What Changes in the Email Vendor Landscape 2020 Mean to You

What Changes in the Email Vendor Landscape 2020 Mean to You

Changes in the email vendor landscape are continuing at an unprecedented rate. Established ESPs are getting bought, sold, or shut down every other day. New, specialized ESPs are being launched or re-launched. Email agencies are playing a larger role, and are themselves going through waves of acquisition. Never has the marketplace for vendors appeared so confusing for brands in the market for a new ESP partner. In this session we will explore these changes, what they mean for brands, and how to determine the best path for your company.

About: Christopher Marriott

President & Founder, Email Connect LLC

Transcript

Okay, great. Thanks, everybody and welcome to my session today, which will be talking about changes in the email vendor landscape. And what they mean for email marketers and vendors alike. Just briefly, Email Connect is a company that focuses almost exclusively on managing the RFP process for brands looking to switch vendors or confirm whether they have the right vendor. So we are heavily immersed in the entire vendor landscape and helping our clients navigate that, which is why we really have have the knowledge that we have about the vendor landscape. You may not agree with everything I say today, you probably won’t. And if you are a vendor, and you don’t like something I might say regarding your vendor, please feel free to reach out not that I’m gonna be saying nasty things. But anyway, with that I’m going to get started. And what I want to start with before we get into ESP and email RFPs. We all as as consumers go through sort of mini personal RFPs on a on a daily basis. And I want to look at one sort of RFP process. Sorry, that’s probably having a home office. Now we’ve hung up. So, anyway, so we go through our own personal RFP processes. So let’s look at somebody who is trying to get from London to from New York to London, and we’ll call this person Nigel and Nigel’s put his requirements on a piece of paper, he’s thought long and hard about how he wants to get there. He’s decided he wants luxurious surroundings. He’d like a wide range of activities or two during the trip. Maybe you get a little shuffleboard. I know that’s Ryan’s one of Ryan’s favourite activities. He’s not in a hurry, the trip should be part of the vacation. It’s not a means to an ends, but it’s rather part of the whole trip. And for Nigel prices, not a comparison. Now based on those requirements, these were the vendors that Nigel invited to pitch his business he looked at Norwegian you look at Caribbean look at q and already looked at Han American line with the idea of being which cruise line out of these would best meet his requirements. They all can fulfil them. But again, the RFP process is designed which is the best vendor for him in this case. Alice Jane Jane go to London but her requirements are dramatically different from nine. He wants to get there as quickly as possible, wants to spend as little money as possible on the trip itself. And he’d love to get on demand movies. And she’d like a comfortable seat. So what what her vendor lists look entirely different, assuming that she’s going into this correctly, and Nigel’s and in fact it does. And so what Jane does is she pitches she invites united Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and American to pitch her business. And and again, any one of those can meet those requirements. Some will meet them better than others and the one that meets them the best will be the one that she chooses to fly to London. Then there’s Clive no clients requirements are almost exactly like Nigel’s are are exactly he wants. He also wants luxurious surroundings, and he wants a wide range of activities to pursue including shuffleboard and he’s not in a hurry. And he’s going to make the trip a vacation and price is not a comparison. Unfortunately, Clive doesn’t really understand the vendor landscape. So what Clive does is invite Virgin Atlantic, Tom to American line, Cunard and American Airlines to pitch his business pitch his trip. Yeah, it makes matters worse. He also includes Amtrak and British rails in his RFP for how he’s going to get to Europe. And the problem with this with with what there’s lots of problems with Clyde’s process here, but the biggest problem is out of the vendors, he’s invited the pitch, only 33% or only a third of them can actually meet all of his requirements. Obviously, that would be Holland and Cunard. Another 33% or a third can partially meet his requirements. Get them the get them over there. But without any of that, you know, luxurious surroundings and other things that he wants, but he’ll still end up in London. So they partially meet the requirements. But a third of them are would be a complete disaster if they won his trip RFP because neither neither Amtrak nor British Rail and get him from New York to London and for that, and for so that case, picking one of those would be a disaster. This is in a nutshell what a lot of email marketers are facing today as they go to market for a new ESP. So So my advice is, is don’t be clients. And