When it comes to ESPs, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. And, as companies evolve and grow their email marketing programs, they frequently find themselves at odds with their provider because the solution in place isn’t meeting their needs. The next step, these companies believe, is to switch providers. However, many of the limitations creating the impetus to switch can be addressed through reconfiguring the solution with the existing ESP through automation, integration and customized features.
Many organizations overlook the importance of customization capabilities when evaluating potential vendors and therefore miss out on two critical benefits. First, by definition, a customized solution is tailored specifically to what a particular organization needs. Second, the company avoids the cost, hassle and disruption associated with selecting a different ESP and implementing a new solution every time organizational needs evolve.
With respect to evaluating an ESP’s customization capabilities, it’s critically important to bear in mind these three considerations:
When weighing their ESP options, companies should carefully consider where they sit on the provider’s priority list. If an organization chooses to work with a large-scale ESP, customization options may be limited for smaller customers because these providers aren’t set up to execute mid-scale builds. Therefore, organizations that don’t meet the “high-volume sender” criteria are likely better served by a boutique ESP that can offer robust customization capabilities for companies of all shapes and sizes.
Enterprise ESPs have large teams in place to build new products and features on a tight release schedule – and a customized build requires reallocating staff dedicated to internal projects to off-cycle customer-specific projects. From the enterprise ESP’s point of view, it only makes sense to make these adjustments to build customized programs for high-volume senders – it’s unlikely that they’ll be willing to accommodate smaller customers because the returns don’t justify the investment or disruption.
With respect to implementation, organizations across the board are most concerned with how long it will take and how significantly it will disrupt core operations. Boutique ESPs are better able to offer speed and flexibility around implementing customized features simply because they’re set up to do so. They can offer mid-sized clients the same level of service around developing and implementing these features because they aren’t encumbered with the organizational complexities associated with one-off development.
When it comes to selecting an ESP, it’s vitally important to carefully assess customization capabilities. And, it’s also important to evaluate where the company sits on the vendor’s priority list – mid-sized email programs simply won’t warrant the attention of enterprise level providers with respect to customization. The ability to scale and build in new features as an organization’s needs evolve means that the company won’t have to incur the expense and hassle associated with finding another vendor.
For companies considering parting ways with their current ESP, it makes sense to talk through the issues with an email marketing agency to evaluate whether or not the problems can be addressed through customizing the solution in place – this can be far more cost-effective and less disruptive than implementing an entirely new program.