Finding the best email marketing platform: 20 questions to ask

Don't forget to ask vendors about project methodologies, reporting, and support before moving on to the negotiations and purchasing stages.

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When your team has decided that an enterprise email marketing platform is right for your brand, we recommend setting up demos with your short list of vendors within a relatively short time frame after receiving the RFP responses to help find the best email marketing platform for you.

Make sure that all potential internal users are on the demo call, and pay attention to the following:

  • How easy is the platform to use, especially when it comes to design, previewing and collaboration?
  • Does the vendor seem to understand our business and our marketing needs?
  • Are they showing us our “must-have” features?
  • Is the reporting actionable and are we able to extract insights from the data with the human resources we have available?

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Here are some other important questions to ask each vendor:

  1. What is your approach to list management and hygiene?
  2. How do you validate the accuracy of your data appends and matches?
  3. How do you comply with privacy regulations and consumer choice?
  4. How robust and flexible are your reporting options?
  5. Can reports be customized and automatically delivered to different users and types of users in their preferred formats?
  6. Where are the actionable reports?
  7. Are there workflows built in that allow for coordination between marketing, content and design teams, as well as brand and regulatory compliance?
  8. Can we work with franchisees in local markets, or internal operations in different geographies, within the platform to ensure consistency and compliance?
  9. How does the platform integrate with martech platforms (i.e., CRMs, DSPs, CDPs)?
  10. Does the platform feature any built-in data activation capabilities beyond email sending (i.e., display ad campaigns or social media marketing)?
  11. What reporting do you provide that will document the ROI from our efforts?
  12. What does the onboarding process entail and how long will it take?
  13. What are the training options, i.e., is it online only…or will you send people to our location to train us on site?
  14. What kind of customer support is included? Can we pick up the phone to report problems?
  15. Will we have a dedicated account manager and technical support?
  16. Do you offer a proof-of-concept to measure potential performance and scale?
  17. What kind of professional services are available? And how much do they cost?
  18. How does the company handle requests for product modifications?
  19. What new features are you considering?
  20. What’s the long-term roadmap and when are features expected to launch?

If the vendor answers your questions and the platform seems to meet your needs, it’s time to start checking references, speaking with existing customers, and negotiating the contract.

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About the author

Pamela Parker
Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media's Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She's a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

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