What do you like best?
I've used Bronto for nearly a year now. I've been impressed with its ease of use and user-friendly interface. The dashboard views provide a useful snapshot of overall account performance and activity, allowing you to jump to key actions within the application. With the multi-brand version of Bronto, switching between our two sub-accounts is very straightforward.
As the primary user of Bronto, most of my time is spent building messages, deploying emails, and reporting back to our internal stakeholders on performance. Bronto makes it very easy to build a message using a solid GUI interface, while still being able to add customized HTML content where needed. Deploying messages is straightforward. I like the built-in A/B testing options, though I would like to a more robust selection of built-in test scenarios and options. They cover the basics: subject line, sender name/address, message & content, plus send date & time.
For list growth, the available pop-up manager app (an add-on, but accessible straight from the UI) is useful and pretty easy for a single person to set up and configure without much coding and design experience. It is not as robust as some third-party pop-up manager applications, but it does provide a decent number of options to create a good pop-up experience to capture new emails subscribers. The pop-up has been one of the most effective ways to organically grow our subscriber list.
What do you dislike?
Compared to some of the Enterprise-level ESP's I've used before (Salesforce Marketing Cloud; Responsys), there are a few things I miss that are not on par in Bronto. The canned reports available in Bronto are decent for deployment/message level reporting, but getting to list or user-level performance has been a challenge for us. No customized reporting is available that I have found, and drilling down into some of the metrics and underlying data has been challenging. Particularly around subscriber bounces and complaints. I like to understand the data behind the metrics, and getting to that level in Bronto is not easy.
List management is something I would like to see improved. Bronto uses a flat database model for subscribers, rather than a relational database model. Every list within the account shares the same set of subscriber fields. For us, that means that consumer data fields and B2B fields are all combined into one flat structure like a spreadsheet, even though they have very different needs and uses. Being able to create separate data tables for the different purposes, related back to a core subscriber record, would be helpful.
Be aware, there are limited campaign and event management options within Bronto (at least from what I have seen). There are no built-in event or webinar management tools, which has been a small issue for our business users. Perhaps something to consider if this is a critical need for your business.
Integration with CRM systems may be problematic. We tried to integrate Bronto with our CRM application for business leads, SugarCRM, but our IT team was not able to make it work. Our IT team has had difficulty getting Bronto to integrate with most of our systems, but I am not sure that is a limitation of Bronto.
Recommendations to others considering the product:
I consider Bronto a step up from a small business email application for consumer marketing, like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Its integrations with e-commerce platforms like Magento may be useful. The lack of some CRM integrations and event management may be a turn-off if your target customer base is more B2B.
What problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?
Building the email channel as an effective way to connect with our customers, and drive engagement and revenue has been our primary objective. Consolidating email applications was key. Prior to using Bronto, there were two or three different ESP's in use across our company, between brands and departments. With Bronto, we have been able to consolidate these into one application, using the sub-accounts to break out brands and use multiple lists. We've saved money by dropping the unneeded email platforms and have a more unified view of a customer.
Next steps for us is to bring over transactional emails into Bronto, currently deployed through Magento and Netsuite, and add triggered messaging based on purchase and browsing/carting activity.