Looking for a new ESP (Email Service Provider) or want to get the latest most complete research on the email marketing industry? Courtesy of Yesmail Interactive, you can now download the complete “The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyers Guide -2014″ for free with registration. Get your copy here.
The Buyer’s Guide evaluates ESPs in the enterprise and mid-market sectors, highlighting customer satisfaction across these fourteen companies. Each ESP is given a placement in “The Relevancy Ring” based on quantifiable panel data drawn from studied performance in the email inbox, a survey of nearly 400 email marketers as well as a broad vendor questionnaire and demos of multiple use case scenarios.
The report leverages thousands of data points and provides not only an assessment of vendors but also one of the most comprehensive analysis on the state of the email marketing industry.
The report covers the following areas
- Email Marketing Technology Deployment Types
ESP Services Utilization
Marketer’s Satisfaction Levels with ESPs
Current and Planned Email Marketing Tactics
Challenges and a View into Organizational Structures
Email Revenue Attribution
2014 Marketer Priorities
The Top Criteria and Features that Marketers Use When Selecting ESPs in the Mid-Market and in the Enterprise
An Overview of ESP Contract Length
The Relevancy Ring Customer Satisfaction Awards, as Voted Upon by Their Customers in Over a Dozen Categories
An Evaluation of 14 ESPs in the Mid-Market and Enterprise Markets as well as Analysis on Each Company
And Much More … The report is 45 pages and over 12,000 words and 32 charts. It is comprehensive!
An excerpt of the report can also be found in Issue 1-14 of The Marketing Quarterly.
Join Chris Marriott at the Email Insider Summit
April 23 – 26, 2014 Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, FL
On Friday, April 25th, Chris will be moderating a panel entitled “Getting Attribution Right”, where he and his panel will discuss the role attribution plays in how marketing dollars are allocated; how relying on last click interactions does not give brands the full picture of everything that came before the last click; and how brands can improve their attribution models to make sure email is given proper credit for the role it plays. Chris will be joined in this discussion by:
- Florence Ho, Senior Director, International Marketing & Loyalty, Wyndham Worldwide
- Nancy Shaver, Consulting Principal, Experian Marketing Services
- Kara Trivunovic, VP of Strategic Services, BlueHornet
Later that same day, Chris will also be leading a roundtable discussion on the subject of Email RFPs with conference attendees. He will be sharing learnings from the work The Relevancy Group does managing the RFP process for leading F500 brands. Participants in the discussion will be able to share their own experiences and gain insights from one another and Chris regarding best practices for conducting an RFP.
Regardless if you are a B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business) marketer we hold these truths to be self evident.
Any capable Enterprise or Mid-Market vendor should allow you _the Marketer_ to integrate to systems in a sophisticated manner with work-flow and every need that addresses the B2C and B2B business need across messaging channels (Email, Mobile, Apps, Display and yes Print as needed). It is 2014, and marketers not only require these operational constructs regardless of audience, but also the measurement to understand the attribution of their marketing spend across channels.
While our team at The Relevancy Group sits with clients seeking new ESP (Email Service Provider) omnichannel (err that would be cross-channel, multi, omni?) solutions to discover, optimize and remove challenges. Last year The Relevancy Group represnted 18 billion email marketing messages out to bid. Want to do an RFP, talk to us.
When we published The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyer’s Guide, 2014 we found that unfortunately for some vendors they are still projecting all about us and them, versus just speaking about the the merits of their own business. Read the free excerpt of The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyers Guide with the free subscription to The Marketer Quarterly. Understand the ESP contenders and leaders, while all were invited in a solid methodology of innovation and invitation – see who is missing. Every vendor paid the same nominal fee to cover data and survey cost – this unlike my previous employer, our approach underscores that for inclusion all pay the same regardless of the grand relationship. We and I always have been objective, did I mentioned I walked out of my previous green screen employer (I’ll save that for the next book), but read the report – it is the most comprehensive research and combined along with Chris Marriott and Nick Einstein we scored different aspects and didn’t know the combined score until we did that.
Some vendors think they do not need outside objective validation, and many are not in touch with their clients. There are some believe that B2C marketing is so special that their company can keep a separate company to solely address B2B marketing. That notion is so curious, in that in so many businesses that I have worked for as well as our current market clients, well this fake wall of a separation of “church and state” seems well – so foreign and reminds me of my 1980′s and that “tear down the wall” quote.
So unless you are Roger Waters – you should never invest in a Wall. And yes for the music folks out there Waters sang and performed in Berlin after _that_ wall came down, for the record with heroes such as Levon Helm and other Band members.
