15 More Questions to Ask Your E-mail Partner

  |  November 4, 2010   |  Comments

The buy-side of the e-mail industry needs to dig their heels in and ask tough questions in order to get more value out of the e-mail industry and help us all move forward.

In Part 1 of questions to ask your e-mail partner, I outlined 17 probing topics to bring to your e-mail partner. In Part 2, here are 15 more questions that may put your e-mail partner on the hot seat and lead to a more productive relationship in 2011 – or to a new e-mail partner and to a more productive e-mail program.

  1. I have other key channel partners including mobile and social - will you assist and play nice with them?
  2. Social seems to be a big deal in the e-mail world - how have you leveraged it for clients, not to mention us?
  3. Can you please explain your pricing and fees and help determine an ROI on this relationship?
  4. What are your company's thought leadership initiatives and do the people that work on my account participate?
  5. I have to spend too much time making sense of the reporting - can you make it easier for me?
  6. OK, I get it about our opens and clicks - but how has our e-mail program contributed to our business goals and objectives? If it hasn't, why and what can we do to fix it?
  7. How are you different from the other 37 e-mail companies that I have heard from or about?
  8. What makes your company special and a good fit for my needs?
  9. Why do my e-mails that you "build" look the same as your other clients?
  10. Will you come to our office and give a C-suite state of the union on our e-mail program?
  11. Are you charging me for reading these questions and what other fees am I not aware of?
  12. Why don't we talk or meet more often?
  13. If you could fix three things about my e-mail program, no questions asked, what would they be?
  14. Will I get a better e-mail partner if I switched to your competition? Why wouldn't I consider such a move?
  15. What are you going to do to improve my e-mail program in 2011?

Some of these may be shockingly basic, but many good e-mail folks are lost searching for help. Use these for a straightforward request-for-proposal or just some talking points for your next partner meeting. Regardless, I have heard many people tell me they need more hands-on strategy and campaign management assistance but yet invest solely on the technology. That is akin to saying you are a bad driver but you solve it by buying a new car. Other times, an underachieving and incumbent e-mail vendor remains as the partner because of inertia or a lack of incentive to find the best and, maybe more importantly, the right fit.

The buy-side of the e-mail industry needs to dig their heels in and ask tough and potentially uncomfortable questions in order to get more value out of the e-mail industry and ultimately help all of us move forward.

What questions do you plan on asking or being asked (or maybe questions you hope to avoid)?

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Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at NewInboxBook.com and SimmsJenkins.com.

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