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eTrigue Review: "Four Years In, I Still Like DemandCenter. Here's Why:"
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Updated January 14, 2015

eTrigue Review: "Four Years In, I Still Like DemandCenter. Here's Why:"

Score 8 out of 101
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Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with eTrigue DemandCenter

Initially, eTrigue was chosen amongst other marketing automation tools (circa 2010) to fill the roll of automating several long-term drip nurturing campaigns related to trial-version requests of our software. But it has become much more. Dubbed both a marketing tool AND a sales tool - it took a while for our sales guys to warm up to the features, but now all of Marketing, Business Development, Sales, and the executive management use eTrigue's DemandCenter in some fashion. It addresses many issues, but to choose just one for each department: Sales - many of our customers & prospects work in the field for some of the day, it's handy for the sales person to know (in real-time) when that person is back at their desk and browsing our websites or opening our emails. Bus. Dev. - it's a great tool for tracking the activity/participation of our partners & dealers. Mgmt - we pull information from DC fairly often that helps us make decisions. Marketing - obviously, the automating of messages. But it's more than that; it's allowed us to expand our email marketing efforts 3-5x with the same man-hours.
  • Powerusers will love DemandCenter. Though the UI doesn't babysit you through the process like some of the newer MA tools out there, DemandCenter doesn't limit you in any way. If you can conceive of it, you will be able to set it up in the campaign editor.
  • eTrigue keeps up with the best, so there's no point in talking about "Landing Pages", "Email Templates", "Web Forms", "Alerts", "Campaign Logic", "Scoring", etc. But what I can say is that I haven't hit a limitation on these points that required additional fees, account upgrades, or 3rd-party software. You need to watch out for this with other solutions (e.g., number of accounts, or too few trackable sites, total number of emails deployed, etc.).
  • As someone who is keen on data hygiene, I regularly add/append/update/augment our prospect database. I've conducted nearly 300 data import routines, and I have to say I really appreciate the simple and quick import/export process. It makes me feel as though I have complete visibility in my database at all times. The importing process allows one to map columns to data fields, merging your imported prospects with your existing - giving you the option to append missing data points. As awesome as the web forms are (for data submission), you will ALWAYS get data from 3rd-party sources that need to be processed along-side everything else. DemandCenter makes this relatively simple.
  • I wouldn't be able to speak to this regarding the other MA solutions, but eTrigue has been very responsive to user feedback; nearly all of my suggestions to the development team have been implemented. Also, I'm astonished as to the responsiveness of their support staff. I'm not reluctant to ask stupid questions - so I do. Often. And they always answer me back. And almost always same-day. Some MA tools try to foist "support" onto their community of users. DemandCenter has a "Support" button in the top-right corner of every page, allowing you to send a message to eTrigue in just two clicks. And I nearly always get the same people responding from answer to answer.
  • I've never been too crazy about the reporting within DemandCenter. There is always a solution for any type of report I'm seeking, but it involves report designing (choosing data points dragging/dropping columns & rows) which is made difficult by the lack of descriptions & values for the data points. To their credit, they did release a new suite of simplified (and pretty) reports, dubbed "Marketing Effectiveness". Relegating the older, complicated (yet super-flexible) reports as "Business Analytics".
  • The UI will be a little unfamiliar at first. That is, where you think you should be clicking, you'll need to double-click or drag-and-drop. And I would say DemandCenter has always (and still does) have an issue with UI elements that are "windows within windows" or modal windows with scrolling. But, at least these UI components are consistent throughout the entire application - so once you're used to it, you can actually achieve some pretty impressive speeds.
  • One of DemandCenter's greatest features is being squished down to uselessness: Derived Data. As mentioned, I scrub our data on a regular basis, and this means filling/appending data, or extrapolating to fill missing data. DC released a feature called "Derived Data" that scours useful info from the prospect's IP address (mostly geographical info). Now, while you can create campaign & list conditions based on derived data, there is no easy way to simply extract that oh-so-valuable derived Country or State and have it map those values to the standard fields. Or at least let you export derived data. They have plans to fix this - but for now it's like dangling candy in front of a baby.
  • The most obvious impact on ROI has been the reduction in man-hours within marketing to achieve the same quantity or effect - which ultimately lead to achieving more with the same man-hours. Where before, you could design and deploy a single email with ListMail, or MailChimp, or whatever, you can now set up a 3-email series with a better, more targeted audience, with about the same amount of effort.
  • From the perspective of sales personnel, alerts and lists from DemandCenter are far, far, FAR more likely to lead to a sale than, say, cold calling. Therefore, the sales person investing time into pouring through DemandCenter data has great overall return. Or, at the very least, data can be extrapolated that help the sales person prioritize leads.
  • Another return on investment, of DemandCenter costs, is related to the reduction of lost sales from missing or untimely follow-ups of the trial versions we offer of our software. Since requesting a trial version of our software is conducted through a web form (which submits to DC), the automated drip nurturing, followed by a demo-expiry reminder, help keep everyone reminded of what to do. In fact, the email reminder to the end-user is fashioned to look like it comes from their rep - so if/when they reply, it's a good indicator of any end-of-trial processes/pushes that need to take place.
In 2010, we evaluated Marketo and Pardot alongside eTrigue. And eTrigue was considered the 'Cadillac' of MA tools. More recently, we've checked out Eloqua and Hubspot. All of these are more-or-less clones, having all the same core features. Except for HubSpot, which should be in a class of its own. eTrigue has been around a very long time, and DemandCenter can hold its ground against all of these MA solutions.
Quite frankly, as with any MA tool, the longer you use it, the larger your database becomes and the more historical activity you acquire - making it impractical to switch platforms. In addition, one becomes affluent with the particular UI - maximizing speed - which is another reason it is difficult to switch platforms. I know these have more to do with the MA model than DemandCenter's features, but those are truly the reasons I am likely to continue renewing with eTrigue. If another tool came along that was significantly better, and I was able to extract some of my historical/activity, and was truly worth switching to - then I'd switch.
I would not recommend DemandCenter for anyone who doesn't know what they're doing or what they want. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it seems like a huge number of organizations want something to fill that "Marketing Automation" gap, not having the marketing infrastructure in place to support it. That is, a technically savvy person to design complex campaign logic and manage data, good web people for designing landing pages and emails, and content writers & managers & marketing specialists for everything else. Investing in a marketing automation tool does not mean you can exclude these resources - it simply means you can DO MORE with those resources. If you don't know what you want, and want to be babysat through the whole process but don't mind the limitations, you can always go with the MA tool that rhymes with "BubSpot".