Mailchimp Debuts a CRM Platform to Help Small Businesses Act Like Enterprise Businesses

Plus new pricing for the companies packages

Mailchimp no longer wants to just do email marketing.

For 20 years, Mailchimp’s reputation has been as an email marketing company. Anyone who listened to the Serial podcast (or any other podcast, really) has it burned into their brains.

But over the last several months, Mailchimp has started to move away from its core brand. First, it rolled out a new brand campaign in October 2018, and then worked with Square to roll out shoppable web pages. More recently, the company left the Shopify marketplace, as rumors swirl that Mailchimp is planning on further developing its own ecommerce platform. Today, Mailchimp takes its evolution one step further, introducing a customer relationship management platform (CRM), a website builder tool and a new pricing structure.

“We believe with the all in one platform we’re creating we’re really hoping to establish what it means to be in all one platform for small businesses,” said Darcy Kurtz, vp, product marketing, Mailchimp. “We feel we have the permission and credibility that we need to play in this space.”

With a CRM, Mailchimp wants to make it easier for users to store their data all in one place. The CRM includes features like audience view that lets users see who’s part of their customer base and segment tagging to let people silo off certain customers and empty personalized marketing tactics on them. It also allows users to view a customer’s lifetime value based on marketing KPIs like open rate, clicks and more.

Other new marketing tools include “smart recommendations,” which look at a user’s data and deliver “data-driven” recommendations via AI. Mailchimp’s also rolling out the ability to let its users retarget customers with Facebook and Instagram ads (the company already had the feature enabled for Google). Separate but related, Mailchimp users can now also use the platform to organically post to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, keeping the data central.

In addition to the CRM, Mailchimp is moving beyond its shoppable landing pages and introducing the ability to let users create their own website and buy a domain to go along with it.

The idea behind doing this, at least according to Kurtz, is to give users the ability to start building a customer base that can then feed into the CRM. Lastly, as part of this rollout, Mailchimp is introducing tiered pricing packages starting May 15, moving away from from its three plans (which included a free, $10 and $199 monthly plan). Now, it offers a free package; a $9.99/month essential plan that offers custom branding and a/b testing; a $14.99/month standard plan with features like retargeting ads and custom automations; and a final premium $299.99/month plan with features like phone support and advanced segmentations.

All of the plans, even the free one, includes the CRM offering, as well as smart recommendations and basic templates and automations. As part of a promise to its existing paying customers, those users can stay on their same plans and price.

These new offerings signal that Mailchimp wants to grow—and expanding into these new areas is a means of doing that. It’s logical: If so many people already use the platform for email marketing, why not store first-party customer data on the same platform?

John Foreman, svp of product at Mailchimp, said the company first started moving away from email “in earnest” about three years ago and started with “investments” in other features like the landing pages and Google retargeting.

“We have thought very intentionally about how it all ties together,” Foreman said. “We’re not interested in any point-solution war. We want to find a way to tie all of these different capabilities together to provide the best marketing experience for a small business.”

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