Jupiter Research releases ‘E-mail Service Provider Market Guide’

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Jupiter Research last week released the “E-mail Service Provider Market Guide, 2005.” The New York-based research provider evaluated 30 ESPs on almost 40 product and service attributes. It also compared the needs of b-to-b marketers with those of b-to-c marketers in a bid to help the former make better vendor decisions.

Marketers said their top criterion when choosing an ESP is cost, with provider reputation and delivery capabilities not far behind. Analysts found that b-to-b marketers that send newsletters are more concerned about a provider’s reputation and delivery features than they are about strategic services capabilities, while b-to-b promotional marketers are looking for a greater number of application features.

“Our research finds that b-to-b marketers typically have lower send volumes, and are advised in the report to focus more on the vendors in the lower promotional and newsletter categories,” said David Daniels, research director at Jupiter Research. “The report is important because we believe this is the first piece of research in this space that separates the needs of business-to-business buyers from those of business-to-consumer marketers. It is certainly the most comprehensive piece of research we have conducted on the vendors in this sector.”

Universally, however, there were several issues that affect all marketers. For example, although customers are asking ESPs for help with testing and basic compliance with CAN-SPAM, only 66% of applications include testing and 63% assess CAN-SPAM compliance. Customized reporting, a feature many marketers would like, has still been slow to catch on. Only 43% of ESPs reviewed in the study offer user-generated custom reports. Even fewer—27%—provide integration between e-mail and Web analytics applications.

Although Jupiter Research didn’t publicly release the top providers in each of the six ESP categories—small business, services-oriented, newsletter (for those sending less than 150,000 e-mails), newsletter (more than 150,000 e-mails), promotional (less than 150,000 e-mails) and promotional (more than 150,000 e-mails)—several vendors have announced their own rankings. For example, Silverpop was ranked the highest business value in two categories: High-volume Newsletter and High-volume Promotional. Meanwhile, Responsys was named the market leader in value and suitability for marketers that execute larger promotional campaigns. ExactTarget stole the top spot for the Low-volume Promotional Marketer spot, according to the company.

Jupiter Research included the following vendors in the report: Accucast, BlueHornet, Bluesky Factory, BlueStreak, Click Tactics, Cheetahmail, Constant Contact, Digital Impact, DoubleClick, Dynamics Direct, e-Dialog, Email Labs, Epsilon Interactive, Exact Target, Listrak, Lyris, Harte-Hanks Post Future, Postmaster, Quris, Responsys, Rightnow Technologies, Silverpop, SKYLIST, Subscribermail, Talisma, Topica, Twelve Horses, Vertical Response, Yesmail and Zustek.

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