not that it’s your fault if you aren’t live, because the reality is, is that most email marketers today have a lot of trouble telling who’s which ESP is a boat, from who’s a jet or even a train. And it’s not your fault. I’m not pointing fingers that email marketers. It’s because of all the changes in the vendor landscape that started about 10 years ago, and have dramatically accelerated in the last 24 months. And we’ll look at all that today. And what those changes mean. But the problem for email marketers is it’s getting more complicated and more confusing. It’s not getting easier in the short run. It’s in fact getting harder. How did we get here? How did we get to the point where it’s so complex, the landscape is so complex that that vendors can’t bet our market email marketers can’t tell. About from a train. Fun fact, there are much bigger differences between email vendors than most email marketers realise. Much bigger differences. And, and frankly, there’s a lot of people out there who aren’t helping that situation, the difference, these differences are barely addressed by analysts like Forrester, they’ll rank everybody together in a single wave report, as long as they meet some basic requirements of that wave report. Yeah, they’re slicing and dicing a little more these days, but they’re not really slicing enough to provide any clarity. So they’ll put vendors that have dramatically different approaches to how they how they set up their their platforms, how they deliver email, into the same wave repeat report, as if they are really comparable to one another. In many cases, they’re also making the situation worse is is the vendors on sales team, because we all know, none of them have ever met a prospect for which their platforms aren’t a perfect fit, you know, and in a typical yesno RFP, there isn’t a sales guy on the planet who’s gonna say his platform can’t do something. And most of those times those turn out, you know, the result of that is, well, gee, I guess every vendor can do everything. And that’s not the case. So aren’t helping it helping the situation either is Peter and helping the situation. Remember when we they actually we call them ESPN, or they call themselves ESP s. Today, they operate under a variety of terms and cross channel customer engagement solutions, CRM suite and Marketing Cloud Platform. And it’s impossible to you know, it’s almost as if there’s a stigma today associated with those three letters ESP. And, and in truth, you know, no one runs an RFP, if you’re looking for an ESP, and nobody goes, and Google’s growth marketing platform, or or some of these other things they run when emailed marketers are looking for a new vendor, they’re running RFPs for email services providers, so it doesn’t help the situation, again, when vendors tend to run from that tag, as if again, it’s not, it’s not, you know, high tech enough, or it’s not important enough. And so there’s a disconnect between what email marketers want, I want a new ESP, and how vendors are positioning themselves and talking about? Well, let’s go back, you know, 10 years, because adding to the overall confusion at this point, is that the old way of looking at the landscape has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. And those of you who’ve been in the business a while are looking at this chart and saying, oh, boy, a lot of those. ESP is you know, he’s using old DSPs Well, that was my point. Exactly. So this was the ESP landscape, not not complete by any stretch of 10 years ago, and it is stunning. How many of these vendors are either gone since 2010, or have changed names and that’s just one, one example of of the change in the landscape over the last 10 years. But you know, 10 years ago, we really looked at the market and and the market and and, you know, ESP is sort of aligned themselves, you know, there was SMB ESP s and that’s who they looked to serve. There were mid market DSPs and they sort of stayed in their lane. And then there were the enterprise e SPS, and that’s how, how they were differentiated there wasn’t that wasn’t tremendous differentiation between the platform’s themselves within those categories, it was merely what’s the size of the client that they’re trying to get, and who are those competitors. And that landscape has is long gone in terms of how its organised. The way we look at email Connect, we break the link vendor landscape, vendor landscape into five buckets. First is and we’re going to take you through each of these as as we go forward. But there’s the marketing services providers, there’s the marketing clouds, there’s a transactional email providers, there is point solutions. And lastly, there’s what we call unicorns. And we’ll show you what we mean about unicorns. Who doesn’t like unicorns? So the first one marketing service providers, the best examples of this today are zeta global, and epsilon. And, and both of them are major players still in the marketplace, and say to global in particular, has been aggressively acquiring new companies in order to handle both the acquisition side of the business and the CRM side of the business. And again, moving very aggressively in the marketplace. That’s