Mautic – Open Source Marketing Automation Platform

Hello and welcome to yet another review from MarTech Reviews. It’s been really long since my last post. Though, I had been half expecting it.

I have news to share. I have been busy setting up a marketing agency business with few of my ex-colleagues and mates. Do check out BluFig at

People ask me – Does the world need another marketing agency? And my answer to that is – Hell Yes. More on it in a separate post.

Back to today’s review.

Recently, I implemented Mautic for one of my agency customers. I was so impressed with Mautic that I decided to migrate to Mautic, right away.

Mautic is an open source Marketing Automation and Marketing Intelligence platform which is completely driven by its ever-growing community of marketing and technology enthusiasts. Mautic provides to Marketers what WordPress provides to Website Developers – A clean, feature rich, lightweight, free alternative to traditional proprietary marketing software.

Here are things which we like about Mautic.

Like #1 – Completeness

Mautic offers all the features you expect from a modern marketing platform. It has a robust automation engine which will help you automate your campaigns spread across all leading channels including Email, Web and Text (SMS). Though the social integration needs more work, rest of the channels work just fine.

A big plus is that Mautic has an integrated Lead and Account Management module, unlike some other platforms in this space. This enables optimum usage of customer segmentation and lead scoring.

Like # 2 – Unique Features

Mautic has some unique features which are yet to be seen on other platforms.

Anonymous Visitor Tracking 

Though a bit gimmicky, it is a very valuable feature wherein you can track visitors who are not in your contact list nor have they filled any form. It gives a bird’s eye-view of frequent visitors who might be interested in your product or service, but are not ready to sign just yet.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic Content allows you to load content in your website based on the audience profile. For example, you can have separate messaging displayed for qualified prospects and unqualified suspects on their respective visits to your website.

Marketing Messages

Marketing Messages is a new feature which was rolled out recently. They allow you to communicate with your leads based on their communication preference. Be it Email, Text, Twitter or something else, you can improve your conversion rate by reaching out to them where they are most likely to respond.  

Focus Items

Focus Items are intelligent pop-ups or non-intrusive CTA’s which you can trigger based on visitor behavior. We used to rely on SumoMe for this very same functionality, but now we will be slowly transitioning to Focus Items, thanks to Mautic.

Like # 3 – It’s Free*

Yes, you heard it right! Mautic is completely free for up to 5000 contacts and 1000 emails per day. And if you still need more, you can always install the self-hosted version of Mautic which does away this limitation as well. Sure you will need some help to set it up, but it would be worth the effort.

This Is A Big Deal

Considering the amount of money you will spend in subscription, implementation, and support for other marketing platforms, this deal is too sweet to miss. 

If you want help implementing Mautic, do reach out to my mates at BluFig. They are just fans who would love to share their life experiences.

As always, thank you for following my blog. Do subscribe to receive all my future posts via Email.


YFret eCommerce Marketing Platform – Review

Hello and Welcome to yet another review post from MarTech Reviews. It’s been a while since my last post. I have been working on some really exciting projects lately, which I plan to share with you in the coming weeks.

Today, we will be reviewing YFret.

YFret is an early startup who made its name after being selected by Nasscom as part of their 10K Startup Program and subsequently raising funds from multiple Angel Investors.

I got a chance to meet their founding team – Tina Mani and Sriram Venkatapathy, who were kind enough to discuss about their vision, the gap in the eCommerce tech space and what YFret brings to the table.

Here is my first impression about YFret, after playing around with it for a few days.

YFret is a marketing automation platform targeted exclusively towards eCommerce companies and Online Retailers. It has a very powerful AI based product recommendation engine which analyzes visitor behavior, engagement history and automatically recommends products which that visitor may be interested in. These product recommendations can be distributed via Browser Notifications, Email, Text Messaging, Facebook Posts or Web Widgets.

YFret is an interesting product, it has most of the features offered by other contenders in this space i.e. Email, Web and Mobile Marketing; Intelligent Triggers like Cart Abandonment, Trending Products, etc. and Personalized Shopper Experience.

Here are things which I like about YFret

Campaign Recommendations

It provides real-time recommendations to Marketers on what campaigns they should be running based on visitor activity on their online store. The campaign recommendations are extended across web and mobile, which is extremely useful, given the mobile world we live in.

