Resources

EP #25 The Science of Switching to a New Email Service Provider (ESP) in 2021

About this Podcast

Hello Bronto customer!

Chances are you are on the lookout for a new email service provider(ESP) or planning a platform migration. We have partnered with Chris Marriott, Founder at Email Connect, to help you understand the process of selecting your next ESP. Marketers are often put off by ESP migration as it appears to be complicated and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

An ESP migration is easier when you have a team to show you the best practices and processes for a successful transition. Don’t wait, now is the time for you to evaluate the product capabilities of a new platform, and understand how they can positively impact your marketing goals.

Join us and you will get deep insights on reviewing the features of an ESP, data migration practices, deliverability best practices, IP/domain warmup process, and much more.

#fortheloveofemails

Quick snapshot
In this podcast, they discussed
Essential features and benefits that your new email platform should have.
Best practices for data migration to your new ESP.
Hacks to fast track warmup and scale without troubles.
Best practices to maintain good deliverability with your new ESP.
How can Netcore Cloud help you achieve all your email marketing goals?
Episode Transcripts

Intro: You’re listening to the ForTheLoveOfEmails podcast, powered by Netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks, engage, grow, and retain customers.Through reliable, smart, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization, optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns.No fluff tune in to hear best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners master your email communication now.

Matthew Vernhout (0.43): Welcome to the session today my name is Matthew Vernhout, I’m the Vice President, Deliverability with Netcore Cloud. I have 2 great panellists joining me today. I have Chaitanya Chinta joining us otherwise known as CC so you’ll hear me refer to him as CC as we go.  CC is the head of email business for Netcore cloud along with Christopher Marriott, a good friend of ours and expert in all things RFP for email which will be a very important topic over the next few months for many of our guests joining us today as you are looking for a new email platform and moving forward. So, we’re gonna jump right in and I’m gonna just throw a question right to CC as we start here. CC can you tell us what’s going on with Bronto. 

Chaitanya Chinta (1.27): Thanks Matt, thanks for the introduction. Hi everyone. Oracle has decided to sunset Bronto in about a year’s time. Maybe, 2022 is the time they’ve chosen to sunset Bronto. Many of the Bronto customers that we spoke to have shown an inclination to move away from Bronto to a new ESP, to choose a New ESP. And we thought this would be the right platform. We can probably talk about what it means to move to a new ESP and probably talk about the kind of you know address some of the dilemmas that the Bronto customers are in, or any confusion they’re in and answer to these set of questions that they might have when they’re choosing a new ESP and you know that’s the whole point of you know we’ve been doing this for now. So, jumping right in, When we’re picking a new ESP when we’re choosing a new ESP, there a bunch of factors that go into play and on a high level you know you’re probably looking at, what are the advanced capabilities the product has? It comes from AI, machine learning capabilities. I mean when it comes to personalisation, does the product have Send Time Optimization? Are there any advanced models that can help in driving better ROI or increasing the lifetime value of the customer? And what kind of support, I think this is 1 of the major factors that we have seen with Bronto customers, support is one of the critical factors that they’re looking at. And what is the kind of support that we’re getting when we getting when we’re transitioning to a new ESP, that’s another factor that we’ll look into. And what are the kind of analytics, like the kind of dashboards that are shown or the API’s that we get to integrate into your platforms? What are the real-time analytics that the product gives that can be integrated and that can be used internally? Of course, when you’re moving from one ESP to another, inbox placement plays a bigger role right I mean, the transition has to be so smooth that there’s no effect on inboxing and the ROI and Is it just the product? or is it beyond the product? You get the consulting service which is an ESP core or marketing KPI’s which offers better results. Now, these are some of the things that we thought, Chris at this point in time you are the expert in the industry, you know what do you think the do’s and don’ts are for an ESP from your standpoint. I know you’ve been working with a lot of brands, so what are you seeing as a client for Bronto customers.

