Good Raiser’s Edge Resource

RE Decoded:


Evertrue & Alumnify


Fundraising Compas

Fundraising Compas: 18 Great Resources Every Fundraiser Should Know About



Targeting Fundraising Talent

MGOs: Why a New Job Should NOT Be on Your 2015 To-Do List

…unless you are considering coming to NMH.

6 People to Watch in 2015

6 People to watch in 2015

“A lot of the newer-wealth donors want to know in a more intimate way what their money is helping to leverage,” Mr. Iseminger says.


Millennials more altuistic than GenXers?

And more inclined to give to education…
WSJ: A Generational Gap: Giving to Charity

Changing Careers

In October, I changed careers, moving from Direct Marketing to Advancement.  My skill transfer well and I’m loving my new job.  I hope someday I’ll post something of interest, but for now I’m just going to use this site as a link repository.


ESP Review Results

Sorry for the lack of posts, but the search and implementation of our new ESP can be time consuming.

We ended up contracting with ExactTarget late in November.  Our contract with eDialog (now eBay Enterprise Marketing Services) expired at the end of December.  With the holidays in there that left us with about 3 weeks to transition.

We reviewed eDialog, ExactTarget, Bronto, and SilverPop.  I also had a brief conversation with StrongView. These are all great vendors, are competitively priced, and I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them.  Different vendors may be more appropriate for you depending on how you go to market, what kind of support you want, and your desire to implement data, but they are all solid vendors.  I’ll try to post later about why we made the decision we did, a decision we are happy with.

I do want to briefly talk about eDialog.  (I just can’t get myself to type eBay Enterprise Marketing Services or to say EEMS.)  They provide great service.  They are used to providing clients with a full service business model.  They are willing and very capable of taking care of everything for you.  You can contract with them and not need to think about emails again if that is the way you do business.  If you are looking for a vendor that will implement your email marketing, I highly recommend eDialog.

But that isn’t the way we do business. We tend to want to do it all ourselves and look for a tool set that enables, simplifies, and streamlines that.

So before I get into why we chose ExactTarget, in some subsequent post, I wanted to list what I will miss about eDialog.

  • Great, personal customer service.  We had weekly phone calls with our eDialog team, but even between those meetings I could call or email and count on a quick response.
  • Symbols.  eDialog makes it very easy to embed variables, what they call Symbols, into emails.  Lots of other vendors provide that capability, but it is very simple and straight forward in eDialog.
  • Proofing and Seed Lists.  eDialog has a great process for proofing emails, both right within their platform, and by sending out sample emails to an internal proofing list.  Emails sent out to a proofing list are populated with real customer data, so you can see what your emails will look like when your customer receives them.  Seeds are easily appended to each email drop, if that is what you want to do.
  • Proactive deliverability team.  I never had to worry about whether our emails we getting delivered to our customers.  Early on, when we were warming up our IP address, I would get emails from eDialog telling me when an ISP was blocking our emails and stating that they were acting to resolve the block.  Sure enough the next send would go through.  I’m sure that part of our success was due to that proactive approach and consistent delivery right to people’s inbox.

Followup from Responsys – for your continued amusement…

Soon after the conversation I documented in my previous post, my boss and our CEO got the following email.  What was Responsys trying to accomplish?  Is this a proven sales technique?  Does this approach seem bizarre? I suspect this isn’t some rogue sales person, especially since it didn’t come from the person I spoke with, so it might illuminate the philosophy of some higher-ups.

BTW, I certainly don’t expect this, but if somebody at Responsys wants to to apologize to me, especially for misrepresenting the value I place on revenue, I will certainly post that apology.

The italicized comments wrapped in square brackets are mine, or are edits to protect the innocent.

