Tag Archives: Email Service Provider

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.

Thanks,

[somebody person other than the person I spoke with]