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There’s huge change afoot within the world of marketing automation, which is allowing more and more SME’s to join in the fun and reap the huge benefits the technology offers.

What seems like a lifetime ago now, first-generation marketing automation platforms hit the market (like a brick to the face, some might say).

This first crop of automation platforms focussed on efficiency through automation, with highly complex single stack solutions that more often than not required significant third-party consultant support to architect and implement; dramatically pushing up price points and implementation timelines.

Many of these first generation platforms evolved from startups that had developed specialist proprietary software (such as Marketo).  Rather than developing their product in house, which takes time, platform owners went on a spending spree,  buying up and bolting on complimentary products; resulting in powerful all-encompassing single stack solutions, with, admittedly, rather disjointed interfaces and user experience.

To fund these investments, subscription prices went up, and marketing automation became the preserve of enterprise businesses with deep pockets and teams of highly qualified marketing automation consultants that were able to connect the dots in the software. The result, alas, was technology that became unattractive and indeed, unattainable to budget savvy mid-market and SME businesses wishing to transform their digital marketing strategy.

But fear not. Generation two has landed! Offering a best-of-breed approach that favours core functionality, integration over monopolisation, and kick-ass customer support, at a fraction of its predecessor’s cost!

There’s no great surprise here.  In the past, we saw the same thing happen with email, and history is now repeating itself.  Once upon a time you had to use specialist email marketing agencies with significant costs and in-house talent, but the market shifted as MailChimp and their ilk took email marketing mainstream with user friendly and affordable alternatives that played nice with third party apps.

The two defining features here are ease of use, and connectivity.  In fact, it’s been shown that integrated best-of-breed marketers get the most value from their technology stacks, with 83 percent rating their companies’ ability to leverage the full power of their tools as “excellent” or “good.” – Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 (2017). 

This ability to connect disparate solutions through integration layers such as Zapier, Mulesoft and IFTT is a hallmark of second generation marketing automation platforms.  Why spend a fortune on functionality you’ll never need when you can subscribe to a lean marketing automation solution, and supplement it’s functionality on demand with tools such as Survey Monkey, Hootsuite and even Google docs?

And for marketing automation to go truly mainstream, this product shift is critical.  For it’s own sake, and the sake of customers looking to gain competitive advantage, marketing automation must adapt to the market’s demand for intuitive, affordable, connected best of breed solutions. 

Speaking of which…

Kulea.ma was built in response to the foibles of first-generation Marketing Automation, with an eye on integrating with third party apps, we’ve put the focus on self serve, intuitive experiences and customer success, rather than agency-only options and consultant support.

By using API’s (application programming interfaces) Kulea.ma work beautifully with your favourite existing martech tools, or that other piece of software you have your eye on! Meaning you can create your own ‘suite’ made up of the best software that helps your business the most, not just sales, not just finance, not just marketing… but everyone working together in harmony!

Which is lucky, as according to campaign monitor:

pie chart

 

Our Co-Founder, Andrew Nicholson, is right when discussing marketing automation solutions  “Having a powerful product these days simply isn’t enough – it needs the people behind it, both your developers, customer support and even your sales teams, to build a customer’s success in-house, not through outsourcing.  If your customers need an expensive third party consultant to get value for money from your tools, they’re not at fault, you are.”

And this focus on ease of use and great customer support is evidenced by the reaction Kulea has received from customers. Kulea’s currently scoring higher than Hubspot and Marketo on G2Crowd, the “Tripadvisor” of the software world. 

We’ve even been awarded G2crowd’s Winter 2019 Top Performer Award and are in the Top 20 Highest Rated Marketing Automation Software!  Not bad for a solution that only started selling last year!

 

These incredible achievements are all based on real customer feedback of satisfaction.

So in conclusion, marketing automation is evolving as marketers prefer to cherry pick the best marketing solutions to fit their business, and the proof is in the satisfaction pudding!
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