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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.
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Thanks for the comment Annie. I hope that the ESPs view the article with your suggestion in mind.
These 6 reasons to fire an ESP not only warn people looking for the right ESP to consider these options seriously, but it also gives a good guideline to ESP themselves on the sort of level they need to participate on to be considered against their competitors. Thank you for setting the caliber high!
Hey Sean,It all comes down to this; the problems that you've mentioned aren't a reason to fire a vendor, but a reason to fire the person that selected an inadequate vendor in the first place.I've already gone point by point to your post and you haven't given me anything back other than insinuating that my view is colored from an ESP perspective and that I haven't any client-side experience. Did you bother checking me out before making such assumptions? Looks to me like the same approach as you seem to have taken in selecting an ESP.... I'm just sayin'....My post links to yours a half-dozen times and you've been kind enough to post back to me in the comments here, so I guess it's up to the reader to form their own opinions....
John, Thanks for your comments both here and on your post. While I may not be an expert on the inner workings of ESPs for an insider's perspective (since I've never worked for an ESP), my background comes from years on the client side. Each of the examples I've given in the article are based on real experiences from the lens of an advertiser. I'm not alone either. Many advertisers commonly share the same types of frustrations with each other. My experience with all vendors is that it begins with delivering what is promised and expected. Expectations need to be clear from both parties. It's defintely not a one way street. For the client side, expectations continue to evolve as business needs dictate. If a true partnership has developed, then solutions can usually be had. If not, the relationship can turn into a business hinderance quickly. In my experience with ESPs (and generally with several technology vendors), this is the case.
It's interesting that your vocabulary tends to fall to the negative with things like "fire" and "ripping".... It's also interesting to note that while you comment that you love being taken to task, I don't seem to see any defense of your original position either here or at http://RedPillEmail.comAnd while you're obviously not an authority on the subject (that's a rip, fyi), and most certainly have some unrealistic views of the role of an ESP, I'd hate to see someone with even less experience take this post as authoritive - because it's posted at iMedia Connection - and perhaps cause a rift between they and their vendor that wouldn't have been there otherwise. That would not be fair to the reader or the vendor.But hey, thanks for the link to my post! :)
Just came across this blog post ripping each of the points I gave in the article. I love it when someone takes me to task, whether I agree with them or not. Read this post and comment back here on this article to let me know your thoughts on his points as well as mine. http://redpillemail.com/blog/2009/6-reasons-to-fire-your-esp-seriously.html
Thanks Toni. Reporting is so crucial, that it has to be a top focus when going through the RFP process.
I totally agree with looking into the training and reporting before going with a system. Our ESP counts preview / testing in over-all results, and unsubscribes as click-throughs. Correcting the report is a manual process.
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