Is your dinosaur email marketing platform going extinct?
Marketers using Oracle’s Bronto email marketing platform were informed recently that Bronto will be sunsetting in May 2022. This has major implications for email marketers currently using Bronto. What are the best replacement platforms to consider? What is the cost of migrating, and who can help make the transition smooth?
Operators of Oracle’s popular e-commerce platform NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) are especially affected, as for the past six years Bronto has been pitched as the go-to natively integrated marketing solution for SCA websites. Therefore a disproportionately large number of SCA websites currently use Bronto for email marketing.
While changing martech platforms can be a daunting prospect, the fact is that Bronto’s capabilities have been lagging amongst its peers for years. It hasn’t been a world-class platform for half a decade and Oracle’s decision to pull the plug presents an opportunity to many users chaffing under its outdated platform but lacking the authority or authorized budget to upgrade to a much better solution. Bronto’s end of life represents a favorable option for marketers to take stock of their marketing program and internally advocate for a more effective option.
Fortunately, many modern effective alternatives to Bronto exist. SCA users can choose from several world-class and affordable platforms with capabilities never included in the lagging Bronto platform.
Oracle has indicated that the last date of service will be May 31, 2022, at which time they will no longer continue selling the platform or making any improvements to it. Savvy marketers will switch sooner rather than later, however, to avoid potential disruptions, allow migration in careful phases rather than “all eggs in one basket”, and position the firm for success during Thanksgiving, Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and other major shopping holidays
Marketers considering email platforms should decide their desired platform services then narrow their selection set to the top industry leaders.
Any marketing automation should have basic lead and campaign lists, click tracking, unsubscribe management and robust drip marketing. Additional platform considerations may include
- Is a full CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program needed?
- Platform Scalability and customization.
- CAN-SPAM and GDPR compliance
- Social media connectivity
- Availability of support documentation, userbase for troubleshooting, and support availability.
Some key factors to consider when comparing platforms include:
- User Interface
- Features & Native Integrations
- Customer Support
- Learning Resources
- Userbase & Reviews
- Set-up & Onboarding
- Platform updates
Alternatives to Bronto
Martech Today estimates there are over 200 viable email provider solutions.
Photo credit to martechtoday.com
One common way to identify front-runners and narrow the selection is to consult a respected comparison tool such as G2 Crowd.
Fortunately for users of NetSuite’s popular SCA e-commerce platform, a few industry leaders tailored for middle-market e-commerce websites stand out above the rest: Klaviyo, MailChimp and HubSpot.
Klaviyo is the go-to marketing automation solution for middle-market e-commerce websites.
- A 2012 startup, Klaviyo has carved out a niche as the industry-leader for middle-market e-commerce sites
- The early and effective integration of SMS text marketing into Klaviyo is a key differentiator.
- Klaviyo’s features reflect its focus on e-commerce. For example, contact segmentation uses criteria like browsing behavior, acquisition source, purchase frequency and purchase size to create powerful and customized user flows. Benchmarking allows the comparison of KPIs across industry peers. Lookalike targeting leverages social media advertising for lead gen
- Klaviyo’s integration with NetSuite is natively supported but only at a very basic level. While instructions and support exist to integrate, the use of a connector program such as Celigo or Dell Boomi is recommended.
MailChimp is the market leader for free and low-cost emailing.
- A robust tool allowing the management of mailing lists, creation of custom email templates, and nurturing and automation of entire marketing campaigns.
- MailChimp has a well-known, industry-leading entry-level free product that dominates the low-cost email market.
- Mid-sized businesses currently using Bronto can switch with relative ease to the inexpensive paid version of MailChimp and leverage the built-in workflows to create automated and drip marketing campaigns.
- Like other email marketing platforms, MailChimp does not natively integrate with NetSuite, meaning manual uploads are necessary without a third-party connector. Fortunately, many connectors exist, including Celigo Integrator, Cazoomi SyncApps, WhatCounts, LeadsBridge and others.
HubSpot is a well-known market leader for marketing automation, especially for B2B.
- An extremely robust and versatile platform with industry-leading resources and marketing support, HubSpot effectively owns the mid-market B2B space.
- HubSpot’s platform allows enterprise-level functionality at low enterprise pricing, including automated workflows based on behavioral or demographic information, targeted “smart content” to change the experience and lead generation & aggregation.
- One of HubSpot’s main advantages over its competitors is in the universality and scope of its software. Unlike Klaviyo, whose email automation is closer to a standalone product, HubSpot offers email as just one component of its well-oiled marketing machine. The platform’s strength lies in its ability to provide the “all-in-one” package of CRM, Marketing, and Sales.
- Pricing is a key negative differentiator for brands considering HubSpot. HubSpot dramatically increased their once-low pricing in 2017 and charges based upon contacts and modules such as CRM Suite or Sales Hub, meaning the platform often costs tens of thousands annually and is therefore unaffordable for many mid-sized B2C businesses with tens of thousands of medium and low-value contacts.
- HubSpot has a “Data Sync” feature to connect with ERPs such as NetSuite. There are several resources available to help integrate the two platforms. This may remove the need for a dedicated connector.
The marketing automation space is crowded with many valid contenders. Enterprise-level behemoths like Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua often price out middle-market firms and require dedicated staffing, while platforms oriented towards smaller-scale clients such as Constant Contact or Vertical Response are typically not tailored to e-commerce websites.
Ease of Migration
No matter the solution, migrating the existing lists, campaigns and data can be challenging. Partner with an implementation firm with a track record of success using these major platforms and delivering results to a variety of clients.
Avoiding any downtime when switching from Bronto is of course a key goal. When evaluating marketing technology providers, it’s crucial to understand how they can quickly and efficiently help an existing Bronto client off of Bronto and into their platform.
Questions to ask vendors regarding the migration process:
- How long does it typically take new clients to launch initial campaigns? What is the average time to value?
- What services are included during initial setup and implementation?
- Is there a dedicated integrations resource or consultant?
- Is there any platform training?
- Is list verification and cleaning included?
- What resources or technical support are clients/brands expected to provide during onboarding and migration?
- Will there be any expected lapse in performance?
RSM – A Trusted Advisor
RSM’s digital marketing team is well-versed in email marketing as well as marketing automation and experienced with Bronto and other major platforms. The team has advised clients on email platform selection as well as performing extensive implementation and campaign management work.
Whether you are just getting started with a digital marketing program, or you would like to find missing opportunities in an existing digital marketing strategy, RSM’s Rapid Assessment can help. Using strategic insights developed over years of work on clients in different industry verticals, RSM can help you grow your website’s revenue.