Kahuna Marketing Automation Platform

Kahuna targets medium and larger corporate organisations with sophisticated cross-channel marketing automation facilitating 1to1 personalisation across marketing channels including email, web, mobile devices, Facebook retargeting, and text messaging.

Kahuna Marketing Automation

A look at their current and previous client list willprobably give you a reasonable idea as to the type of client they typically work with and includes the likes of Dollar Shave Club which was recently sold to Uniliver for $1 Billion. That doesn’t mean, of course, that the product wouldn’t be suitable for more modest organisations. Unfortunately Kahuna are one of those rather annoying examples of a supplier who do not publish their pricing on their website so I have been unable to establish whether their product is likely to be affordable or cost effective for smaller businesses.

What makes Kahuna different to many of the other marketing automation platforms to which it may be compared, is the way that it uses contact and behaviour to determine which marketing activities are used, and when. Kahuna listens to consumer signals in real time unifying consumer behavior data across mobile, web, and connected devices. Customer and contact data can be segmented acording to behavioral, demographic, and lifecycle criteria and used in a variety of campaign types including; triggered (based on user or external events), conversion, lifecycle-type drip marketing, as well as consumer journey campaigns. Messages can be dynamically personalised according to user data.

Kahuna worked out that today’s consumer doesn’t want lots of noisy, irrelevant messages. They have much more sophisticated expectations regarding how well a brand should understand them. These consumers are receptive to messages that spark their curiosity and take account of their individual preferences and desires.

They have stated their mission to be, quite simply, “to replace manual guesswork with automated decision-making, helping marketers send fewer messages but with incredible accuracy and as a result, thoroughly delight their consumers during every interaction”.

Kahuna claims to be the only marketing automation platform that has been designed from the start in order to genuinely understand the consumer and the way in which they want to engage with the brands they admire or wish to be associated with.

Kahuna’s dealings with Dollar Shave club and other well-known brands including GoPro, Hotel Tonight, Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, Yelp.com, Yummly and others speaks volumes. Their’s is an interesting and novel approach and if you are looking to install a top end marketing automation solution they should probably be on your shortlist but you will have to contact them and get the demo before you are likely to be able to make any kind of decision or gain an idea of the likely costs.


Where To Find It
Product Type
AI Based Marketing Automation
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Not Published

We have not yet carried out a full review of this product – please check back later.

Highrise CRM – Affordable CRM For SMEs

Highrise CRM is an easy to use CRM for smaller businesses and is ideally suited for startups.

Highrise CRM for small businesses

The tools you need, all in one place
Highrise CRM is the just-right, more thoughtful way to keep track of the people, conversations, and tasks that are the lifelines of your business

It would be fair to say that Highrise CRM is unlikely to worry the likes of Salesforce and other major CRM’s but I’m guessing it was never intended to – this is a CRM that is easy to sign up for, comes without a long term commitment in the form of a contract and is, in my opinion, affordable by even the smallest organisation.

Highrise lets you share everything with your team. In fact it is the perfect way to keep track of your contacts and all of the various communications that you msay have with them so that your team can always see the status of any deal or business relationship.

Any user can make notes about a meeting and share important emails during the ongoing course of a negotiation. Tasks can be shared regarding any contact or project. Information can alternatively be marked private to yourself or to relevant team members – share what you want, but only if and when you want.

You could share an address book, store emails, attach documents or files and control who sees what, using Highrise’s simple privacy settings.

Here is a quick overview of some of Highrise’s features that are designed to simplify your workflow. Highrise is here to do just what you need – no more, no less. You can:

  • Track new business deals
  • Add files to existing deals and projects
  • Attach emails to deals, projects, contacts
  • Easily reply to emails in a timely manner
  • Allocate tasks to team members
  • Add notes or comments to contact records
  • Share contacts and businesses
  • Search, filter and export contact data
  • Assign tags to your contacts for easier organisation
  • Add custom data fields to contacts
  • Import and export data as required in popular formats

There’s also the facility to integrate with third party tools via Highrise’s API, great for the more advanced user.

As the good folks at Highrise say – “Your address book doesn’t do enough, CRM software tries to do too much. Stay connected with simple contact management.”

I agree with all of that so why not give it a try. Highrise starts at just $24/month for the Basic plan which gives you up to 6 users, 5,000 contacts and up to 10 deals. You also get 5GB storage and there are no per-user fees. Best of all, there’s a free 30 day trial so this one should definitely be on your CRM shortlist.

Highrise CRM Logo



Where To Find It
Product Type
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes- 30 days
Plans start at $24/month

Pardot – Marketing Automation By Salesforce

Pardot is a marketing automation platform from Salesforce that works in conjunction with their market-leading Salesforce CRM.

I’ve been reviewing quite a few marketing automation platforms recently and, as a Salesforce user for several years, (although not at present), I was more than a little interested to see what Pardot looked like and how it worked.

At the pricing point that they’ve chosen, Pardot has to be considered against the very best marketing automation platforms. Even the basic level will cost you £800/month, payable up front for a year, and £1600/month before you can have integration with your Google AdWords account, A/B Testing and several other enhancements that you are probably going to need.

Pardot from Salesforce Marketing Automation

For any organisation already using Salesforce, Pardot is probably a strong contender, possibly the only contender if the close integration with the Salesforce CRM is important to you, but at the price it’s up against very strong opposition and, although the CRM integration is seamless and very powerful, I’m not sure it cuts the mustard against packages like Infusionsoft, Marketo, Hubspot, IBM Marketing Cloud, Maropost and Adobe Marketing Cloud to name but a few, when it comes to email marketing and marketing automation.

