Podcast interview with Chris Marriot, Founder of Email Connect

Podcast interview with Chris Marriot

Chris Marriott delves into the challenges brands face in selecting the right email marketing vendor, emphasizing the importance of understanding specific needs and complexities in choosing the right platform. They discuss the process of email platform migration, highlighting the need for guidance and considerations involved in ESP migration. Chris also touch on the importance of marketing automation and multichannel capabilities in modern ESPs, as well as the challenges faced by organizations in finding the right email platform. Integration partners are emphasized for ecommerce businesses selecting an ESP, with advice on negotiating transparent pricing and avoiding complex structures. The discussion also covers the integration of CDPs within ESPs, the evolving landscape of ESPs and CDPs, and insights on navigating the ESP selection process.

Video from the podcast:

The 2024 State of ESP Functionality Survey


[00:00:00]: Introduction and sponsor mention

[00:00:15]: Importance of choosing the right vendor

[00:00:47]: Welcome to episode 6 of emailgeeks

[00:01:37]: Guest introduction: Chris Marriott of E-Mail Connect

[00:01:48]: Chris Marriott’s journey into email marketing

[00:05:21]: Evolution of E-Mail Connect and its services

[00:07:59]: Challenges in choosing an email platform

[00:12:48]: Importance of a great ESP migration

[00:17:29]: Organization’s perspective on choosing a new ESP

[00:44:46]: Key points for selecting the right ESP


Email marketing , Email deliverability, Email Service Providers (ESPs) Request for Proposal (RFP), Marketing automation, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs), Cloud-based MTAs, On-premise MTAs, ESP migration, Mar-tech landscape


  1. “Brands are bombarded by all of this information that paints an incomplete picture of the landscape from their perspective and in terms of what they need.”
  2. “The number one cause of an RFP to blow up or produce a bad result is when a brand invites the wrong vendor mix to look at.”
  3. “If you haven’t done an RFP or a migration in 10 years, I don’t expect you to know how long it’s gonna take but if you’re listening to this podcast, it is going to take way longer than you think. Way, way longer.”
  4. “Nobody could not even your procurement people know where pricing in as well as somebody like like us knows when we tracked it for 10 years, we know what brand should be paying.”
  5. “ESPs are going to become CDPS, and CDPs are becoming ESPs.”


Here are the key questions asked and a summary of the answers provided:

Q: How did you get into email marketing?

A: Chris Marriott fell into email marketing by chance. He started in traditional advertising and then moved to digital marketing. He joined an early email agency without realizing it was focused on email marketing. He later joined Axiom and ran their Global Agency Services, solidifying his role in the email marketing industry.

Q: Can you tell us more about Email Connect?

A: Email Connect was launched in 2015 to assist top brands in connecting with the right Email Service Providers (ESPs) and Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) through the RFP process. They leverage their extensive knowledge of the vendor landscape to ensure brands evaluate the right mix of vendors.

Q: How do brands typically approach selecting a new email platform?

A: Brands often rely on analyst reports, vendor recommendations, or peer recommendations, which can lead to an incomplete picture. Bringing in an advisor like Email Connect can help ensure brands evaluate the right mix of vendors that fit their specific requirements.

Q: Can you provide advice for SMBs when selecting an email platform?

A: For SMBs, Chris recommends comparing pricing (which is often publicly available) and looking at out-of-the-box integrations with important third-party tools like e-commerce platforms. The platforms are generally easy to use and don’t require extensive training.

Q: What’s your opinion on Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and their integration with email platforms?

A: Chris believes that CDPs and email platforms are merging, with some CDPs acting like ESPs and vice versa. The lines are blurring, and the future will likely see fully integrated platforms that combine data aggregation, identity resolution, and multi-channel campaign deployment.

Q: What are your thoughts on cloud-based MTAs versus on-premise MTAs?

A: Cloud-based MTAs (like Sendgrid and SparkPost) are used by many modern (next-gen) email platforms, while “older” platforms maintain their own on-premise MTAs. Both approaches have pros and cons, and the choice depends on factors like deliverability management and the platform’s focus.

Q: Can you summarize the key points for choosing the right ESP?

A: Chris emphasizes the importance of allowing enough time, understanding your requirements and pain points, and inviting vendors that can address those specific needs. Shortcuts like relying solely on peer recommendations or analyst reports can lead to suboptimal choices.


Email Connect: https://email-connect.com/

CDP Institute: https://www.cdpinstitute.org/


Chris Marriot 00:16
How many times have I seen a discussion boards people say, who do you like? And everybody chimes in and says, I he’s this vendor i like that vendor i heard this vendor and when when you go that route, the danger is you’re going to pick a bed vendor that was perfect for your friend’s company and not your company so brands are bombarded by all of this information that paints an incomplete picture of of the landscape from their perspective and in terms of what they need.

Sella Yoffe 00:47
Hello and welcome to episode number six of email geeks dot show, the podcast where once a month the leading email experts share their knowledge, about email marketing, email deliverability, and marketing. My guest today is Chris Marriot, the founder of Email Connect. They specialized in assisting top brands in connecting with the right ESPs and CDPS. My name is Sella Yoffe, and I’m an email deliverability consultant. I’m working with global email senders, startups, and email service providers on improving their email deliverability, email authentication, and strategy and. I’m the host of this podcast. Good morning, Chris. It’s great to have you on my podcast.

