How Advanced Does Your Digital Marketing Platform Need to Be? – Platform Types

Our last article raised some questions about our opinion of Hubspot’s product.  Specifically, do I agree with Lyons’ assertion that HubSpot is hastily developed software and unfriendly to users?  In general, I think HubSpot can hold its own against similar all-inclusive digital marketing platforms.  That’s not to suggest that I am whole-heartedly recommending it.  Most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches don’t need a resource as robust as HubSpot and will receive a much better return on their investment from more modest platforms.

I categorize digital marketing platforms into three groups:

All-Inclusive Platform

HubSpot is an example of an all-inclusive platform.  It integrates with large CMS platforms, provides list management, centralizes email and social content, offers website plugins, provides triggered events and has advanced tracking capability.

Communication Platform

Constant Contact, iContact, MailChimp, etc. are all examples of communication platforms.  This is the most prevalent service which typically offers email and social content management, limited CMS integration, general reporting, basic website plugins, and basic list management.

Add-On Platform

Swiftpage is an example of an add-on platform as it is much more useful when paired with ACT!.  Add-On platforms are really designed to be run in conjunction with another program. While these platforms can function independently, the user friendliness for things like list management, communication design, website integration, or social media inclusion are heavily reliant on an external program.


Seems like the all-inclusive option is the winner right? Not necessarily. Its overkill for many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches, offering limited value for a much larger spend. In our follow up article we’ll provide suggestions on how to effectively analyze whether an all-inclusive platform is a good fit for your digital needs.

Digital Marketing’s Value is Disrupted without Gauging Your Target Market’s Perception

contentIf you are searching for a new, and critical, perspective on digital marketing then Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble is a good option. The book came to my attention after hearing other digital marketers’ mixed reviews. The book is an account of author Dan Lyons’ time with HubSpot, a popular digital marketing platform.  It was described to me as funny but lacking an understanding of tech companies in general, but digital marketing specifically. While Lyons’ criticisms can be harsh at times, they often had merit. I think the sentiment that the book is a disgruntled employee whining about a past employer is an unfair review and overlooks one of the biggest lessons learned that can be taken from the book.  Your target market’s perception of your digital marketing campaigns is what assigns value to it.

Lyons largely covers the culture clash he experienced at HubSpot but also touches on some of the contradictions he saw with their digital marketing tactics.  Specifically when reviewing HubSpot’s digital marketing strategy he states that they claimed to hate SPAM and showed their disdain by flooding their customers and their customers’ customers with SPAM. He also writes about predrafted content that HubSpot employees were strongly encouraged to mass share to social media feeds to flood those channels with repetitive content.

Most digital marketers would counter the SPAM claim by citing opt-in processes or content engagement. They’d probably also suggest that the social content would be organically posted so that it was not a content or link blitz.

Lyons has a point in these examples. There are a lot of digital marketers that skirt a fine line, or blatantly cross it, with list building. To suggest that a digital marketing platform will reliably enforce CAN-SPAM practices is unrealistic.  Flooding social media with duplicate content is an obvious abuse.

It’s important not to get so caught up in our own digital marketing campaigns that we start disregarding outsider analysis. After all, our perception of our digital marketing is secondary to how our target audience perceives it.

Digital marketing data analysis, if done consistently and credibly, is designed to supply an objective view of how our content is being received which dictates its effectiveness. But even that will still contain some subjective judgment calls. That’s where outside perspectives can provide poignant insight on how your digital marketing can provide more value to your target audience and you in return.