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April 2, 2024
Salesforce

Salesforce Marketing Cloud vs Mailchimp

Get an in-depth look at the pros, cons, and features of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp to choose the perfect marketing solution.
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In the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing, the importance of marketing automation cannot be overstated. It streamlines marketing tasks, ensures consistent customer communication, and helps craft personalized customer journeys. Among the plethora of tools available, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp stand out as two front-runners. But how do they stack up against each other, especially for small businesses and marketing professionals? This post aims to dissect these platforms, providing a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Introduction

Marketing automation refers to the use of software and technology to automate repetitive tasks in a marketing campaign. It encompasses a range of digital marketing strategies, including email marketing, social media marketing, lead generation, and customer relationship management (CRM).

The rising complexity of marketing campaigns drives the use of automation software. With the sheer volume of data and touchpoints involved in modern marketing, automation streamlines processes, improves efficiency, and induces better results.

Moreover, marketing automation enables businesses to tailor their marketing efforts to individual customers, providing personalized experiences and improving customer engagement. By automating lead scoring, lead nurturing and segmentation, companies can ensure that they are delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.

The benefits of marketing automation are numerous, including increased revenue, improved customer retention, and reduced costs. Businesses can save time and resources, allowing them to focus on developing more effective marketing strategies.

Platform overview

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp are two of the most popular marketing automation platforms available today. Both platforms offer a range of features designed to help businesses streamline their marketing efforts and improve their overall marketing ROI.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC), formerly known as ExactTarget, is a comprehensive marketing automation solution that offers a range of tools for email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and more. The platform offers advanced segmentation and personalization capabilities, allowing businesses to create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with their audience. Additionally, SFMC integrates with other Salesforce products, such as Salesforce CRM and Sales Cloud, making it an ideal choice for businesses looking to unify their marketing and sales efforts.

Mailchimp, on the other hand, is a more affordable and user-friendly marketing automation platform that focuses primarily on email marketing. The platform offers a range of features designed to help businesses create engaging email campaigns, including customizable templates, a drag-and-drop email builder, and A/B testing capabilities. Mailchimp also offers basic automation features, such as triggered emails, but lacks some of the advanced automation capabilities offered by SFMC.

Feature comparison

Let’s discuss the major features of the two tools.

Email campaign management

Mailchimp shines with its drag-and-drop email builder, pre-designed templates, and intuitive user interface, making it easy for beginners to create and manage campaigns. It offers robust email functionality with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.

SFMC, while also providing email campaign management features, is geared toward users seeking more advanced customization and control over their campaigns. Its tools allow for dynamic content, A/B testing, and more complex customer journeys.

Automation

When it comes to automation, SFMC provides a comprehensive set of tools that allow for detailed and complex automation workflows. Its Journey Builder feature enables marketers to design customer journeys that can span across multiple channels and touchpoints, based on user behavior, preferences, and data.

Mailchimp also offers automation features but is more suited for businesses looking for simpler automation capabilities. Its automation workflows are easier to set up and are ideal for straightforward marketing strategies.

Integration and scalability

SFMC offers extensive integration options, especially within its ecosystem. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses already using Salesforce products. Its scalability and breadth of features make it suitable for businesses expecting to grow or with complex marketing needs.

Mailchimp provides a wide range of integrations with popular services and apps, making it a versatile tool for various businesses. While it may not offer the same level of integration with Salesforce CRM, it scales well for both small and medium-sized businesses.

Analytics and reporting

Both platforms offer robust analytics and reporting features. SFMC provides deeper insights and more detailed reports, suitable for data-driven businesses that require a comprehensive analysis of their marketing efforts.

Mailchimp, while offering essential reporting capabilities, focuses on providing straightforward, easy-to-understand reports that give businesses a clear view of their performance without overwhelming them with data.

Pricing

Mailchimp operates on a tiered pricing model based on the number of contacts, making it accessible for small businesses and scaling up as the business grows. It also offers a free tier with basic features, which is ideal for very small businesses or those just starting out.

SFMC does not offer a free tier, and its pricing is customized based on the specific needs and scale of the business. Its costs are generally higher, reflecting its comprehensive suite of features and its focus on larger businesses with more complex requirements.