Christopher Marriott (4.35): Sure, let me get off of that screen and into this screen and again thanks for having me today and Matt thanks for that very kind introduction. I’m gonna talk a little bit about Some of the advice I’ve been giving Bronto customers in terms of how they should approach the decision. you know, What do we do? Do we do anything? What we do and if we do something how do we start that process? I think all of your suggestions on that last slide were very good about evaluating ESPs.  I’m gonna talk less about that and more about the things that lead to a successful outcome and the things that are barriers to a successful outcome. So as Matt and CC talked about, you’re on Bronto, what are your choices right now? Well, you can obviously choose to stay with Oracle and have them migrate you but as CC said and I think you know in my conversations that are really not a path that many Bronto clients are looking into seriously at this point. So, if you decided that oracle isn’t a good fit for your company and again Bronto and Responsys are extremely different platforms, Bronto’s been well what I would consider a market platform and Responsys being an excellent enterprise platform but probably with way more horsepower than and way more complexity than the vast majority of Bronto clients are using now Bronto or even probably me. So if you’re not going to go with Oracle for all those reasons, you need to decide how thorough the process of vendor selection you want to do. You need to do something so what is it going to be. One way to go would be to look at some demos, ask friends for recommendations, please don’t do this, that is probably one of the worst things to do yet, I see people do that all the time. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you wanna know why that’s such a bad idea cause I could walk in a 50-minute rant until you pull the plug out of me but or check to price. In other words, you do a sort of casual look around and that’s one way to go. Do you conduct a formal RFP and look at several ESP’s that collectively might be able to address your email marketing needs. And a question I think a lot of you face as well as to hire an outside consultant to help me with either via ball because the consultant doesn’t always have to come in and say “We’ve got to do an RFP”  again there are many ways to get from A to B, formal RFP being just one of them. When do you need to have a plan? Well, you probably should have a plan in place you got 12 months left, so you really need it if you haven’t started planning yet and I’m not seen thinking, you now need to plan. You need to get a plan right now for what are you going to do because again in 12 months if you’re going to conduct a formal RFP, you will need most of that time for the evaluation, the negotiation, the migration to a new platform whatever you think an RFP is going to take you in terms of time, trust me, it’ll take more time than you think. So there is no time like the present if you’re going to do a full-fledged, like in the present if you’re going to do a full-fledged RFP you need to get started literally right now right after this webinar today. Because when Bronto gets turned off and it’s going to be turned off it’s not going to be slow you know run a long tail of running out of steam it’s going to get shot off a year from now, and if you aren’t on another platform already, whether it’s Responsys or whether someone else, you’re literally going to be unable to send an email for a period of time, which obviously is a disaster to you professionally and your company’s email marketing program. If you decide to risk migrating to Responsys, better do it sooner rather than later because there’s going to be a lot of your fellow Bronto customers who probably are going to wait till the last minute and who will end up having to stay with Responsys because they don’t have time to RFP and migrate and you don’t want to be at the crush at the very,  you know want to be the twelfth-month crush trying to get migrated. So again, if you’re going to migrate to Responsys don’t wait, ask them if you can start now. How do you determine if you’re gonna move, what the best platform is? There’s no substitute for a thorough RFP Bender selection process in my book. The longer you’ve been on Bronto the less likely it is that you’re going to understand the vendor landscape and the differences between the ESP’s and trust us when we tell you, CC will tell you, I will tell you, Matt will tell you, there are huge differences between the platforms that aren’t readily apparent. And the only way you can determine whether or not you should migrate and I’m sorry and it’s really the only way to determine whether you should migrate from Responsys and pay for an enterprise platform. Again, you can include responses in your RFP if you wanted to do a whole lot. It’s almost a given that if you do go through a rigorous process now you’re gonna end up with the platform that makes you think to yourself- Why didn’t I do this before now? You’re gonna say it- I should have done this a couple of years ago, you know what? You should’ve. But at least now you’re ending up at a better platform. So, I want to conclude with some thoughts on how you master an RFP if you do one. First, negotiate a contract extension with Bronto before you start the RFP. I’ve talked to many brands that contract runs out you know June and July of this year, you’re not going to finish an RFP before then you need to understand what the costs are, what Bronto will do and in terms of an extension that you gotta get to that right away. I advise using a scorecard and make your decisions for the right reasons if you’re going to move if you’re going to look at ESP’s a scorecard driven methodology that’s objective in ranking the ESP’s and rating them is going to ensure you end up with the best solution for your company. Complete the RFP and come to a decision, that sounds like we’ll walk horse well not, of course, it’s very likely if you don’t get started soon enough you’re going to run out of time you’re not going to come to a decision and then you’re gonna be forced onto response. Understand what you absolutely need in your contract and what you don’t, don’t sweat the minutiae. Would I work with clients and we help clients negotiate contracts, we always help them understand that the sort of what I call the big 3 critical things you need to get right and everything else you know is stuff you shouldn’t sweat. And lastly and that while it sounds and more mostly self-serving and it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good advice, Bring in an outside resource to help manage your RFP. Why do you need outside resources? As I said earlier there are much bigger differences between ESP’s than you probably understand. That’s not your fault because you’ve been led to believe by everyone from Forrester to vendor sales teams that everybody kind of falls in the same pot, everybody can do everything. Forrester does an ESP wave and they throw platforms into their comparison that I wouldn’t put in the same RFP, so how come you don’t understand what those differences are when  Forrester make it look like -well everybody’s kind of equal ESP’s is a just some do it better than others. That’s not true as I said there are huge differences between ESP’s and you need to understand that. There have been ongoing extensive changes in the vendor landscape and they continue to rearrange your options on practically a monthly basis and this only adds to the confusion. Companies get bought, companies changed their names, all brands go away, new brands come up, but the platforms remain the same but again navigating through that is a full-time job which is my full-time job and not your full-time job so, again, it’s okay that you don’t understand the differences bring someone in who can help you understand the differences. And lastly, pricing models have become much more diverse and complex over the last 5 years, every vendor has a different model to get to the point that they want to get to the total contract value some rely still heavily on CPMs, others rely heavily on data storage fees, others reliance subscriber fees there’s any number of combinations of things Venders are using to charge brands and again they don’t line up cleanly with each other in the days of CPM and service, blended services rate being the pricing model those are long long gone. So again these are 3 reasons why an outside resource will make your RFP process much more efficient much more effective and almost surely guarantee a positive outcome. I’m not going to dwell on this because my time’s coming short but this is how we look at the vendor landscape and as you can see they’re all over our map and our map doesn’t have, you know this upper right is not better, lower left is not worst, that’s not how we lay things out, what we’re trying to do is show how on a broad scale there are groupings of vendors that tend to have certain characteristics in common that they share with one another and certain characteristics that are absent from everyone else. Again, happy to take somebody through this in detail after this meeting if you reach out to me but again this is where we start with our clients in terms of who should we be looking at. So lastly, as I said questions Email Connect is my company, [email protected] I’m happy to answer any questions, we don’t put down the meter the minute you email us and say it’s time to charge we’re here to help you understand what your options are and again it is just you further great but again if you just want to ask a few questions that don’t get answered today, I’m happy to help you. So again, I’m here at the end, I’ll be here through the end to answer questions but again thanks for the platform Matt and CC, appreciate it and I mean my 15 minutes and turn it back over to you guys.  

