Our last post outlined the types of digital marketing platforms. How can you best identify whether the top tier is appropriate for your needs? The most common and true differentiator for all-inclusive platforms is centralized control and user tracking.
Let’s review the value for these two items:
Every aspect of digital marketing is housed in one place. This allows the marketer an overarching view of their activities and data to simplify execution and analysis.
User tracking is currently unique to all-inclusive platforms. When a user completes a form or interacts with your site in some way the system logs the IP address and assigns it to the users data. Moving forward that data is available on that particular user’s behavior. The obvious benefit is that you have real time data on user behavior. In addition the all-inclusive platforms offer automated communications so that you can systematically engage users when they are interacting with your site.
Both of these seem like significant gains but these are only benefits if they offer true value. As with most benefits, there is a tradeoff:
Expensive Centralized Mediocrity
Of course it’s great to have everything in one place but that often comes with a downside. Offering every component of digital marketing often means that it’s less versatile or user friendly than a specialized service. This “enterprise” capability also drives up the cost on the all-inclusive platforms because they have to maintain all the services being offered.
Redundant User Data
There’s no question that the all-inclusive platforms give a whole new level to user data. But is it useful data? It depends on the amount of traffic your site receives and the complexity of your marketing lead funnel. If following up on leads is not a problem for you then automating the process doesn’t have much value. Furthermore, if you aren’t consistently generating leads then the initial step is not complete and so none of the systematic steps will follow because the platform has not captured usable user information.
As you might have guessed all that functionality comes with a price. All inclusive platforms tend to be about five times more expensive than basic communication platforms. Our most recent comparison for a mid-size firm was $300/month vs. $1500/month. Of course these costs will vary based on specific needs, but broadly speaking the 1:5 ratio is about what you should expect.
With such a steep pricing difference it’s possible to combine a small custom group of specialized platforms that offer superior functionality to all-inclusive platforms and still come in well under the all-inclusive platform’s price.
For the right firm with the right marketing user, all-inclusive platforms are a powerful tool. For most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches, it’s overkill. There’s just not enough volume to justify five times the cost with an all-inclusive platform over a basic platform. In general, I only recommend an all-inclusive platform about 10% of the time to a client. The other 90% simply don’t need or won’t use the differentiators.