When it comes to marketing technology, the argument for using best-of-breed tools is clear—they’re the best in their respective categories. But for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), using multiple marketing technologies can be cost-prohibitive, and the challenge of integrating them can be unmanageable. But Jason VandeBoom, founder and CEO of marketing automation provider ActiveCampaign, says sometimes it’s worth it. VandeBoom spoke with eMarketer’s Maria Minsker about why all-in-one marketing technology suites are not the right route for smaller organizations.
eMarketer: What are some of the biggest challenges SMBs face with regard to marketing technology?
Jason VandeBoom: Technology providers that target these markets focus on building all-in-one tools. The problem with that is, although they say they can do it all, they’re not advanced when it comes to specific capabilities. As a result, customers that use these platforms only tend to use a small percentage of it and don’t really benefit from most of the technology they’re paying for.
eMarketer: Using best-of-breed tools means integration challenges. How can smaller companies deal with those challenges?
VandeBoom: Regardless of company size, if integration isn’t carried out correctly, best-of-breed tools can cause more pain than good. Companies should seek out tools with built-in integrations, or look to third parties for connector technologies and applications that can group tools and data together to make insight more actionable. Smaller businesses need partners that can provide integration and do some of the work for them.
eMarketer: Are best-of-breed tools scalable? Should growing businesses switch to multisolution suites?
VandeBoom: As businesses grow, it actually becomes more obvious that all-in-one solution suites are not the way to go. There are very few medium-sized companies that are able to find all the tools they need in a single package and actually be satisfied with the breadth and capabilities that those tools provide.
eMarketer: How can companies that use best-of-breed tools make sure they don’t fall into the trap of chasing the latest and greatest products?
VandeBoom: SMBs often look for tools that are accessible to users without a technical background, so industry buzz about certain types of technology doesn’t really influence them. Regardless, businesses should be focused on the outcome of their marketing efforts, not the tool they’re using.
eMarketer: Do you anticipate that more businesses will leave multisolution suites behind and shift to best-of-breed technologies?
VandeBoom: There is going to be a bigger push against all-in-one tools. But to attract SMBs, best-of-breed technology providers are going to have to make an effort to develop tools that are more integrated, suggestive and autonomous, so that marketers at SMBs can take advantage of opportunities that are hard to spot.