Just this week, Gartner reported 65% of 176 marketing leaders said they are bracing for moderate to significant budget cuts as a result of coronavirus-related disruptions. Fortunately for our marketing operations community, many platforms are already making concessions to help marketers by reducing costs and, in some cases, even suspending billing.
Adobe is offering Magento Commerce and Marketo Engage free of charge for three months, and has put together a “Launch Package” for SMBs needing to take their business online as quickly as possible. Salesforce says it has expanded its Salesforce Care services and support solutions, making it available for free to customers and non-customers for 90-days.
Adzooma, a digital ad platform for brands advertising via Google, Facebook and Microsoft, is not only offering free access to its platform until, at least, the start of June, 2020, it also is suspending billing for all existing agency and SME clients, “To help ease the load in these difficult times.”
The online video platform Loom announced earlier in March that it was cutting monthly fees from $10 a month to $5 a month through July 1, 2020. It also has removed recording limits on the free version of its plan and is extending free trials of Loom Pro from 14 days to 15 days. The company also made Loom Pro free for students and teachers at educational institutions.
“Our hope is that by stepping up, we’re making a dent in the global impact this pandemic is causing, not just by making our product more accessible, but by helping set the kind of example we hope more businesses will follow,” wrote the company’s CEO Joe Thomas.
TalentDesk.io, a freelance management system, has removed licensing fees for its platform through July 1 as well.
“We saw an increase in interest for our software as organizations have rushed to adapt to working from home during the COVID-19 crisis and decided to waive all software licensing fees until July 1, 2020,” said TalentDesk.io Founder and CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou, “By enabling businesses — large or small — to remotely collaborate with their freelancers and employees, we’d like to help them continue their work seamlessly and use resources efficiently.”
The CEO says his company has seen an overwhelming response from clients, “They appreciate us being proactive and agile in the current environment.”
Zapier is another platform that has removed costs for any groups that are working on the front lines of COVID-19 relief efforts. The company is offering a free “starter plan” that would normally cost $19.99 per month if billed annually, or $24.99 if paying month-to-month. (Companies must submit an application to determine eligibility.)
Taking an opportunity to connect more deeply with clients
Jessica Breslav, executive managing director for Criteo, said the ad tech company is taking this opportunity to strengthen client relationships.
“What we’ve found at Criteo is that most of our clients are looking for a forum to ask questions and understand the impact that the pandemic is having on their business and the ecosystem as a whole,” said Breslav. One step the company is taking involves working with clients to think beyond today’s current challenges — solving for problems Criteo may not have dug into as readily in the past, “For example, we are connecting clients with our data science team to explore ways in which we can build deeper insights together.”
As far as financial concessions, the company is making decisions on a client-by-client basis and addressing needs accordingly. “Criteo doesn’t have a blanket policy because every client situation is unique and we’re working closely with our partners to foster a best plan of action moving forward,” said Breslav.
As managing director, Breslav said she is now speaking to clients much more often, sitting in on virtual round tables and taking calls over Zoom. According to Breslav, these online meetings are her new normal and that it has been going really well.
Short-term concessions could deliver long-term relationships
“I think concessions that are made with the genuine intent to help customers will be appreciated and repaid with increased loyalty and customer advocacy on the other side of this crisis,” said Chiefmartech.com Editor and MarTech Conference Chair Scott Brinker, “First of all, some of these products can really help people through their current circumstances, such as tools for remote work and video conferences. Second, even for martech products that don’t directly relate to current circumstances, offering benefits such as more free features or discounted pricing helps win or keep prospects and customers who have been forced to tighten their belts given economic uncertainty.”
Brinker notes that, with so many marketing operations and martech professionals stuck at home and working remotely, it may be a good time for them to experiment with new products, “Especially if it doesn’t cost anything.”
Just remember: Now may be a good opportunity to try out tools you’ve had an eye on — but don’t become reliant on a platform that won’t fit into your martech budget once the free-trial ends.