fine, as we’ll see shortly. There’s some question as to what where that, where their future lies. Five years ago, this was the most dominant category of ESP In other words, most espys were were marketing services providers, or were part of marketing services providers, you know, the first wave of email acquisition and ESP acquisition that happened around 2005 you had epsilon buying Big Foot axion, digital impact, info USA bought Yes, mail, etc, etc, etc. And, and so all of them all the major players, again, we’re part of marketing services providers, what set them apart, they were traditionally very services oriented, and they had creative and analytics on top of campaign production. And many times they had full service relations with their clients. And and Chester and I, and Randy, I see some questions coming up, and I’ll get them at the end, thank you. But again, many of them had full service relationships with their clients. And so again, marketing services providers that was in their name services, what’s in their name. Because of their parentage, these ESP is themselves tend to have a very deep or tend to have a very deep understanding of data and database marketing. And they’re able to manage, ingest and move and and D dupe and everything else to do with late, you know, data with very large volumes of data. They’re best suited today. Again, in our opinion, everybody can argue, but we we really see them at email Connect is best suited for enterprise brands that want to storage large but want to store large volumes of their data, structured and unstructured in their ESP platform. Also brands that want a broad access to a range of agency services. Chester was talking about brand versus agency. Well, these marketing services, the MSP DSPs we’re an agency plus platform all in one. So again, if you’re interested in agency services from your ESP, these are the guys you went to and these are the guys you go to. And they also are good for brands interested in third party data pans for their email databases. Next comes marketing clouds. These guys emerged from the second wave of email, ESP acquisitions that occurred, you know, a little less than 10 years ago, where suddenly the marketing clouds came in, and there’ll be a button Elaine So repop was bought by IBM, Oracle bought responses and exacttarget was bought by Salesforce and still get the big players here, Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, IBM has since gotten out of that business. As they say emerging the second wave of ESP acquisitions. These ESP platforms are part of larger integrated suites of marketing tools that are offered by the providers and the name Marketing Cloud. And this is an extremely important distinction that too many email marketers fail to comprehend. But the the marketing clouds the parent companies see themselves as technology companies, not marketing services. So they don’t offer a wide wide range of services. And they’re often dependent on third party agencies to provide those services to their clients, which has led to a very healthy growth in email agencies over the last 10 years. But again, these are technology companies, they even sell they sell ESP, I mean, they sell email in a different way than then the more traditional marketing service providers rather than monthly bills based on CPM volume, you buy it as an SKU within a year, you buy 10 billion emails, and then you pay write a check for 10 doing emails, because again, they don’t want that ongoing contact. There are technology companies who want to backup a truck to your loading dock, dump it off. If you name a few other email agencies that you might want to contact Grab away and come back when your contracts up for renewal. There are Marketing Cloud parents are continuing to acquire niche vendors a lot of dynamic personalization offerings. So they’re still in a in a very strong acquisition mode to wrap things around their ESP acquisitions. Up to this point, however, I believe they’re best suited for enterprise brands already heavily invested in a parent companies Marketing Cloud products. In other words, if you use Salesforce for a lot of things, you might want to look at them for your email, if you a same with Adobe same with Oracle, they are not ideal vendors in a point solution role, I’ve seen it time and time again, you know, they ended up with a lot of legacy point solutions, you know, exact target when it was bought by Salesforce, and many of its, you know, many of those clients didn’t use Salesforce for anything else. And, you know, none of the marketing clouds really see it as a big business standalone business. Again, they’re very, very interested in in getting you on their entire suite of products. So, again, for email brands that that are already heavily invested in one of these clouds. These might be a good ESP partner. Next category is a transactional, or SMTP transactional email services. examples here are sendgrid mailgun, Pepe, post sparkpost, Amazon STS. Interesting Pepe post, just as an interesting that, I mean, now they’re the largest ESP in APAC. And, you know, there’s some interesting changes landscape coming when a company like that