Dear [my boss] and [CEO],

We just connected with Victor Nuovo from your team and are concerned about the direction that your marketing efforts are currently headed. Without hesitation, Victor confirmed, that the decision on choosing an email service provider will be based around pure cost savings, rather than maximizing revenue. [No, I told them that revenue, I believe I used the word “value”, was important but that I didn’t believe Responsys added value other competitive vendor’s couldn’t provide. If I were truly considering only cost, there are open-source email software tools I could use.] As the digital marketing space continues to shift, your main competitors such as [Company A], are choosing to increase their customer retention rate and their return on investment. If [my employer] continues to focus on price versus finding new ways to optimize their digital strategy, it will continue to fall behind its competitors. [Hmm, I wasn’t aware that we were falling behind our competitors.]

Within 3 months of implementing Responsys, [Company A] reached their first goal of increased online sales revenue by 27%. [We increased email revenue by 50% when we switched to e-Dialog, but read more about that in my previous post.] This is through the capability of having:

– Targeted marketing campaigns to enable more strategic marketing segmentation and decisions

– A customizable management console, offering a toolset for testing, accelerating the time to send value for customers

– The ability to leverage large amounts of both online and offline data to individualize messaging based on where they are within their customer lifecycle

Please feel free to also connect with your neighbor and current Responsys Customer, [Company B] —see video.

In summary, digital marketing can no longer have a “merchandise driven” strategy, but instead a “customer driven” approach. Your customer expects you to know about their web and email behaviors, their preferences, and what channel they desire to be spoken through. It’s our goal as marketers to leverage that data to deepen customer engagement and ultimately maximize revenue across the digital channels. Is [my employer] ready to shift to a customer driven model? We would welcome the opportunity to discuss.


[somebody person other than the person I spoke with]

Reviewing Email Service Providers: Responsys

Responsys was one of the vendors we considered in 2011 that I did not consider in 2013. The reason was simple, they are overpriced and, frankly, full of themselves. I researched them thoroughly in 2011 and while they do provide a quality system, great friendly user interface, and, I suspect, good customer service, there was nothing that justified the premium they were demanding. When I choose e-Dialog and informed them of that, they got very pissy, even to the point of insisting I had made the wrong decision for many months after it was made.

In constrast, vendors like Bronto, who also didn’t get the contract, were civil and helpful even when they knew they were out of the running. Their helpfulness after not winning the contract helped them build a long lasting relationship that serves them well this time around. Responsible email program managers owe it to their employer to re-evaluate ESPs every time a contract comes due. Sales managers should know that, and make sure sales people don’t burn bridges if they lose a contract.

I mention all this because I just had an interesting interaction with Responsys on October 11. They heard from a peer of mine that I was looking and sought me out. I replied I wasn’t considering them unless they would be competitive with their price and told them the range I was looking at. They responnded, “OK, let’s talk”.  I seriously doubted they would be competitive, but I thought it was worth 15 minutes to find out.

The conversation happened as scheduled, and the sales person mentioned early on that I should expect them to be more expensive than the other vendors I was looking at. I thought to myself, “then why did you waste your time”, since I was clear beforehand that price was an issue. He tried to argue that retailers like us saw huge increases in revenue when they switched to Responsys and that I must not consider value important. I replied, in a very matter-of-fact tone, that I did consider value important, but that I didn’t believe Responsys could provide any significant value that the other vendors I was considering couldn’t provide. That really set him off and he essentially hung up on me, after rattling off a list of their clients that saw up to 25% growth. So even though I wasted 10 minutes of my time, I was amused by the whole sequence and can confirm that the people at Responsys are still full of themselves and get pissy when they realize they aren’t going to get the business.

For the record, we experienced double the growth that Responsys says some of their new clients experienced in the year after we joined e-Dialog. But I wouldn’t credit too much of that increase to e-Dialog, and I’m not sure any of it is due to any unique capability e-Dialog provides. Instead, it was due to focus and a dedication to accelerate our email program, an effort e-Dialog certainly enabled but didn’t drive. I don’t believe we would have seen less of an increase with any of the other major vendors we considered, and I don’t think it would have been any greater if we had chosen Responsys.

LATE BREAKING NEWS: We got a rather interesting follow-up email from Responsys, which I’ll share soon.