Expert Review: Email and Marketing Automation Expert Panel Comments on ESP Vendor Research

Every two years a new version of the Forrester Wave email marketing vendors is released. In the report, several vendors that provide Enterprise Email marketing Solutions are reviewed and results from a marketer survey and study are published.

The newest version was released just recently, a great opportunity to ask the experts in the field of Email Marketing, Marketing Automation and Marketing Software to review it and comment on the research and the covered topics.

Dave Chaffey: Improvement is about people, process and technology

I’m still shocked every time new research on how businesses use email marketing is published. We have all been preaching improving relevance and context of email marketing for years and vendors have offered this functionality for years, but the reality is that these tools aren’t used by many.

Forrester’s new research has a small sample of larger businesses, but even amongst these 37% don’t use dynamic content (but are planning to) and 66% aren’t targeting microsegments (e.g. based on behaviour).

Although the new Forrester Wave report focuses on technology, the slow adoption of core features suggests that getting better ROI from email marketing isn’t a case of technology rather it’s a case of people, process and technology. So companies still aren’t giving email marketing enough attention to change ways of working to move from an email campaign mindset and using email to be part of customer brand experience. To do this, businesses need to devote times to developing integrated email contact strategies where all the opportunities to use email to interact with customers across the customer lifecycle are exploited.

Dave Chaffey, author of Total Email Marketing and publisher of Smart Insights.

Bruno Florence: Evolution moves towards integration of channels

The study of Forester is characterized, by a very complete analysis, not only the functional aspects but also on consulting, support, Roadmap, strategy, customer satisfaction and employee stability.

Compared to the previous study of 2012, the number of increase from 6 (2012) to 9 in 2009 (15 in 2009) with the emergence of a new and surprising leader ‘Strongview’.
The study is particularly dedicated to the companies whose sales turnover is important, in an international context with an consequent use of the email marketing. If you are searching for a simple email solution go your way.

I would have like to have found a finer analysis of recent fusion of Exactarget and Salesforce, Oracle and Responsys and in particular on the deployed levels of integration between the different tools..

However reading of the study underline the main evolution of the email marketing, in particular : real time and one to one personalization, mobile optimization, integration of more digital marketing solutions (social, display advertising)

Bruno Florence is a french email expert, author of the blog and specialized in deliverability and CRM Marketing solutions

David Raab: next best action ranks low, surprisingly

I see an evolution of email marketing vendors towards multichannel campaigns, which implies better analytics, more complex databases, and more advanced campaign engines, including real time interactions. This moves them away from only delivering email, but it remains true that high-volume enterprise class email systems are difficult to build, so vendors who can do that well remain relatively rare.

It’s interesting that automation of next best action and support for other channels rank so low: you would think people were interested in that. But if data security and account management are top priorities, this probably means they are talking to people focused exclusively on email operations, so this may be the result of the audience. Also rather odd that deliverability doesn’t show up on the chart or something related to reliability. But I suppose those were not included in the list of survey choices.

David Raab, consultant specializing in marketing software and service vendor selection autor of the VEST guide.

Jordie van Rijn: Micro-Segmentation #1 on Marketers’ Wish list

Interesting is the first part of report, It holds the results of an customer reference survey amongst global email marketers in the enterprise market.

The tactics and strategies employed are sorted based on how long they have been used. The strategies that attract the most interest are those that are not yet in use by the enterprise e-mail senders, but are on their wish list. This show the following wish list results:
1. Micro-segmentation and targeting (66%)
2. Personalization based on time of opening (61%)
3. In-email transactions (58%)
4. Video (43%)

With 20/20 hindsight, micro-segmentation topping the list isn’t a big surprise. Email marketing segmentation has been in the top ten desired strategies for years, but it is now being taken a step further.
I doubt if every marketer has a clear view of what micro-segmentation means for them. In micro-segmentation the segments are very refined usually combining several segmentation criteria which almost is undoable without automation. Not the first thing one would think about in terms of absolute ROIs, but nonetheless a very interesting development.

Jordie van Rijn, Independent email marketing and E-CRM specialist

Torsten Schwarz: Campaign management and automatic personalisation important factors

Forrester’s vendor list privides a rough overview of selected email marketing platforms. However the selection of vendors appears very US-centric. I missed Teradata/eCircle, Optivo, Smartfocus, Emarsys and Contactlab. For a present day email solution campaign management and automatic personalisation of emails and is an important factor. Vendors like Yesmail, Acxiom or Zeta lack many of these functionalities.

Among the factors which led to the differences between vendors it is not clear why social media should play a role when selecting an email service provider. To me it was not clear why Zeta Interactive was included in the list. Zetamail is not suited to steer automated campaigns with dynamic content.

Torsten Schwarz, Email/Marketing Automation Author, Speaker & Consultant

We would like to thank all the experts for taking the time to share their thoughts and views. Image by Sam 17

Jordie van Rijn

About Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named one of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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