begins to target Europe and North America, it’ll be very interesting to see what what happens with net Corps, Pepe posts brand. Anyway, these are also known as my friend David Daniels coined the term MTA is in the cloud, because they often connect to the types of DSPs that don’t have their own MTA is so there. And so these are often connectors. For those ESP is again that don’t have their own MTA is ESP is like interval ESP is like braised, again that that link up with these to actually deliver their emails, their bare bones platforms, and their bare bones, services and support. They’re designed primarily for developers and it they eat, they’re easy to integrate. They have extensive API’s. It loves extensive API’s. But they have very rudimentary tools for promotional email. best suited today. And again, in our opinion, for brands sending large volumes of transactional emails, by transactional on broader than you just mean broader than you just bought this, but rather, one off emails that are sent in real time, based on some type of event. brand. Marketers, however, often struggle with these platforms when setting up a mailing and promotional email campaign. So again, less suited or those. So now you’re beginning to get a sense of, again, how different each of these categories are, and what type of clients they may be perfect for, and what type of clients, they may be a very, very bad fit for. And yet, I’ve seen them mixed up in RFPs, that RFPs we run, but when we get that emergency call, you know, RFP is stalled, we don’t know how to choose, you know, I will see a mix of these. And, you know, answers. The question is leave me like, why did they, you know, why can’t they choose? It’s because they really, they don’t have any idea what they’re looking for, given who they’re looking at. The next category is point solutions. Again, these these are email predominant platforms. And you know, America selligent dotdigital are good examples of this. This remains isn’t the mark tech category in general. The point solutions category is highly fragmented, continuously evolving in multiple directions, and there remains rapid vendor proliferation, and brutal competition. Many of the key today’s key players and you’ll note all three of the ones I use as examples that got their start in Europe, and were built for the from the ground up as multi channel solutions. And the reason being that European ESP, you could not survive as an ESP only or you had a lot of trouble in Europe, because of the volumes of emails were so low, unlike the US or the brains of females. In Europe, it was, you know, hundreds and hundreds, a little more than that. So again, the unique part of these platforms is they had to do things. They had to add mobile, they had to have other things multichannel solutions built from the ground up so that there was enough things they can do for a client to make the business function. And these are best suited today. I believe for mid market, low enterprise email marketers rely heavily on mobile channels, as well as retail sometimes and don’t get offended if you’re one of these vendors. Sometimes they have problems scaling into the multi billion email volumes, but and that’s why I say mid market and low low enterprise catch up on paper. Obviously, I didn’t need any of my notes. And lastly, unicorns. And who doesn’t like a unicorn? examples here would be iterable, message gears, braise, and these are unique platforms with specialised capabilities are wrapped around very particular needs. In the case of breeze, your mobile first company, in the case of iterable, if your tech guys have chosen a platform like sparkpost, and you’re forced to use it, or iterables, there to lay on top of it as a UX. And so everybody’s happy in that case, you it gets to sparkpost, marketers get to use iterable. And then message gears again, which, which is sort of the original empty in the cloud. And which allows you to keep your data on premise. But the platform is really on premise sort of a hybrid on premise platform. Most unicorns, as you can guess, don’t have direct competitors in the market, evaluating them in any RFP process requires a deep understanding of what makes these unicorns different. And when deployed for the right reasons, we’ve seen that they can be very good solutions. And in fact, one of our clients on here did deploy interval in a solution with a sound grid and understand that went very well. And, but can put the problems for brands that don’t understand and unique situations for which they are best suited for the danger of unicorns, because they also happen to be the flavour of the week, often, and people just because suddenly they hear about, you know, vendor, XYZ, all over the message boards and other things. They think I got to take a look at them in my RFP, and then invite them again, without any thought as to perhaps it’s a unicorn that that can’t even remotely approach meeting their requirements. So part two, how did we get here, um, I’ve talked about changes in the vendor landscape. And that’s the name of the presentation, as well. And we talked and we looked at the change, you know, where we were 10 years ago, and