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.
- I have other key channel partners including mobile and social – will you assist and play nice with them?
- Social seems to be a big deal in the e-mail world – how have you leveraged it for clients, not to mention us?
- Can you please explain your pricing and fees and help determine an ROI on this relationship?
- What are your company’s thought leadership initiatives and do the people that work on my account participate?
- I have to spend too much time making sense of the reporting – can you make it easier for me?
- 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?
- How are you different from the other 37 e-mail companies that I have heard from or about?
- What makes your company special and a good fit for my needs?
- Why do my e-mails that you “build” look the same as your other clients?
- Will you come to our office and give a C-suite state of the union on our e-mail program?
- Are you charging me for reading these questions and what other fees am I not aware of?
- Why don’t we talk or meet more often?
- If you could fix three things about my e-mail program, no questions asked, what would they be?
- Will I get a better e-mail partner if I switched to your competition? Why wouldn’t I consider such a move?
- 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)?