Pricing Competitiveness Discussion (Again)

We've read the posts again and again, and the points are sticking....

(a) Campaign Monitor is a great app, and it kills most of the competition with its style and features.

(b) Campaign Monitor is ridiculously expensive and pricing issues can actually cause developers who depend on it to LOSE sales.

With these thoughts in tow, the CM team has repeatedly had to address pricing issues.  The most complete response that I think I've seen is that the team is "considering" certain pricing options that would make CM more competitive (which would really help out CM's loyal users).

That being said, there really hasn't been a clear response by the CM team as to why they WILL NOT change the pricing structure to make it more competitive with majors like iContact and Constant Contact.

Here is the irony:  Products like iContact provide an all-in-one solution as does Constant Contact.  You don't need a developer to use those products.  Rates to send 5,000 to 10,000 emails sit at $74 and $75, respectively.  Compare a 10,000 email campaign at $75 from Constant Contact to the same campaign using CM at the $5+1-cent rate of $105, and you pay $360 per year MORE with CM without the developer making a single cent profit from campaign fees.  In order for the developer to make a profit on anything, s/he would have have to charge an additional premium to design the email template ~ something which iContact and Constant Contact already offer in spades.

I'm not "griping", but I am concerned that if CM can't compete, then developers such as myself are going to be pushed over a cliff, and price-competitiveness will be a reason small businesses like mine will either migrate to CM's competitors, stop offering email development services, or simply go out of business.

I know, I know.  Just as if I don't like watching a particular television show, I can change the channel.  I suppose if I don't like CM's pricing, I can change my service provider.  The problem is that I like CM's product, and I don't feel like changing.  So, I have to ask one more time.....

Why is it that CM management seemingly refuses to listen to us developers on the issue of pricing?  What is so hard about making rates more competitive so that loyalists like myself can make more money using CM versus having to give away so much of our time and other services just to get the sale?  Not only are we developers losing clients, we are money from clients we do get.  Is this the "Campaign Monitor Business Model"?

Please guys and gals at CM; it's a simple question:  Why can't you set your pricing to be more competitive with the likes of iContact and Constant Contact?  I understand that you need to make money as the Application Service Provider, and that's fine (since I bill my clients $5+1 and negate profit on sending campaigns instead earning my income from design and content-related services).

At the end of the day, only an idiot would willing pay $360 per year more (or much more than that for larger campaigns), and my clients aren't idiots.  Some of them just don't know better, some do, and I'm getting tired of my conscience wearing on me since I do know better.

I'm in business to serve MY clients, but I dread feeling like what I'm really doing is working for Campaign Monitor and not even getting so-as-much as a commission for the  clients I acquire who now use the C/Send system.  Tell you what ~ I'll trade my commissions for much lower campaign prices in the 5,000 to 15,000 email range.  ;-)

So, why is it that CM can't (or will not) offer more competitive rates?  As I said, I'm not even earning a single penny on campaigns sent by my clients....because I can't.  Anyone at CM have a better answer than, "We thinking about it,"?

Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago


Thanks for your detailed and important feedback. You raise a lot of points here, and we're happy to address them. Although we do understand it can be frustrating, often the best answer we can give you really is "we're listening".

That's because we aren't going to promise to make a change if we haven't decided to make it, and disappoint people.

We totally agree that Campaign Monitor is not the cheapest option for some types of sending. However, as I am sure you can understand, there are plenty of people sending in ways that makes Campaign Monitor highly effective for them. So one of the reasons we aren't committing to any change right now is that we have lots of people who are happy with our current model.

Secondly, your example of Campaign Monitor being $30 a month higher than other options is very useful. Although you say "only an idiot would willing pay $360 per year more", you are assuming that all the services are exactly the same.

We have spent many years working on making Campaign Monitor a much better product for web designers (and their clients) than we were able to find on the market place, when our company was a design agency. In fact, you yourself start by saying that you consider Campaign Monitor to be a much better product. For that reason, lots of customers are willing to pay extra for that.

I can confirm that no matter what changes may be made in the future, we'll never try to present Campaign Monitor as the cheapest option.

Instead, we'll continue to offer features, usability, tools and resources that make Campaign Monitor much nicer to use, and more effective for your clients. We're not trying to be everything to everyone, but we are trying to be the best option for web designers.

We offer simple client editing, design and spam testing, email client reports, sexy campaign reports and more, all in an interface which we are told is far easier to use than a lot of other options.

The reality of the situation is that Campaign Monitor is a business, and we need to look at the product we provide, how much that is worth, and how many people are willing to pay for it. I am sure that our competitors, no matter what their pricing is, have people who consider them too expensive.