how many of those vendors are gone or have changed names, last 24 months that we’ve seen them, I’ve seen a massive acceleration of changes, you have new names for platforms, new players, all that hard to keep up with. And and you know, the where, oftentimes we look at, we want to look at this and say, well, there must be good reason for this. Maybe it’s because the email needs are changing. And vendors are responding to that. That’s not really what what I’ve seen happen. The changes are not being driven by email buyers, but rather by private equity. companies wanting to get in, make some money, and then sell the ESP down the road, investment fatigue, where, you know, you had x and just set up, you know, we, we’ve invested enough in this platform, we don’t really want to keep investing in it, let’s sell it, and changing corporate strategies, again, where companies say, Well, you know, what, email is no longer part of what we’re what we want to offer. So here is a grid of all of the ESP s, and again, this is 24 months ago, we’re gonna we’re gonna walk through the change changes in 24 months, and you can see, you’ve got the cloud base, you’ve got the point solutions, unicorns, transactional full service msps. And then over the right agencies who we haven’t talked about a lot, and I’m not going to talk about a lot, but but again, they belong as part of this discussion. And what what this the lineup of this chart is the the horizontal bar goes from Tech only on the left, meaning you know, we’re just selling you technology over the services on the on the right, which is we’re just selling your services and see agencies are there. And as you can see the point solutions, unicorns and transactional end up in the sort of the email only tech only world and I know they do more than email, but the email versus broader vertical axis is really broader, not just around multi channel, but broader around additional services that are wrapped around the transmission of messages. So yeah, this is how we look at the market at email Connect, happy to you know, at some point discuss it with anybody and and get any feedback on that. So this is where it was two years ago. What’s happened in the last two years. Experian got out of the email business sold cheated digital to private equity, they retain 25% of the business, but as you can see, it dropped Cheeta a little bit down on the broader offering into more of the right rate in this sort of bullseye. You also had an axiom zeta purchased axiom became bigger and also moved up and became a broader offering that came along with what they got from axiom. Yes mail. got out of it completely. They’ve decommissioned their platform. They’ve told other client You have two years to move to Adobe or whoever you choose. And they become just an email agency called yes marketing. Epsilon was bought by publicists a global. Interestingly enough, the other players that are kind of getting in the game are the global advertising networks, like in a public like publicists, like Dentsu bought Merkel, I mean, they’re all getting interested in database marketing purposes. But epsilon, I put a question mark on it, just because it’s still not clear long term, how much how important the email part of that acquisition will be for publicists, you know, or where they are that they make the purchase more around the data and the loyalty programme. So what what you can see there, again, is the dramatic reduction in players in that full service MSP zone on this chart. Now going over to cloud based marketing stacks, les change here, basically, we’ve seen IBM get out of the business, they sold what was silverpop to another private equity firm, and launched a new company called acoustics. And again, move down that move down the the email broader vertical, because again, they have less of an offering lots of change. And if you’re a vendor, and you’re not in the point solutions, unit, apologise, we run out of logo room, but there’s been a lot of things happening here as well. You had braised come into the market, you used to be known as Apple. But they added email features and, and became brains. And so they they joined as a as a new unicorn. In that part of it. You had a company called uppland, which none of us in the email business has heard of before, they mean they bought a desktop and then short time later, they bought post up taking two independent players off the board and becoming upland. We also saw mailgun by mailjet become a bigger player and more global player. And and now moving over, there’s even been a lot of change in the agencies. Again, we haven’t talked a lot about them. But But let’s look at you know, there’s still churning there alchemy works was acquired by cell itself became a bigger player, right wave was acquired by ansira. And, like digital has, at the top of the stack, has definitely made moves to join this space and get involved in the type of things particularly that Merkel is doing. I see them as a future threat to to Merkel, you know, they’re very, they’ve worked often with the cloud based marketing stacks on that email space. But that isn’t that is an area that can easily move into. So even in the