15 More Questions to Ask Your E-mail Partner

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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