linkedin image Skip to main content
Upcoming Webinar on July 17th

CRM Contender Series: Salesforce vs. HubSpot

Learn More and Register
March 1, 2017 Marketing

MailChimp: When is it time to Graduate

Sonja Headshot
By Sonja Fridell

You’ve got outbound email campaigns and you want to get the best return on investment.  Of course, you do! That is the point of email marketing.  So how do you know what software to use?  When is it time to scale? This information is directed at users of MailChimp; read more about what happens when the platform is no longer a fit for your business.

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp started back in 2001 and describe themselves as a free email marketing platform but surely, you get what you pay for.  True, they have a slick website.  They tote free email marketing plans, ideal for new businesses. In short, MailChimp is a basic email marketing platform, but you may already have one installed if you are using CRM.

If you’re a small business and/or just starting out MailChimp would work for you, as its capabilities are designed more towards beginner levels. However, in order to grow your business, you’ll have to switch to a marketing automation system.  How, you ask?  First off, email marketing is not marketing automation. Marketing automation allows your business or organization to market effectively on multiple online channels including email, social media, websites, etc. Marketing teams can do more in less time.

People who love MailChimp most are small, new businesses; a perfect fit.  Many customers do not even know that there are alternatives or do not realize they are behind in software.

MailChimp:  When is it time to Graduate?

MailChimp Graduation - Graduation CapUnder these circumstances, consider an alternative solution to email marketing:

  • You have a CRM system
  • Lead and Contact lists are large
  • Multiple segments or groups have contacts that overlap each other
  • A Marketing Department manages your email campaigns

Especially if you have a marketing department (they should know better), your company should be using true marketing automation.  Read more below on how MailChimp is different from marketing automation and how you can be a Mail Champ, not a Mail Chump.

Manual List Uploads

MailChimp Graduation - Upload You’re ready to create an email campaign.  If you have CRM software, it’s super easy to pull a clean list of leads for your email system.  If you have marketing automation, your CRM is easily integrated with your marketing system and the data is transferred with a few clicks.  With MailChimp, you have to prepare your list of contacts outside of the website and then upload it to their site. This is typically done in Microsoft Excel in a comma separated value format. Professional marketing automation software, automatically deletes duplicates and updates your lists within the program; meaning you save time not only time, but also frustration.  Does MailChimp automatically update lists? Nope. But Marketing Automation does!

Duplicates Not Automatically Removed

MailChimp Graduation - Duplicates MailChimp can be frustrating, particularly if you have trouble with Excel, because contact lists duplicates are not automatically removed.  Though people have disputed this online, MailChimp makes this very clear: “MailChimp was built to deliver email, but not to clean lists”.  You can find this quote in their tutorial on removing duplicates here. Manually determining unique entries is a big waste of time – your software should do this automatically.

Weak Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Connection

MailChimp Graduation - Connection Although MailChimp does integrate with numerous systems, the only connection between the two is the contact lists. To clarify, if you have a proper CRM system, MailChimp is superfluous because your CRM has email marketing built in. Not to mention, your CRM allows you to create campaigns, review forecasts, edit contracts, create reports and much more. MailChimp states on their website“…the two applications should not be used interchangeably”.

No Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

MailChimp Graduation - Account Based MarketingABM groups individual prospects with the companies they work for.   ABM allows your to focus campaigns directly to sales and marketing resources as a whole entity. Alternatively, it allows you to view all contact-level engagement to find your best prospects within each company. ABM helps you locate your brand champion.  MailChimp doesn’t have this same feature to help grow your business.

No Social Insight

MailChimp Graduation - Social InsightAlthough MailChimp allows you to connect with Facebook and Twitter, it doesn’t allow its users to view social insights. It is important to understand that social insight is necessary for businesses to see what content is working for their brand and what isn’t.


With this platform customers cannot see:

  • The reach of their posts
  • Engagement of their links
  • How their efforts compare to their competitors

Without reporting data, your business may be focusing in the wrong areas, or providing an incorrect message.

No Phone Support

MailChimp Graduation - Call ServiceBeing able to speak one-on-one with a customer service representative can improve customer relationships. Therefore, phone support is an important factor of customer satisfaction.  Previously, MailChimp used to offer phone support, but have since removed this option.  MailChimp is missing that human touch by downgrading to only online chat services.

Ready for the next step?

MailChimp Graduation - Next StepOverall, MailChimp is a very basic service.  Customers are disappointed because email marketing is limited. Because MailChimp excludes many benefits of marketing automation, customers feel slighted – but you get what you pay for.

Ultimately, marketing automation helps your business or organization grow and prosper. Marketing Automation allows you to create landing pages, forms, A/B test content, inbound and outbound campaigns, social publishes, automated programs, reports and much more.


Ready to graduate from MailChimp to Marketing Automation?

Let’s Chat!

Share This Post

author bio

Sonja Fridell

Sonja is very active in architecting CRM, ERP and marketing automation solutions for clients across North America. As an ex-journalist, she is adept at exploring a client’s needs and coming up with cutting edge, elegant solutions that fit, drive adoption, and create real results.

view all articles
Sonja Fridell wearing a blue blouse and a dainty necklace.

Ready to rock? So are we!

hand gesturing 'rock on' with a silver studded leather bracelet on the wrist.

Benefits of working with BrainSell:

  • We guarantee you’ll get in touch with us on the first call.
  • We practice what we preach – business growth (since 1994).
  • You’ll get Big-Firm advice, without the sticker shock.
  • You get a partner for the long haul — your success is our success!