although mobile-first marketing is the “chant du jour,” over 70 percent of purchases are still made on desktop, with mobile used as a research device. And as Twitter’s Sid Patil told us at GrowthBeat 2015, cross-device users are eight times more likely to make an offline purchase — they’re more informed, more engaged, and more likely to follow through. This applies to B2B customers too, where those that research your products on the move have a higher intent to purchase later.
“You are right that the end purchase itself will generally occur on desktop,” Tajsekandar said. “The mobile device is definitely the place where a larger portion of the top and middle of funnel interaction is taking place. Customers expect a great brand experience no matter what device they’re on. This is why Wishpond’s mobile-responsive landing page builder has been such a focal point for our platform. Its flexibility allows marketers to create any kind of promotional campaign experience they need in minutes.”
Triggered communications are built using another slick designer that allows the user to create workflows based on specific conditions, such as when a prospect views a certain web page or email. In fact, the workflow builder is as extensive as the landing page builder, offering full control over when to fire off communications to those that meet the conditions.
While Wishpond might not provide everything its competitors do in an apples-to-apples comparison with the rest of the MAP galaxy, it offers features that most businesses will find relevant and useful, and certainly enough of the expected benefits to be considered a full MAP solution. Landing pages, A/B split testing, responsive design, personalized email marketing, drip campaigns, website popups, social promotions, forms, analytics, lead scoring, visitor tracking, and CRM integration are all included.
Whether Wishpond manages to upset the status quo is yet to be seen, but with an entry fee of zero dollars, and a full feature set that will handle most small to medium-size business needs, it is certainly giving itself the best chance of doing so.
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