Email Marketing Software – what’s the difference?

A common perception of email marketing solutions is that they are all the same. Well, no, they’re not. Often, when comparing solutions, the question “which is the best” arises, but this can lead to buying more sophisticated tools or simpler tools than are actually required. It can also mean ending up with a solution that doesn’t support an organisation’s particular marketing mix.

The marketing mix is very important when buying software. As marketers know, there are many channels available to them and someone who is promoting a mass market lager brand vs. someone promoting a magic circle law firm is going to sell and market their company differently and need different technologies to do it. Even within the same industry the mix can vary significantly. The same goes for sales, although the variances are fewer.

So, when choosing email marketing software, think about how the specific needs for an email marketing solution: current email database size and growth; the number of email campaigns to be undertaken; the number and complexity of segments; the need to tailor the message per segment; auto responder requirements; measurement requirements; the need for capturing web leads directly into the email system; the vendor’s deliverability rating… in fact there are many more things to consider.

Sales and marketing software can be likened to 80’s stereos. No one really needed the flashing lights of a graphic equalizer, but nonetheless it attracted buyers. Without careful consideration of genuine requirements, a vendor will too easily seduce with the graphic equalizer, resulting in paying £10k a year to send out one campaign a month while still spending 3 days creating email templates for each segment, one by one.

Never assume software will do what’s needed, just because it says “email marketing software” on the tin. It’s an increasingly sophisticated product; there are Hummers and Nissan Micras from which to choose, with the risk of ending up doing the school run in the Hummer or trying to pull the Micra out of the mud.

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