Two cartoon conversation hearts. A broken one reads "marketing automation" and another features the Act-On logo.

Six Signs It’s Time to Break Up With Your Marketing Automation Platform

Article Outline

That nagging feeling that something’s not quite right. That little voice in your head saying you deserve better. That slowly rising sense of dread when you log into your user account.

You guessed it—there may be trouble in marketing automation paradise. 

Seriously, though: when you choose marketing automation software, you’re choosing an important partner. Teams invest a ton of time and considerable resources into their automation solutions. They power crucial campaigns, collect important behavioral data, and act as a foundational piece of your marketing tech stack. 

Your marketing automation platform (MAP) should support you, inspire you, and empower you to do your best marketing work and be your best marketer self. 

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes teams get stuck with legacy solutions, products that have degraded over time, or perfectly fine software that just can’t keep up with their growth. 

Sound familiar? Read on for six signs that it may be time to consider breaking up with your marketing automation software.

Two cartoon conversation hearts. A broken one reads "marketing automation" and another features the Act-On logo.
Don’t let subpar marketing automation software break your heart.

They aren’t fun to spend time with

If you groan internally when you load your marketing automation software, that’s a red flag—but you’re not alone. Many users of legacy or bloated marketing automation platforms report that clunky interfaces, finicky email editors, or restrictive landing page templates can make it downright frustrating to build out a campaign. 

It’s not supposed to be this way. Your marketing automation software should help you feel more creative, strategic, and good at your job. No tool is perfect, but on the whole, you should actually enjoy the time you spend in your marketing automation platform. Drag-and-drop editors, intuitive journey builders, robust reporting, and simple navigation all go a long way toward making marketing automation fun and rewarding. 

So next time you find yourself cursing your software under your breath, stop and ask yourself: Do you really want to spend your one wild and precious marketing life with software you don’t even like using? 

(And what about employee retention? If you’re forcing team members to spend hours every week in a tool they hate…how long will they stick around?)

They don’t get along with your other martech friends

We’ve all had a friend who started dating someone new and exciting—then slowly dropped off the face of the earth. And we’ve all worried about that friend, because we know that good, healthy relationships mean making an effort to be friends with your partner’s friends. 

The same goes for your MAP—especially because marketing automation is designed to work across many channels and components of your tech stack. In order to successfully orchestrate campaigns, you need to integrate your marketing automation platform with solutions including:

  • Business intelligence tools
  • URL shorteners
  • Web analytics providers
  • Ad platforms
  • Webinar hosting software
  • ABM providers
  • Third-party connectors like Zapier

It’s especially important that your marketing automation platform get along well with your best friend: your CRM. That particular integration must be robust enough to enable more advanced marketing automation techniques like lead scoring and lead management, and to keep your marketing and sales teams well-aligned.

But if your current marketing automation platform won’t play nice with your other martech friends, then your campaigns, your attribution tracking, and your overall performance will suffer. And you may miss out on exciting opportunities when new technology or practices emerge that your stubborn MAP refuses to consider. 

In other words, when your marketing automation platform insists on only integrating with their friends, something’s wrong. Because your marketing strategy—not your automation platform—should dictate your tech stack. 

They don’t support your growth

An Act-On character holds a broken heart and hangs its head, crying.
Marketing Automation Platform woes can be a real downer.

Like a good partner, a good marketing automation platform should help you grow and cheer on your every success. But thanks to lopsided pricing structures, it may feel like your MAP punishes you for doing well. 

Maybe this rings a bell: you’ve found success in your campaigns (nicely done!). You’ve signed up more subscribers to your newsletter, generated more leads from your gated content, and added more contacts to your system. But then your next billing cycle rolls around. You discover you’ve crossed a threshold within your marketing automation contract. Suddenly your bill jumps significantly—maybe even pushing you into an enterprise subscription. 

And the worst part? Some of those contacts are a bit older, and not even active in your current campaigns. Just as you were celebrating your growth, you find yourself paying more—a lot more—to essentially store some data. 

