We knew it was coming, but we didn't expect the changes to be this big or the combined savings to be this good.
Starting today (May 1st), Swiftpage will announce the launch of Act! Growth Suite 2.0 as part of the Spring release of Act! 21.1, and usher in a new era for the Act! product line. Act! 21.1 is the latest major patch to Act! and includes many new Admin and End-user feature improvements, as well as a number of important bug fixes.
Learn more about Growth Suite 2.0 HERE.
As great as these new features are, the real story is Growth Suite 2.0, and the four major changes it will introduce to the Act! product line.
1. NEW TIERS
The first major change everyone will notice with Growth Suite 2.0 is the new tier names. The old Act! Marketing Automation tiers of Select, Complete, and Advanced will give way to Growth Suite "Professional", "Premier", and "Ultimate", with each tier including one free license of Act!, support, and AMA. For clarity, not only will the old tiers cease to exist come May, AMA will no longer be available as a standalone product for existing Act! users.
This is a good change because now customers have a choice.
Since November, AMA could only be added to an existing Act! subscription account as an upgrade, with the initial AMA term being aligned with that subscription. This process allowed the subscriber to start using AMA at a smaller prorated amount, and thereby reduce the barrier to entry, but it also reduced their potential savings. As the promotional discounts of 10-25% were being offered on the first year, only the prorated amount got discounted, meaning new customers got much less than 12-months of savings.
Swiftpage solved this problem with Growth Suite Suite 2.0.
Starting May 1st, existing subscribers will have the option to either prorate a Growth Suite upgrade to be coterminous with their current subscription, or start a whole new Growth Suite subscription account. The latter method would see the customer receive credit for any unused time from their previous subscription, and get a full year of discounts applied to their new Growth Suite account.
WIN - WIN.
Another improvement being introduced with Growth Suite 2.0 is the addition of features like "asset management" and "marketing calendar" to all three tiers of AMA, along with an upgrade of the Complete Tier, now known as "Premier", to include of the Advanced HTML editor that was previously an exclusive benefit of the Advanced or Ultimate tier.
The Advanced HTML feature allows users to import HTML files from external sources, and use sales templates with their campaigns.
2. SUPPORT PACKAGES
The second major change people will notice is the naming conventions for these new tiers, as they sound eerily similar to the current Swiftpage support packages. This is by design. The new tier names reflect the fact that as you upgrade up the tier levels, so does the level of support you receive.
Pro subscribers receive the current level of Swiftpage support included with their regular Act! subscription, while Premier subscribers receive the $60 support upgrade that was previously sold as "Gold". As you might guess, those upgrading to the new Ultimate service would receive the highest tier of service by the same name that currently sells for $120/year/user.
Your can learn more about the existing Swiftpage support tiers HERE.
3. FIRST ACT! LICENSE IS FREE
The third major change is the inclusion of a free license of Act!.
That's right, without changing the price of AMA, Swiftpage is now including upgraded support packages AND the first Act! license at no extra charge. This is a major change in product bundling, as AMA is no longer being presented as an upgrade, but rather an integral part of the Act! eco-system. Remember, Swiftpage started off as an emarketing company, so it's not surprising that they'd return to their roots with AMA, and wed both CRM, support, and Marketing Automation together to form their new flagship offering known as Growth Suite.
Make no mistake, this new bundling will be at the core of how Act! evolves to better serve customers in the future.
New Pricing Model
Come May 1st, Growth Suite 2.0 will include all the features of Act! Marketing Automation, bundled with hundreds of dollars of new licensing & support benefits at no extra cost, so let's do the math.
- Growth Suite Professional: "Select" users previously paying $948 per year, now get $300 in Act! subscription at no extra cost
- Growth Suite Premier: "Complete" AMA users previously paying $2388 now get $360 combined license & support savings annually, along with a $60 free support upgrade for each additional user
- Growth Suite Ultimate: "Advanced" users now save $420 in combined license & support off the cost of a $4788 annual AMA subscription, as well as an additional $120 annually in support upgrades for each additional Act! user
A higher sticker price, at a lower over all cost
For those only familiar with emarketing pricing, the AMA costs may seem substantially higher, but consider this:
- Do the math: Those previously paying for Act! and an emarketing service like Swiftpage emarketing (SPEM) or Act! emarketing (AEM), were used to an average cost of $550 combined annually ($300 for Act! + $252 for AEM or SPEM). Those subscribing to the "Team" editions, which provided emarketing service to all users on your team, like AMA does by default, would have to pay another $252 annually, for a combined cost of $804.
When you compare this price to the cost of the Professional tier of Growth Suite, you'll discover it costs only $14.50 more per month. Most small businesses would agree that this cost difference is negligible considering the superior design, delivery and survey capabilities of Act! Marketing Automation.
- Do-it-yourself savings: Many AEM and SPEM subscribers that have switched to AMA the last 6-months have reported to us huge savings in design services. The editor included with AMA is so powerful, even novice users can produce such stunning eye-catching HTML emails with the drag-n-drop editor, that they may no longer need to pay for web designers to do it for them.
- Dare to Compare: The entry level packages of comparable services like HubSpot, Pardot.com, Act-on (not related to Act!) can cost up to ten times as much as Act! Marketing Automation, with Advanced tiers as high as $4000 per MONTH.
And many of these vendors charge extra for the integrated CRMs.
Even MailChimp Pro is over double the cost of the Complete tier, with similar send limits, and again it does not include a CRM.
4. EXISTING vs NEW SUBSCRIBERS
The fourth major change being introduced with Growth Suite 2.0 is the difference in deployment options between existing and new Act! subscribers.
The price for adding new users to Act! Premium Cloud will remain the same for both new and existing subscribers, which is $35/user/month ($420 annually). Existing Act! subscribers, though, will also have the option to save money by self-hosting their Act! software, and add more users at the preferred rate of $25/user/month ($300 annually).
Starting May 1st, this self-hosting discount will cease to be available to new Act! subscribers.
To be clear, new subscribers will have the same deployment options as before, but they can no longer get a discount for self-hosting their Act! software, meaning each additional user will cost them $35/user/month ($420 annually) regardless of how the software is deployed.
The reason for this "deployment agnostic" pricing strategy is Swiftpage strongly believes Act! Premium Cloud is the best customer experience for both CRM & AMA, and it's what new customers want most. In fact, the numbers show the vast majority of new Act! customers being provisioned onto Act! Premium Cloud vs self-hosting, and Swiftpage investments reflect this preference, as well. Accordingly, it does not make sense for them to invest most of their development resources into improving the Cloud platform for new customers, while continuing to offer them discounts for not using it.
And while new users will pay a bit more, Swiftpage has partnered with Starfish ETL to offer a free migration service to assist new customers for migrating their data over from other CRM products.
Growth Suite 2.0 is the single biggest change in the Act! product line in recent memory, and marks a dramatic change in direction for the publisher. Swiftpage is moving towards Act! being not simply a CRM, but an eco-system of services designed to help businesses grow, and in our opinion, the Growth Suite is a homerun - a no-compromise marketing technology combined with a CRM solution that has been trusted by millions for over 30 years.
The people that pioneered CRM, just perfected marketing automation with Act! Growth Suite.