The Relevancy Group releases their Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide and Issue 17 of The Marketer Quarterly

The Relevancy Group releases their Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide and Issue 17 of The Marketer Quarterly

BOSTON – March 19, 2018 – PRLog — The Relevancy Group, a leading market research and advisory firm today released “The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyer’s Guide, 2018 – Enterprise Edition.”  The research evaluates six enterprise EPSs (Email/Everychannel Service Providers) including Adobe, Cheetah Digital, Epsilon Agility Harmony, MessageGears, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Zeta Global. Vendors are evaluated on customer satisfaction, product functionality, services capabilities, innovation, and breadth.

The massive 38-page report also provides details on every aspect of vendor selection and market analysis on email marketing trends as well as deep inspection of the platforms evaluated.

The Relevancy Group CEO and Founder, David Daniels said, “This is our fifth annual ESP Buyer’s Guide and this year the Relevancy Rings are specific to each vendor which measures their functionality and satisfaction against participant and industry averages. The functionality highlighted relate to three key themes that are most important to enterprise marketers. They are — Automation, Analysis/Attribution, and Real-time.”

Some of the research findings include:

– ESP continues to mature from Everychannel to Experience through the enablement real-time contextual-rich information that mechanized the delivery of an improved customer experience. This data-driven approach to automation across every channel can embody location, preference, behavioral, attitudinal and other data important to the customer experience.

– AI and machine learning are a fixture in many ESP solutions. The ability to leverage machine learning to improve offers, predict the best journey, automate data integration, and simply take over tasks that a marketer used to have to do are present in many of the enterprise ESPs that we reviewed.

– Progressive profiling had related to capturing customer preferences over time. Now in the age of site tags to capture customer signals and apply AI/machine learning, it is possible to target and segment customers at the individual level in real-time. Many marketers and ESPs are moving to an approach that utilizes real-time data and automation to deliver highly relevant individualized experience

The Relevancy Ring – ESP Buyer’s Guide, 2018 Enterprise Edition is available for purchase at $2495.00 and is included in The Relevancy Group’s Research Subscriber Series.

An excerpt of the research is also included in issue 17 of The Marketer Quarterly, the digital magazine, and app for marketers by marketers. Register to get a free subscription to The Marketer Quarterly online or via the MQ app for any iOS, Android, and Amazon.

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The Relevancy Group Releases the 2016 Edition of their ESP Buyer’s Guide

BOSTON, Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Relevancy Group, a leader in market research and advisory, publishes The Relevancy Ring: The ESP Buyer’s Guide – 2016. The research analyzes eight ESPs (Email Marketing Service Providers) that include: Acxiom Impact, Adobe Campaign, Epsilon Agility Harmony, Experian Marketing Services, Maropost, MessageGears, PostUp and Zeta Interactive.

In a three-month research process, The Relevancy Group evaluated marketers’ challenges, needs and aspirations and how vendor solutions are poised to eradicate obstacles to achieving marketers’ goals.

The research finds that Marketers desire ESP features that transcend email to include “Everychannel” functions. The buyer’s top 10 most important features includes social, mobile and display retargeting functionality.  In the vendor selection process, marketers are also prioritizing solutions that have a high level of redundancy, analytics, industry expertise and delivery and analytical services.

“This Buyer’s Guide utilizes our patent pending Ring research methodology which is based on hundreds of quantifiable measures, client satisfaction and input from multiple analyst contributors,” said David Daniels, CEO and Founder of The Relevancy Group

The report can be purchased on The Relevancy Group’s website www.relevancygroup.com. An excerpt of this research is featured in Issue 9 of The Marketer Quarterly, a digital magazine that is available for free with registration online www.marketerquarterly.com, as well as through the MQ app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

About The Relevancy Group, LLC | www.relevancygroup.com| @RelevancyGroup
Led by tenured industry analyst and marketer David Daniels, The Relevancy Group (TRG) combines original and thought-provoking market research with unrivaled advisory services. Producing research on email, social, mobile, omnichannel and identity marketing; TRG research helps companies compete more effectively within the broader digital economy. TRG measures consumer and executive behaviors to develop strategies that optimize a return on marketing investments. All TRG Analysts have a minimum 15 years of experience in digital marketing. As a trusted advisor to leading organizations, TRG works with the largest vendors and brands as well as early stage companies where marketing and advertising intersects. TRG assists vendors in generating leads and developing a market presence. TRG produces dozens of surveys, research reports and webinars annually as well as publishes the digital magazine for marketers by marketers The Marketer Quarterly, subscribe for free at www.marketerquarterly.com

Tips to Guiding Email Marketing Vendor Selection

Tips to Guiding Email Marketing Vendor Selection

Selecting a Vendor

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Functionality.
    • 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.
  3. Services.
    • 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.

