No company discussion on email marketing software is complete before the topic of enterprise marketing software suites versus best-of-breed software solutions is brought up. Whether you’re switching platforms or jumping into marketing automation for the first time, the questions always come up: Which route is the best for our business? And frankly, it’s one we hear from prospects all the time that inquire about our email marketing software (so rest assured knowing you’re not alone). It’s a fantasy many marketers can’t stop replaying. A high-octane rocket ship that is an enterprise marketing software suite, with visions of lifting their marketing technology stack off the ground and it taking them to the moon and back. However, in reality, marketers often pay a steep price, financially and functionally, for choosing enterprise marketing software suites. Recent trends show best-of-breed marketing technology stacks are actually leading the field. Marketers today need all of these powerful pieces to run a well-integrated demand generation and customer journey engine. Yet, when asked, only 31% of global marketers at B2C enterprises have adopted an enterprise marketing software suite, according to a Forrester report. Source: Adobe What’s keeping these marketers from enjoying arguably their most important piece of marketing technology? There’s clearly a disconnect between the marketing of these full suites and their real-world usage. With more marketers adding more distribution channels to their marketing strategy every year, it’s only going to get worse. The fix is best-of-breed solutions.
Best-of-breed vs. suites
One suite, one purchase, one vendor to work with. Sounds like the lifelong marriage any marketer would want with the solutions they use, right? Not exactly. IBM’s 2019 Marketing Technology report highlights the importance of marketing technologies as a whole. IT spending is continuing to grow. Source: Gartner Agile methods are being employed using advanced technologies like artificial intelligence. These deep-learning algorithms rely heavily on large amounts of data. Marketing agencies are even becoming more integrated into the general business as these technologies mature. It’s becoming more essential than ever to have centralized suppositories of data. That doesn’t mean you should throw your money at a suite. The reality is that these enterprise marketing software suites are made up of multiple product acquisitions, inorganically forced to work with one another, hodgepodge together behind one big name and brand logo. A best-of-breed solution can supply all the necessary capabilities your business needs, including:
- Working with your valuable customer data
- How you need it to work for your customer journey
At a price point that won’t make your CFO scream. Enterprise marketing software suites often fall short at surround insufficient feature sets, cost of contracts and seats, lack of consolidated reporting, and an inability to integrate with applications outside the suite itself. Oftentimes, these enterprise companies would rather invest in acquiring new parts to add to their portfolio or spread investments thin and unevenly across a portion of their offerings. Marketers today cannot afford to have customer data handcuffed to a non-customizable solution with limited functionality. Best-of-breed solutions give modern marketers three major components enterprise marketing software suites fail to reach.
3 Deciding factors for best-of-breed software solutions
When it comes to building your marketing technology stack, here are three major deciding factors best-of-breed solutions can offer your business.
Enterprise marketing software suites will say they integrate when their definition of integrating is different than what most marketers are familiar with. Their strongest integrations are all of the different tools they have bolted together to make up their suite solution. The ability for companies using these software suites to scale as they need to with additional platforms or data sources is hindered by the way the data uses an outside source. They may tout exchanges or showcases of partners they “integrate” with, but options are limited due to the relationships they have with the suite. The beauty of best-of-breed software solutions is the ability to plug and play with a multitude of third-parties to collect and actionably use data to benefit your customers. A software solution that’s truly “best of breed” will easily integrate with other third-party tools. These tools enhance the existing suites you’re already using, whether proprietary or purchased from one of the majors. People continuously use new platforms, moving between social networks, messengers, apps, and more. The methods and tools you use to reach them need to be just as adaptive.
Data only works when it is active. Oftentimes, data collected from customers is limited in use once in a suite solution. It’s their database, and you can’t configure it to achieve the goals you set out. When you silo data within a software suite, you are constricted as to how you are allowed to use the data in your marketing campaigns by the guardrails built into the suite. And what about features? Determining how well the core features of the suite fit your needs plays a vital role. If a feature falls out of alignment with your marketing structure, best-of-breed software solutions will often work with customers to build the feature they need. Every moment counts in marketing. AI and automation are great, but it still requires continual learning to remain effective. If a feature falls out of alignment with your marketing structure, best-of-breed software solutions will often work with customers to build the feature they need. What you see is what you get with software suites.
Last but not least, you can’t ignore the cost. Some companies have a budget where they can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an enterprise marketing software suite. These are the same companies that can spend even more money to build custom integrations with the suite provider to make the platform fit with their business. This isn’t the same scenario for every marketer. Software shouldn’t always come down to price, but when you compare dollar for dollar what you truly get out of a suite solution and the adaptability you have within the suite, it can be challenging to justify the cost for what you get back.
Making the switch
If you’ve decided that a best-of-breed software solution is the best for your business, there are several different steps you’ll need to take when making the transition. Remember, this isn’t going to be a simple “copy & paste” job, you’ll need to expect interruptions. Before making your software switch, you’ll want to make sure everyone in your organization is made aware. Why—because nobody likes to be caught off guard. This is especially true if you plan on making the switch during regular business hours. It will cause disruptions in your daily workflow, so make sure you stay in constant communication with everyone so that they are aware of the status of the switch over.
The pros and cons of best-of-breed software
As with any product, there is a good side and a not so good site. When it comes to best-of-breed software, yes, it gives you a wide choice of systems and vendors to help give you that “all-in-one” feel, however, upgrades run the risk of falling out of sync, causing disruptions. Yes, while it provides a flexible approach to managing your systems, it can also put quite the strain on your IT resources. Is the risk worth the reward? Only you can decide.
Can your business afford the suite life?
You are the software you use. Make the decision between enterprise marketing software suites, or building a stack of a la cart, best-of-breed software solutions that best fit your business. Delivra offers a multitude of features and services that makes it a leading email marketing software choice for any marketing technology stack. Schedule a personalized demo today!