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The biggest opportunities for growth are in the hundreds of thousands of businesses who could be using marketing automation but aren’t. Legacy marketing automation systems are too complicated for most businesses to take advantage of, but new systems entering the marketing now are easier to use, allow a broader range of businesses to take advantage of marketing automation, and will cause the market as a whole to grow. (Rick Burnes, Director of Product Marketing, HubSpot)

We agree with HubSpot on this one – the small businesses should indeed have access to affordable marketing automation if they are to stand a chance against larger companies. The local business or small Internet entrepreneur running his own website without a team of marketing specialists, agencies and consultants should not be made once again irrelevant by his inability of accessing venture capital.

It is price where we have to take a stance, though – what HubSpot and other top-tier competitors in the marketing automation space see as “small businesses” are companies with turnover measured in millions – a totally different league from B2B companies with 5-10 employees, running their own WordPress website for lead generation where only one person uses the platform to run promotions, update the blog or respond to online queries.

Using HubSpot for cost base it takes over 12,000 USD upfront in the first year (based on 2013 website prices for the Professional plan with 4,000 contacts and without the Inbound Success mandatory training) to start using marketing automation on an existing site, and that is without putting a value against the discarded legacy web analytics data and the cost of re-training in using a new platform.

A study conducted by Focus Research (Marketing Automation – A Survey of Marketing Automation Users) showed that over 50% of companies purchasing a marketing automation system took more than 6 months before realizing a return on investment. Applying an upfront charge of over 12,000USD with  50/50 chance of making a positive return in 6 months (and that is before the cost of allocating human resources and investing in training) is simply too big a bet for small companies with turnover bellow 500,000 / year assuming a gross operating margin of 20%.

Marketing automation ROI

Source: Focus Research

A simpler and more affordable solution is required for such small companies – one that allows them to start their inbound marketing efforts with a low initial cost, no massive changes to their existing WordPress website and all this while keeping legacy web analytics (most of the times done with the free version of Google Analytics) in place to allow measuring the results in an objective way.

 

WP Hive offers 98% of the features for 2% of the price*

 

*3-year contract HubSpot Professional (4,000 contacts) vs. WP Hive Premium
Feature HubSpot Professional WP Hive Premium
Recurring Fee 12,000 USD / year 99 USD / year
Content Management System Proprietary or existing site WordPress
Blogging Tools Yes (proprietary) Yes (WordPress)
Landing Pages Yes Yes (responsive design)
Custom Calls-to-Action Yes Yes
Email Marketing Yes (proprietary) Yes (WordPress)
Contacts Database Yes (limited by plan) Yes (unlimited)
Marketing Automation Yes Yes
Marketing Analytics Yes (proprietary) Yes (Google Analytics)
Custom Lead Scoring Yes Yes
Conversion Optimization Yes (Conversion Assists) Yes (Google Analytics)
Rich Social Media Profiles No Yes
Timeline Segmentation No (requires Enterprise plan) Yes (WordPress)
A/B Testing No (requires Enterprise plan) Yes (Google Analytics)
Addons HubSpot Markeplace (paid) WordPress.org (free)
First Year Cost 14,000 USD 999 USD