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Vocus Marketing Solutions - Worth the Cost?

Hi all, I'm gearing up to launch the beta version of my site on Jan 1 and recently was introduced to Vocus Marketing Solutions to manage all of my social media / press / PR. However, they require an unfront payment to initiate the program which I was able to haggle down to $5K (30% off) though that is still a sizable price. Here is what I like about it:

1. Ability to find original relevant media content and push immediately to FB / twitter etc. to keep newsfeed relevant and informative. Basically this thing scans the web and I can sort by bloggers / publications etc. and if I find an article say on "top 5 gluten free snacks" (my company is fitness)-- I can push that directly to my social feeds.
2. PR Web-- allows 5 original press releases to push out to PR web
3. Twitter buying cycle categorizations - Auto searches and characterizes people into buying cycle so I can respond directly. Ex. someone tweets "looking for a new workout to try!" and I can directly respond with "check out booyafitness.com #booya"
4. Analytics (though I am aware I can likely get this on hootsuite)

The price is steep and I am curious if others have had experience with the tool and what they think about it. I also am aware that if I pay for the tool, I am likely to work my butt off to make sure I get every dime worth of value out of it. I imagine other founders may be the same. Curious to get the thoughts of the community on this!

Thanks!! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Prita

15 Replies

Richard Rosen
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Richard Rosen Entrepreneur
Founder of FastCall --‚Äč> #1 Phone Sales Productivity app in the Salesforce AppExchange
Prita - are they asking for $5k / month.. Or a one time payment? And you do not mention press other than PRWeb. Do they plan to pitch any stories for you. My view of PR if you get one really good hit, the $5000 was a good investment if you have this budgeted.


Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
I'm a bit confused. Are you paying for marketing/PR services or a PR/marketing automation tool? Your description sounds like a tool. charging $5k up front for a tool you've not been able to try sounds steep. In general i much prefer pay for performance - if the service/tool produces results then i pay for the results not "pay and pray".
Janet M. Kennedy
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Janet M. Kennedy Entrepreneur
Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy
$5K a month is very high for what you list. I would continue to seek additional quotes. If you have a RFP that you would like to share, I would be happy to pass it on to some independant consultants I know. Janet Kennedy
Prita Kumar
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Prita Kumar Entrepreneur
Founder, CEO at Booya Fitness Inc.
Sorry no-- it is $5K for the full YEAR!! The issue is that it is all up front and 1-time and not month to month which makes me nervous. They also don't seem to allow a trial period which also raises red flags to me.
Harrison Magun
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Harrison Magun Entrepreneur
Digital Media & Tech / Sales and Marketing
I have a pretty strong bias against start-ups using agencies. It may make sense in certain circumstances especially when the start-up is well funded. I just founded my second start-up, and have run agencies and agency departments and have had the experience of taking start-ups as clients, as well as seeing start-ups go with other agencies. I could probably write a full blog post on this, but here are the reasons not to do it in a nutshell:
1. As a start-up, you should not abdicate any responsibility - you need to learn it first, own it ifirst, then if you REALLY need to outsource something, outsource only the tactics, but you don't hire an agency for that.
2. As a start-up, no one will understand the vision and strategy more than you. You may save time in execution using an agency, but it will cost you time taken up by communicating and clarifying strategy.
3. As a start-up, you will either be charged more than you can afford, or be charged what you *can* afford, but you will be the smallest client of the agency. There is a misalignment here - your $5k may be worth more to you than the $20k paid by a larger client; however you will receive the least attention/ resources. Agencies will promise not to let this happen, but it is inevitable.
4. By not having your fingers in the dirty, daily business of what the agency is doing, you will miss out on key insights.

Hope this helps.
Prita Kumar
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Prita Kumar Entrepreneur
Founder, CEO at Booya Fitness Inc.
Thanks so much. I totally agree. And now am upset with myself for not being more clear. This is a tool, not an agency for $5K / year. This helps ME manage all of my social media outlets much more effectively as well as generate my own press releases, custom emails etc. It also allows me to respond immediately to media requests as well as real-time target folks that may be likely buyers of my product via social media. I would spend at least an hour on this tool every day, if not more, to get the most out of it. Prita
Janet M. Kennedy
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Janet M. Kennedy Entrepreneur
Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy
I agree even more that $5K is too much - even for a year if you are just talking about tools. You are too small to warrant that big an expense and there are many free or low cost tools that you could use. May I point you to a few places with great blogs on social media/marketing that you may find helpful: Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Andrea Vahl: https://oa150.infusionsoft.com/go/main/jkennedy93/ (that's an affiliate link but Andrea is a great resource.) Phyllis Khare: http://phylliskhare.com/ Let me know if you have specific questions about tools and I can help you out. Don't pay anyone upfront and for a year because you never know where your startup could lead you. Janet
Michael Richards
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Michael Richards Entrepreneur
GoMotive CEO (mobile client retention system) & PRR Chief Operating Officer
Prita

I agree with much of what has been written and won't repeat.

But, we are adding a fitness program to our rehab program-perhaps we could chat sometime?


Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
+2 for what Harrison has said. In addition, in the current world of cloud computing (computing resources/applications/tools on demand and operated by others) there is simply no good reason to charge $5k upfront for 12 months unless there is something the vendor is trying to hide. You might expect this if you were licensing an ERP system from Oracle or SAP, but not social media tools. it sounds to me like perhaps the vendor has discovered that their customers, for whatever reason, are not continuing to use (and pay for) the tool if they use a monthly or pay for performance or some other more current payment model. this should raise red flags. I would definitely spend significant time snooping around to find current users and get their feedback - you can ask the vendor for references, but i would track down my own.
Jesse Gibbs
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Jesse Gibbs Entrepreneur
Proven Head Of Product | Helping Companies Translate Their Business Goals to Reality
Try HootSuite first. It's $10/month to manage your Twitter, Facebook and Google+ engagement from one simple tool.
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