Matthew Vernhout (15.23): Thanks Chris, very much. Sharing the right screen here. All right. Thank you very much everyone again if you have any questions for anyone please do put them in the question and answer box. We will get some towards the end of the presentation. So as we move forward you know a lot of the things that Chris said really do make sense as you are progressing and trying to find your next platform and right now we’re sort of in this first stage, maybe even the second stage depending on where you are in your program and it’s really understanding what you’re looking for, what you have, what you use for platform and then trying to match what you need or what you perceive to be needed in the next 2 years after this for a new platform, so where do you want your platform to take you in the next 2 years. As you get ready to migrate, you obviously will need to inventory your entire program. You’ll need to do some testing with your new platform possibly some integration as well as a warm-up of your demand and IP’s and then also some compliance thing. So we’re gonna go through these 7 items here rather quickly to give you a general idea of what a migration takes to switch from one platform to another because as Chris mentioned you know these things are gonna happen in months 12th and if you do try to get the most 12-year program migration will not succeed regardless of what platform you’re trying to move them to. So, this isn’t a progressive timeline, it’s an idea to tell you how long each of these items will approximately take, as you progress. So first up, here we are, you’re here, you’ve joined us today because you’re interested in learning about the requirements for migration. Things to considering over the next 2 months and I probably wouldn’t go much beyond 2 months because as Chris mentioned migration happens, the place takes time to do all of these things and you know you’re gonna have to go through and do a bunch of analysis to understand what you’re looking for, what features the ESP has, you know, Are there additional features they have such as integration with SMS or social platforms or maybe there are things that have been on your list of things to do but you don’t quite have the ideas of how to do them or platform that integrates to do those things. So really make your wish list now and then when you’re ready to do your RFP, include all of those things you’ll be surprised at what you can find. As you go through the same period and I say this takes 3 to 6 months because I’ve seen so many complex programs that people forget, they forget to trigger program, they forget a journey that was important, they forget they have a web form that’s doing something for an unsubscribe process. So, really take the time to inventory your email program. And if you’re not doing DMARC. DMARC right now is a great tool that will tell you the source of all emails using your domain names and where they originate from, so this is a great way to evaluate and look to say- Are we capturing everything? A good friend of mine is an email consultant and was implementing DMARC for one of his clients and they said “Oh we have 3 vendors that send an email on our behalf” and implemented DMARC they found 16. So, you’ll be surprised at the number of vendors potentially sending email on your behalf and as you need to migrate understanding that and potentially looking to consolidate those vendors under one platform is certainly something to look out for budgetary reasons. You also have to inventory all your forms, your existing DNS and how you’re configured as well as know where you might have other data collection points. Is it a point of sale? Is it a call centre? Is it a mail-in ballot? Is it any type of form collecting data, so, you know, when you’re getting ready to migrate, all the different pieces you need to migrate? From there you know once you’ve selected your vendor and you’re getting ready and you’re ready to start setting up your new platform, make sure you export your old data make sure you get everything, this is also something commonly seen during migrations, someone forgets a suppression list, someone forgets an unsubscribe list or they simply don’t upload those into the new platform. Certainly, there are lots of compliance issues to pay attention to as well. Take some time to configure the new DNS with your new platform, integrate everything, get everything working the way you expected to the way it currently is, this typically takes anywhere from you know a month maybe 2 months depending on how integrated your platform is and the types of things you need to plug into. So plan ahead for all of these things because you’re simply not going to have enough time or resources in the March of next year to complete all of these 6. As you continue to do this, new API’s, new form integrations, new everything needs to get done. If you are a company that takes you to know 3 months to get a website change put in place you need to account for that as part of your planning phase and as part of your set-up. Preference centre building, new names will need to be mapped ETL’s if you’re doing any type of automated daily transfers of information will need to be built or updated and in some cases looking at integration between that time where you’re straddling 2 platforms. How do you synchronize the data back and forth between those 2 platforms in the most efficient way? Also, look at any journey that you currently have and a new capability that maybe you weren’t integrating before, such as you know I mentioned earlier, a journey that’s not just email but when an email bounces, you know maybe you have a shipping notice you’re trying to send to a customer and that email address bounces, are you able to then trigger an SMS message to that same user to say “Your email bounced but here’s your shipping notice” those types of things are important to consider if you’re not doing them now. Consider this a blank slate for those programs you’ve been meaning to update just never got around to doing it. You can start from scratch with a new platform. The warmup is also important this is something I find a lot of people don’t account for as Chris was mentioning their contract starts to and they’re trying to maybe negotiate or trying to look at what the next platform is. Warm-up across the board depending on the size of your list can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to get to your full