What is the Total Cost of Ownership for the Best Marketing Automation Tools | Hacker Noon


Using automation software in your marketing is an important investment because such tools provide numerous benefits to businesses looking to increase sales. In fact, marketing automation is now used by 51% of companies. About 58 percent of B2B enterprises want to use it. But the problem is that many of them embrace automation without first assessing the total cost of ownership and its impact on the organization’s operations. In this case, the correct question is: how much will be spent on purchasing and maintaining automation software? 

We have used and recommended a number of such tools to our clients. As a result, we will draw on our experience to assist you in estimating their TCO based on these criteria:

  • licenses;
  • the monthly cost of the plan;
  • the costs of training employees to prepare them to operate the software;
  • the acquisition of new software if the chosen one gets discontinued.

Before we begin, let’s talk about the exact elements that influence TCO. Previously I’ve written an article about the Total cost of ownership in software development and decided to dive deeper and explore Marketing things.

What Determines the TCO in Marketing?

The total cost of ownership of marketing automation tools is determined by many factors. The list can be quite lengthy, especially when it comes to highly technical products and services.

Here we take a look at a few of the factors you should know.

  1. Pre-acquisition costs: these are costs incurred before the actual purchase is made. For example research, sourcing, etc
  2. Acquisition cost includes the purchasing and installation costs
  3. Operating cost: comprises employee training and certification costs
  4. Maintenance cost: repairs and upgrades make up the main maintenance costs
  5. Downtime cost: If the software stops working, additional expenses will include the cost of labor to repair it as well as the cost of production
  6. End of lifecycle cost: this is the cost for acquiring new tools when the old ones are no longer used.

Other factors to consider are: 

  1. Product durability: The product should be durable enough and of high quality so that it can be used by the organization for a longer period, thereby saving money.
  2. Product life expectancy: Automation software should have a very long life expectancy. There is no point in purchasing a low-cost product that will stop working after a short period.
  3. Ease of deployment: Nobody wants to buy a product they don’t understand how to use. The best marketing tool should be easy to deploy so that the company does not have to spend a lot of money training its employees on how to use it.

What Are Some Marketing Tools?

Let’s go over some marketing automation tools and see how they compare.


Customer.io is a marketing technology that assists businesses in engaging and retaining customers by sending them personalized emails, push notifications, and SMS messages. This platform enables businesses to retain customers by delivering contextually relevant information to them, as well as convert new customers through the use of real-time behavioral data and refined segmentation across mobile and online channels. Customer.io has been used by several fast-growing companies, including Ring, Segment, Codecademy, and others.

Pricing Plan


Customer.io’s monthly price starts at $150.00, depending on usage. There is no free plan available but users can enjoy a free trial period. Every month, your credit card will be charged for the renewal of the plan you sign up for on the platform.

Cost for Employee Training

Because the platform is simple to use, training employees on how to use it will be inexpensive, if not free.


Marketo should be on your list of platforms to consider if you want to boost your marketing efforts with some powerful technologies. The marketing automation tool performs a variety of functions such as lead generation and management, content nurturing, event management, and so on.

The tool is extremely powerful, allowing it to solve numerous business problems with a single tool. However, it is quite pricey.

Pricing Plan

Because the prices are not displayed on their website, obtaining the pricing plan on Marketo necessitates contacting their sales staff. Marketo divides its plans into three categories: Basic, Pro, and Elite, though pricing is thought to be based on the number of leads you have.

Pricing is determined by the plan you select and the number of leads in your account, which is best illustrated in the table below.


Cost for Employee Training

The cost of training an employee on how to use Marketo ranges from $95 to $1,500 according to Marketo University.


Hubspot is a platform that helps businesses grow by providing everything they need to succeed. For starters, it differs from other platforms in that it emphasizes inbound marketing (including content and search marketing). They also provide a sales and service hub, which allows for collaboration among the organization’s employees.

Pricing Plan

The Starter plan costs $45 per month and includes all of the free features as well as some extras like chat routing, email support, basic automation, and task queue.


The professional plan, which begins at $800 per month, includes market automation, goal-based nurturing, bespoke workflow, and all of the features included in the starter plan. Revenue reporting, custom-event reporting, custom-event automation triggers, and all other features are included in the $3,200 enterprise plan.

Cost for Employee Training

An organization will spend between $340 and $510 to train a single employee on how to use Hubspot. However, the value may increase if the organization is willing to provide their employees with more information about how to use the tool.


Oracle Eloqua is a platform that enables marketers to attract customers by delivering customized campaigns across multiple platforms. It is a platform for marketers that enables businesses to conduct intelligent campaign management, flexible data management, accurate lead generation, and smart sales enablement.

It enables marketers to carry out targeted campaigns via various mediums such as email, mobile, SMS message, and so on, as well as to track the results of their efforts using the in-built analytical tool.

They also allow you to build a dynamic journey throughout the purchasing cycle using the campaign canvas drag-and-drop interface.

Pricing Plan

Oracle Eloqua also offers three different plans starting at $2,000.

The starter plan, which costs $2,000, supports 10 users, the Standard plan, which costs $4,000, supports 50 users, and the Enterprise plan, which requires contacting the sales staff for a price, supports an unlimited number of users. The database has a monthly cost of less than $10,000.

Cost for Employee Training

There are currently provisions for Eloqua employee training and certification, but the cost is unknown. To obtain a quota, you would need to contact the company. 


You may have noticed that we did not discuss the cost of acquiring new software if the chosen one is discontinued in our review. This is due to the fact that it is highly dependent on a variety of factors, including:

  • If you are acquiring a completely new dealership or keeping the same license.
  • If the new tools include new features that employees must be trained to use.
  • If you are migrating to a completely new environment where the software will run if there are any additional fees in the case of a new license, etc.

If your company is considering adopting a marketing automation platform in the distant or near future, hopefully, this post on the total cost of ownership helps you gain valuable knowledge on the best ways to invest in a platform, as well as the entire cost of ownership.

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