It simply surprises me, the arrogance of some vendors that do not realize that there is a common ground of production, of targeting, the dynamic content tools, the workflow that necessary, the scale and delivery – between B2C and B2B – really you want to make these silos larger by different solutions and brands? Shameful. WOW – you vendor want me to choose which role I play? I am talking to B2B, tomorrow I am talking to B2c, well that might be a nuances, production reality, but really if you separate and make me select two platforms to do this, well then … it isn’t going to work out well in the end. So vendors, don’t ask clients to select a side of the wall. Think back anytime there is a wall or silo between applications and tasks – EVERYDAY VENDORS if that is your dream, I ask you to just think Berlin. Think East and West, Think B2B, B2C, thing of operational empowerment. Then Think ALL MARKETERS ARE CREATED EQUAL
Regardless of your role, it is about your BRANDS client experience and we don’t take off our behavior when we shift from work (business) to consumer and as a marketer. So if you believe that, well then why wouldn’t you need the same tools and if you had to purchase them from two separate companies, well that is just silly.
Integrate and do it eloquently without the promise of tomorrow, but what is actually available today. REST JSON just saying.
Interested in hearing more – well subscribe to this free digital magazine The Marketer Quarterly that will provide insight on how B2B/B2C CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) from the Red Cross deal with and include such separation – hint: see every subscriber regardless of business type attribute as one! Your brand will be better for it!
Don’t settle for legacy and #failed innovation – be equal - Learn more with free research, content and discovery at The Marketer Quarterly
All the best,
I was recently interviewed by DM News, if you missed it, here is a copy.
Q&A: David Daniels, A Renaissance Man
We’ve all heard that email is dead. But David Daniels, CEO and co-founder of marketing education and advisory service provider The Relevancy Group, says email is here to stay. I sat down with Daniels at ExactTarget’s Connections ’13 conference, and discussed which email marketing metrics and trends are here for good.
How would you describe the year of 2013 to 2014?
I would describe it as the renaissance for email. People finally understand that it’s not going away. It’s here to stay. At The Relevancy Group, we like to think about it like our digital fingerprint because we need an email address to pretty much do anything or everything. Are people interacting with email less? No. On the desktop computer maybe. All the things in mobile have really fueled [the renaissance].
Are there any common email practices today that really make you cringe?
There are a number of people that [don't] actually use the data that’s available to them and actually test. There’s so much opportunity out there. In our market research, we do surveys every month. And still, the number of people that use click behaviors as a segmentation attribute—have you clicked, haven’t you clicked—it’s still only about a quarter of marketers who actually use that data…Those are things that make me cringe: Why aren’t more people doing that? The other thing is testing. We still only see about one-third of marketers—and that number is pretty consistent year to year—do even basic A/B testing. I think part of the reason for that is it’s a time and material issue. There’s just not enough hours in the day.
When marketers buy technology, it’s usually best-of-breed. What are the advantages and challenges?
The integration of that data or the time it takes to get that data [is a challenge]. Some of our large retail clients have to go and fill out a statement sheet even before the data gets pulled to say “this is my ROI statement of why I want to see that data out of that repository…” You have to go through all these layers and hoops. That’s about a week before you actually get the data that you think you want. Then when you get it, you might think this isn’t actually the data that I was looking for.
What’s one channel that email complements particularly well today?
It’s certainly social in both directions: Being able to use social as a platform to acquire new email registrants but to also use email as a push channel to say ‘you just bought this, can you go do a product review on our website?’…Consumers again feel like they have a voice and they’re part of that process.
What’s one metric that you think marketers overhype?
Open rates would probably be one of those metrics because it’s flawed. It’s been flawed since email started…Why the open rate doesn’t really matter is because all of the images have to render. Most things are off by default. We know that about 40% of consumers turn images on. Now with the way that people are triaging their email on the mobile devices, that plays into it. It’s a rendering issue. It’s a good indicator if you see your opens drop off. That’s probably an indicator that there’s a deliverability issue. It’s good from that perspective as an alert. As far as a constant measure to look at or to benchmark people on across the industry, it’s a horrible metric…I would focus more on the behavioral things like clicks and click-to-open rates.
This infographic highlights the growth of outsourcing marketing to the cloud as well as marketer priorities and the benefits of outsourcing marketing analytics.
Tips to Guiding Email Marketing Vendor Selection
One of the things that we do at my firm is help our clients write requests for proposals (RFPs) and manage the email marketing vendor selection process. While all vendor selection processes are specific to the client’s specific needs, there are a few major categories that we find consistent. This is particularly true for marketers who are embracing the Connected Marketing Framework, managing not just email, but also mobile, social, and the channels adjacent to digital marketing.
Given the overwhelming need to powerfully integrate email marketing into a broad array of channels and datasets, marketers should emphasize the value delivered from these integrations by taking the following into consideration when selecting a vendor.
Email Marketers Must Calibrate Vendor Selection Criteria to Reflect Emerging Market Certainties
Considering the evolution of the current market and the expectations for its continued change, marketers must adapt their email marketing vendor selection by mapping it to these three major categories.