Having said that, we are aware that designers have to on sell to their clients, and that in some cases, the difference is a lot more than $30 a month. Your feedback in  that area is really valuable, and we really are recording it and considering that in the context of all our other feedback.

I can't promise that we will ever have another pricing model, and that may mean we lose potential or existing customers to other options. We can understand that. Part of what makes Campaign Monitor a useful product is that we have said 'no' to a lot of suggestions (and demands!), even when they make sense for lots of people.

On the other hand, we don't want to force designers into a situation where Campaign Monitor is not a practical choice, so we're carefully monitoring the market place as well as the feedback we are receiving.

So please be aware that we do consider your feedback important, we're not ignoring it or refusing without reason. We may still not make a decision that works for you, but even if that happens, your comments are valuable.

Thanks again for your reasonable and passionate post, it shows how much you want to use Campaign Monitor for all your clients, and that is something we really appreciate.

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JetJagger, 8 years ago

As alway Mathew, I thank you for your response and am glad to know that CM does, indeed, have OUR needs in mind.  The professionalism of the CM staff is one of the main reasons I'm sticking with the product.

fz, 8 years ago

I left a comment regarding pricing here

In short, I love CM and appreciate the value of its benefits.  That said, it's a hard sell these days to justify the added cost compared to monthly programs. 

At the very least, only charging the $5 fee once a month and/or having a cumulative (vs. bulk) discount structure might provide a little more breathing room to come up with a profitable price structure.

I think if there's no plan on reducing prices, the ability for our clients to purchase in bulk without us having to do it for them would help.  I was told that was a feature in the works a couple months ago yet I don't see it anywhere yet. Are you guys still working on that? Any idea on when it will be ready?

vince, 8 years ago
Mathew :

you consider Campaign Monitor to be a much better product. For that reason, lots of customers are willing to pay extra for that

So we better stop saying it's a better product then. :-)

The word 'better' is subjective anyway, and needs to be backed up by facts.
Maybe you can help us by providing a grid like comparison of CM and a couple of competitive products? that may help us both understand, and give us ammunition in discussions with clients.

travisbell travisbell, 8 years ago


Yup, we made this feature available a few weeks ago. You can read about it on the blog here:

Travis Bell
Chr1s, 8 years ago

Using the CM rss billing feed (yep, just the billing feed, without API-use) we have been able to set up a system in which we can resell credits at our own prices, and keep customers informed on how much credits they spent and have left. That way, we are able to give volume rates: when a customer buys 5000 credits, he pays 5 cts per credit. When he buys 500.000 credits, he pays 1,25 cts per credit. We also set the number of 500 starting credits back to 125. Small and/or infrequent senders don't mind the high credit price: their overall costs are low anyway because they sent only a few small mailing per year. Big senders enjoy volume pricing. And in both cases, we profit.

Think creative boys & girls.

Still not over OL2007
cbtrussell, 8 years ago

Longtime CM user here. I joined the forum today just so I could comment on this issue.

I like CM. I like it a lot. And for our clients that only send a few campaigns a year, the $5 + 0.01 pay as you go model, while relatively expensive, is not unreasonable for such a high quality service. Our customers can send good looking campaigns themselves with minimal intervention on our part, and I don't know of any other offering that makes it possible for end users to send rich HTML messages so successfully.

That said, while CM is ideal for our small clients with less than 5000 subscribers who send once in a while, the pricing isn't competitive at all for larger clients who have large lists and/or want to send often. Here is a case in point:

I have a client with 48K registered users on their site. They want to establish a regular campaign schedule, two sends a month with an option for additional campaigns as needed to announce special events, breaking news, special offers etc. Let's say they send 3 campaigns a month.

Campaign Monitor: 3*[$5+($0.01*48,000)]= $1455/month

MailChimp: $204/month ($240 list - 15% agency discount)

With your competitor, we can send as many campaigns in a month as we want for $204. With CM, we're paying $485 per campaign. That's so lopsided it's sad.

I want to keep all of our clients with Campaign Monitor. But right now, our best customers, the ones who send frequent campaigns and actually have an email marketing budget, are at MailChimp. We only use Campaign Monitor for our small customers who send a few times a year. Is CM a better service? Absolutely! So charge a premium over your competitor's rates, that's fine with me. But as it is right now, we can't use you guys as much as we'd like. And that sucks.

Please consider adding recurring subscription options. They don't have to be quite as cheap as MailChimp or your other competitors. But they need to be competitive. Limit the number of emails that can go out in a given month if you have to - something like 4-6X the list size would not be unreasonable. But please give us options - we want to give you more business.


Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago

Thanks for your feedback Brandon, we appreciate it. Basically as I mentioned above, there are always going to be situations and customers where our pricing model doesn't come close, and that's ok.

We could conceivably investigate other models in the future, but for now, we're concentrating on making Campaign Monitor worth the cost.

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arachne, 8 years ago

I have been in email marketing for about 10 years now, so I've seen a bit. I can honestly say that Campaign Monitor is a fantastic product and I believe that the pricing structure is reasonable. I love that there is a campaign charge as it forces people to really think about the value of what they are sending out. this contributes to better emailing practices, which I am grateful for. The other thing that I love is no contracts. If you went to any large ESP and tried to send to a list of 500 emails once a quarter, you would probably need to sign a 24 - 36 month contract for at around a $500 per month, plus account set up. Other providers like MailChimp, also provide good services but in my experience, Campaign Monitor is easy to use, easy to roll out and very simple to support. Another thing that I have found is that price is very rarely is an issue in selling. If you can position the costs and explain the benefits to their bottom line or how it will make them look like superstars, then people will pay. Good work Campaign Monitor! - Small Business Online
robertok, 8 years ago

I am not a designer/reseller, but a direct user, so I am not going to comment on the specific topic.  I do think CM is listening and engaging.  I appreciate that.


Colin_RocketNo9, 8 years ago

We have lost about 4 or 5 sales due to pricing. We may jump ship to SendLoop or another service because of CampaignMonitor's high cost.

thermal, 8 years ago

I just had to register to add my 2 cents... (or two sends, under the current CM base pricing model)

Overall, we're very happy with CM. The interface is clean, functional, and much easier to use than most of CM's competitors. We've used Constant Contact and EmailLabs previously, and they aren't even close in that respect. We know that well, and are very confident that it's the best choice for us. However, we have potential clients whose usage patterns just don't match CM's pricing structure at all.

The usual problem is with frequent senders. With most of our clients, more than one send a month is going to cost more with CM than with most of it's competitors, and any more than two the price difference gets out of control pretty quickly. This has made it pretty much impossible for us to (in good conscience) sell CM to clients that send frequently. We've decided to avoid supporting other platforms since email marketing isn't one of our core competencies, so we usually just send clients that don't match CM's pricing structure away. That's too bad, because that's easily half of the potentials that we get.

The other half do find CM to be a great fit, because they don't send often, or they have seasonal promotion patterns that make a piece-rate effective. For those clients CM is fantastic, because most of the alternatives are a monthly fee.

I think that if we just had the choice between a monthly fee or a per-send rate we could easily sell CM to every potential client that we get, even if the monthly fee is higher than everyone else. But right now we just can't make the pitch for many of them because CM's pricing for frequent senders just isn't even in the ballpark.

vince, 8 years ago

Hi Thermal,
I just wanted to say that I, and some others here, fully agree with you and it has been suggested before to have both options on offer. In addition, I have seen at least one other competitor to CM actually offer this option, so they also came to the same conclusion.

Here to hoping this is being considered by CM :-)

mattgoldman, 8 years ago

I'm fairly new to Campaign Monitor and just added my first client.  However, I know that in the future...many of my clients won't be well fit for the current pricing structure.  The majority of my clients are currently with iContact and when comparing prices, it is insane.  The CM pricing structure is a perfect fit for some clients and it's great that you offer it.  But I think your partners, their clients, and ultimately CM would benefit strongly by offering 2 options (monthly plans and pay-as-you-go).  I'm sure many of your rebranded partners have had to turn clients away from CM due to their sending volume. 

After all, how can I push the benefits of sending frequent campaigns and then punish my clients monetarily for following my advice.

Just throwing another vote in for 2 billing options. :-)

P.S. Great App!

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 8 years ago

Hi Matt, welcome to the forums! Thank you for your feedback - we've added your vote for two billing options. This is a very popular request and we have been acting on ways to make our billing more flexible. Everyone's comments have certainly contributed towards this process.

Naturally, we'll let everyone know if we do make changes to our pricing model - many thanks for everyone's contributions so far!

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enfueggo enfueggo, 8 years ago

Thanks for listening and responding, and since we're taking tallies, please add mine to the "different price structure for big senders" box.

The math has already been done above, but here's an example month from one of our clients: 2 x (8000 x 0.01) = $160 with CM vs. $75 with MC.

