The True Cost of Creating Your Own Channel Marketing Automation

Channel Marketing Automation
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Did you know that creating a complete marketing automation stack by yourself will cost you more than you think each month? And this isn’t the cost of building an entire marketing automation platform yourself. That would cost a lot more in time and money. We took a look at some of the most common marketing automation tools out there and, based on our research, estimated the monthly costs of each. We also factored in the additional costs of using it with your partners. 

What you need to make your own marketing automation system

Have you ever looked at marketing automation software and considered doing it yourself? There are a lot of tools that handle various aspects of automation, and they also offer integration with each other. So, in theory, it shouldn’t be too difficult to put everything together.

Your marketing automation stack

A basic marketing automation platform offers email marketing, social media marketing features, learning material, a dashboard and sometimes landing pages and video. 

The optional features like landing pages and video make it easier to create, host, and easily share these content types with your partners and customers. Email marketing automation makes it easier to set up emails and send them at the right time. Social media marketing features allow you to manage multiple accounts in a single place and post to all of them at once. You’ll also need learning material, especially to teach your partners about your products. Automation can help you keep track of your partner’s learning progress. Finally, having a dashboard pulls everything together so you can see all of your data in one place. 

To put all of this together, you will need a minimum of 6 separate platforms that, hopefully, integrate with each other. Specific platforms such as Hootsuite, which offers social media features, help you automate a specific piece of your marketing. This is great if all you need to do is automate that one marketing piece. But, you’ll probably want to automate most of it. 

Factors you need to consider

There are several factors you need to consider when setting up your own marketing automation stack. 

  • Price
  • Training time
  • Your set up time 
  • Integration time and management
  • Your partners time
  • The MDF costs for your partner’s tech stack

The first factor you need to consider is obviously price. Buying individual platforms will be a lot more expensive than buying just one. Here’s a rough estimate of costs you can expect to see: 

TypeExample PlatformPrice
Social MediaHootsuite$129/month (3 users)
DAMBox$35/month/user
LearningTalentLMS$129/month (100 users)
Landing PagesInstapage$299/month
Email SendGrid$250/month (30k emails)
VideoWistia$99/month (10 vids + $0.25/vid/month)
DashboardSisense$200/month
Total$1,141 minimum

The cost per platform varies greatly. Some of these costs include users and some of them do not. If the number of users/emails/videos you need is greater than what the plan calls for, you’ll naturally pay more. 

But, price is just one factor in setting up the stack. You also have to consider the amount of time it takes to learn and adopt all of these platforms. You may have to spend weeks training all of your partners on each of them. Some of these platforms may offer training, but that’ll most likely be an additional cost. You’ll also need to coordinate schedules, which takes time out of your day. You may also need to get executive buy-in, which means you’ll be spending time trying to justify why you need all of these platforms when you could be doing more important work instead. 

There are also integration costs to consider as well. In some of these plans, the number of integrations is limited and you may need to purchase the higher tier to get the integrations you need. And once you integrate them, you can only use them for a certain period of time before the integration permissions expire and you have to renew the permissions. Depending on how things are set up, this could take a few hours to an entire day. 

You may also need to pull your IT team away from their work to help with the integration, especially if it needs admin permissions. This takes them away from their own important work which could potentially slow progress on your company’s next big project. 

Your partners will also need to set up these automations on their end, so they may be asking you and your IT team for help. This means you and your IT team may have to balance your partners’ requests for help with your own company requests. This can result in partner requests not being answered on time which leaves partners feeling neglected. 

They may also submit MDF requests for the licensing costs as your plan most likely won’t cover them. This takes money away from lead generation activities your partner may be doing such as hosting webinars and attending trade shows. This may result in you needing to increase your total MDF budget which can potentially result in additional costs. 

Why use a platform built for channel marketing automation?

Creating your own marketing automation stack is expensive, in terms of both money and time. Costs add up quickly, and those costs only increase with a large partner program. Basic marketing automation platforms tend to have everything you need for marketing automation and can save you thousands in monthly and annual costs. They can also save you time and effort and allow you to focus more on your partners than on setting up and managing your own marketing automation stack. 

Take us, for example. We are a marketing automation platform specifically designed for the channel marketing space. 

We give you:

  • Video hosting 
  • Landing page and PDF creation
  • Social Media marketing features 
  • Customized dashboards for you and your partners 
  • Unlimited storage for all of your sales and marketing content
  • Email campaigns, video campaigns, event campaigns, landing page campaigns, and social media campaigns
  • A built-in LMS
  • Single Sign-On
  • Unlimited users for you and your partners

Most marketing automation platforms tend to be all-inclusive in their pricing model. This is a lot more affordable than being charged for multiple platforms and multiple features. 

You’ll also save time as you and your partners only have to learn one platform instead of several. You won’t waste time checking if all of your platforms are compatible with each other. You also won’t have to keep track of when you need to renew your integration permissions as all of the features you need are contained in one single platform. 

You also don’t need to remember more than one login as most marketing automation platforms come with Single Sign-On, so you can access them using just your company login and password. With a platform made for marketing automation, you’ll save yourself money, time, and the frustration of having to keep track of all the different platforms you’re using. 

When you buy a channel marketing automation platform, you get unlimited users for both you and your partners. This means that everyone on your team and your partners’ teams can have an account on the platform without incurring any additional costs. It’s all included. This means that your partners can stop submitting MDF requests for licensing costs and go back to submitting MDF requests for lead-generating and other development activities. 

For more information about how marketing automation can help your business and how much you can save by using xAmplify, schedule a call

Conclusion

Marketing automation is a great way to make marketing easier for you and your partners. But trying to create your own marketing automation stack often defeats this purpose. Creating your own stack will likely cost you a lot in time and money. You’ll need several platforms to do the work of a dedicated marketing automation platform, and you’ll need to purchase additional licenses for the number of additional users you have. 

A basic marketing automation platform does the work of many, saving you time and money. as you typically pay for the platform plus a set number of contacts. There’s no need to worry about incurring additional costs as your number of contacts increases. Unlimited users are included.  

So, ultimately, you can choose to individually set up your marketing automation using different platforms, in hopes you can easily integrate across them all, or you can simply save yourself hours of unnecessary work and potentially thousands of dollars by using a designated channel marketing automation platform.