Email marketing

Both platforms offer powerful email marketing capabilities but with some differences. Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides highly customizable email templates and extensive segmentation options, suitable for complex marketing campaigns. Mailchimp shines with its drag-and-drop email builder, making it easier for beginners to create compelling email content.

Marketing automation

When it comes to marketing automation, SFMC offers Journey Builder, a tool that allows marketers to design and automate customer journeys across multiple channels. Mailchimp also offers automation features but with a more straightforward approach, focusing on predefined customer paths and simpler trigger-based emails.

Social media marketing

SFMC provides comprehensive tools for social media marketing, including scheduling, monitoring, and analytics. It's designed for businesses that need to manage multiple social media accounts efficiently. Mailchimp has recently expanded its offerings to include basic social media management features, suitable for businesses with simpler social media marketing needs.

Mobile marketing

For mobile marketing, SFMC offers SMS, MMS, and push notifications, allowing businesses to engage customers on mobile devices effectively. Mailchimp's mobile marketing features are more limited, focusing mainly on email marketing optimized for mobile devices.

Analytics and reporting

Analytics and reporting are crucial for measuring the success of marketing campaigns. SFMC offers in-depth analytics that can track customer behavior across different channels. Mailchimp provides easy-to-understand reports and analytics ideal for those who prefer simplicity and immediate insights.

Audience management

SFMC excels in audience management with its CRM integration, enabling businesses to have a unified view of the customer. Mailchimp offers audience segmentation and behavioral targeting features, which are effective but may lack the depth of integration that Salesforce offers.

Ease of use and user interface

The UI of Salesforce Marketing Cloud is sophisticated, reflecting its comprehensive suite of features. It's designed to cater to marketers who require a detailed, all-encompassing view of their marketing campaigns across multiple channels. The interface supports customization and offers a dashboard that presents an overview of campaign metrics, allowing users to drill down into specific data points for deeper analysis.

Due to its extensive functionalities and integration capabilities, there is a steeper learning curve associated with SFMC. New users might find it challenging to navigate the platform initially. However, for enterprises or larger businesses with dedicated marketing teams, the platform's depth and breadth offer unparalleled value once mastered. Salesforce offers extensive documentation and training resources to aid users in overcoming initial hurdles.

Mailchimp's UI is clean, straightforward, and designed with the user experience in mind. It employs a drag-and-drop editor for email campaigns, making it accessible for users with no coding background. The platform's design is aesthetically pleasing, with humorous touches and a friendly mascot that adds to its appeal. Navigation is intuitive, allowing users to quickly find features and tools.

Mailchimp shines in its ease of use. It's built to help users get their campaigns up and running with minimal fuss. From creating email lists to launching a campaign, the process is streamlined and guided, making it ideal for small businesses or marketers who prioritize efficiency and simplicity. The platform also offers a wealth of resources, tutorials, and templates to help users make the most of its features.

Pricing and scalability

Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp follow a tiered pricing model, but Salesforce is generally more expensive due to its extensive features and scalability. Mailchimp offers a free tier and affordable plans, making it an attractive option for small businesses and startups.

SFMC offers several pricing models to accommodate the needs and budgets of businesses of all sizes. Its pricing model is based on a tiered pricing structure, with different packages available for businesses to choose from based on their needs and growth goals. The pricing levels range from basic to advanced, with each level having its own unique set of features and capabilities.

The basic package is the most affordable and is designed for small businesses with basic marketing needs. It includes email marketing, social media marketing, and basic analytics. The next tier up is the Pro package, which offers more advanced marketing features such as customer journeys, personalized content, and advanced analytics. The Ultimate package is the most comprehensive option, offering all the features of the Pro package plus additional features such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.

Mailchimp's pricing model is based on a similar tiered pricing structure. However, Mailchimp also offers custom quotes for businesses with unique needs that cannot be met by their standard packages. The standard packages include the Free, Essentials, Standard, and Premium packages. The Free package is a great starting point for small businesses, offering basic email marketing features. The Essentials package includes more advanced marketing features such as automation, retargeting ads, and A/B testing. The Standard package includes even more advanced features such as custom branding and behavioral targeting. Finally, the Premium package offers advanced features such as advanced segmentation and multivariate testing.

Scalability

When it comes to scalability, there are some differences between the two platforms that businesses need to consider before making a choice.