capabilities of mailing. And there are several reasons for this, most of them exist on the mailbox provider side. So, if you’re trying to send mail to Hotmail as an example from new IP space, potentially new domains, new subdomains with new domain keys. All of these things become near reputation points, where they’re going to start judging you from 0. So, these things don’t necessarily just transfer over nicely when you switch between platforms. So, all of these things need to be accounted for. So you can even look at maybe there are easy points in your program to migrate, maybe it’s your welcome journey, that gets you started with a nice little drip, a mail, maybe it is your shipping notifications there’s another nice little drip that is costly going that will help you with those warm-ups and as you get ready to move the bulk of your programs you’ve already got a head start. Decisions on dedicated and shared IP’s are also things you will need to consider during the warm-up process. Being tightly integrated and working with your vendor to monitor your metrics,  make sure that they’re watching bounces, make sure that they’re helping you along, making sure that everything is properly configured. And in most cases it’s not a straight line you might have great success with Gmail, you might have great success with Yahoo, and have a lot of roadblocks on outlook. So there are different pieces that are going to be moving at different paces and you need to be able to account for those types of things as you migrate and work with your vendor as best they can to help you manage these things. Maybe that’s they can throttle the send rates that you’re sending to a specific IP’s lower so that you can still do the number of things you take and they just trickle the mail out at a speed that’s appropriate for the reputation and the warm-up phase for that mailbox providers. So certainly make sure you have those conversations with your new vendor. And lastly, this was an important one and I see this missed more often than not. People simply forget. I started mailing today with my new vendor,  my old vendor shutting me off tomorrow and that means all my links and stuff for broken however there are requirements under CAN-SPAM and CASL which is the Canadian anti-spam legislation that deals specifically with the length of time that the unsubscribed link needs to exist. For CAN-SPAM that unsubscribe needs to exist for 30 days from the last message sent to the user so if you send me a mail today from your old platform, I need to be able to click on that unsubscribe link and have it work in 30 days. Being actually in Canada where I’m located, that link has to exist for 60 days so there are legal requirements that you also need to consider as part of your migration that when you stop mailing from your old vendor you need to potentially look at how do I adjust my unsubscribe process to carry me over that call it 60 maybe 90-day windows to account for these compliance issues. Now, some people have it easier than others,  they may have a third party preference centre that’s hosted that can plug into any platform so that’s not a big problem. However, if you are relying on your ESP’,. unsubscribe capabilities, definitely make sure that your account for this and that you synchronize your unsubscribes and your preference changes back and forth between all the platforms. Moving platforms is also a great opportunity to clean your data, it’s a great opportunity to get rid of that dead weight that maybe has been just been sitting, there these are people that are balanced, they’ve unsubscribed, you just never got around to deleting them from your platform. Consider using this opportunity to do address validation, use this opportunity to do a list scrub. The reason for that as well is that each ESP will process bounces differently. So, there will be some messages that maybe weren’t delivered from your old ESP for various reasons, that might now deliver or vice versa, there might have been messages that your old ESP allowed you to send mail to you, that your new ESP maybe won’t, such as a [email protected] address or a [email protected] address as a recipient maybe won’t be allowed from your new ESP, where your old ESP let you do that just for different policy reasons and different sort of acceptable risk scenarios for those different platforms. There are things to consider and have as part of your conversation as well to understand is there any global suppression that the brand needs to be aware of. Even from the point of view of bounce management, bounce reporting some ESP’s look at Total Send Volume versus Total Delivered Volumes in regards to the bounce metric. So you may see some difference in your reporting that you’re going to need to understand and account for as you move forward. Just a few things to really consider right your deadline for switching is hardcoded as Chris said end of May 2022 that day it’s not getting any further away. So there is a sense of urgency to work back and you know build the right work back schedule to get your program successfully migrated. As well is too far for a lot of marketers, is a huge quarter in the year and you may experience code freezes, you may experience program freezes, you probably don’t want to be doing a warm-up the week before Thanksgiving in the United States which is traditionally the biggest kick-off to holiday shopping anywhere. You want to be set up either well before that or ready to trigger your migration immediately after the holidays. Those are your 2 options if you can’t do it now then I suggest always sooner is better than later because there’s never an ideal time to migrate, there’s always that next holiday, there’s always that next program, there’s always the next thing that your watching. You need to be able to operate this now or later but you need to be able to do it in an efficient quick manner and really sort of move it and like I said the sooner the better because you’re gonna experience roadblocks, you’re gonna experience bumps, you’re gonna experience challenges as you move. Regardless of where you migrate, there’s always that one or 2 things that become a nit-picky problem that you need to address and that’s where working with the right vendor, and the right partner helps you understand those different pieces. I’m gonna now toss this over to CC and CC is going to give you a bit on how Netcore makes this less problematic for you. 

