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Each year, do you raise an eyebrow during your budgeting process when you see how much you're paying your ESP? Do you compare notes with counterparts at other companies and realize that you're paying much more than you should for the delivery of your email marketing programs? If so, it may be time to move to another ESP.
ESPs are no different than many other companies in a variety of industries. A few companies tend to rise to the top, get caught up in the pride of beating their chest, and then ride their company name for all that it is worth. This is a big problem if you get caught up in your ESP's business cycle while it is in coasting mode. Your ESP will likely price its products and services based on a brand name as opposed to its true value. It's also not uncommon for the pricing structure to be set higher simply because the company has better salespeople who are able to convince clients that the added expense is worth the money. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. Do your homework.
Whenever your contract term is up for renewal, take a look at the different ESPs out there, even if you're happy with your current ESP. At the very least, it will keep your ESP honest with its pricing model, and may result in a negotiated lower rate. During our recent ESP switch, the result was a significant reduction of all fees over what we had been paying during the prior year.