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3 impressive email companies you need to follow in 2016

3 impressive email companies you need to follow in 2016 Chris Marriott

Once again we're into a new year. Everyone in the email marketing world is taking a deep breath now that the frenzy of the holiday season has passed. For many email marketers, January and February are the time to begin thinking about that long put off RFP.  If you're one of those marketers, bite the bullet and get going. After all, Christmas is less than 11 months away! If you're not in the market for a new ESP in 2016, there are still companies in the email marketing ecosystem with whom you should be familiar. The amount of innovation in email marketing continues at a staggering rate (so much for "email is dead", right?). It can be hard to keep up. So here are three of the companies I'll be keeping an eye on in 2016.  You should get to know all three. (And if you missed last year's three, check them out here.)

Webbula (www.webbula.com)

The first company on my list is Webbula. It's understood in email marketing that good list hygiene is a key best practice for any email program. Marketers must get rid of invalid, non-responsive and duplicate email addresses as soon as possible. It's the way one stays out of trouble with the Spamhauses of the world as well as the ISPs. To that end, Webbula describes itself as "The most comprehensive email hygiene solution on planet earth." In a fairly crowded category, that's a bold statement to make. So how do they back it up? For starters, Webbula has created CloudHygiene. It's a flexible, customizable data agnostic platform that is effective on B2C and B2B for both international and domestic email addresses. CloudHygiene's Email Intelligence Report immediately helps marketing executives and campaign managers understand the level of reputation, fraud, delivery, and conversion risks within their email lists.

Webbula maintains that managing only bounces misses key active threats such as moles, disposable domains, bots, zombies, and legal traps that have been planted in your production, CRM, inactive, and lead generation email lists. Webbula's platform identifies these harmful emails and only Webbula has an exclusive relationship with the world's largest Honey Pot purveyor, enabling them to accurately identify over 189 MM of these spam traps. As an added bonus, Webbula offers a free test to give you a view into your email health status before your email campaign efforts are put to the test.

Vince Cersosimo, Webbula's CEO and Founder, made a very interesting point when he told me, "The greatest trick spam traps ever pulled was convincing the world they don't click. Email threats like spam traps, fraudsters, and bots not only open emails, but also click on links. Webbula's CloudHygiene goes beyond verifying if an email will bounce and also detects deliverable email threats affecting the health of your daily email campaigns."

Ongage (www.ongage.com)  

I first encountered Ongage when I was speaking to the sales team at Message Systems (Ongage is a strategic partner). The company changes the paradigm of email marketing by detaching the front-end tools from the back-end sending. Essentially, Ongage provides a single, vendor-agnostic email marketing user interface that allows users to easily connect to a large and growing number of email vendors and platforms at once from one convenient front-end. Ongage was founded in 2011 as a result of a sister company's real need: to work with several email delivery providers in parallel, which created several operational and analytical challenges for the organization.

For marketers with an SMTP relay solution like Amazon Web Services, Ongage provides the front-end features that enable professionals to control the campaigns and gain reporting insights.   For marketers using more than one ESP for email and for email agencies using several different platforms for their clients, it offers built-in connectivity to a variety of email service providers allowing production teams to manage several providers from one intuitive front-end interface.  And users of on-premise MTAs like Message Systems no longer have to go without features available with many of the leading ESPs, giving them the best of both worlds. Ongage isn't for everybody, and it's not going to replace a Yesmail or Experian solution.  But in the world of SMB email marketing, it's a solution worth looking at, even for those who are high volume senders of up to 500 million emails a month.

"We designed the next generation of email platforms to help marketers create a competitive edge." says CEO Ofer Shani. "Email marketing is in a constant state of transformation with more and more publishers taking advantage of advanced features in their marketing strategy. In 2016, the use of behavioral emails, multi-vendors, and other automated elements will become increasingly common and necessary for marketers to reach marketing goals."

CertainSource (www.certainsource.com)

You might be more familiar with the parent company of CertainSource, eWayDirect, which is an ESP focused on the mid-market. CertainSource, founded in 2012, grew out of that business and was launched to address the challenge faced by B2C marketers to acquire customers, and to build engaged email lists, safely and cost-effectively. They enable B2C marketers to grow email lists with "new to file" confirmed double opt-in subscribers cost effectively, and in a way, that improves the overall inbox delivery of their entire list. Typically this has been an area dominated by co-registration, but there has been a challenge to scale email lists while maintaining high inbox delivery, and doing it all in a cost effective manner. CertainSource combines proprietary technology with proprietary processes to confirm and qualify prospects and then nurture those prospects to confirmed subscribers.

Through a practice CertainSource calls Funnel Management, they manage thousands of omni-channel active lead sources simultaneously, eliminating risky lead sources in real time and throttling source lead volume by performance (LTV). "New to file" inbound leads received. Through the eWayDirect platform, confirmation email series sent, "Intent to engage" is scored at the source level and finally, qualified new subscribers delivered to client ESP. The results are impressive! And CertainSource can now help clients to optimize other channels beyond email such as native, mobile, social, and display, identifying top performers in each.

Neil Rosen, the company's founder, had this to say about the service: "The challenge digital marketers face is being able to scale their best performing marketing channel -- email -- without jeopardizing inbox delivery or their online reputation. Solving that for our clients with our integrated platform has enabled them to break from the pack and significantly outperform their competition. While it has taken three years of development, the end result is very rewarding for us, as well as for our clients."

So there you have my list for 2016. It gets harder each year to get down to just three companies.  There are many deserving of mention. That's good news for email marketers and marketers in general. So while you should check these three out, make sure you cast a wide net. And if you happen to work for a company you think should be on this list, reach out to me. I want to know what you do! 

Chris Marriott is president and founder at Marketing Democracy, LLC

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet. 

Chris is the President and Founder of Marketing Democracy, LLC. Marketing Democracy provides email marketers with a range of consulting services around vendor selection (RFPs), vendor migration, and email marketing optimization.  Clients...

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