agency space, you have acquisitions, and you have new players coming in. And I mean, that, you know, the number of email agencies I that that are out there and that have been launched every day are dramatic. I just wanted to sort of get the best known players. And if you’re, if your email agency isn’t there, and you think it should be, let me know. Okay, so got all that. So what, who cares that lots of change, blah, blah, blah, blah, it’s just Maryann talking about, you know, changes. But the problem is that the quickest way to catch up tonight, you can screw up your RFP, your ESP RFP, right out of the gate, is to win, right invite the wrong vendor, and nothing leads faster than if you pick six DSPs or eight DSPs. But you haven’t thought through your requirements thoroughly enough to understand what type of ESP may be best for you, and, and what type of ESP may be someone you should not look at. And, and and trust me that that does happen all the time. And it wastes of time with the vendors and it wastes the time of the brand. You know, nobody likes to go through an RFP that they don’t have a chance of winning. And you know, every vendor vendor, something enters them thinking they can win. But again, in many cases, the requirements are so far afield of what that vendor can do that there isn’t really a chance and how do we get in that situation? What are vendors doing if they’re not sitting down and looking at requirements and thinking through or calling up email connect and saying help me think through, you know, our requirements, and the right vendors to look at? Well, what they what they end up doing is what I call taking emotional shortcuts. And there’s three emotional shortcuts that I’ve seen. Three the deadliest emotional shortcuts that I see vendors taking all the time when it comes to picking the vendor for their RFP. We’ll take a look at those three. First one is what I call the adults shortcut. And this is probably the one that’s most common. You know, what is Forrester wave say about vendors? What is Gartner group say? What is GE to say? I’ll just invite you know whoever is in your top six and as I said earlier, Oftentimes, you know, the the Forrester wave, again, they don’t they don’t make distinctions between the are the espys, in terms of, you know, how close they are to one another or different they are from one another. So again, you wrap up their top five. Yeah, I mean, you know, let’s go back several years, if you’ve been in the business long enough that the time that that strong mail an on premise solution, one, the RFP was, was the highest in the Forrester wave, that’s what was epsilon. I mean, there isn’t an RFP, the next one was excellent. There isn’t an RFP in the history of email marketing, that should have paired a strong male against epsilon. And yet, if you were taking the top six, you would have pulled the both of them into your RFP. I’m not saying they can’t read contain valid data points. I’m not saying ignore them. They’re great for doing your homework. But you are relying on someone else’s opinion, who really doesn’t know your unique requirements. And that’s the important thing to remember. They don’t know your requirements on top of that. These analysts rarely, if ever, actually use the platform’s their rankings. Yeah, it would be like you were you were reading road and track and reading auto reviews by people who had actually not driven the cars. I mean, that’s the equivalent of when you’re reading a forester review. And, again, you’re the they never drove the car. So they’re telling you what they think, without ever having gotten behind the wheel of the car. And I think that’s an important distinction to make. The next shortcut is I call the familiarity shortcut. Great sales, people know that this is often a cut, you know, what, when it comes to RFP time, you know, oftentimes the email the brands will call up the vendors that they’ve met over the years that either conferences or whatever, guys, they like that they like, and that happens all the time. And and great salespeople know, this happens all the time. And they work very hard at getting this friendship. I’m not saying the friendship isn’t even genuine, it oftentimes is genuine. But again, it’s you’re making your choices based on who do I know, which people do I know, who do I like? What brands have they heard talked about, rather than, again, trying to map those vendors to what your particular requirements are. blinds one is the pure opinion shortcut. And these are mainly the most dangerous, I said the adults was most common, this is probably the most dangerous shortcut, you can take. You know, at any given time, probably up to 20%, of an ESB s customers, eat their vendors, that’s just a fact of life. All relationships go stale over time. And you know, it can be higher than that can be lower than that, but but even if it just 20%. Now, imagine then you talk to one of the 20 people 20% of people who hate it, and you’re going to get a very bad opinion of that of that vendor. And in fact, that vendor might be the best one for you. But now you’ve talked to somebody who says no these and and now you exclude them. Even if you do