Read the rest of the story on Clickz

Three Signs You’ve Been With Your ESP Too Long

If you missed Chris Marriott’s latest iMedia column, well then you might want to take a look.   As The Relevancy Group’s VP of Services, Chris is always passionate about client success and in this article it really comes through.  Drawn from real-world experiences, it is a collection of  interesting suggestions to become introspective and challenge your current vendor expectations.   Let us know what you think … Enjoy, David

Chris Marriott3 signs you’ve been with your current ESP too long

by Chris Marriott

One of the great things about having joined The Relevancy Group and working with David Daniels is the ability to speak with leading email service providers (ESPs) and large clients of ESPs on an ongoing basis. It gives one a very broad perspective on the current state of the industry and what’s on the minds of some of the most important people driving the industry. Based on these conversations, I’ve recently noticed that there are definite signs that it might be time for a marketer to assess his or her email partner options. These are the three signs I see most often:

You are not on the latest version of your ESP’s platform

If you’ve been with the same ESP for more than four years, it’s highly likely that it has introduced a newer version during that time. But that doesn’t mean you are aware that it has done so and you’ve been migrated to it. This is as much an issue for the hosted solutions as it is the on-premise ones.

The reasons you might be on an older version of the platform are many, starting with you. In other words, you might be aware of the situation and are fine with the status quo. Other reasons include:

  • The degree of customization in your particular set-up makes a migration to the newer version complex and risky.
  • Your ESP doesn’t have the resources to migrate existing customers from one platform to the new one (in a timely fashion).
  • The new platform does not address your particular requirements as completely as the one you are currently on.

At this point, you might be thinking that as long as you’re happy, it doesn’t really matter. And maybe it doesn’t. But if you were a new client of the ESP, it would be putting you onto the newest version of the platform. There’s a reason for that. In the least, you should determine your platform status if you don’t know it.

Your ESP’s competitors are more responsive than your own ESP team

There’s an old joke about a guy choosing between heaven and hell. The devil takes him to his country club for a round of golf and a nice steak dinner. The guy decides hell seems like a great place, so that’s what he chooses. The next thing he knows, he’s hanging upside down over a fire and getting poked by pitchforks. He sees the devil standing there and asks, “What the deuce?!” The devil smiles and replies, “Yesterday you were a prospect; today you are a client!”
Read the rest at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/34337.asp#X06cdMGOs839tVLd.99

Marketers are from Mars, ESPs are from Venus

This is an excerpt of a recent iMedia column by The Relevancy Group’s VP of Services, Chris Marriott

Chris MarriottLast month I formally joined The Relevancy Group, whose founder and CEO is David Daniels. David’s been following the ESP landscape for years, first as an analyst at Jupiter and then, following its purchase by Forrester, he was the brains behind the periodic Wave Reports that ranked the various ESPs.

One of the key reasons David and I came together was our shared belief that, more than ever before, marketers can benefit from the experience and advice of email veterans from both the seller and the buyer side as they evaluate their existing vendor relationships and explore new ones. One of the things David and I enjoy talking about are the ways the ESPs and clients can see some things so dramatically different. Oftentimes these things put strain on the relationship and over time lead to a break down in the relationship.

As in any relationship, sometimes it’s easier to hear about these disconnects and ways to address them from unbiased third parties. So, in the spirit of just about any issue of Cosmopolitan, this month we’re going to look at four ways ESPs and clients can improve their relationships.

Client: I love my team, but…

It’s become conventional wisdom in the world of technology that over time the cost of delivery should drop. I don’t know where this idea first originated, as the cost of almost everything else goes up over time. Certainly the fight for market share can be a factor in the downward pressure on fees charged to clients.

Those who follow me know I often rail against the race to the bottom for CPMs in the ESP world. But I know that’s not going to change until they hit rock bottom (sometime next week). So marketers, your ESP isn’t going to be too surprised when contract renewal time comes around and you ask for price concessions in return for a contract extension. But what is going to drive your ESP completely out of its mind is when you add, “We really like the team you’ve assigned to our business, and we want to be sure they continue on our account. Oh, and by the way, we’d like a 10 percent reduction in the blended rate we pay for their time.”

You like your team? Well it’s highly likely that your ESP also likes your team a lot. After all, you’re a very important client that the ESP would like to keep happy. This means it probably has had to give your team raises over the term of the prior contract. And this has already eroded the margin on the ESP’s service fees. Now you are asking the company to cut its CPMs and, at the same time, cut the margin it makes on its people. Perhaps the ESP can find efficiencies of scale in its platform. But it can’t in regards to its people. If you want to pay less for your team, don’t be surprised if you end up with a new team of recent hires.
Read the rest of this column.