Do I need a new ESP?

Nowadays the importance of Digital Marketing is not even a question anymore. New channels appear, new tools are launched and new data is discovered. Every company that takes itself seriously wants to have topnotch tools to match. In a landscape of DMP’s, Programmatic tools, CMP’s and CRM, we shouldn’t forget the good old ESP.

Email Marketing has been driving great results for many years now. But as inboxes get fuller, competition is growing. The last thing you want is to overload your customer with emails, leading to having them opt-out because it’s too much. Relevance is key! But how do you stay relevant? How do you make the right choices and is your ESP still the best fit for you?

Key questions

When you are questioning your ESP and if it is still the right fit you can ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you often feel limited in your options when it comes to Email Marketing?
  • What would you like to see more in an ESP?
  • What do you think about the pricing vs. performance of your ESP?
  • Do you feel like you’re getting everything out of the ESP you’re using now?
  • Do you have enough capacity to use your current ESP to its best abilities?  

Email Marketing 2.0

If you feel like you have reached your limit on your current ESP try to put together a list of the things you’re missing and current functionalities that are important to you. Create a document in which you describe where you want your Email Marketing to be in one year and in three years.

It would be nice if you don’t have to change ESP’s every year so we need to make sure the one you choose is bulletproof! You also have to keep the resources you have in mind. Be realistic to make sure you don’t end up with a state of the art tool and no one to make it work. Based on your requirements you can select a few vendors who are suitable to help you reach your goals.  

Pitch pitch pitch

When you have selected the lucky vendors that you feel match your goals for the coming years invite them to a pitch!

Send them an RFI (request for information) document where they have to answer the questions you have for them. Based on this document you can create a shortlist and invite them to do a presentation with a short demo. Make sure to ask them about technical requirements, customer service needs, tracking, customer references, connections to your other marketing tools/CRM system etc and their future plans. And don’t forget pricing of course!

More than Email?

But what if the functionalities you are missing are not just about Email Marketing? If you want to be able to do some cross channel campaigns you need to figure out what your total Digital Marketing toolstack can do first.

This will help you figure out if you just need an ESP to send out emails and create all email based campaigns, or whether you need a Marketing Automation tool that enables you to create campaigns on multiple channels. This should always be a team decision. Organize a meeting with your Digital Marketing team and make sure you are on the same page on what functionalities you’re missing and where there would be overlap.  

For example: as an Email Marketer I want to be able to create email marketing campaigns that will also place customers in a group I can target within Facebook. In this situation your pitch might get bigger than just an ESP .

Less is more

Now please don’t think that after reading this article the only way is up, because it might turn out differently. If you’ve purchased a Ferrari or if you’ve inherited one, but you do not have your driver’s license you’ll probably sell it.

Sometimes it happens that the roadmap changes on the email marketing channel or a previous marketing manager bit off more than he/she could chew.
If you feel you and your company are drowning in your ESP and half of the ESP’s functionalities are not being used: scale DOWN! There is no shame in getting a more basic ESP if that is what you and your company need. It saves money, is probably easier to use so it will save time and helps you focus on the things that are important to you besides email marketing.