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Should My Client Build Marketing Database in Salesforce or Other Platform?

I have a client with 2000 contacts who will likely never exceed 15k contacts.  There is minimal e-commerce planned for their (relatively new) site.


I'm a self-taught button-click-admin/beginning force.com developer with little experience outside of salesforce and force.com, but tons of marketing experience (including some experience with Eloqua, which would be ridiculous overkill for this small business).  Nothing he has planned is too complex from a marketing technology perspective and I can do all of it from within Salesforce.


His question is whether we should continue down the path of building out his marketing database and infrastructrure within Salesforce, or if he should be looking into alternatives and separating the decision from CRM.  I feel like the mechanic whose only tool is a hammer; not competent to comment on the broader question.


My thoughts pro-Salesforce are:


  1. We're already using SF and can just keep going without having to spend time evaluting, setting-up and learning other sofrware.
  2. I work very cheap as he's an old friend. Labor for someone else to setup and support  another platform may be more expensive.
  3. SF continues to grow into the role of cloud-based OS for business, IMHO.  Go with the flow.
  4. My experience has been that it is not hard to extend SF functionality and that most times what I expect to have to try to write code to perform already exists in declarative form.
  5. He could and should probably add Preferred Support since he has only three seats and the monthly cost would be equal to about two hours of my time.  They could then handle most of what I spend time "admin-ing" and i could focus on engineering rather than data uploads.



  1. He already complains about the cost of three Group Edition seats, though he's willing to upgrade if I recommend it.
  2. He's concerned about putting too many eggs in the SF basket and being somehow locked-in and captive to their pricing.

I'm not concerned about making money on his business, I want to make sure I give him good advice.  Since I don't have experience with any oher solutions (other than Eloqua, Forttran, WordPress and Joomla) I would love to receive thoughts I can pass on to him on whether this merits further investigation or if we're wise to stick with SF to house his marketing database, at least for the next couple years.


Thanks for any and all responses and Happy Holidays to all.