More than half of all the martech vendors represented on Scott Brinker’s mind-blowing 43-category, 1,876-company marketing technology landscape do not list their pricing publicly, according to an RJMetrics study.

Why? Apparently the software is too complex:

marketing fail“Companies justify their lack of public pricing based on solution complexity — there are too many factors, they say, that go into a price,” said the study. “These solutions instead offer demos or ‘contact us’ forms.”

Of course, as software buyers know, hidden pricing sometimes means it’s more expensive than you want to pay.

And paying for marketing tech can be a problem.

With solutions not just for email marketing, marketing automation, mobile marketing automation, social media management, and personalization, you’ve also got CRM, conversion optimization, and marketing clouds. But there are many more tools and datasets available for omnichannel and mobile user acquisition and influencer marketing and sales enablement and big data and channel marketing and CRM … the list goes on.

Buy a solution from each category in Brinker’s supergraphic and you’ll quickly buy your way into the poorhouse — although a very well-equipped one.

To check each company’s prices and pricing models, RJMetrics fired up Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and unleashed the Internet’s equivalent of minions on the task. As it turns out, backbone platforms such as CRM, marketing automation, and ecommerce are the most likely to list their pricing. Middleware offerings such as data management, tag management, and identity management are the least likely.

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Freemium models help, of course, but only 16 percent of martech companies offer a 100 percent free tier. Interestingly, even though the least proportion of middleware companies reveal pricing, those that do are very likely to offer a freemium model and a completely free product tier.

Conversely, backbone platforms, which have the highest percent of disclosing price, have the lowest rate of freemium.

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That’s not a shock, of course.

Backbone offerings, which also includes CRM and web experience management, can be challenging to try at a very low level: They require integration before you can extract value. Middleware, with data platforms, tag management, and API management, is somewhat easier to dip your toes into.

One other interesting part?

As you might expect, companies that do not offer a freemium layer are more likely to be more expensive. RJMetrics said that martech companies with a freemium layer start their lowest paid tier at less than half of the others, and the most expensive tiers can be 5X as expensive.

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