Chaitanya Chinta (28.50): Yeah thanks Matt, before I talk about this, I think we have a few questions in the chat, I’ll probably take them. Matt, I think the first question is for you, In terms of warm-up, is it necessary or can we just get a warmed up IP or probably a shared pool, merging a shared pool of IP’s and scale volumes in a week’s time?

Matthew Vernhout (29.19): So there are multiple different things that impact Send volume and warm up. So from an IP warm-up point of view, Yes if you’re in a shared pool there’s probably some existing shared reputation on those IP’s, Yes there’s probably some existing understanding from the mailbox providers as to what type of messages are being sent through those networks. However, IP reputation has become less important in many cases specifically in places like Gmail where domain reputation is their metric that they look at and domain reputation really focuses on your brand, your domain keys and as you change and migrate those things, you’re gonna start from zero again. So, you can get some benefit from being in a shared IP but going from zero to millions in a week is very unlikely on any platform in the states.

Chaitanya Chinta (30.17): Got it! I think that sums up the first question. Chris, I think the second question is for you, When I’m moving from Bronto, should I move to another ESP or marketing automation platform. I think  there’s this whole category of starters in your landscape there are a bunch of providers falling into multiple categories 

Christopher Marriott (30.44):   I love that question and my answer to that is- Frankly they’re one and the same and it really depends what I’ve seen over the last five years and more even more recently is that ESP’s run from that label and they want to be anything but thought of as an ESP’s because ESP’s in their minds from the vendors are thought of as sort of old legacy systems that do email and whereas marketing automation platforms do triggers, automation and journeys. The reality is that the leading ESP’s with a leading platform do all of the above. The definition of what an ESP should be has evolved dramatically whereas when I think of an ESP and as you should think of an ESP, you should think of your multi-channel email, SMS, push to mobile, push to the app all of that built-in there. You should be thinking that promotional campaigns, as well as trigger campaigns and trigger, is based on the widest range of things you can think of from browse abandonment to the old cart abandonment to any other event that might happen so you know they’re really one and the same. Don’t be fooled by what a platform calls itself. Because when you dig into the details, they all sort of doing the same thing some do certain things better than others, but that’s part of your job in determining who is best for you. So long-winded way of saying-look at them all because marketing automation platform, email platform, cross channel manager and there are so many different acronyms out there but they’re all ESPs.

Chaitanya Chinta (32.41): Got it, Chris, Matt there’s an extension to the earlier question- if I use my existing domain in Migrate can I still use the old reputation and scale faster? Would that be an option?

 

Matthew Vernhout (33.06): So it certainly helps. I wouldn’t say that it’s the final answer. Some mailbox providers have said by updating your authentication records in advance of migrating they will take that into consideration understanding that the IP spaces change may be in your SPF records. Regardless of what happens with the domain, you’re still going to have changes to your domain key record your deacon records. I should say which a lot of the mailbox providers will use. It’s a natural thing, you migrating a deacon record between vendors is extremely hard because most vendors control the private key requirements. So, ideally, a migration focuses on your best-performing customers first, the people that will evangelize on your behalf are eager to receive your emails or the high-value emails such as password reset, purchase notifications, trigger notifications that are going to be things that people will be highly engaged with. Those are the things you want to focus on where you want to watch out for and this is specifically with Gmail and with Microsoft sending to non-engaged users especially non engage users in any significant number will drastically hamper your warm-up so, it will help… but I would say it’s not going to be the result to say go from zero to one million a week. It’s going to incrementally easier than starting from zero but not enough to just migrate your full traffic in one day.