Browser Notifications

Though browser notifications is not a new thing, its implementation and usage makes a lot of sense for online shoppers who are constantly looking for a steal deal.

Things I did not like about YFret


Though YFret offers comprehensive campaign reports and analytics, it lacks advanced web analytics offered by other platforms in similar space.

User Experience

YFret is extremely rich in functionality, but it can definitely do with a facelift. From what I understand, a beta version is already being rolled out, which has notable UX improvements.

The Verdict

YFret is definitely a platform to watch out for. It does one thing extremely well i.e. Do the thinking on behalf of the Marketer. This in itself is a great utility, given our busy schedules and the need to act swiftly in real-time.

If you are in the market for a marketing platform for your online store or eCommerce business, do try out YFret, it will be worth your while.

As always, thank you for following my blog. Do subscribe to receive all my future posts via Email.

I have a feeling, it will be a while until next time 🙂


Marketing Content Creation – Tips & Resources

Marketing Content Creation – Tips & Resources

Any technology is as good as what you plan do with it. In the case of Marketing Technology Platforms, Content is the ultimate King.

For Marketers, generating high-quality content day-in, day-out poses a significant challenge. Especially if you are just starting up with your marketing efforts or rely on external agencies for the majority of your content generation needs.

I always recommend Marketers to generate their own content and not rely on external resources. No one knows your business better than you, so whatever content is generated externally can be done better if done internally. You can always take help with regards to the actual production of your content, but the idea and brain behind your content piece should come from you.

Just think about it, you have spent years in mastering your trade and know your audience better than anyone else. Relying on someone else, no matter how skilled will only do injustice to your brand as well as its audience. Unless you are in an industry which requires very generic knowledge of things and your priority is quantity over quality. I guess you understand where I’m coming from.

So how do we generate high-quality content week-in, week-out?

Here are some tips and resources based on content type.

Website Content, Blog, Collateral Documents, White Papers, Guides, etc.

In this age of Video Streaming, Podcasts & Memes. Text-Based Content still remains the most affordable, easy to create and elaborate form of communication.

Text-based content is also warranted across various channels including web, documents, presentations, blogs and so on.

If you have a precise brief and structure for your content piece, below are two resources which you can leverage for production. Think of it as your extended team of experienced writers.

Writer Access is a great resource to find high-quality writers. You can select writers based on industry, specialty and star rating, which will help you zero-in to the ones which meet your criteria. Make sure you hire only 5 or 6 Star rated writers.

Crowd Content is another decent resource for crowdsourcing content writers. Again make sure you hire only 3 or 4 Star rated writers.

Infographics, Graphics & Creatives

Design Crowd is a good resource for crowdsourcing designers. I have personally used them for several Brand Identity projects. Though there are many amateur designers on their platform, you will have to be precise with your brief to get the best out of them. Also, they have a 100% money back guarantee in case you are not happy with the outcome

99 Designs is yet another platform for crowdsourcing designers. Though it is more premium than Design Crowd, they offer better value for the money.

All in all Creatives and Designs are subjective to each brand’s positioning and inspiration, so you can go for what best works for your brand.

Video Content

Explainer Videos
Fiverr is a good resource to get explainer videos for cheap. But mind you, don’t expect exceptional quality considering the price you are paying for it.

Product Demonstration
If you are looking to make product demonstration video, I would recommend you use Camtasia for screen capture and then hire a Voice Over artist from Fiverr to give it a professional appeal. I’m assuming the script and storyboard for the video is done internally.

Live Motion
If you are looking to make Film or Live Motion Video, there are no shortcuts or cheap thrills unfortunately, you will have to recruit a professional agency. Drop me a note if you want references for reliable Video Production agencies and I will be happy to share few names which I have used over the years.

Podcast, Voice Over and Audio Content

Again Fiverr will be the right resource to hire Audio Artists on a budget.

Another alternative is to use Text to Speech software, which is nothing but a Robot emulating human voice and emotion. I recently used IBM Watson’s Text to Speech Software and I must say I was impressed. Moreover its free, so no harm in trying it out and experience it for yourself.

I hope you found value from the above article, do inbox me your suggestions or requests for future articles.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Do consider sharing it on your social channels and hit that subscribe button to receive all my future posts via Email.

