Software as a Service (SaaS) tools help email marketers look smart by keeping it simple - so long as the techies who designed them understand how their customers  do things.

There's been an increase in the number of marketers who are sending out their own campaigns - at least that's what the DMA's latest Benchmarking report says.

This is a trend to be welcomed by companies like mine. As an industry, most ESPs have worked hard to make improvements in the usability of email software we offer customers, and if that is helping drive the production of campaigns in-house, I think that suggests we're doing it well.

If marketers want more control over the content - and speed of turnaround - for their customer communications, then a SaaS model is the best way to achieve it.

Three years ago, when we started the business here in the UK, things were a little different.

Ask any email marketer to describe what it was like to resource and run their own email campaigns in 2005 and they’d be likely to say things like "labour intensive", "time consuming" and "clunky".

Huge strides have been made since then in making interfaces intuitive and reducing the number of people required (and how long it takes them) to execute the campaign.

Usability is the key that unlocks a marketer's ability to take advantage of all those neat tricks we are constantly being told to use to "maximise ROI" from our email programmes.

Technology companies need to bear in mind what so many marketers were taught back at school - "Keep It Simple Stupid".

Michael Weston is the MD of Silverpop .


Related research: Email Marketing Platforms Buyer's Guide


Mike Weston

Published 30 January, 2008 by Mike Weston

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Comments (2)

Ian Tester

Ian Tester, Senior Product Manager at brightsolid online publishing

I've met very few companies who use ESPs and have achieved significant results without "getting their hands dirty".

This may be less to do with the quality and pricing of support services from ESPs and more to do with the fact that companies who get their hands dirty can usually find stupid amounts of ROI too be had relatively quickly and hence get buy-in, resources etc allocated pretty quickly. Or it could quite simply be that really effective email relies on getting a lot of data integration going between you and your ESP and that relies on your tech team. No ESP can make the right data come without help from there.

My plan - spend some time understanding it, get a lot of campaigns going, tracked, measured and optimised: then tweak your datafeeds until you have all the right data to trigger campaigns, optimise again, then look at outsourcing some of the more "operational" parts unless you plan on employing a lot of people to tinker with HTML and run split tests.

I'd guess that 70% of people using ESPs are simpply pumping out a monthly newsletter (and only 80% of them put the right unsubscribe code in!) to an unsegmented list. Their loss.

over 10 years ago

Mike Weston

Mike Weston, Joint MD at Radiate b2b

Ian, I think you're right: in my mind, a good ESP is an enabler, not an agency. We give you the tools to help you understand where to find the "stupid amounts of ROI" (as you put it - like the phrase!) are hiding, then give you the tools to execute against it.
As to the 70% you say are spraying and praying with a one-size-fits-all newsletter, that's pretty much a waste of opportunity, whether you're using an ESP or not: surely the whole point of using a top-flight ESP is to help you do the clever stuff and get it right?

over 10 years ago

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