At first glance it may seem as though the email provider marketplace is developmentally stagnant. Most ESPs do the same stuff, so scalability and price become determining factors. The truth, however, is that good email software providers see the relatively stagnant feature development and jump at the opportunity. The result is that ESP shoppers must dig deeper when it comes to email vendor selection because the points of differentiation between ESPs are more subtle and precise than ever. The good news is that the benefits that may seem buried deep within a software platform are worth digging for because the difference they make is enormous.
As usual, with every direct digital marketing consideration, the story starts with data. While blast emails are simple to produce, execute, and measure, the data is vital for more targeted and triggered email programs where personalization should also be an important component. The data is where ESP shoppers should begin their line of questioning.
What most ESPs do a very poor job of is capturing data native to the platform. The superficial but important data points are all accounted for - like click through rate, etc. - but capturing and storing behavioral data natively to an email platform is where the next wave of functionality separates great email providers from the market standard.
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