GetResponse Review – The Good, Bad & The Brilliant

GetResponse Review

Welcome to another review post from MarTechReviews. Before we jump in, here’s wishing you a Splendid 2017 with unprecedented number of likes, follows, mentions and visits 🙂

Wow, what a start to the year it has been. MarTechReviews managed to get 120+ organic followers on Twitter in just three weeks from launch. Not bad, I would say.

Thanks to all of you who have encouraged me to write more by visiting this blog, following me on twitter and Sharing/ Retweeting my posts. It really means a lot to me.

Today, we will be reviewing GetResponse

I had been waiting to try out GetResponse for a while. Having read good things about it elsewhere I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Here is my initial impression after playing around with it for just over a week.

GetResponse is a powerful contender if you are evaluating a Marketing Automation platform and don’t have the budget or skills to go with the Top 3 platforms which I covered in my earlier post.

On paper, it offers almost all features which you come to expect from a Marketing Automation platform. Once you dig deep, you realize it tries to maintain a fine balance for B2B and B2C companies.

GetResponse positions itself as an All in One, Online Marketing Platform. It has four core modules i.e. Email Marketing, Landing Pages, Webinars, and Marketing Automation. Together, these capabilities result in a formidable engine which can take on any platform in this price segment. In fact, it has some unique capabilities which I have not seen in many of the top-end platforms as well.

Here are things which I loved about GetResponse

Visual Workflow Designer

It has a very nice looking and functional workflow designer which enables you to automate repetitive tasks based on specific triggers and conditions. I really like the fact that it captures each and every event, condition, filter and action. The visual designer gives you a bird’s eye-view on the flow of activities based on lead behavior, segment, history and more.


Webinars integrated within your Marketing Platform is a brilliant idea. Why didn’t anyone else think about it, I wonder. This capability comes in very handy for B2B Marketers as they no longer need to rely on external web conferencing tools like WebEx or GoToMeeting.

Furthermore, it allows you to send invitations and capture responses from right within the platform.


Customer Survey and Feedback is another brilliant addition. I constantly find myself using Google Forms and similar tools to capture customer feedback and preferences. With GetResponse I need not worry about it anymore.

eCommerce Capabilities

GetResponse has some unique capabilities built specially for businesses who sell online. For example, it has event tracking for Cart Abandonment, Purchases, Page Visits, etc. using which you can trigger personalized campaigns. This can help you boost your conversion rate and take corrective actions for drop-outs.

Here are things which I did not like about GetResponse

Lead Tracking

I could not find a way in which I could track direct visits from subscribers. Also, there is no way to see web activity log for each individual lead/ subscriber. After chatting with their customer service team I understood, that is part of their eCommerce Module. Still, I’m not sure it can provide lead insights as offered in some of the other platforms.

This one is a deal breaker for me. Without Lead Intelligence I cannot have meaningful conversations with the prospect.

I have asked them for a trial of their eCommerce Module, hopefully that proves me wrong. Will update this post as and when that happens.

CRM Capabilities

GetResponse has no CRM capabilities whatsoever. You will have to rely on an external CRM platform which has ready integration with GetResponse.

The Verdict

GetResponse can give other Marketing Automation Platforms a run for their money. It offers so much more at a reasonable price tag. I really like the out-of-the-box thinking, simplicity and functional aspect of this platform.

Only one caution is the Lead Tracking capability which I highlighted above. Do expect an update to this post in the coming weeks.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Do subscribe to receive all my future posts via Email.

That’s all for now, have a good one. Until next time.

HubSpot Alternative on a Budget

HubSpot Alternative on a Budget

In my earlier post about Marketing Software – Detailed Comparison I covered the three most desired platforms based on capability, need and spend.

Today, I will share my experience on building a close HubSpot Alternative, minus the price tag.

Before we start let us understand what is it about HubSpot which gives it this unprecedented cult following amongst Marketers. Well, the simple answer is, it empowers Marketers to do their jobs more efficiently and provides them with all the tools in one single platform.

Below is a list of key capabilities provided by HubSpot and comparable alternatives for each of those capabilities.

