The Maze Group is a extremely technical strategic consultancy and funding group, working with main shopper corporations to improve valuation by digital transformation and data-driven advertising.
Read on for his or her visitor contribution on what questions try to be asking throughout an email service supplier (ESP) analysis to put together your small business for the long run.
As the present local weather demonstrates, you want to be prepared to pivot and make modifications to your on-line technique seemingly at a second’s discover. Those that put together for these conditions and have the pliability wanted with their information, know-how and technique are successful proper now.
To keep a aggressive benefit, you want to future-proof your advertising know-how stack to guarantee that you’ve the capabilities wanted not only for at the moment, but additionally for tomorrow and past.
The function of this text is to educate you on what questions you possibly can ask so as to put together your self for the long run.
1. Does the ESP combine with buyer information platforms?
When constructing your splendid advertising tech stack, the significance of knowledge flexibility is at an all-time excessive. Your ESP shouldn’t solely have seamless integrations with e-commerce suppliers and analytics instruments but additionally out-of-the-box connections with at the moment’s main buyer information platforms (CDPs), comparable to Segment or mParticle.
When choosing an ESP, understanding its integrations at a granular stage permits you to set your self up for fulfillment down the highway. The information getting handed into and out of your ESP permits for future segmentation and personalization.
Having this mapped out from day 1 permits you to construct a tech stack that’s versatile sufficient for the unknown. Maybe your model plans to launch a brand new product or sub-brand within the not-so-distant future and also you need to cross-leverage information throughout your portfolio.
One means to future-proof is to perceive the touchpoints between platforms. If you decide an ESP with out an understanding of CDP integrations, you might end up pigeon-holed into subpar personalization thanks to cumbersome information silos.
2. Does the ESP assist a number of channels?
Having simply email doesn’t lower it in e-commerce anymore. It’s important that your ESP not solely sends email, but additionally helps cellular push, SMS, unsolicited mail, and even paid media, like Facebook Custom Audiences.
With our purchasers, we now have seen buyer acquisition prices drop by 50% just by sending postcards within the early phases of churn danger vs. sending Facebook adverts on the similar level within the journey. It’s vital that you could have the aptitude to drive comparable checks to see when and the way it’s best to talk together with your prospects.
We see far too many retailers who’ve their email groups function in a vacuum. You ought to be speaking together with your prospects on a number of platforms as soon as they enroll, and that journey ought to be managed in your ESP.
This permits for a full-funnel method, so you possibly can create extremely segmented and channel-agnostic consumer journeys. The flexibility to take a look at sending a postcard after your second welcome email as an alternative of a 3rd ineffective email can show to pay dividends when scaling your channel-agnostic advertising technique.
3. How obtainable is Customer Support, and the way energetic will they be throughout your implementation?
It is important that you simply work with a group that may function greater than only a vendor, however reasonably as a useful resource and trusted accomplice throughout your ESP implementation.
Key preparations, comparable to your information migration and IP warming, are sometimes ignored, and in excessive instances may cause large hits to your small business throughout the transition.
Having your ESP’s Customer Support group actively concerned within the migration course of ensures that you simply keep away from these pitfalls. Are they coming to you with strategic suggestions, or are you merely caught in a queue with a 72-hour wait time anytime you’ve gotten a query?
When choosing your ESP, take into account their Customer Support as an extension of your personal group to function product consultants who might help make sure you’re forward of the curve.
4. Does your engineering group really like utilizing the ESP?
In our expertise, many builders frankly don’t like most legacy ESPs obtainable out there, as a result of they really feel restricted with what these applied sciences can do with APIs and despise the finicky nature of email coding.
During a proof of idea, having your engineers get entry to a sandbox and perceive the API documentation throughout the vetting course of is a should. Ideally, the builders in your group ought to be taught the ins-and-outs of your advertising tech stack, how information passes and what information is handed.
We discover that oftentimes engineering groups can get overlooked of the ESP choice course of, however we advise not to make this error. They will seemingly be probably the most crucial of the obtainable choices and supply invaluable technical suggestions.
Engineering groups typically maintain the keys to an organization’s tech stack and its roadmap, so ensure you have their buy-in. Their familiarity with the platform pays dividends in future-proofing your choice.
5. What position does AI play within the ESP’s present and future providing?
Let’s face it, most ESPs say they’ve AI performance however when it comes down to it, we’re nonetheless scratching the floor of what AI is and might be within the ESP area. Your ESP ought to have the fundamentals down—it ought to have predictive insights to perceive when customers possibly ought to be coming again to buy once more.
The know-how can also be on the market for leveraging AI to do issues like send-time and frequency optimization. When you’re probably operating lots of of personalised flows, the flexibility to automate messaging timing and cadence is a large time-and-energy saver.
But like all know-how, what we see at the moment and what we see in 5 years will advance greater than email has within the final 20 years. Partnering with an ESP who has answered sure to the above 4 questions will seemingly land you with a sure on quantity 5.
Future-Proof Your MarTech Stack With the Right ESP
The MarTech ecosystem is altering by the day, however these questions ought to enable you to future-proof for these modifications.
If you want to to focus on any of those questions in additional element, be happy to attain out to me at Chip@themazegroup.com. I might love to discuss by your ESP analysis and see if there’s something The Maze Group can do to assist.