SFMC is a highly scalable platform that can accommodate the needs of growing businesses. The platform offers a range of customizable solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs of a business. It provides users with the ability to manage large amounts of customer data, create personalized campaigns, and track the performance of their marketing efforts in real time. Additionally, SFMC is highly integrative, allowing businesses to connect with other systems they may be using for sales, customer support, or other operations. This scalability and integration make it a great option for businesses looking to grow and expand.

On the other hand, Mailchimp is also a highly scalable platform that can cater to the needs of growing businesses. It offers a range of features that allow businesses to create and manage email campaigns, build landing pages, and manage customer data. However, its scalability is somewhat limited. The platform is primarily focused on email marketing and does not offer the same level of integration and customization options as Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Customer support

Both platforms provide a range of customer support options, including online resources, training, and live chat. SFMC tends to offer more personalized support through account managers for higher-tier plans, while Mailchimp's community support and extensive knowledge base are beneficial for troubleshooting common issues.

SFMC offers an extensive online resource library, including a knowledge base, developer documentation, and a community forum. Additionally, they provide a variety of training options, from free online courses to paid in-person sessions. However, their live chat support is only available to customers with a Premier Success Plan, which can be quite costly.

On the other hand, Mailchimp also has a robust online resource center, including a comprehensive help center, blog, and community forum. They offer a variety of training options as well, including free webinars and a paid certification program. However, unlike Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Mailchimp provides live chat support to all users, regardless of their pricing plan.

Target audience

The ideal customer base for SFMC includes businesses with a minimum of 50 employees, as it is best suited for mid to large-sized companies. It is particularly useful for those in the retail, finance, healthcare, and technology industries that require sophisticated marketing solutions to reach their target audience. Moreover, businesses that have complex marketing needs such as personalized messaging, omnichannel marketing, and advanced analytics will find Salesforce Marketing Cloud to be an ideal fit.

The ideal customer base for Mailchimp includes small to mid-sized businesses that require an affordable and easy-to-use marketing automation solution. It is particularly useful for startups, solopreneurs, and small business owners who have limited marketing budgets and require a simple yet effective platform to manage their email campaigns. Additionally, businesses that require basic marketing automation features such as email marketing and social media integration will find Mailchimp to be an ideal fit.

Making the choice: which platform is right for you?

Choosing between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp depends largely on your business size, marketing complexity, and specific needs.

  • For large businesses or enterprises with a need for intricate multi-channel marketing campaigns and deep customer insights, SFMC offers the comprehensive tools and analytics capabilities required to execute sophisticated marketing strategies. Its learning curve is justified by the depth of functionality and customization it offers.
  • For small to medium-sized businesses, or those just starting with email marketing, Mailchimp provides an excellent starting point. Its ease of use, friendly user interface, and efficient design make it an attractive option for businesses looking to quickly see results from their email marketing efforts without getting bogged down in complexity.

SFMC has a steeper learning curve due to its comprehensive features and integrations. It's suited for businesses with dedicated marketing teams. Mailchimp, known for its intuitive interface and ease of use, is perfect for small businesses and those without extensive marketing experience.

  1. In terms of intuitiveness, SFMC can be overwhelming for new users. The platform is feature-rich and has a lot of options and settings to configure. On the other hand, Mailchimp's user interface is more straightforward and user-friendly, with a simpler layout and fewer options to navigate.
  2. When it comes to learnability, SFMC requires a significant amount of training and resources to get up to speed with. Its interface is complex, and the learning curve can be steep. Mailchimp, on the other hand, is relatively easy to learn and requires minimal training, making it ideal for small businesses and non-technical users.
  3. In terms of navigation, SFMC's interface can be confusing and difficult to navigate, especially for first-time users. In contrast, Mailchimp's interface is intuitive and well-organized, with clear labels and easy-to-find options.

Choosing between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Mailchimp ultimately depends on your business size, marketing requirements, and budget. For complex, multi-channel marketing strategies, SFMC offers the depth and integration needed. However, for small businesses or those just starting with marketing automation, Mailchimp provides an accessible, cost-effective solution. By considering your current needs and future growth, you can select the platform that best aligns with your marketing goals.

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Viktoriia Melnychuk
Content writer
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” ― Stephen King
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