Nearly one-third (32%) of marketers that use e-mail service providers said they would switch vendors in the next 12 months if they found the same capabilities for a similar or reduced price.
That was one of the key findings of a new JupiterResearch Report, “E-mail Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2006,” which was released last week.
The report was based on an online survey of 76 e-mail service provider clients conducted in September, as well as an evaluation by JupiterResearch of 28 ESPs. The clients included small and midsize businesses, large enterprises and service-oriented businesses.
"As the e-mail market becomes increasingly mature, ESPs that lack tight integration with their clients, or a satisfying process and service experience, are susceptible to client churn," said David Daniels, VP-research director at JupiterResearch and lead author of the report.
Of those marketers that are satisfied with their ESPs, the top reasons for not wanting to switch providers include not wanting to teach another vendor their business (38%); the high cost of switching vendors because of a tightly integrated business (37%); not wanting to learn a new e-mail application (33%); and believing they would not find the same capabilities and value elsewhere (33%). Respondents could select more than one response.
When asked to identify the top criteria in selecting ESPs, 55% of marketers said reputation of the provider, 51% said overall cost, 43% said expertise in the marketer’s industry and 43% said deliverability features and services. Again, respondents could select more than one answer.
Also, Jupiter asked marketers to name the top five basic and advanced e-mail marketing features they are looking for in a vendor.
The top five basic features were usability of the application (61%), ability to use multiple lists (36%), basic personalization (36%), content management (34%) and spell-check capabilities (29%).
The top five advanced e-mail marketing features were customized reporting and analysis (39%), multiuser support (29%), subscriber-level response data (20%), surveying tools (20%) and segmentation capabilities (20%).
Also according to the report, the most sought-after improvements for ESPs were more rapid release of application features and enhancements (30%), data and content import integration (28%), and increased account management resources (20%).
In its review of ESPs, JupiterResearch found the average number of updates they released this year was 5.7, and the number of updates planned to be released next year is 7.0.
“During the selection process, buyers should focus on the features they realistically plan to implement during the next 12 months, while emphasizing that use of integration capabilities as the common workaround for integration projects is a manual and resource-intensive process,” JupiterResearcj said in the report.