Mailchimp made a major move last week, they announced that they are transitioning from an email marketing software to an all-in-one marketing platform.
The news in itself was not very surprising considering they have been adding these all-in-one marketing features for the last few years. So, this pivot was in the works for some time now.
But, the real surprise came in a few days back when Mailchimp communicated to its users about the changes to the Terms of Service and what these changes could really mean for them.
Also, these Terms of Service were kicking in that very day.
Here are the top two changes that are going to seriously affect you:
1). The move towards a completely new pricing plan structure based on Audience Size. This alone can increase the prices to as high as 3-5x (details below).
2). A lot of features being moved out from lower pricing plans to higher plans .
Additional details around these changes started coming out when Mailchimp users reached out to support asking for specific details.
After gathering all the details that has been trickling out for the last 6-7 days the message seems loud and clear - Mailchimp is going all in into becoming an all-in-one marketing platform even at the cost of alienating their core user base of email marketers.
Here's what the email from Mailchimp says:
"As we've grown beyond email to be an all-in-one Marketing Platform"
If you're serious about your email marketing, you should be really concerned with this direction.
Here is why:
The drastic increase in prices (all the changes included could inflate your bill significantly by as high as 5X), change in product direction (and email marketing not being at the centre of it) and loss of trust over the last week.
This will really complicate the relationship between Mailchimp and email marketers.
1). The new pricing is based on audience size and not email list size
Mailchimp defines Audience as - all type of contacts in your Mailchimp account (i.e - subscribed, unsubscribed, non-subscribed and cleaned contacts).
This pricing methodology will not make sense for email marketers.
Why? Quite simple. Email marketing users will be charged for contacts that cannot be used for email marketing.
The number of contacts in this segment can be really significantly. The email marketing account of SendX itself has close to 35% contacts that will fall into this category.
This means you will have to also pay for - unsubscribed, non-subscribed and unconfirmed contacts (in case of double opt-in list). Honestly, this kind of pricing is something quite unheard of in email marketing world.
Here is the snapshot of the email sent by Mailchimp.
This change has not gone down well with a lot of Mailchimp users...
2). The entry level paid plan has become very restricted
Most of the core features are either missing or extremely restricted in the Essential plan (and of course the free plan).
In the entry level paid plan you can’t have more than 3 email lists (or what Mailchimp now calls as audience)
The next higher paid plan (Standard Plan) also allows only 5 email lists. Until you pay for the Mailchimp's premium plan (starting at $299 /month), you are not allowed to have more than 5 email lists.
Following core email marketing features are not present in the entry level paid plan of Mailchimp:
|Core Email Marketing Features||Available in Essential Plan?
(the new entry level paid plan of Mailchimp)
|1). More than 3 email lists?||No|
|2). Ability to add your own email templates||No|
|3). Email drip and sequences (i.e. Multi-step custom workflow)||No|
|4). Email delivery by time zone||No|
|5). Time-optimized emails (what others call as Smart Send)||No|