Integrated vs. Hosted Email Marketing
by Dan Ogdon
Selecting the right email marketing solution can be a tedious process as many of the service providers offer very similar solutions. From training of users to post campaign management of contacts, there are many things to consider for your organization. While many email marketing solutions offer excellent hosted solutions, a service provider that integrates with your database may be a simpler more effective email and contact management solution.
When looking at hosted email marketing solutions you will find that you must first export your contact list, import it into the hosted solution and manage the sending through their application. Once the campaign is sent, you will be given reports on opens, clicks, bounces and opt outs. Now, you must take the data provided and compare back with your original database, flag the opt outs and suppress for future emailings and remove the bounced email address. This process can prove to be painstaking if the list you are sending email to is large or has not been recently updated.
Using an integrated email marketing solution will significantly cut the cost to compare and update contact lists as there is only one list to manage. An integrated solution sends directly from you database (SalesLogix) to your customers. Your list is not moved and reporting is centralized so opt-outs and bounces will be automatically flagged in your application. This saves you time and keeps you safe from sending email to recipients who have asked to not receive messages from you.
If you have a large team of users sending email campaigns to their contacts, training them to be proficient with an entirely new hosted email marketing application affords a cost in time spent away from their more important jobs. Managing multiple users through a hosted solution can also be a headache as there is so much back and forth between lists.
The learning curve for using an integrated solution is much steeper than a hosted solution as your users are already comfortable in their familiar application. Users will simply learn how to segment, select a message and send rather than learn an entirely foreign interface. As users are sending from a centralized database, managers of integrated solutions will have the ability to see centralized reporting. Managers will know exactly what each user is sending and how effective each one of their messages are.
If using a CRM application in conjunction with a hosted email marketing solution, there is no way to tie campaign, much less campaign results to an individual contact. Since an integrated solution sends directly from the database, each contact record is updated with vital campaign statistics that are valuable to use when contacting your customers. You will know what email template was sent, what day it was sent, how many times it was opened and how many links were clicked on. This is automatically updated on the individual level when using an integrated email marketing solution.
While using a hosted email marketing solution is a great way to send your messages to your contact list, there are a few constraints that must be determined whether or not you can afford to overcome. On the other hand, using an integrated solution provides the same delivering capabilities with a tighter post campaign process including, contact record updates, suppression and centralized manager reporting. If you are simply sending out newsletters and offers to your customers with no expectation of individual customer follow up a hosted solution will suit you well. If you are looking to take use your post campaign data to make customer follow up decisions and use your emails as a customer profiling tool, an integrated service is the solution to fit your business growing needs.