 

Chaitanya Chinta (34.54):Got it. Alright. So what you’re saying is it plays a role, you can probably fastrack it a bit but definitely not to a level where you can make it to a million emails in a week’s time.

Matthew Vernhout (35.04): I wouldn’t count on that. NO. It may help, it’s not going to be flip the switch from one platform to another overnight kind of scenario.

 

Chaitanya Chinta (35.14): Got it. All right. So I’ll probably pick it up on this slide where how Netcore stacks with the Bronto transition right.

See, with Netcore what you get out and whenever and this is for any ESP migration. Whenever your brand is moving from one ESP to another there’s a lot of factors that play into having a successful migration and you’ll need a specialist who’s aligned to you, who’s looking at your migration from time to time and giving you suggestions on what trends are we seeing are there any reputation building, are there any challenges to Gmail? outlook, as Matt rightly said that there are a bunch of factors that affect right. So how is it progressing? I think there’s definitely a need for continuous monitoring of how the transition is happening for the entire warm-up period and you will need an onboarding specialist to it. So that’s what Netcore is going to align when you move to Netcore. So, you’ll have a dedicated onboarding specialist who will be looking at your email program from the kind of integrations that have been done, how the transitions have been made, what are the kind of journeys that you can create, the similar journeys,  how can you replicate on Netcore customer engagement platform, and help you throughout the entire transition. There’s an onboarding specialist who’s going to help you with all of that. So that’s where we step in but right after that while this whole thing is going on, there’s a dedicated consultant aligned to your business KPI’s, who builds the custom warm-up strategy for you based on your business priority. Every business has its own priorities, there’s no right time, there’s no single strategy that can be applied for all the businesses out there. So, our specialist usually, the email expert that we align with you, understand your email program and build a custom strategy that helps you migrate in a very smooth fashion. As we move, we don’t stop it just with the migration but we continue that consulting service further. Our specialist coaligns with your email program KPI’s and we help you achieve them. So, you bring your brand strategy to the table and we bring our email expertise to the table and we can build a strategy that is better than the sum of individuals. So that’s something that our consultants do. While this is from the people front, from the product standpoint the kind of Machine learning or AI features that are there will enable you to get better insights on what’s happening with your email program and at the same time how do you achieve better open rates and click rates. All of that is sort of dig into our RAMAN AI engine in terms of predictive segmentation and Send Time Optimization features that we have. We understand your data sets and we try to give you better inboxing in the ROI. From the delivery engine standpoint, for let’s say Bronto or any other ESP out there,  this is one core USP of Netcore, so let’s say for any promotional campaign that you send out, the way you send it, you publish a campaign and it gets delivered. But what we do is, we don’t deliver your email campaign right away, we create hundreds of micro-segments. Supposed you’ve scheduled a campaign for million users we create hundreds of microsegments behind the scenes and we try to, you know, based on the composition of the segment we set the throughput and priority which are different for each and every campaign, which essentially means we predict who’s going to open your emails first and we try to deliver to them first. And then we as we go down in our user base to the inactive users, we try to slow down the delivery so that we stay in the good books of mailbox providers and take advantage of something called Dynamic Reputation. When you start the campaign you start delivering to the best of the users, which generates better engagement and that reputation helps you achieve better inboxing overall. That’s something the homegrown AI engine will achieve for you. All of this is visible through a dashboard where you can get a 360-degree view of what’s happening with our email program. Right from the email delivery to the extent of getting the ROI of your email program. All of that is completely trackable. So, a quick brief about Netcore, we’ve been around for almost 23 years now, founded in India but now we’re operating out of 21+ countries with a 700+ workforce across the globe now. Covering most of the continent, we’re there now. We’re a complete bootstrapped company, and profitable for the last 20+ years now. And we have been most recommended ESP according to G2, right from the customer support to being the leader when it comes to the spring edition. We are also nominated by our customers as the most recommended ESP on G2. At this point, I think we are open to taking QnA’s.

 

 

Matthew Vernhout (42.25): So there are a couple more questions here for Chris. More so! So Chris when you’re considering building your RFP which teams should you involve in that discussion internally, maybe beyond just the marketing team to look at feature sets and immigration things that should be included from a vendor.

 

Christopher Marriott (42.48): Yeah we try to include really everybody who touches the email or whom the email program in any way shape or form impacts their jobs. So the obvious ones are the email marketing team, and IT. Less obvious are things like customer service where tightly integrated email program can enable call centre folks to suppress an unhappy customer or to look up the last email that was sent and often times when I’m working with brands and I say I want to talk to the call centre at the customer service they say- why? they have nothing to do with email. And my response is -yeah but they could. So, it really is merchandising all of the different areas, the first answer is for anybody who wants to be involved in the RFP process at a brand, you should welcome them. Because what you don’t want, is anybody feeling shut out of a process and then after the fact being passive-aggressive or in other ways really just not embracing the solution that you selected. You want everybody to embrace that solution and one of the benefits, you know I talked earlier about scorecards, one of the benefits of a scorecard driven methodology is everybody can fill out a scorecard who wants to. And a lot of times it’s not fun. We have our scorecards in round one have up to 250 to 300 requirements spread out among eight or ten vendors and our clients are asked to score every response and every vendor and that’s tedious and that’s time-consuming but it’s usually valuable to understanding your options and it is critical in our process to go, you know, to get down to the final four. So you know just to sum up my typical long-winded answer, you should involve everybody who wants to be involved and you should involve beyond that everybody who might benefit from being involved because you’re expanding the value of email programs outside of the default areas you may have considered it. They only considered it up until this point in time.

