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6 reasons to fire your ESP

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Reason 5

You want the reporting to work? Surprise!

You're up and running with your new ESP, and you have multiple email marketing campaigns running. It's time to see how everything is performing, so you'll need to package up a report for your team and your boss. The only problem is that your ESP's reporting package doesn't allow you to produce the reports you really need. Sound familiar?

What gets measured gets done. We all heard this saying before. But what happens when you can't measure what you need? Outside of actually getting your email delivered to the inbox, reporting is the next biggest element in terms of what distinguishes a good ESP from a bad one.

Make a list of all of the reporting elements that you need from the system. Ideally, this should have been done in the evaluation process before signing a contract. Work with your account manager to identify which reports can already be run in the system along with how to run them. For the reports that aren't out of the box, figure out if there is a simple work around to assemble the report. If this isn't possible, find out what's on the horizon in terms of new reporting features.

Every release of a new version should include new and improved reporting capabilities and features. Before each new release, ask your account manager to see the roadmap. Scrutinize the roadmap in terms of making sure the upcoming reporting improvements match your business needs. If they don't, then it's time to fire your ESP and find one that can meet your reporting needs.

 

Comments

Sean Cheyney
Sean Cheyney November 17, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Thanks for the comment Annie. I hope that the ESPs view the article with your suggestion in mind.

Annie Cooley
Annie Cooley November 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM

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!

John Caldwell
John Caldwell November 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

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....

Sean Cheyney
Sean Cheyney November 12, 2009 at 12:47 AM

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.

John Caldwell
John Caldwell November 11, 2009 at 1:01 AM

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.com

And 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! :)

Sean Cheyney
Sean Cheyney November 10, 2009 at 10:30 PM

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

Sean Cheyney
Sean Cheyney November 9, 2009 at 10:06 PM

Thanks Toni. Reporting is so crucial, that it has to be a top focus when going through the RFP process.

Toni Page
Toni Page November 9, 2009 at 2:36 PM

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.