#1 Content Management & Blogging Platform (Free*)

This one is a no-brainer. WordPress is by far the most successful Content Management System out there. Given its ease of use, functional breadth (via Plugins & Themes) & TCO there is no other like WordPress.

You will have to get your hands dirty if you want to achieve what HubSpot offers. For example, I really like HubSpot’s blog interface which provides me pro-active suggestions on use of relevant keywords, density, competitiveness, recommendations, etc. Such capability is not native to WordPress but you could install a plugin like Yoast SEO to implement similar functionality.

Similarly, there are other plugins which make up for the features provided by HubSpot’s CMS and Blogging Platform.

The biggest advantage for WordPress is the community support. There are thousands of Plugins, Themes both free and paid which makes it the most usable yet robust CMS. There are other CMS’s like Drupal and Joomla which may offer more diverse capabilities but they are more appealing to Developers than Marketers.

#2 Email & Marketing Automation (Starts at $49/ month)

Email and Marketing Automation is at the heart of most of your Marketing programs. This is also the strongest capability from HubSpot.

There are several extremely good Email Marketing tools like MailChimp which does what it is built for. But Marketing Automation goes beyond email and tracking. Marketers want to efficiently manage their funnel and run pro-active as well as reactive campaigns for each segment of their leads database.

For example, you may want to trigger an email campaign when a specific type of audience visits a specific page on your website or you may want to display a specific banner or CTA button based on where the lead is in your funnel. You will need a sophisticated marketing automation platform which will provide you such flexibility and features.

At a minimum the marketing automation platform should have:

  • Lead Scoring, Lead Tracking & Lead Management
  • Landing Pages & CTA’s
  • Email Marketing
  • Advanced Segmentation

I have shortlisted two platforms which provide these capabilities:

GetResponse is a decent HubSpot alternative. It offers most of the functionalities you will need i.e. Email, Landing Pages, Web Tracking, CTA Forms, Lead Scoring, Advanced Segmentation and more. It covers the complete lifecycle from lead acquisition to closure.

LeadSquared is another powerful HubSpot alternative. What I really like about LeadSquared is its no-nonsense simplistic interface. I have done a detailed review on LeadSquared, you may want to skim through it to get a better understanding of its capabilities.

#3 Social Media Management (Free*)

I will not touch upon why you need an active and engaged social presence. I think that point has been well-addressed in my previous post.

There are two categories of Social Media tools out there. One which consolidates all your social channels and provides you the capability to automatically post and monitor your social engagement. And there are other tools like NinjaOutreach and BuzzStream which helps you to reach out to Influencers to build your network and relationships.

Today I will focus only on the former.

HootSuite has been here for a while. It is an efficient tool which provides minimal capabilities with its free version. Never the less it gets the job done, though I’m not a big fan of its interface. It looks dated.

I discovered Buffer recently and I love what I see thus far. It has an integrated link shortener and image capture functionality which makes life that much easier if you regularly distribute your blog through social media. Their paid version also provides an integrated analytics dashboard which can be very handy to analyze your best-performing posts and engagement.

#4 Web Analytics (Free*)

Google Analytics is by far the most capable and advanced web analytics tool. Given Google’s control on its search engine and complementing products, that is no surprise.

The problem is, it can be overwhelming if you are a business focussed marketer or business owner, as you will need to regularly create custom dashboards and reports to make the analysis understandable for everyone.

Here are my two picks.

Picnic Metrics
Picnic Metrics integrates with your Google Account and extracts data directly from your Google Analytics database. It offers a very minimal and simplistic interface which makes a lot of sense. Check this screenshot for instance.

But this simplicity comes at a cost. Gone is the customization and flexibility of Google Analytics. But I can live with it.

Clicky is another powerful alternative. It provides much more flexibility than Picnic Metrics and also simplifies the interface to some extent. I would say it is a good start before you learn your ways with Google Analytics.


All the above recommendations are based on my experience while I constantly try to improve the performance of my marketing campaigns. Do share your thoughts if you agree or have other alternatives which I can add to this list.

As always, a big THANK YOU for reading my blog. Do let me know if you want me to cover a specific topic in my future posts.

Do consider sharing it on your social channels, it really helps in keeping this channel active.

Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Spectacular New Year. See you on the other side of 2017.