 

Matthew Vernhout (45.02):  Great thanks, another question here Chris, probably for you, see if you have an opinion on this and I’d love to hear it but you know what is the biggest surprise most brands experience when working through the process of picking a new platform as they go through that process.

 

Christopher Marriott (45.27): I’ll go first CC, I’ve seen this more recently and Matthew would get what I was saying earlier that brands don’t, you know it’s very hard for brands to understand differences in platforms and even understand who they should be looking at the and which is another good reason to bring in an outside resource. I would say in my most recent enterprise RFP’s, the biggest surprise for many of those brands was, they pick the vendor they wouldn’t even include or and maybe hadn’t even heard of before we recommended they take a look at it to include that vendor in the process. So again, brands who have, you know who enter the process with a sort of a set of people, usual suspects they should look at when they broaden that oftentimes end up choosing someone outside of that and that’s surprises themselves that-I hadn’t even heard of these guys I would have invited them.

 

Chaitanya Chinta (46.21): So. In my conversations with Matt, I think it’s mostly the planning. There is a bit of underestimation by brands when it comes to the transition from one ESP to another. They don’t factor in all the things. The planning is not very exhaustive by a good number of brands. They think it’s a time frame and in thirty days I should be able to transition from one ESP to other. We may have definitely encountered a bunch of those conversations.

 

Matthew Vernhout (47.02): Okay, CC there’s another question here for you, it says, not all ESP’s talk about AI. How does working with Netcore and the Netcore AI help with the migration?

 

Chaitanya Chinta (47.17): Okay so, I feel a good bunch of ESP’s do have AI capabilities, it’s not that only we’re talking about. I think about most of the ESP’s out there do have AI capabilities when it comes to Send time Optimization is one feature. So it cuts across ESP’s out there. But what’s interesting is, what it can deliver to you from a result standpoint, like you know, while Netcore definitely has some USP’s when it comes to our ABS email delivery or Predictive engagement. So there’s a couple of USP’s out there But what’s important is that from a transition standpoint, when you’re moving from one ESP to another ESP, honestly the AI features will not add much of a value there. The reason being, any AI feature needs a lot of history to be built in and they lack all the historical data. And when you’re moving, switching from one ESP to other, you will not have a lot of history. It is mostly what you’re carrying as a fresh list and you’re doing a fresh start. So in that context, while you can enable AI technologies, but the kind of impact that they can create will be limited. But as you progress after the warm-up, enough history is built, that’s when the real power of AI comes into play.

 

Matthew Vernhout (49.05): Great thanks very much for that, Chris I think you had a 

question.

 

Christopher Marriott (49.08): Yeah I have a question, you know,  as I mentioned earlier Matt, and one of the things you said made me think of this. As I mentioned earlier there’s a lot of ESP’s these days who will remain unnamed, whose primary source of revenue with the brand is records and data stored in the database. That’s their primary revenue model. And it’s migrated from up the B2B world to the B2C world and a lot of ESPs. You had said, which I 100% agree with when you’re talking about migration that your brands don’t just want to upload their existing list but their suppression list and sort of everybody that they’ve mailed who had a bad outcome. So, what is your advice to a brand that has picked the new vendor who’s saying- We’re gonna charge by records in the database and eighty per cent of their records in their database are either suppression list or bad email addresses. Do they bite the bullet and upload those and pay for addresses they’re never going to mail to? Let me also say I think that’s a terrible pricing model I’m very much against it but how would you advise a brand that is faced with that.

 

Matthew Vernhout (50.31): So I think there are a couple of different options. One- like you said you can pay that model in order to have peace of mind, that your suppression list is properly managed and properly taken care of. However, if you have an offline CRM where this data is synchronized, only uploading the data that you plan to use into your new ESP also acts in many ways as suppression. You can’t send to people that you don’t upload. So if you’re only uploading your active mailable universe of recipients and customers, at that point you do solve that problem as well. Where it gets into some of the less obvious pieces is someone may have unsubscribed from your email but is still very active in your app. So you have to maybe have tears of consumers and how you want to upload them where you say-active to me as a brand means- they’re in my app, they’re on my website, maybe they’ve subscribed to my email, maybe they’re subscribed my SMS but they’ve unsubscribed from those. So, you upload them because you need them for the other metrics but you still have to upload them as suppression for email but they’re still an active consumer. Now if you have someone who is not using your platform, not using your app, not subscribed to your newsletter and you still want to track them, link them in your CRM, don’t even upload them to the platform because then you’re just paying for additional record space. Like you said for someone you’re never going to communicate with a deaf. And only make those decisions to move those active consumers to the live platform.

