Competition is the continual aide for consumers to receive the best product. When there is no competition in the marketplace companies tend to rest on their laurels and grow a deaf ear to their audience’s most immediate needs. They begin to look further in the future about features that are nice but not what’s currently needed.
It’s for that reason we should all, as consumers of marketing technology, applaud and mandate the continual development of the platforms we support and their competitors. The more platforms that release updates and challenge the space of those who currently occupy it, the better the end product will be that you pay for.
I call that a win-win. So cheers to the platforms below that have decided to continue to improve and hold some of their competitor’s hand to the flame.
This was an interesting feature release from GetResponse recently. Their autofunnel feature claims to be a “ready-made, automated sales funnel generator”. That’s a big claim and I was very skeptical at first, but after reading up about it and watching their launch video I’ve eased up a bit.
But first let me explain why I was skeptical…
For this new feature to work accurately it heavily relies on automation
For this new feature to work accurately it heavily relies on automation. In a perfect world people will go from page to page and checkout all in one session. In reality…”it ain’t gon happen”. This is one of the reasons we use automation. To fill in the gaps when people slip through them.
If that’s the case, then GetResponse’s Achilles heel in this new feature is their lack of true marketing automation.
Can their platform do more than your average email marketing tool (Mailchimp)?…Yes.
Can it truly compete with Ontraport (who it looks like this offer more accurately aligns them to compete with)?…Maybe.
Do they offer the level of marketing automation already available on the market?…No.
There are a lot of features missing from their automation workflows and CRM that I think will hold them back from truly penetrating the market with this offering.
All is not lost, however…
What I do like about this is it is a solid foundation to more accurately mirror metrics that matter with your marketing and sales. Since it’s all taking place within their platform they can easily populate all of your data with respect to every page and stage of the process (or funnel).
This alone is reason enough for them to keep building out this feature. Here’s the drawback, however…
Lack of integration. It’s unrealistic to expect a marketer to use one platform exclusively for all of their marketing. The second you need to integrate a third party tool you will lose the ability to track it natively, and manually, within GetResponse.
Nonetheless, I appreciate this feature as it shows a continued effort for them to get better and compete. I can’t trust it yet as I have a long standing support ticket (over a year now) that has yet to be answered or solved around a very basic function in their automation workflow builder.
If they can’t fix that, I highly doubt they can pull off all they promised with Autofunnel at the level it needs to perform.
Samcart Gives You Total Control
I’m not a Samcart user but I’ve met both Brian and Scott (the creators) personally and have always thought they had the right approach and positioning to creating checkout pages online. Actually, when I met them I was working at Leadpages and they were looking to become the “Leadpages of checkout pages”.
Fast forward to today and they’ve done really well for themselves. I have yet to hear many people claim they had a bad experience with the platform. In fact, that’s how I caught wind of their latest update (a mentor of mine mentioned it to me out of their excitement).
They added Drag and Drop functionality to their checkout pages. This is trailblazing to say the least. The ability to build a checkout page any way you’d like it look in a platform that has all the advanced selling features you need has yet to be seen.
Kajabi comes to mind, but you don’t have total control over the checkout pages and they don’t easily integrate with other 3rd party tools for product delivery.
Thrivecart (what I’m currently using) can match, and perhaps beat them, with features but has no drag and drop. You would have to use their embed a form feature on a WordPress site that uses a page builder like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Divi, etc.
If you’re a Samcart user things just got better. If not, and you’ve been contemplating making the jump…this may be the update to push you over the fence.
Asana Adds Automation
This was a pleasant, and timely, update. Asana added the ability to run automation natively within their app.
In the past, I haven’t used Asana much. However, after “involuntarily transitioning” from ActiveCampaign I have been in need for a project management platform for myself to use in my business.
As a long time Trello user I was interested to see if Asana could win me over
As a long time Trello user I was interested to see if Asana could win me over. They have…sort of.
My project management stack currently consists of AirTable for a top level planning of projects since I can link records and really get a comprehensive view of not only what needs to be done but also who needs to do it. Then I manage the day to day execution of it in Asana.
With that being said, Asana has been lacking some very basic functionality, but more than anything the ability to automate.
Simple things like marking a task complete if it’s moved to a column, setting the owner of a task when it is moved to a column, and changing priority (or due date) when a task is moved are just a few examples of things I would like to do in the tool.