LeadSquared Review

LeadSquared Review

LeadSquared is the new kid on the block. This three year old company from India is growing at a rapid pace. With close to 500 paying customers in such short period, it is making all the right noises.

I got a chance to experience their platform first hand and I must say, they do have a unique positioning with a budget price tag.

LeadSquared positions itself as a Sales Acceleration Platform which tries do a little bit of everything i.e. Marketing Automation, CRM & Analytics. Given its focus on mid-sized companies, it can get away as the only platform SMB’s would need for their Sales & Marketing operations.

If you refer to my previous post on Must-Have Marketing Tech, I have highlighted 6 types of marketing software needed by SMB’s. Taking that as a baseline and comparing what LeadSquared has to offer, I would say it is Email Marketing++ type of platform.

It has a solid Email Marketing backbone with Lead Capture, Web Tracking and basic CRM capabilities.

Here are the things which I like about LeadSquared.

Lead Capture

You can design your landing pages and contact forms using LeadSquared which automates the process of capturing leads from your website. The UX for landing pages is not as sophisticated like HubSpot or some of the other established players. But it gets the job done none the less.

Lead Insights

LeadSquared has an extremely functional lead tracking module, which monitors visitor behavior on your website. Whether the lead has been captured manually or via your website, it assigns lead score based on their activity as well as engagement. This comes in very handy for sales people to have meaningful conversations with the prospect.

Email Marketing

LeadSquared’s Email Marketing module is as good as what I have seen with other players in similar bracket. The UI is intuitive with loads of prebuilt templates for each type of email communication you would expect to send to prospects and customers. It also provides a robust email automation capability where you can schedule drip campaigns based on events, activities or preset schedule.

Things I did not like about LeadSquared.

CRM Capabilities

The CRM capabilities are very basic at best. Every lead is managed as an entity, so there is no relationship management between Leads or Accounts. You will not able to filter leads based on Companies or Accounts, nor will you be able to setup targeted Account based Campaigns.

Though LeadSquared’s CRM does manage to do what it is built for i.e. Managing the lifecycle from Lead to Customer.

All in all, LeadSquared is a powerful package in terms of what it offers and what you pay for it. For companies who are looking to start with their marketing automation programs LeadSquared could be the ideal platform.

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Do consider sharing it on your social channels, it really helps the channel.

Marketing Software Platforms – Detailed Comparison

In my previous post I covered The 5 Must-Have Marketing Tech for SMB’s in the B2B space. Today I will be doing a detailed comparison and analysis of leading Marketing software platforms.

Before we start, let us answer this question Why do we need a marketing platform?

Well, the simple answer is to put your marketing strategy and plan into action, which is:

  • To perform all your marketing activities using one single platform, without worrying about the technicalities.
  • Automatically measure all your marketing activities and campaigns.
  • Act on recommendations and continuously improve your marketing performance.

And what is the bottom line after all?

  • Build Brand Visibility.
  • Generate Qualified Leads.
  • Acquire new Customers and Create Brand Promoters.

Makes sense? Let us dive in then.

Which platforms we will evaluate?

  • HubSpot
  • Marketo
  • Act-On


HubSpot is by far one of the most comprehensive Inbound Marketing Platforms out there. It has most of the features and capabilities a marketer will ever need. HubSpot is not just a software platform, it’s an ecosystem which ties technology, people and processes together. It is mainly targeted towards SMB’s and Startups.

They boast about 99% renewals year on year. The reason for such high renewal rate is their consulting & implementation service. Their team will make sure you follow the best practices, processes and methods so that you can achieve your desired marketing goals. They also do not offer monthly or quarterly plans for this very reason. As the entire process of building a web presence, engaging prospects and closing deals takes time.

I would rate HubSpot amongst the best, especially for SMB’s and Startups who are just beginning with their marketing journey.


Marketo is placed towards the higher end of the spectrum. It is built for enterprise customers who need complete control and flexibility with regards to their marketing platform.

Few capabilities which stand out for Marketo include Digital Ads, Predictive Content and Account-based-Marketing. Enterprises need these capabilities as they spend big on paid marketing and high-value account specific campaigns.

Given its capabilities and market focus, Marketo is highly priced compared to other platforms in this space.