hear good things about them. Even if somebody’s on the message board, or one of your email buddies at a conference tells you only good things, all you really have learned is that that’s a great vendor for your friend’s company. But, you know, if unless your company is exactly like your friends, you know, you have no guarantee that it’s going to be a good fit, how likely is it that they would be a good fit based on the differences between your company? again, and again, we see this all the time in the myths of sports and everything, you know, who’s tried XYZ platform? What do you think of it again, it can be very, very dangerous. And again, all the responses are also self selected. How do you avoid all of this? How do you start an RFP on the right foot and get through an RFP vironment where again, there’s so much confusion, there’s so much change. There is, you know, so many questions about what’s the best fit and what can you do to minimise your risk. And again, that’s what we’ll do is minimise your risk. Well, you can hire us, but assuming you don’t do that, here’s a checklist. First, and it takes a lot of work. But you need to begin to understand and recognise that there are very real and significant differences between ESP s and other email vendors. Do you have to get a handle on your unique and critical requirements? Don’t ever ask for a boil? Don’t ever say no. Again, we’ve all seen that anybody got an RFP boilerplate I can use from my email RFP, you’ve got to get a handle on your unique and critical requirements and what’s going to make your email programme more successful. Third, need to determine which of the five main categories contain the vendors most suited to your requirements. But doesn’t mean you can’t include vendors from other categories. It just means you need to do that with your eyes open and we don’t we often you know we will tell our clients and RFPs will make them understand the difference such as if you look at Salesforce. And if you like their platform to best, prepare yourself for the need of an email agency, because you’re not going to want to just go with them. So you know, be thinking that you need that budget for an email agency. So again, be warned them of the of the four point out the differences that may impact go forward, depending which vendor they pick. I also say there’s nothing wrong with having a dark horse or two in your RFP, it’s good to look at a unicorn expense, or look at one in a category different than the than the one or two categories you’re looking at. It doesn’t hurt, it’s educational. And, you know, sometimes the dark horse is the right one. Most often it’s not going to be but but again, we encourage our clients always to include at least one dark horse in the RFP process. Lastly, use an objective scoring system. I know it’s coming out of left field but but I’m using an objective scoring system means that you stay focused again, on your requirements on what you told the vendors you need. And that you know, those drive your decision, not which vendor its team you like the best though that can be a factor, I’m not saying it can’t be or, or, or other items that that are subjective, not objective, because you want to stay focused on objective. All of our RFPs are score pace evaluations, from RFP to in person meetings to the sandbox. And again, what this does is it removes bias, it forces you again, in a minute and painful way to really get in the weeds with each of the vendors, you know, scoring 250 requirements vendors head to head, again, is is a tough slog. But you will be amazingly well informed when if you do that when you know, in conclusion isn’t going to get less confusing, right? I mean, it’s got to get less confusing, right, of course, that next big thing, the big collision of the upcoming collision of cdp’s and espys. And their tremendous overlap and confusion between those two types of platforms. But that’s a subject for a different presentation. And that’s, and it’s the stuff of nightmares for us that email Connect today. But anyway, with that, I do have some time for questions. There are a couple of questions that people ask. And I will I’ll answer those. And if there’s none others, send you back out to refresh your cocktails. So is it too late to start from Randy levy? And, Chris, is it ever too late to start an ESP if you started went today? What would marry a male look like? Wow, that’s a great question. But that’s a whole session. Um, I don’t think it’s ever too late to start an ESP, I think, I think the mistake that too many DSPs that can start it up to me is they try for unicorn status. And then they end and they fail to tell anybody why, you know, what makes that different? Why why they should want that unicorn, as opposed to one of the other players, I think, you know, I think when you when you get into this, it’s better to look like the guys that are playing, but do things better than it is to again to try to establish your unicorn nature. So, but no, it’s never too late to start an ESP. And if I started one, we’d be enterprise, we’d be MSP, we’d have agency services. And basically, I’ve read enough requirements documents that I’d have to do is