In Q1 2012, Forrester Research released an update on her Forrester Wave email marketing vendors report. This report is meant to give an overview of how the email service providers stand in relation to each other and how they measure up.
But as it turns out, only a few enterpise level e-mail marketers will truly get the value from this report.
History of the Forrester wave email marketing service providers report
The history of the Forrester Wave report dates back to the days of Jupiter Research, who used to do the “Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide” report yearly. Forrester announced the acquisition of New York City-based JupiterResearch in July 2008 and then went on and released “The Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers” in December 2009. The latest instalment is called “Forrester Wave Email Marketing Vendors” – notice the name change – and was released in Q1 2012.
The Forrester wave email marketing vendors 2012
The email marketing vendors report can be split up into two segments. The first part shows three graphs based on a survey conducted under 74 email markeers. All email marketeers are customers of the 6 vendors included in the Email marketing Forrester Wave report.
At the end of 2011 Forrester conducted product evaluations, interviewed 18 email marketers and did an online survey of 74 email marketers to gain client feedback on their vendor and the market. They interviewed six vendor companies: Epsilon, ExactTarget, Experian CheetahMail, Responsys, StrongMail, and Yesmail Interactive. All the interviewed and surveyed email marketers were provided by the vendors themselves.
The first part of the report goes into the survey, with questions about the largest challenges in email marketing, which email tactics are often applied and what these marketers think is the most important part of the vendor offering.
Largest challenges in email marketing
The largest email challenges for the surveyed group of email marketers are:
1. Integrating email with other channels (57%),
2. Leveraging dynamic content (50%) and
3. Leveraging segmentation (43%).
Often applied email marketing tactics
The email vendor report also includes a table with the most applied email tactics, split up in daily versus once a month or more. There might be some ambiguity in the interpretation of these questions. Because what is a “welcome email program”? and what does “Coordination of email with mobile” entail? It does give a nice roundup of what Forrester thinks are the future tactics that an email marketer could consider when selecting an Email Service Provider.
Most often applied email tactics
1. Run welcome email programs (93% at least monthly),
2. Coordinate email with site promotions (85%),
3. Segment users based on site behavior (73%).
The least applied email tactic in the list is the Coordination of email with mobile (43%)
Most important email vendor offerings
It becomes more interesting when the marketers rank the different parts of vendor offerings by importance. Good account management is at the top of the list for these enterprise email marketers. Second is the integration with other online tools and third is the automation of next-best action. Proprietary offices around the world is deemed least important, but not all email marketers surveyed work for an international company.
Email marketing Vendors in the report:
The second part of the Forrester report is the actual email marketing vendor wave chart and a table with the wave scores. Forrester decided to narrow the number of vendors included in the report and only looked at Enterprise level email marketing vendors.
The Forrester wave scores the email marketing vendors based on Current offering and Strategy and then plots them in a graph. The final ranking labels the vendors as either, “leader”, “strong preformer” or “Contender”. You can see the chart by clicking on it on the right. The report can be downloaded here.
Instead of 15, there were only 6 vendors included. (we list more than 300 email service providers here). There are two chapter that try to explain why they selected these 6 vendors instead of the 15 that were in the 2009 edition. The are called “The email marketing vendor evaluation explained” and “What changed from our 2009 Forrester wave”.
Email service providers that were not included:
- Email service providers that were labeled “Niche providers” for several reasons. Including a B2B focus or because they have lead management integration as their main product proposition.
- Email service providers operating mostly from Europe
- Email service providers with less than 25% enterprise clients
- Email service providers with less than $100 million in email revenues for 2010
- Email service providers that earned limited Forrester client inquiries
For comparison, the criteria from the 2009 report were:
- Does the vendor provide software-as-a-service?
- Does the vendor have revenues of at least $10 million from email?
- Does the vendor send volumes of at least 200 million/month?
- Does the vendor have at least 35 enterprise-level customers?
The truth is that some of the criteria in the 2012 report (like percentage of enterprise clients or main focus market) aren’t shared by marketers that are selecting and Email Service Provider. Therefore the true value of the report will be less for these marketers. Even if they are among the select fortune 1000 companies that Forrester is aiming at.The last selection criteria “Prominence in client conversations” seems a bit out of place when you are making an industry report.
5 out of the six vendors included in the report sent out a press release:
StrongMail Identified as One of Six Top Email Marketing Vendors for Enterprises
Responsys Named a Leader in Email Marketing by Independent Research Firm for Fourth Time
ExactTarget Named a Consistent Leader in Email Marketing by Independent Research Firm
Yesmail Interactive – moving forward
It might be interesting to note that we could not find a dedicated press release by Epsilon Interactive, but Golden Lasso although just mentioned in one line in the report, did seize the opportunity to inform the world about it.
Forrester Wave Email marketing vendors 2012
Forrester has made the Forrester Wave Email marketing vendors 2012 into a report that is usable (but certainly not complete) for the American email marketers looking for an enterprise level solutions. After a break of two years, the report was highly anticipated. Too bad that it does not carry it’s value over to other segments or countries.