Looking for the Best Email Service Provider? Sometimes a Smaller ESP Makes Sense

Studio shot of a fish in bowlMarketers are often drawn to the big email service providers and why not? They usually have a big name, a big presence, and really big (and sometimes really fun) user conferences.

Sometimes, however, a big ESP isn’t necessarily the best fit for a company, even if that company has a big email program.

Who needs to think big?
When we help clients do an email service provider comparison, we remind them of the plusses and minuses of a top-tier ESP, and that the size of your company does not determine the size ESP you need. A company can be quite small and still have a huge list, large send volume, and sophisticated needs…which means a big, enterprise-level ESP seems like a better fit.

But not always, and this gets back to the “sophisticated needs” I just mentioned. Sometimes the need for customization makes the smaller email service provider the right one.

When a smaller ESP makes sense
Take iPost as an example. An ESP this size is much more likely to develop a specific feature for you (if it fits into their overall roadmap) than say an ExactTarget (now owned by Salesforce) or Silverpop (now owned by IBM). Those enterprise-level ESPs are locked into a big roadmap and their code won’t change. A smaller ESP, on the other hand, might be willing to customize code for you to meet your particular email marketing needs.

This is another example of why knowing what lies ahead as part of your own organization’s roadmap is crucial before you start creating your RFP or doing an email service provider comparison. It’s not just your criteria now that matters, but your future criteria too.

And that future criteria might be met by a smaller ESP with bigger flexibility.