Thursday, 17 May 2012

Picking a New ESP?

Email Vendor Selection very kindly asked me to write a few words on selecting an Email Service Provider. And as last year I went through the process of selecting a new Email Service Provider, for the digital agency where I was Head of eCRM, I felt up to the challenge.

A few things to think about: ( all links go to Email Vendor Selection)

1 – What the email platform needs to to for you

What will the email platform need to do for you? Crazy Suggestion? Not really. Too many organisations don’t think about what their email strategy is. What are you using and planning to use your emails for. Are they transactional or service messages? Are they for marketing?
Are you looking at just emails or are you actually looking for a platform that will deliver through other channels such as mobile, social, web etc.

2 – What are your volumes?

This can help you eliminate perhaps some of the platforms that can’t cope with the ‘enterprise’ volumes or indeed the speed with which you need to get the messages out. It good to know the difference between small midsized and enterprise email marketing solutions.
You’ll also need to know, because the ESP will want to know to give you a price. And that price will be a reflection also of the commitment you give them in terms of volume and length of contract.

3 – Who needs to be in the decision making process and at what stage

This isn’t just about IT and Marketing. It’s also about Customer Service and Operations. Think also about the teams who will be pulling the emails together internally. At the agency they were called Campaign Managers. And when does Finance want to look at the numbers with you. What does your ESP selection team look like?  There is often a Business Case to be created.
If you are working at an agency, do you need to get the input from your clients as well?
This is also an opportunity to think about what is missing from your team and so what gaps the ESP could fill in terms of technical or strategic expertise

4 – What does it need to integrate with?

Think Website, Databases, Social Platforms, CRM systems, Content Management Systems, Finance Systems.

5 – Flexibility

Particularly true if you are an agency with a mix of clients. A platform that is geared up for truly sophisticated multi-channel messaging with 50 million emails per year may not be the right platform for a client who sends out just 50 thousand emails per year
But also think about how flexible you might want the ESP to be in terms of support. Do they need to at least be in the same country? Do you want them on site?

The original piece can be found here

1 comment:

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