All of that and more is now available with their latest automation update. Though I’d like to see some of the basic, low hanging fruit requests handled like:
- Duplicating multiple tasks
- Duplicating a column of tasks (really useful for creating templates of tasks)
- Auto assigning tasks to the creator of the task option
- Being able to switch between List and Board views on all accounts (some accounts you can and others you cannot)
Add an indicator for tasks with subtasks
Some of the items listed above have been requested for YEARS with tons of people affirming they would love the feature. Asana’s inability, or unwillingness, to do some of them causes a bit of concern but at the same time I’ve been on the other side of a software company and some things that should be easy to do are often more complicated to develop.
I haven’t tried this well needed automation feature mainly because you have to upgrade your account to Business ($24.95/mo/user) to access it. If the pain for me grows large enough, I’ll upgrade. Otherwise, I’ll be watching from the sideline.
Live Transcriptions with Otter
Otter is a free tool that does live transcriptions. A good friend of mine recommended it to me to produce a quick transcription for a video walkthrough I needed to produce.
He had been introduced to it at a podcast conference as an option to transcribe a podcast while recording. So I tried it on my walkthrough videos and it worked really well.
Overall, it was about 92% accurate for me with talking casually. They have an option to train the app for your voice that may increase that rate but I haven’t tried it yet. So I figured I’d take it for a real world trial run to see how it would do in an environment with multiple voices.
I had a corporate presentation I needed to give for a new business venture I am leading and the room was going to be filled with a number of stakeholders. All of which I needed to capture their feedback and thoughts. Otter was the weapon of choice.
I launched the app on my phone and hit record. When my phone battery died, I fired up my laptop and launched the app on my computer and it worked just as good as the app on my phone.
The main issue I had was that some people’s voice didn’t project loud enough for my computer mic to pick up but I was very satisfied with the results Otter produced.
The transcriptions also come with audio playback
The transcriptions also come with audio playback. So if you’re reading a part of the transcriptions that doesn’t make sense, you can click on the sentence and Otter will play the synced audio. From there you can update the transcription to your heart’s content.
This app has become my go to for meetings and interviews. I HIGHLY recommend it and if you use the link below to sign up (for free) it will give me more minutes per month to record (just a small ‘thank you’).
Speaking of minutes, that’s how their pricing model works. On the free plan you get 600 minutes per month. This was more than enough for all of my recordings in a month where I attended more meetings than usual. You can upgrade to premium, however, and get 6,000 minutes per month for $9.99 (billed annually).
Ontraport Round 2 Disappointment
It is no secret my disappointment with Ontraport in the past. I was an early user of Office Autopilot (still the greatest marketing automation platform for small businesses at the time) and have wanted to be a fan of Ontraport.
I simply cannot.
And it’s tough to type that because I like a lot of the people on staff and in leadership over there. But at the end of the day…the platform’s functionality is its true measurement.
Recently, I was looking into doing a migration to Ontraport so figured I’d revisit the platform and give it a test run. Was very interested in seeing if having everything under one technological roof could work.
I will say, for some business models there is still a strong case to be made for the all-in-one. But not for me. Mainly because I value/need to integrate with other tools. However, that’s not the main reason(s) why I’m disappointed.
I’m confident they don’t understand the competitive landscape
I don’t want to come off like I’m bashing Ontraport so I will summarize it all by saying…I am confident they don’t understand the competitive landscape, they don’t understand their unique positioning, and thus they have not and are not taking advantage of capitalizing on the market by solving the glaring needs currently being unserved.
That along with many glitches that I ran into. In fact, I will state one show stopper. Testing automations. The only way to do it in Ontraport is to remove all of your wait states. That’s ridiculous (and archaic for a marketing automation platform)! Granted, the “skip this wait” function in ActiveCampaign was pioneered by yours truly so perhaps that doesn’t even exist if I don’t propose it internally.
But Ontraport, for the length of time they’ve been in the space, has no excuse to not provide a better way to test your automations before they go live. In addition, the contact record takes up to 15 minutes to update and post an action has taken place. Do the math, if you’re testing sequential steps it could take up to an hour to test.
I’m getting bothered just typing it.
I do, however, think that Infusionsoft (or Keap) does this really well. On the contact record, they not only show what has happened but it also displays what actions will happen next and when. Very useful.
Back to Ontraport…talking to their team and understanding their upcoming roadmap I can confidently say they are focused on the wrong areas and will remain at the bottom in terms of market share. It doesn’t have to be that way but it’s the way they have chosen. Just look at the Google Trends chart over the last 5 years. It’s sad.
But maybe their satisfied with growing as they have and don’t mind not taking more market share. I hope that’s not the case, but the data tells us otherwise.
Link: Doesn’t deserve one
I hope you enjoyed this issue of the Marketing Automation Report. We invite you to drop a comment below with your thoughts and experience with the tools mentioned. Thanks for reading!
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