 

Christopher Marriott (52.21): Excellent advice folks because many of you are going to face this so I hope you remember what Matt said because I think that was outstanding advice frankly. If I have time to just add another outside question, an addendum to that.

 

Matthew Vernhout (52.38): Sure we’ve one more question after this, but go ahead.

 

Christopher Marriott (52.41): Okay so my addendum would be you know I often advise brands that are sending transactional emails that \if to check, you know, purchase confirmation bounce it off your list. If it’s a subscriber, the amount of promotional material you can include in that email is much higher and if you’re not a subscriber and if you don’t have.. I guess I’m answering the question myself. I guess if they’re not in the database,  and but if there and if they’re suppressed…..You know what forget it…..

 

Matthew Vernhout (53.21):  No, This is actually very important because there are differences right and you know like I noted earlier I’m in Canada and you’re in the U.S. so CAN-SPAM allows you to have multi-content message pieces. This is an important thing to understand where you can have your transactional message at the top and your promotional content underneath. That is still considered a transactional message under CAN-SPAM when it comes down to the definition of what types of permissions you need, who you can send it to and some of the other sort of core consent pieces of the legislation. However, in Canada if I unsubscribe from promotional content but you still need to send me a transactional message because maybe I’m still an active shopper I just don’t get your email, maybe I use your app, you cannot send me promotional content period. Even in the transactional message. CASL does not have the idea of a multi-part message, it’s either a transactional period or a commercial period. And if I’ve unsubscribed from commercial, you can not send me any more commercial messages. So hanging against your active subscriber database is actually a smart thing to do specifically in Canada because I’m still open for commercial content you can send me commercial content in a transactional message with the idea knowing that it’s transactional or not transactional by definition of the law but allowed because I’m still subscribed for promotional content but if I’m unsubscribed from promotional content you have to dynamically remove anything that’s promotional, just send me the transaction.

 

Christopher Marriott (54.58): And what if I am in the middle category. You’ve talked about I’m subscribed or I unsubscribed. What if I’m in neither database.

 

Matthew Vernhout (55.08): So under CASL, you have to be at least an opt-in. implied, or expressed consent so there is no idea of sending messages to knowing consent-based individuals. 

 

Christopher Marriott (55.22): So, we could have a great discussion on this. This may have to be a follow-up webinar. We’re running out of time, I can see it and I could ask you a million questions but great stuff and I know you have one more question.

 

Matthew Vernhout (55.34): Yeah there’s one more question and I think this works for both of you and I think Chris we’ll let you go last as clean up. I’m gonna put this one out to you because you probably have different answers. When you are looking for your core success metrics as you’re tracking your transition between ESP’s what do you look at as a core success in regards to things is going well during the transition?

 

Chaitanya Chinta (56.00): Okay, So the first is reputation. I’d probably say reputation is the first thing. Making sure that reputation is going higher or medium in Google and other mailbox providers out there.  Reputation, Inboxing and when it comes to the open rates and click rates firstly, you need to get parity. You don’t expect the open rates or click rates to jump of the blue to a higher number just by moving the platform. First, you need to get parity and then after the successful transition is there, you can probably look at optimizing that.

 

Matthew Vernhout (56.47): And Chris when you look at this on your clients what do you consider to be a success during the transition.

 

Christopher Marriott (56.52): Yeah you know that everybody loves metrics and I really look at longer-term rather than the short migration. Certainly, success during migration is -there’s no unexpected “Oh we didn’t know you needed that, that’s going to cost more”. To me, that’s the greatest sin a vendor can commit during migration and we make sure that never happens when we’re working with our clients. Because that to me, you know, I mean there’s going to be surprised, as I said I loved your story earlier it was like ” Oh we only have three ESP’s, No you have fifteen” those surprises I’m okay with, those can happen all the time. We showed you something but we didn’t include it in our cost thing that comes up in migration, as long as it’s none of those it’s a successful migration. Broadly speaking I think you don’t really know how happy you are with the vendor and so you’ve been with them a while and you know a year in, six months in, if your team is more productive, meaning- the things they do day to day are taking less time if your other sort of day to day metrics open and clicks are going up, but they might not be. Just going from one platform to another may not change that, that’s your team. But again if you’re spending less time on getting the email out and more time thinking about it, that stuff will improve. So in my typical way, I’ll wrap up my long way answer by saying I look at long term-is the relationship is a good one? Is everybody happy?  and if the email program improving six months out of twelve months out then that’s a good migration.

 

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