- Channels served. Encompassing the entire digital marketing continuum that is necessary to empower the customer lifecycle of acquisition, engagement, retention, and advocacy.
- Email. The ability to schedule, throttle, and manage outbound email marketing and inbound reply handling. This includes segmentation, testing, dynamic content, triggered messaging, transactional message support, deliverability tools, and custom reporting.
- Social. The ability to extend email’s reach to social networks, launch and manage social marketing campaigns, and measure and analyze subscribers’ social behavior.
- Mobile. The ability to leverage SMS messaging as an email opt-in point and manage outbound campaigns through mobile messaging, as well as enlisting design remedies to ensure that email and landing pages render appropriately on small screens.
- Websites. The ability to deploy and measure microsites, landing pages, and blogging functionality, as well as optimize these pages for search engine marketing placement. Functionality should be present for retargeting of page content or display ads that tie to email offer content and/or subscriber click behavior.
- Search. The ability to leverage the relationship between paid search (SEM) and email marketing in terms of enabling efficient list building and relevancy. Also, the ability for email recipients to share content in emails to the web that is automatically optimized for natural search.
- Usability. While ease of use is placed firmly in the eye of the beholder, marketers must judge usability by the solution’s ability to easily reuse, store, and organize mailings, campaigns, data, and content. Such an emphasis on reuse and overall usability will create much-needed efficiency for the marketer. Also, pay careful attention to the vendor’s use of scripting and the specific scripting language.
- Subscriber integration and management. The ability to manage not just subscriber data for email, but also additional marketing channels so that marketers can understand and manage the interrelation of a subscriber’s channel preference across the entire customer lifecycle. A differentiation in this attribute is the integration of relational data into email databases to allow the marketer to utilize a broad dataset for segmentation and targeting.
- Content. Often a missing piece of functionality within email marketing applications, the need to augment legacy content management systems will grow as marketers embrace a variety of digital channels. The ability for the vendor to store, manage, and organize a host of content attributes and formats, including video, are functions where there is a great lack of parity within the marketplace.
- Smart integration. The ability for a vendor to intelligently integrate to common external solutions, such as how popular sales force automation tools and databases must extend beyond a robust application-programmable interface and manifest into tight integrations with critical applications.
- Analytics. The ability to measure and analyze not only email marketing performance, but all relevant digital marketing channels including website measurement. The keys to improving the marketer’s relevance among her subscribers will be found within this piece of functionality.
- Redundancy. For most marketers, email marketing represents a huge mission-critical revenue source. Marketers must evaluate vendors based on their ability to provide redundant operations in the event of a crisis. This includes the service-level expectations when downtime occurs as well as maintenance windows and how such planned maintenance impacts mailing schedules as well as email messages that have already been deployed.
- Strategic. The common thread of email marketing over the last decade was that each year brought new challenges and the perpetual bar of sophistication will continue to be raised. The importance of a comprehensive methodology of strategic best practices advice and services will continue to grow in importance. Marketers must use the vendor’s capabilities in this regard as a wedge to separate vendors in the selection process even when functionality differences cannot be easily discerned.
- Tactical. As important as strategic advice is, it is imperative that prospective vendors can provide the tactical services to lend a hand with the production and management aspects across the digital marketing spectrum.
- Support. The relationship that marketers have with their vendors is tempered by the quality of the vendor’s support services. While the cost of message deployment can be commoditized, marketers must recognize the premium associated with satisfying support services. Beyond functionality, we consistently find that the vendor’s inability to delight their clients is the single biggest issue that drives marketers to switch vendors.
Free Webinar – Outsourced Marketing Analytics and Customer Segmentation
Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 10 AM PDT, 1 PM EDT
In this Express Analytics free webinar, join Chris Marriott and David Daniels from The Relevancy Group will take you through the benefits of outsourcing marketing analytics. From big data to the practices of embracing strategic segmentation, The Relevancy Group surveyed over 260 marketing executives to discover the upside of outsourcing marketing analytics.
Attend this webinar and discover the findings from this new research report including:
- What organizational challenges exist in regards to data management and the deployment of
- How does poor data management and analytics impact marketing programs?
- How are marketing organizations using technology to manage their marketing analytics?
- What benefits do marketers hope to gain by outsourcing their marketing analytics?
- What are the obstacles in the way of widespread adoption of such solutions?
Join us on Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013 10 AM PDT, 1 PM EDT to discover the benefits of Outsourcing Marketing Analytics.
Join The Relevancy Group CEO David Daniels and VP of Services Chris Marriott, on August 29th at 1 ET for a free webinar titled The Future of Email Marketing: Five Trends to Anticipate. In this webinar brought to you by Plan to Engage, David and Chris will discuss five emerging trends that will impact consumers and marketers alike. David will provide survey data to illustrate marketer’s top priorities and highlight which tactics are driving marketer success. This fun and informative session will provide a forward looking outlook and also prescriptive advice on which strategies to embrace.