Since most, if not all, of the above do integrate quite well with Salesforce CRM then the Salesforce user still has the option of considering other platforms that offer more powerful marketing features.

That’s not to say that there are any big reasons why Pardot should not fit the bill for many users. If you go up the levels in terms of the available plans you do get access to most of the tools you are  likely to need. There are gaps though, there’s an AdWords PPC interface but not, apparently, one for Facebook and Twitter ads and I do think, at this price point, there ought to be. The social analytics did not strike me as being particularly detailed either and you would probably need another service if you are big on social.

Pardot’s landing page creator, forms builder and email builder are all very competent looking options and the ability to bring together all activity in those areas and effortlessly feed it into the CRM and workflow management capabilities of Pardot is a great help to the in-house marketing team when it comes to interacting with the sales team.

Lead nurturing and customer development are all made much easier with the kind of automation Pardot provides and all of this strengthens the case for giving it a go, especially if you already use Salesforce.

One area often overlooked, or just given a token effort, is that of competitor analysis – it doesn’t matter how slick your marketing operation is if your competitors are even slicker. Pardot does claim to offer competitive Analysis but no examples are given on their site and it isn’t mentioned very much so, if you are working to an  in-depth digital marketing strategy that includes in-depth competitor landscape analysis this probably isn’t the system for you.

I can’t say it isn’t a top class platform, it obviously is, but it comes at a price where, in my opinion, there are much more powerful options available. There’s no option to test the system other than an automated walk-through but if you contact them you would probably get an in-depth demonstration.

If you can handle the cost and are prepared to make a few concessions then Pardot could be the one for you, especially if you already use Salesforce.


Where To Find It
Product Type
Marketing Automation Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
From £800/month, paid annually in advance.

FunnelMaker – Marketing Automation & CRM

FunnelMaker is a name that, you might be forgiven for thinking, describes a platform that offers a complete marketing funnel automation system.

It does not.

FunnelMaker is a very good, very comprehensive, CRM with limited email marketing capability but it is not a full blown funnel making system – which really makes the name “Funnelmaker” a bit of a misnomer. It’s a CRM that counts Salesforce amongst its integrations although I don’t have a clue why you would want to integrate with Salesforce or, more to the point, if you had Salesforce why you would also want to run FunnelMaker, when Salesforce have Pardot, which really is a marketing automation platform.

One feature of the FunnelMaker CRM that I liked a lot is the fact that it records all activities that have taken place for any given contact. So, if you sent a special offer email to a contact who had not purchased for a while, that would be recorded and could then be easily followed up on. The CRM also has an automated lead scoring system which looks very effective.

I would have expected to see integrations with the likes of Infusionsoft and Clickfunnels, which do have full-blown funnel automation facilities and powerful autoresponders and email sequencers, but they are, as yet, not there.

Another feature I couldn’t find is a landing page builder – an essential element of many automated marketing campaigns. Again, I didn’t see any integrations with the likes of Unbounce or Leadpages, both excellent landing page builders. This is a serious ommision in my opinion.

There is a library of email templates however, which seems fairly extensive but without good landing pages you are unlikely to be able to get the most from your email, (or any other), campaigns.

Now that more and more businesses realise that a well thought out automated marketing funnel is an important part of their digital marketing strategy, there is an inevitable increase in the number of online services designed to help them to build and operate one. As I explored the FunnelMaker website I followed a link for SEO services which seemed to take me to another part of the site which was full of pages with no content. I don’t think it is quite ready yet.

Neither, for that matter, is FunnelMaker. There is a free trial and there’s no harm in giving it a go but at the pricing level they’ve set I would have expected it to be a more rounded solution. FunnelMaker plans start at $149/month for the “Starter” which gives you up to 1,000 contacts and unlimited emails.

We’ve scheduled a full FunnelMaker review for the near future – watch this space.


Where To Find It
Product Type
CRM, Email automation & Funnel Building Platform
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – 14 days
From $149/month – up to 1000 contacts.

Tubular – CRM & Sales Pipeline Management

Tubular is a useful and very affordable CRM and pipeline management system that would be at home in almost any type or size of business. True, it might not quite go far enough for some larger or more complex businesses but in the majority of cases I think it would help the team to build a very well structured sales and marketing operation.

A good CRM should be at the heart of every digital marketing strategy and the thing that struck me as being very effective in Tubular is the integration between the CRM, as a record of customers  and prospects, and the management of the various tasks that go into developing a prospect until it becomes a customer and then developing the customer in order to maximise spend.

So, if you were selling conservatories and found a new prospect, the task of visiting the customer and measuring up could be assigned to a team member. When that person completed the task they would update the CRM and the salesperson could see that it was done and escalate to the next level. Perfect.

What’s more, it is all represented in an easy to digest graphical way, as follows:
Tubular.io CRMAs to cost, well Tubular have come up with a innovative way of doing that as well! You can use Tubular for free until you have 10 “deals”, i.e. prospects or customers, and then it’s just $9 per team member thereafter. Sounds pretty reasonable to me – especially compared to some of the other CRMs out there with “per seat” costs running into the hundreds of £/$.


Where To Find It
Product Type
Paid, Various Options
Free Trial Available
Yes – up to 10 “deals”
$9/team member per month.