One Ring…err, System to Rule Them All

by Sep 17, 2019No Code, Startup Thoughts

If you had asked me how the marketing web worked six months ago, I would have told you about the dark days when large platforms like Infusionsoft and Ontraport were developed. And how small teams thought they could add and maintain every feature thought necessary. And how N.I.H. Syndrome ruled the land (Not-Invented-Here). Then I would have described how API’s and open systems and platforms like Zapier made all of that unnecessary, and teams began to focus on super slim windows of functionality, but executed well, with fast dev cycles and near-constant improvement.

Turns out – I would have only been half-right. I don’t know if the cause of the change I’m pondering is that we’ve just gotten a little lucky at Deytah recently, or if there really is a wave of new products ushering in a new/old approach to big platforms and all-in-one’s that might really win us over. I’m not holding my breath, but here’s what’s got us breathing heavy these days.

All-in-One Marketing: Kartra

Kartra – this recently-out-of-beta marketing automation platform from Genesis Digital (think WebinarJam and EverWebinar) is crushing the duct-tape API army like mad cow at an ant-stomping competition. Just consider this – if you get Kartra, you can reliably stop using:

  • A landing page builder (Unbounce, Leadpages, Clickfunnels)
  • Your email marketing software (Mailchimp, Aweber, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, etc.)
  • Lots of simple e-commerce solutions (especially for digitally delivered products)
  • Membership site plugin (Memberium – okay, this one crushes me, I love those guys!!)
  • Calendly (and all those other weird schedule tools)
  • Analytics (since everything is happening in one place, tracking is more pinball than Where’s Waldo)
  • Split testing software (no more VWO?!? I’m not crying, you’re not crying)
  • Private video hosting (Goodbye S3, Cloudfront, JWPlayer – also, goodbye COMPLETELY UNRELATED YouTube Video popups)
  • Affiliate tracking software (Infusionsoft has this, as long as you don’t want it to work very well)
  • And a lot more – tags, complex automations, products with multiple price points, thank you pages per price point, etc. etc. etc.

Are you getting the picture? This is a beast. And it’s CHEAP. For the cost of two Infusionsoft add-ons a month, you’ll have all the power of the Universe in your hand. And, if you need more – it has a Zapier integration!

Grant’s overview on Kartra after years using Infusionsoft

Maybe you’re getting what I’m getting at – lots of value and a certain simplicity when everything is just ‘in’ the same environment. You can ‘integrate’ all you want, but nothing can really beat the organic connections of something where the database is actually shared, not just the information.

All-in-One Project Manager: Plutio

So with that in mind – consider another tool. If Kartra is the mile-wide front-end of your business, Plutio is the similarly serious back-office player that has all the features you’d put on a wishlist.

A short list might include:

  • Contact management
  • Projects
  • Tasks
  • Timekeeping
  • Quotes
  • Invoices (as in, clients can pay these)
  • File storage (conveniently located on the project)
  • Client portal
  • Shared calendar (links with Google Calendar)
  • And more…

Plutio isn’t quite as blockbuster as Kartra, but it is a work-horse none-the-less. And once again, in one platform, this is a tremendous amount of capability – add a project, a person, invite the client into the project, assign some tasks, get some stuff done, drop an invoice, and schedule some time to spend your cash. It’s really that easy.

Check out Plutio’s product trailer.

Are All-in-Ones Making a Comeback?

So – is this the rise of the ‘new machines’ or just a boring repeat of a show we’ve seen? Given the poor performance of some newer do-it-all platforms (yeah, looking at your AgileCRM), I can’t say for sure. But whatever sort of wind it is, I like it.

How about you? Are you under the influence of any strangely named but surprisingly functional tools these days? Let us know what you’re liking so we can try it out too!

Photo by Victor B. on Unsplash

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