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.
  1. We’re going through a similar experience right now. 2 years ago we were deciding between ET and e-Dialog and went with ET. Now we’re re-evaluating our choice. I would like to compare experiences with you and what led you to choose ET this time around and leave e-Dialog.

    • I think it really depends on your business model. Both vendors are top notch vendors in my eyes, but neither might be best for you depending on your situation. ET’s strength lies in the incredible flexibility it provides and in the fact that all that flexibility is in your hands. e-Dialog also allows incredible flexibility, but implementing some of that flexibility requires help from e-Dialog. Fortunately they provide excellent support. So. again, it really depends on your situation and how hands-on you tend to be.

      Neither might be right for some. A vendor like MailChimp or even ConstantContact might be sufficient for retailers sending out monthly newsletters to a small file.

      If you’re looking for more info and don’t want to provide any more details publicly, let me know and we can continue this conversation offline.

    • Victor – Apologies for pitching on your blog but as you already know, I frequent your website for its insight and thought I would serve as a resource to this fellow marketer.

      Anon – I work for an ESP (StrongView) and not sure if you have read what Victor’s wrote about our offering but we can help marketers solve many challenges they experience with ET.

      Please feel free to reach me @ achai@strongview.com

  2. I’d love to hear more about why you chose Exact Target. Are you planning a follow-up post sometime soon?

    • Yes, I am planning a follow-up soon, but am a bit underwater with my regular job so it may be a little while.

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