Silverpop (which is actually called IBM Watson Campaign these days) was recently acquired by IBM. They’re entering a market that’s already housing some big names, such as Salesforce (with Pardot and ExactTarget/Marketing Cloud), Marketo and Oracle Eloqua.
I’ve seen it stated that there are no disadvantages of using Silverpop, since email marketing has been here for a while: the market is mature. Most providers offer virtually the same services.
In my experience, that’s not a good thing, at all.
Because who wrote that is right: there are no particular disadvantages when comparing Watson/Silverpop versus the other platforms I just mentioned. They’re all platforms backed by huge companies making similar claims: they’ve got the best technology, the best service, the best ecosystem, etc.
Reality is harsh, however, as I’ve experienced firsthand what this “service” means: once you’re through the sales process, you’re on your own.
Because here’s the thing you should be aware of:
“The best technology” sadly also means “complicated platform.” It’s not like you’re dealing with MailChimp here. These are tools that require you to learn how to work with them.
Which isn’t easy, considering the much-flaunted “best support” tends to be very minimal, at best.
Pardot and Marketo, for example, require you to pay extra for phone support. Else, you’re stuck submitting tickets (don’t expect an answer within hours!).
I’m not sure where Eloqua’s at right now. As for Watson, you get a dedicated account rep if you spend over 50k/year with them.
I worked with one big company (with a six-figure Eloqua bill, for sure) where in 8 months I’d never even seen the “dedicated” customer success manager (and I was one of the people in charge of Eloqua adoption!!).
My point is: if you’re looking into these platforms, you’ve got to make a really good assessment of how savvy you believe you are when it comes to learning new technologies.
Finally, when considering platforms, do also. The platform feature set easily competes with Pardot/Watson/Eloqua, but it includes unlimited, top-rated support.
No waiting for tickets and no incompetent support staff, for sure.