go cherry pick the best features and functionality from all DSPs. So anybody got, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars to see we can build a radius feed. But is there still a place for full service providers like Cheetah with their blackbox back end services? another great question. You know, what I’ve seen in another shift I’ve seen the last 10 years is that the definition of full services change Jester full service, you know, for us old timers, back when you were my client at AAA and I was at axiom full service meant that all of the campaign production work was done by the ESP. And, and, you know, from from the setting up the campaigns, segmentation, police reports all of that, in the in, in the most recent 10 years, a lot of those functions have gone client side, they’re the platforms are so much easier to use, at least seemingly easier to use and that the need for having campaign production work has diminished dramatically. You know, in fact, I believe one, run one full service RFP in the past five years, believe it or not one. On the other hand, what I see is is the new definition of full service, which are value added services, everybody, whether they whether they know it or not going in and somebody presented earlier today was talking about not enough analysts to do the analysis of the of the data that you can get out A platform. I agree it’s ideal USP is all provided off planes, but but many of them don’t work for the brand marketers, you know, once they get the right platform in, they have enough planes, but they don’t have enough pilots and the espys I think it’s important that they continue to provide pilots, particularly around high value services, like analytics, like creative, like, like, integration, technical integration, those sorts of things are, are always needed, whether clients know that or not. And I think the brand, the ESP is that provide that and have a natural advantage in the marketplace. And and in winning business. Any other questions? Matt, Matthew, done with your brilliant view of the space? Do you think messaging is going to become a mainstream feature of email platform? Something that’s crazy? Well, you wrote is raising unicorn, ergo, you know, raises interesting, I answer the last question. First raise is interesting. You know, I tell clients that want to invite raise to an RFP to answer yes or no to the following question. Would you describe your company as mobile first? If they say yes, then I think braze is absolutely somebody that you should look at? Because they’re mobile first? And if the answer is no, I don’t think raise you know, is necessarily someone you should be looking at. Unless you’re really unless they’re your dark horse. You know, I do think the multi Chad DSP, I mean, most times, I’m talking to so on, what I seen is that the people response we’re sending email are more and more today responsible also for sending push an SMS. That wasn’t the case, eight years ago, the mobile groups did that. Now they’re all about the apps, and they don’t really care. They get their hands dirty, and messaging. So what I’ve seen is the email team, sort of outbound one to one type of messaging, you know, falls, it’s a bigger bucket, it’s email, it’s SMS, it’s MMS, it’s pushed out. And I think all of those things are an ESP, that have those capabilities native in their platform, have an advantage? Absolutely. It’s not a it’s not a deal breaker. But you can be sure, you know, we’re always asking when we’re doing RFPs when we’re talking about requirements, and, you know, we’re always going further that, you know, because again, again, if you just say, Can you send SMS, every vendor is going to say, yes, if you go deeper if you go greatest of all time, that could be another definition of race. Again, I believe they are the greatest of all time. But I was Oh, so point deeper, you know, can you do SMS? Yes. Well, they can say yes, but then the question becomes, is it native in the platform? Do you you know, is it can you set up the campaigns with single interfaces, single logon, on those types of digging deeper, again, can give you an advantage? You know, depending on how native it is to the platform. Matthew will ask you later offline what whether you mean greatest of all time or not? No offence attended, attended free vendors as well. Again, I think braises is a fabulous platform in the right circumstances. Alrighty, well, thank you all for staying through to the bitter end. I hope you’ve got some good insight from this and enjoy the rest of the conference that Thanks, Ryan. Thanks, Dennis. Thanks, Andrew. Thank you, Lauren. Thanks, Nely. Thank you. And if you’re wondering, that’s my dad, send a painting of my wire haired dachshund right behind. leave you all with that. Chester hat is live dog. I’ve got my wire here, Jackson. Enjoy the rest of the conference. Folks. I will be attending lots with a sec.

Leave a Comment

Hey there 👋 Can we stay in touch?

Once a week we will send you a list of our latest new posts and videos. Never miss a thing!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Inbox Expo Back December 2021

Valencia, Spain & Online

14-16 December2021