Courtney Eckerle

Email Summit 2015 Panel: How to justify investment in and get the most out of new email technology

October 23rd, 2015

There are so many different vendors in email marketing — how do you know that you’ve selected the right one for your technology needs?

In this blog post, we will cover how to begin justifying the investment to others, and choosing the right technology for your company.

Watch the full video to dive deep into three additional topics: shopping tips, questions to ask and problems an ESP won’t fix.

The panel covers these pain points, and features the perspectives of Preston Wily, President, Sewell, and Diana Primeau, Director of Member Services, CNET, alongside Charles Nicholls, SVP, Product Strategy for Marketing Solutions, SAP; John A. Caldwell, Principal and Founder, Red Pill Email; and Michael Kelly, Co-founder, Business Development, ClickMail.


Learn from the mistakes of others

“[At Sewell] we fail a lot, and we know that a lot of the best stuff we do really comes out of those failures,” Wily said.

He advised that marketers learn from mistakes either they or others in the sphere have made in the past. For instance,

Referrals — Get referrals from trusted third parties.

Goals — Define specific goals before talking to potential partners.

Budget — Rule of thumb: double or triple your in-house quote. “Your mileage might vary, but for us … we should double or triple it,” Wily said.

Testing — Test as much as possible, then drip emails out.

Be realistic — Automation requires a lot of data. Many of Sewell’s customers didn’t have enough touchpoints to make meaningful inferences about their preferences.

Discover what these five marketers have learned from their technology failures and successes in order to ensure that you are getting the best value in your own marketing.


How can I justify the investment?

Primeau spoke about how, in order to justify your investment in new technology, a need must be identified and clearly presented.

To do this, your team must have:

  • Alignment within the organization
  • Key metrics
  • Defined goals and objectives

Alignment is especially important, she said, because “if you’re not aligned across your organization, and people don’t really understand the value or the role email plays across your organization, you’re going to have a hard time getting that investment.”

In many cases, that communication is the key place marketers should start in this journey.

Marketers also must show their work to those higher up in the organization in order to gain trust for a new direction and piece of technology. “Because you’re gonna ask them for a bunch of money,” Primeau said, you have to show you have done adequate research and put forethought into this new implementation, such as:

  • Final requirements
  • Demos and interviews
  • Financial justification

In order to do this, she added, when preparing to speak to vendors, marketers need to come prepared with a list of requirements, having spoken previously with qualified experts and marketers to gain insight into what partners might be the best fit.

Once you have it down to three to five potential partners, you can begin having in-depth meetings with them. A key here is go in-depth, but to assume nothing.

“In the beginning we experienced a lot of canned demos, where they just go in and show the same thing over and over again. Really consider what your use cases are, and ask them to prepare demos that solve your problems,” she said.

Integration is an issue many marketers overlook, so getting engineers involved early on is essential. Another overlooked issue is a cultural fit.

“When you’re working with an ESP, you’re building a long-term relationship … if you’re not getting along and the relationship doesn’t feel good, it’s probably not going to be a good cultural fit for you going forward,” she said.


You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.


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Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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