Comparing Optify vs. Marketo for Inbound Marketing Software? How Much Weight Do You Want to Carry?
As I’m mentally debriefing another day at the business here Thursday night, I was checking some metrics including social media. On our Optify Twitter handle, I noticed that Marketo is still promoting @Optify. I just want to say to all of the good folks at Marketo, thank you very much for adding us to your list of Promoted Tweets in Search campaign. Please keep it going. I was planning on writing a quick post of how our software and philosophy is very different from Marketo, so with that quick reminder, there’s no time like the present.
For a little background, I cut my teeth in tech carrying a bag in enterprise sales in the CRM markets of the late 90s. Everything we all did back in those client-server on premise days was heavy. Any customer on a mountain hike to their business objective was hauling a 100lb pack with ancillary contraptions that were unfortunately required to just get their business software to work. A customer had to buy servers, hire a consultant to configure the system for weeks or months, find a dedicated administrator to update business rules in the system. It’s one of the main reasons I left the client-server world in 2000 and jumped in SaaS with a business that I co-founded.
So as a contrast, we believe at Optify the whole premise of SaaS is to not carry that weight. Our mantra around the company but especially here in product management, engineering, and training is KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. We follow that mantra because our customers are in a hurry.
Marketers today wear a lot of hats, switching gears between a least a couple campaigns and multiple digital channels every day. Their inbound marketing software needs to be easy to use, applicable to track all of their campaigns across search, social, content, email, and so on. Their inbound marketing software needs to be cost effective. Optify’s customers are on that mountain trail making time in a pair of Merrells, Patagonia shorts and a dry-fit shirt, with a feather-weight North Face pack carrying only what is essential for their fast moving journey in digital marketing.
Enter Marketo, and drop two 25lb dumbbells in the backpack of that marketing professional. Why the weight? Complexity, and a lot of overbuilt rules that the vast majority of inbound marketers won’t use on their journey. I know, because I’ve been there with rules based systems.
Rules-based systems 101: The premise of the nirvana of “marketing automation” in Marketo’s software is that the marketer just lets the system run and no one has to do anything. That visitor comes in, fills out a form, and if they do this action in AA days, they get EFG email, if they don’t, they instead receive HIJ email CC hours later. And then again in DD days if we haven’t heard from them. What about if their industry was Financial Services – well then include the link to the financial services whitepaper rather than healthcare, of course. Anyone getting confused yet?
Our product managers have talked to a ton of prospects and customers, and more than 80% of them told us what I already knew about rules-based systems and what B2B marketing professionals want from inbound marketing software:
- Flexibility to respond to market demands: Rules-based systems presuppose a very stable process where the B2B marketer can create a 6-10 block Visio diagram with every if-then scenario. The reality is hardly anyone in marketing has a completely stable lead followup process for even a few months. Instead, they are always tweaking and improving it, which means a rules-based system becomes a straight-jacket, and trying to update the rules and keep track of the complexity becomes a bigger time-suck than just triggering some processes and keeping it simple.
- Transparency, not a black-box system: Because rules-based systems are complex to understand, folks are afraid to use them. What happens if in process block number 4, the healthcare prospect gets send a financial services whitepaper by accident? Then one of the VP of Sales or the VP of Marketing will string me up. So all those fancy rules that are paid for so dearly in the cost of the software rarely get used.
- Simple and low cost to administer: Rules based systems require a dedicated administrator to keep up with the complexity. Here’s an excerpt from a discussion I had a few weeks ago with a VP of Marketing who is a dual Optify-Marketo customer. “Well, we’ve had Marketo for 2 years, and we don’t use it for much besides basic emails. But I’m going to hire a Marketo guy, and then I think I’m really going to be getting value out of the system.” I was thinking wow, really? You paid for all that stuff you didn’t use, and now need at least a $75k per year headcount fully loaded. But my response wasn’t sarcastic, it was instead, “That’s adding an awful lot to your total cost of ownership. If you ever need to hire an ‘Optify guy’, we will have flat failed our ease-of-use litmus test.”
We focus on keeping our software light weight here at Optify to let our customers move fast and stay flexible on all the ups and downs of their digital marketing trek. Check our software out if you have a moment, and compare Optify vs. Marketo. It won’t take long to understand where the extra weight is.