I agree that you deserve to charge a premium for a premium product, but CM isn't 210% better (or 713% better, for someone with a larger client like cbtrussell, above).  It just means we have to mark-up less, and make less profit, to make-up for the extra delivery fees (which means we're likely to change ESPs all together)

Judging by the comments here, the only potential clients you're losing are those with the largest subscriber lists that send often, which I assume is where your best revenue comes from.  It seems like making it more reasonable for designers with those large clients would makeup for any loss you may incur from a structure change.

mrrickkirk, 8 years ago

This last week I had an opportunity to take on a new customer with lists of considerable size, I hadn't thought much about this since most of my clients have lists of a few thousand names max. Well I now realize, there is Absolutely NO WAY to bring on a customer with a large list under the current Campaign Monitor pricing structure.

I've read both of these Pricing Competitiveness discussions and agree strongly with the suggestions that you offer some kind of flat rate fee for lists over a certain number of subscribers.

These discussions go back quite some time now, keen to hear what the status is on this?

thanks, rick

Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago

Thanks for your feedback Rick, we appreciate that it can be difficult, but I think to say " there is Absolutely NO WAY to bring on a customer with a large list under the current Campaign Monitor pricing structure." is a bit broad - we have literally thousands of customers with very large lists, so clearly for very many people that is not true.

That's not to say we'd never change our model, but there are a lot more factors than just price, or we'd all be driving these cars and if you can show your client how using Campaign Monitor will save them money, time, or help them earn more from their email marketing, they are often willing to pay more.

As always, we're listening and thinking, and there could be changes in the future, but we don't want to promise something that may never happen.

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vince, 8 years ago
Mathew :

save them money, time, or help them earn more from their email marketing, they are often willing to pay more.

Hi Matthew,

Would appreciate your own input on to put this across, obviously comparing to similar product offerings.

FWIW, the issue I have is that CM is still missing 2 main features (autoresponders, surveys/forms), and hence clients point out that not only we are more expensive, but that they then have to pay extra to have 3rd party solutions to fill this feature gap, as well as the hassles of it not being 'all-in'one' solution.

Please help on these main points, and we'll all be better prepared to take-on what challenges 2010 may bring.

Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago

Your main goal needs to be to work out what your specific client is trying to achieve with their email marketing -  is it sales of a specific product, or leads, or replies - what is the measure of success for them?

Sometimes it is easy for us as designers to hear "we need surveys" and not actually dig any further into *why* they want to do surveys. What is the outcome that they think surveys will get them?

It may well be that surveys are required, and there are plenty of options for hooking them into your emails, but it may also be that they just think they need to do surveys because every one else does.

Getting stuck in a feature comparison is not good for anyone. If you can be the designer who offers them actual results instead of just features, you can set a price that is higher than others but provide much more value.

Some of our customers charge many times our base rates, and their clients are happy to pay for it because they see the value coming back to them. Most clients will compare prices and shop for the lowest if they can't tell the difference any other way.

Ask them how much time if takes to setup their email each month, and how much they actually know about the results. Are they having to advertise another company in the footer of every email? There are many different ways to approach this, depending on the client, and you are in the best position to decide that.

That said, if your client really needs something Campaign Monitor doesn't offer, we can understand that. Autoresponders of course are already on the way.

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vince, 8 years ago

Hi Matthew,
Thanks for the detailed reply.
I wanted to close my side of the argument with a clarification.

You may have noticed I posted "surveys/forms"
the reason i did that - and forgive me if you already know - is that the survey functionality will also give form functionality by default, which greatly increases the usefulness of this feature - not just for surveys.

Forms give a campaign the ability to do so much; i.e. request for quote, book an appointment etc.

I use this functionality every day with a bespoke corporate system for a company, and it's proven much better than sending clicks for the same feature to their Website forms.
For one, it gives much more insight and ROI stats than trying to merge it from Web analytics - especially due to privacy policy providers like Google Analytics not allowing you to include 'who sent a form submission' and 'how much was the quote value(s) from this company and ecampaign'.

As an aside, if the customer does not ask for surveys, IMHO it doesn't mean they don't 'need' them.
If they don't ask, we, as professionals, should suggest they do.

I am constantly flabbergasted at any business that doesn't run any customer satisfaction surveys, be it service or product driven.

Hope that helps, and look forward to your consideration.

Mathew Mathew, 8 years ago

Forms *in email* actually aren't that reliable, but certainly linking to forms from your email is often a great idea, and there are a ton of systems from free up that you can send people to from emails.

My point was more that we should not be just assuming that because clients ask for surveys that a survey is what they actually need.

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vince, 8 years ago

Erm, "forms in email"?? definitely not, and never implied or would even dream of it.

Not sure that my reply was fully understood as I thought it was clear from this:
"the survey functionality will also give form functionality by default"

I am obviously failing to make a compelling reason on this one, so I will now leave it to others to try and make a better case.
best wishes

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