This tier-based pricing is common among many marketing automation platoforms. But there’s a better way: only paying for the contacts you actually market to. That way, you have the freedom and support to grow your audience without leapfrogging into a prohibitively expensive subscription level.

Growing your audience is the reason you started a marketing automation program in the first place. It should be cause for celebration—not suddenly put you in a position of needing to re-justify a software expense or ask for more room in your budget. 

Why not find a provider that makes you feel supported, not punished, for achieving the exact outcomes their software promised?

They never take your calls

If your marketing automation provider never picks up the phone when you call (or won’t even give you their direct number in the first place), you may not feel like a priority. And we hate to break it to you…but you’re probably right.

Too many marketing automation vendors, especially the ones owned by larger tech companies, treat customer support like a cost center rather than an opportunity to help you get the most value from their product. Instead of answering your call or returning your email with a personal answer, their chatbots send you a blog post, a video, or a homework assignment to sift through a community forum. Best case scenario? You get a prized spot in a lengthy ticketing queue. 

Call us old-fashioned, but we think your partner in marketing automation should answer the phone when you call. With a real human on the other end of the line. Who’s knowledgeable about marketing automation. And won’t charge you extra for the help they give. 

Sound like too much to ask for? It’s not. We promise you deserve it. It’s just become normalized to expect AI-assisted, cost-effective, tech-driven service instead of human-first support. 

You deserve a marketing automation software team who listens thoughtfully to your questions, respects your time, and makes you feel like a priority when you reach out for help. Just like any good relationship. 

They always surprise you (when the bill comes due)

In a healthy partnership, it’s normal to have honest conversations about how you handle finances and what you’ll be contributing to your shared budget. With your marketing automation partner, you should expect to pay for your subscription—but if you’re regularly caught off guard by upcharges, something’s not right.

Maybe you’re in a situation where your marketing automation platform charges extra for “added features” you might expect to be included in core functionality (reporting, event marketing, custom data objects). Or maybe you’re continually forced to retain expensive consultants, pay for additional support and training, or hire designers to build custom templates—because the platform is too complex to manage in-house. 

Being cagey about money is a red flag in any relationship. When it comes to pricing, you deserve transparency and fairness from your marketing automation provider. 

They’ve stopped putting in the work 

A cartoon heart broken down the middle.
Enough of the marketing automation heartbreak! There has to be a better way.

If you’ve been with your marketing automation platform for a long time, you’ve probably seen some changes over the years. And ideally, those changes skew positive over time—but some automation solutions simply aren’t aging well. 

That’s because many once-great platforms have been acquired by large tech companies like Salesforce, Adobe, and Oracle. And their longtime customers tend to report some common trends:

  • Fewer new features
  • Less frequent release cycles
  • Declining interest in customer feedback
  • Poorer customer support experiences
  • Bloated interfaces and slower load times

Marketing automation is a complex business, and doing it well takes a relentless focus on innovation, product improvements, and user feedback. When a specialized tool gets swallowed up by a larger platform and added to a laundry list of solutions, unfortunately, that innovation can become an afterthought. 

If you’ve been waiting for months or even years for your longtime platform to change course and start improving, you may be stuck in a dead-end marketing automation relationship. 

Just like people, companies can always change…but we wouldn’t count on it. 

Ready to move on to a healthier marketing automation relationship?

If these questions have you feeling down about your current marketing automation provider, just remember: it’s not you, it’s them. 

And there are greener pastures out there. It’s time to find an automation provider that will be an actual partner: one that sparks joy, integrates with your other tools, supports your growth, delivers personalized support, and improves continually. 

OK, we’re going to put ourselves out there: we think we could be the one. We were developed by marketers, for marketers to be intuitive and downright delightful to use. Our support is legit award-winning. You’ll only be charged for the contacts you use. We integrate with most of the most popular martech tools out there, and have a REST API for any customized connections you need to build. Did we mention we’re laser-focused on marketing automation and marketing automation alone, so our product gets better year after year?

But enough about us. Let’s talk about you. Maybe we could take you out for a demo? We’d love to get to know more about your marketing team’s hopes and dreams, and show you the kind of automation partnership we know you deserve. 

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