Understanding customer sentiment into your brand versus your competitors is crucial to keeping buyers and attracting them from other businesses. To get this insight, conducting and analyzing competitor research is vital.
One easy way of doing this is through exploring customer feedback. Whether this is through collecting your own feedback or analyzing publicly available reviews, comparing your brand against competitors illuminates the opportunities and challenges you face – particularly in keenly contested marketplaces.
One such sector is marketing automation. With recession looming, marketing automation software is a vital way for marketing teams to deliver value at a time where budgets are squeezed. By eliminating time-consuming manual processes, team members can focus on tasks and projects which generate excellent return on investment.
At Relative Insight, we love eliminating manual processes. Our text analysis platform rapidly deciphers hard-to-analyze text data, allowing you to use your time on more valuable tasks than manually reading and categorizing text. By using comparison, our platform swiftly surfaces the differences within text data sets – highlighting information brands need to know.
The platform works with any text data, including survey responses, social listening data, CX transcripts and all types of reviews. This final data type is an ideal way of conducting competitor analysis.
As marketer become increasingly reliant on automation platforms, we wanted to find out what they think of them. We took thousands of entries from software review site G2 for three of the biggest automation tools: HubSpot, Eloqua and Marketo.
G2 breaks down its reviews by likes and dislikes – presenting an easy way to compare users’ loves and hates for each piece of software. This allowed us to conduct thorough competitor research analysis on what users thought of them.
Eloqua’s step building pleases some, is too complex for others
The first is building multistep campaigns – marketers liked the ability to do this visually in Eloqua. They were 6.8x more likely to use words related to ‘vision’, including ‘visual’ 24.0x more. They also used the word ‘steps’ 4.0x more and ‘builder’ 4.2x more.
“I love the campaign and program canvas interface. I’m a visual person and with this feature I can see the logic of a campaign to ensure its accuracy.“
The platform’s ability to share data with other tools, including those found in the Oracle Cloud, was also popular. Users were 1.3x more likely to use words relating to ‘data’, while also using the words ‘cloud’ 19.4x and ‘import’ 4.7x more.
“Really like Eloqua’s approach to drip campaign management, forms/landing pages and the ability to import and export data easily.“
However, our competitor research analysis also uncovered areas consumers didn’t like compared to its rivals.
While its visual campaign building capability is a plus, the platform’s overall interface doesn’t inspire. Reviewers were 4.0x more likely to use the word ‘old’ to describe the tool’s look. They were also 9.8x more likely to use the phrase ‘really difficult’ and used the word ‘complex’ 2.3x more, suggesting the platform can be hard to use.
“What I dislike the most is that the style of the platform looks very old, and doesn’t look very user friendly.“
Customers also questioned the support they were offered. They were 12.7x more likely to use the word ‘nonexistent’, as well as being infinitely more likely to use the word ‘impersonal’ when describing the support they did receive.
“Service is pretty much non-existent and you need to use professional services to get help with issues come up.“
HubSpot is easy to use, but has limitations
Reviewers’ reasons for liking HubSpot Marketing Hub were the inverse of Eloqua’s challenges. Users were 2.6x more likely to talk about how ‘user friendly’ the tool was, as well 1.3x more likely to describe it as ‘easy’ to use.
“All features have very similar WYSIWYG editors that are easy to learn and teach others.“
They were also keen to highlight the company’s excellent customer service. HubSpot reviews talked about customer service 3.9x more and customer support 3.4x more. Interestingly, they were also 4.2x more likely to use the word ‘whenever’, citing that HubSpot’s support teams were there whenever reviewers had any issues.
“Whenever I’ve encountered any problems, support has always been quick to reply and very friendly.“
When it came to what customer dislikes, our competitor research analysis pinpointed that its pricing structure was the source of most complaints – in two ways.
Firstly, reviewers were more likely to discuss the platform’s ‘limitations’, using the word 2.3x more. However, while some of this conversation was due to the platform’s lack of functionality in some areas, the majority of reviewers used this to highlight the features excluded from lower-priced payment plans.
“There are some limitations but it depends on the plan you pay.“
The second was the price of the tool itself. They were 2.1x more likely to use the word ‘price’ and infinitely more likely to use the phrase ‘price point’.
“It is a costly software. The main or perhaps only problem we see in this tool is the price that really isn’t cheap and always makes it hard for the department to justify it to the higher management.“
Marketo surprises customers willing to wait
Adobe Marketo Engage surprises its users – in a good way. Our analysis highlighted that reviewers were 6.4x more likely to use emotive language related to ‘surprise’ when describing what they liked about Marketo, using words such as ‘amazed’, ‘wow’ and ‘surprised’.
“I was amazed by the level of features and integration they have had with other CRM vendors.“
This amazement comes from how the platform changes what is possible for marketers. They use the word ‘enabling’ infinitely more to describe what the tool allows them to do, as well as using the words ‘smart’ 5.7x more and ‘power’ 2.2x more when highlighting what they like about it.
“Marketo is such a powerful platform, enabling you to build out customized templates that internal teams can self-serve, create globalized views, strong integrations and APIs.“
However, all this power and functionality does appear to come at a cost: waiting time. When comparing what users disliked about the platform, they were 3.7x more likely to use words related to ‘slowness’ such as ‘slow’ or ‘lag’. They were 26.8x more likely to talk about ‘loading’ times and used the word ‘forever’ 13.0x more.
“It is verrrrry slow. Loading screens take forever.“
Users also complained about its use of velocity scripting. They were infinitely more likely to talk about ‘scripting’ in Marketo reviews, and made clear that this added a layer of complexity which made it hard for them to get the most out of the platform.
“Our industry requires us to utilize custom objects, and we must use velocity scripting to access this data.“
Analyzing reviews to gain a competitive advantage
This example of competitor research analysis highlights how brands can use customer reviews to their advantage. By comparing customer feedback for three competing businesses using our unbiased text analysis tool, we have quickly identified areas of strength for them to highlight and areas of weakness to improve upon.
For Eloqua, appealing to organizations who prioritize effective data sharing is critical, while highlighting the visual nature of the platform’s campaign building elements will stand out to marketers who prefer creating activations in this way. Changing the platform’s look and UI isn’t a quick fix, but improving customer support and offering resources to help with its complexities is something the organization can act upon immediately.
HubSpot’s ease of use and excellent customer support are key selling points. The company should ensure it continues to make these areas a point of emphasis to maintain its competitive advantage. While limiting functions depending on payment plans is a way to drive up revenue, it can disappoint customers with smaller budgets. The brand could look to provide further pricing points to accommodate companies who can pay slightly more for upgraded features, but not the price of its professional package.
When it comes to Marketo, it should tailor its messaging to highlight the opportunities it offers marketers – and how its functionality will surprise and amaze them. Like Eloqua, development work to improve the platform’s speed and eliminate some of the need for velocity script won’t be a quick fix, but the company needs to be aware that these areas disengage users.
Manually analyzing customer reviews to extract these findings would be a time-consuming process. The Relative Insight text analysis platform identifies differences in a matter of seconds – allowing you to focus on higher-value work which makes a real difference to your organization.