Another analogy which would seem completely natural delivered in Swiss Tony’s smooth southern drawl, but let’s look into this in more depth.
Every car owner has their own priorities and preferences when it comes to what car they drive. For some it’s a simple means to get from A to B while others require the fastest, sexiest car on the market.
Things are much the same in the world of email marketing. For example; some companies will prioritise ease of use, while others place huge value in having every possible added function, whether it’s likely to see use or not.
But how do you know which is best for your business? Let the analogy continue…
Cars are categorised into different classes including sports cars or 4x4s – the same is true of email marketing platforms.
At one end you have your cheap providers; little or no license fee, straight forward template construction and a polished, easy to use interface.
These are your ‘super minis’ or Smart cars. They look nice enough, get you to where you need to go and are certainly economical – but there are big sacrifices in power.
Start your engines
Super minis are perfect to get you around the local town but not ideal for taking you anywhere especially interesting or doing it in style. Any endeavor of a more ambitious journey will find you struggling along the motorway being overtaken by every other car on the road.
This is down to them having very little real power under the bonnet- the same being true of many email marketing platforms. Functionality like segmentation, split testing and survey tools are essential to make sure you’re living life in the fast lane.
They also rarely follow best practice standards. For example, allowing users to type in their own email from address, potentially sending from unauthenticated and killing deliverability.
This, coupled with the inevitable piece of branding at the foot of each email and virtually no support or advice to help standards improve, means that although they’re a great place to start with email marketing, their lifespan is limited for organisations hoping to go places.
At the other end of the scale you have huge, well established enterprise solutions that have been around for years and offer a wealth of features with all the support you could ask for.
All they ask in return is massive license fees and often hefty ongoing support fees. Costs for sends can seem to be good value but only if you are sending huge volumes- at least in the hundreds of thousands.
For a large organisation looking for the ultimate solution these platforms would seem the logical choice, but unfortunately many of the providers in this part of the marketplace are not quite what they appear.
Consider these your top-end sports cars and executive cruisers, an Aston Martin or Rolls Royce. Great if you can afford it? Possibly, but only if you are buying a brand new model; not such a safe investment once they are a few years old.
Coded many years ago in ’old fashioned’ languages, they struggle to keep up to date with the latest functionality. Some of the most established brand names in the industry can be out performed by more modern solutions with more advanced technology at the core.
This leaves us with the rest i.e. the middle ground cruisers where many different options are available. They are the popular choice like a Ford or BMW, offering far better returns on your original investment.
Which is best is down to your preferences and what suits your business but there are a few golden rules that may help you end up with the right partner:
1. Take a trial – it should be free.
2. Get a demonstration – it will help you make a decision.
3. Don’t base your decision purely on lowest price – you get what you pay for.
4. Do your research – this is a big decision.
Unlike when buying a car, it is rarely just one individual who chooses an email marketing platform. There are all sorts of considerations such as ease of use, functionality, costs, support/account management etc
All you can do is pick the provider that offers the best overall package to suit your business needs, now and in the future.