Lisa's Thoughts on ExactTarget
January 21, 2014
Lisa's Thoughts on ExactTarget
Score 8 out of 10
ExactTarget was used by the marketing department to send email campaigns to the entire dealership base. Marketing is done primarily as B2B. Office furniture (industry where I used it at two separate companies) is somewhat of a commodity and tends to look very similar and be close in price point. Differentiating with marketing efforts was one way to stand out. ExactTarget made email communication to mass groups and segments easy.
- Susbscriber list import and management is simple and easy to maintain.
- Tracking/monitoring success of campaigns is thorough and relevant for both marketers and management.
- Creation of text-based emails based on HTML (graphical) emails is simple.
- Design and layout of emails - very tough to create lists or tables of information in the body of emails. To get formatting to look right, have to use HTML scripting.
- Reactivating a subscriber who has unsubscribed accidently is not a simple feat!
- Pricing! For a small to mid-size company that could benefit from ExactTarget, the pricing can be prohibitive.
- For repeated emails sent that are similar and sent to different groups, modifying the emails and creating a personalized set of recipients is very easy - great ROI.
- Easy to tell click-through rates for effectiveness of the email look and call to action. My experiences are not online purchasing, rather B2B overall marketing, so no direct sales ROI is possible.
- Based on the pricing I experienced of cost per email sends, the price can be a deterrent to using ExactTarget, and why it has not been implemented at my current company....yet.
Spam checking, ease of subscriber list management and overall experience and knowledge of email marketing were at the top of the list when selecting ExactTarget. At my current company we have chosen a less sophisticated solution based on price, and do not have some of the list management or testing options available to us.
At this stage in my current company I have not been able to get the budgeting funds to justify ExactTarget, although I do believe there are extensive benefits to the ET solution. Having a solution that could be personalized by sales rep for their correspondence to dealers with variable contact information would be highly beneficial and less manual than what we are doing today with our current solution. Having the ability to setup templates and take the marketing interaction out of the email campaigns would be idea.
It is great for larger corporations with a larger budget, have experience with HTML or IT support on staff, and have numerous subscribers (email recipients) to send email campaigns. It is easy to create lists (sub-sets of subscribers) in ExactTarget. Very easy to manage numerous subscribers with the tool. Complex emails can be enhanced with IT help or if the user of the tool has some general or mid-level HTML experience.
5 - Marketing is the primary department that uses ExactTarget. IT assistance, specifically web developers, as also used as support for the tool for HTML coding logic. Graphic designers create our email heading images that are visually appealing, with text behind the images, should the recipient only have text based email or their company's spam filter block images.
4 - Knowledge of ExactTarget by the marketing group is necessary for use of the tool. IT assistance, specifically web developers, as also used as support for the tool for HTML coding logic. Graphic designers create our email heading images that are visually appealing, with text behind the images, should the recipient only have text based email or their company's spam filter block images.
- Communication of new products and new product introductions
- Promotional opportunity communication
- Reseach of information (surveys) for preferences of our customer base
Evaluation and Selection
- Product Features
- Product Usability
- Product Reputation
- Vendor Reputation
- Analyst Reports
Industry reputation, which was very positive, confirmed that the features we needed and wanted were available with Exact Target. We wanted a reliable product that could assure we were sending legally compliant emails and would manage our subscribers appropriately. Email design and administration of the tool were important as well and adequately met our needs.
I would evaluate the price per email spend compared to the actual number of emails that are planned over the course of the contract year compared to other product offerings. I would also include design capabilities and request a test period prior to signing a contract for the tool. Although I don't feel our choice would be different, it would confirm that is the best product for the price and the effort of using.
Easy to implement, with simple emails and solutions initially created. More advanced usage of the tool and more advanced subscriber attribute usage was implemented during later phases when the knowledge of the tool increased. Monitoring success and results of email campaigns were done at a high level initially, but not fully used until the tool and email marketing as a whole was better understood in the corporation.
Change management was a small part of the implementation and was well-handled - It was important to communication and get buy-in from the sales team that corporately developed emails would be created and distributed by the marketing team - making sure the brand consistency, look, messaging, and intent were similar between campaigns. Random, less well-thought-out emails from sales or other groups without marketing involvement were highly discouraged...that directional change did take some transition time to accomplish.
Support from ExactTarget is very responsive and helpful. The follow-up is timely and the online help actually answered most of my questions and gave information that I needed without having to file an actual help ticket with the support desk. It is also nice to be able to email or CALL (with real people) for support, when needed.
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
No - Online help, as well as support staff assistance is adequate to answer questions. Typically support is a "how to" situation, rather than an actual problem that needs to be addressed. Paying for additional support and services was not necessary, as the information available is sufficient to solve the everyday questions that we have had.
When trying to get a subscriber (email recipient) who had unsubscribed accidently to be an active subscriber again for our company, I called the customer support line and filed an issue. I had also looked at the online help, but needed more information to help get things resolved. With the help of the support person, they quickly assisted and we got the subscriber back to an active status so they could receive communication from our company.
I think the tool is easy to use, protects a company from the spam legislation and manages subscribers very well. It is simple to create a non-complex email. I like the survey function on the email tool as well. Overall usability is quite easy and no necessary to have an IT background or extensive knowledge to use. It is helpful, though, to have an understanding of HTML for formatting at this point.
Like to use
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Quick to learn
Feel confident using
We had approximately 20,000 recipients of most email campaigns, with some higher amounts and some smaller campaigns. The tools is easy to use and the recipient list size is really not a factor in the complexity or work to create and email campaign. Our campaigns could just have easily been sent to many more people, with virtually no additional work.
Upgrades and timing of the upgrades were communicated well and planned during off hours for our work. If we did have a campaign scheduled during that time, it would kick-off after the system was back active. There were a few unplanned system down times, but it was a rare occurrence and those times were also short in duration.
Exact Target performs well and is relatively easy to learn. It handles subscriber management well, and is easy to organize lists and segregation of those subscribers. Emails are easy to classify and group together for re-use or resending to different demographics of the recipients. The product is reliable, and metrics of the campaign results are easy to obtain and interpret.