Act-On offers best of both worlds i.e. capabilities and relative affordability. It has all the key modules and features bundled in one robust platform. Inbound, Outbound, Automation, Account-based-Marketing – name it, Act-On has it all.

I would say it is more close to HubSpot in terms of capabilities and positioning. Their pricing is also based on active contacts which is unique, as most other vendors will bill you based on total contacts in your database as against the active ones.

The Verdict

So which one should you choose? Have I confused you even more in your hunt for the coveted Marketing Platform?

Well here is my take.

  1. If you have a decent budget but not enough skilled resources to execute your marketing plans, then go for HubSpot. Their Onboarding and Account team will make sure your Goals, Strategy and Plans are properly chalked out so that you don’t suffer setbacks later.
  2. If budget is not an issue, at the same time you need scale, effective paid and account based marketing then go for Marketo. It’s the best you can get.
  3. If you are tight on budget but have the skills to do it yourself then go for Act-On. It’s the most affordable of the lot, yet offers the complete package.

Bonus Tip

If you don’t have the budget nor the skills then watch out for my next post. I will be sharing my experience on how I built an integrated marketing platform using several low-cost disintegrated products.

Thanks for reading my blog. Do consider sharing it on your social channels, it really keeps me going 🙂

That’s your lot, bye for now.

5+1 Must-Have Marketing Tech

Marketing Tech is fundamentally changing the way we sell and market products and services to enterprises. With the advancement in digital technologies like mobile, social, cloud and reliance of the new-age customer on all these technologies; outreach is no more a challenge.

Today, we will look at all the marketing tech which is available to us. The reason i decided to write this blog post is to provide some perspective on different types of marketing software. There are so many of them that it becomes difficult to rationalize on which does what and whether do we really need to spend a fortune on enterprise-grade marketing software when similar alternatives exist at a fraction of the cost.

First, let us understand different types of marketing software needed by a company which has Digital Marketing as one of its primary strategy.

CRM Software – This is the primary system of record where you will store all your customer information starting from profile information, contact details, relationship history, etc. This is your base system which can extend to more forms depending on what you plan to achieve with your marketing programs.

Email Marketing Software – This is your mass mailing application, using which you will reach out to existing and potential customers. Whether it’s your newsletter, new offer, blog, focus campaign or something else. Email Marketing Software will be your vehicle to take your communication in front of the customer. Modern email marketing software can not only track opens and clicks of your email, they go one step further and can track every visit the customer makes to your website thereafter. Which essentially means you have installed a spy on your customers web browser which will report their activities on your website.

Content Management System – It’s advisable to build your website using CMS like WordPress or Drupal or Joomla so that you can make changes on demand without having to rely on a developer or external agency. Nevertheless, you will still need a powerful CMS to publish your blogs.

Business Blogging is imperative if you are serious about generating leads online organically. The purpose of your blog space would be to generate high-quality educational content for your prospects and customers. The idea is to be seen as a thought leader in your field of business.

Web Analytics – You definitely want to track who is visiting your website, what are they up to and how you can convert them to paying customers. Your web analytics platform will give you valuable insights on the same.


Social Media – As with Business blogging, it is imperative to have engaged, active social media presence. This not only ensures you have a continuous flow of qualified leads but also provides social credibility to your brand.

A Social Media marketing tool will make your life easier by automating your posts, follow-back, provide social insights, etc.

Add-ons – You will also need Live Chat software for your website, SEO Analytics tool to analyze and optimize your content, Website widgets for displaying context based offers, Lead Analytics and Scoring to know potential buyers.

All the above marketing tools are inherent in many sophisticated Marketing Automation platforms like HubSpotMarketoEloqua, etc. The problem is, these software can eat up your marketing budget before you event start using them. For e.g. HubSpot whose primary market is SMB will cost you $12,500 in yearly subscription paid in advance. And mind you this is their lower range offering with 1000 contacts/ leads cap. Their enterprise offering is priced at $28,000 which can be quite steep for many SMB’s and startups.

Alternatively, there are many aggressively priced marketing automation as well as point solutions which can provide you equal capabilities at fraction of the cost.

In my next blog post, I will be doing a detailed comparison of leading marketing automation platforms followed by recommendations on each of the above-mentioned category/types of marketing software.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Do consider sharing it on your social channels if you liked it.

More on this in my next post.