Open source marketing software is a relatively new development. That said, open source software (OSS) has been around for a while.
When it comes to the internet, there is a growing demand for two key things:
These two channels provide the largest amount of freedom on the web. Cryptocurrency would be an example of decentralization. No one “owns” the entity “Bitcoin” and everyone has access to it.
In the bid for transparency, people want to know “what’s in the code” and the ability to build on it (for themselves and others).
When a software creator provides the code for said software — that’s open source.
The opposite of open source, would be “proprietary”. Simply put, proprietary software is custom-developed code where the product is available for use, but the code is not public.
Open Source Marketing Automation Software?
Now we’re back to the open source marketing discussion.
While the open source community continues to be a huge benefit to innovation, it’s often slow-moving and cumbersome.
Essentially, you’re taking a developed software and augmenting it (via additional/changed code).
While this could benefit those with a team of developers, most businesses aren’t ready for the open source marketing revolution.
The speed of OSS is increasing rapidly. A recent study found a large number of developers are working on projects (image below).
Let’s break down the pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of Open Source Marketing
A transparent code does have certain benefits.
However, those benefits are extended to those who have specific knowledge and/or resources.
Let’s say, you download an email marketing program that is open source. You like it, but it doesn’t include live chat. You have options, like:
- Hire a programmer (or code it yourself) to directly integrate with a live chat tool of your choice.
- Develop a custom live chat tool (either completely custom or another open source) and merge the two tools into one.
Now, let’s say you download the same marketing software without coding experience, or the budget to hire out.
In order to benefit from advancements in the code, you’ll have to wait for the initial creators or other contributors to add to the original program. Instead of finding the right tools for your business, you wait.
The future of this transparent movement is bright, but for now, it’s not exactly where it needs to be for many businesses.
Proprietary Tools Have a Lot More to Offer (for now)
Sure, I’m a bit biased.
After all, Gist is a proprietary software for both the support and growth side of businesses. But there is a case to be made for proprietary.
1 Dedicated Team
Many open source marketing tools have contributors who develop the code for the tool(s) over time.
Tools, like Gist, have a dedicated team of full-time developers working daily to make the platform better.
The appeal of open source is to take what others have built and add to it. If you need (and have the resources) for a custom software — it’s great. But most don’t…yet.
2 Direct Input from Users
Many marketing tools with open code offer the ability to suggest input. These updates can be slow-coming. Paid tools often built new features and even new products based on the suggestions of users.
The free-market of software means that users (both free and paid) are typically heard quickly.
3 All-in-One Age
One open source tool here, another there. Build a little on this one and that on to make them work together. That’s the story (again, for now) with many of these open source downloads.
However, in the proprietary space, tools are becoming more and more useful. Not to mention, more affordable.
For instance, Gist now offers 8 different tools for marketing, sales and support (with more on the way). All in a single dashboard.
- Live Chat
- Email Marketing
- Visual Workflows
- Marketing Automation Triggers
- Meeting Scheduler
- Event Tracking
- Knowledge Base
And the cost?
Similar to the price of one of those tools (in many cases).
But Isn’t Open Source Marketing Software Free?
Yes. In nearly every case, you can download open source software for free. But Gist is free, too.
There is a 100% freemium version of Gist after your free (no credit card required) 21-day trial. You can sign up for that, right here.