Chris Marriot 01:37
Good morning it’s great to be here. It’s, I’m always happy to, to help out other big email marketing folks and you’re one of those folks, so I’m happy to help.

Sella Yoffe 01:48
Appreciate that. It seems that anyone in the email space fell into email. So I wanted to ask, how did you get into email?

Chris Marriot 01:58
You stole my Thunder because that’s exactly I was going to say the exact same thing i think for those of us of a certain generation, you know, email marketing didn’t even exist when we were starting our careers. So it wasn’t something we grew up dreaming of being i want to be an email marketer or a fireman i I’ll have to wait and see how that turns out. Most of us. So I got into email marketing really via the digital marketing route in that I started in traditional advertising, like the guys in that Madman series not that far i’m not that old, but, you know, doing TV commercials and which I thought was great. And then the digital world exploded in the nineties in the US in the mid nineties. And I thought this was a, this was the future and I needed to see what was going on. And so I, I joined a very early stage digital agency because Enya wasn’t even a thing for the first five years of digital marketing. So you had webs, you know, you had, I joined a company that built websites and did you know, we called them back in the date banner ads and all of that was, was got a little bit boring over time because the technology was not yet there to do sophisticated things in display advertising. And you know, once you did a website, you were kind of done if you know, they were project oriented. And I, I landed at another company that was doing something that I thought was very, very interesting that I later found out was email. Marketing the whole time I was there, I didn’t know it was email. Marketing they called it they called, the dynamic marketing engine or something or other. And unfortunately, they never realized they were doing email marketing either because I think they would have been much more successful they were trying to build these ecosystems of landing pages and, and, and emails. And I had been working with with their more traditional clients doing websites so anyway, finally in the early first part of this century, that’s it that sounds it. It back in the first decade, I I saw I got approached by a headhunter who said there’s this email agency again i did not yet figure out that I was actually working at one already. This email agency is looking for somebody who can run their agency services. In the early days, every ESP often had people that provided services because the platforms were not self-service they were full service. Nobody knew how to do the creative, nobody knew how to do the strategy. So ESP S in the US said we need to wrap services around and they, and they went looking for advertising folks or agency guys. So looked like a great opportunity i joined the company and it was called Digital Impact that was five months later bought by Axiom. So that’s, yeah, I, I sort of blundered into email marketing just like everyone else but once I got there, I, I loved it. And yeah, it was, I, I ended up running Axiom’s Global Agency Services for several years and it was, it was great. I, I, I loved it and and so I’m glad I stumbled, fumble and blundered into it like so many of my peers.

Sella Yoffe 05:21
Can you tell us more about Email Connect?

Chris Marriot 05:24
The concept of helping brands through the RFP process. I actually started in 2012 when I joined David Daniels at the Relevancy Group, which is a boutique consultancy that up until that point focused on helping vendors in lead Gen and, and strategy and advice. And he was very well known to be the vendor guy who knew the vendors inside and out. And I thought if I’m gonna start this idea of advising brands, it would be good to have a partner who knew the vendor landscape inside and out much better than me. So we started that it was very, very successful. And it around 2015 though, we began to realize that were certain there were certain vendors who thought we were pay to play. In other words, if they gave us a contract for advisory services, they should win our RFPs there was one vendor in particular that felt that way and and they never won our RFPs and they and they didn’t listen to us why they didn’t and they didn’t listen pay attention to the fact that we said we don’t make the decision our clients do but nevertheless, some vendors began to question whether they wanted to keep doing business with us. And Dave and I saw the only way out of that was to split the company. And so email Connect actually was launched in December of 2015 And what we did was David kept his traditional business, the vendor side, the sell side advisory and I took the RFP, which was the buy side side and I took that and the tremendous knowledge that I’d learned with David in working with him for four years on the vendor landscape and, and, and so I felt very comfortable at that point that I had a handle on the vendor landscape. We’d been doing buyers guides for two or three years, deep diving into the vendors so I felt at that time confident enough that I could do it without having David as a partner so we split the company and both continued on their merry way.

Sella Yoffe 07:32
The site chief Martech, who started following marketing technology back in 2011 started with around 150 platforms. These days, there are more than 11.000 thousand platforms, so it becomes harder and harder to choose the right platform. Also, I’ve seen a survey stating that the most replaceable platforms are email platforms what do you think about that?

Chris Marriot 07:59
Yeah, it is and there was a survey recent released by auk company that said that CMOS are more confused about technology martech than ever and it’s not surprising there’s there’s a lot of lot of reasons for that but let let’s go back to, you know, the number of Martech companies and, and the explosion of that you’re, you’re right. But we deal with our clients are predominantly enterprise emailers and, and high mid market emailers. And there there isn’t, you know, their, their options of, of platforms to use are limited to probably there’s, there’s probably 20 platforms. And so we don’t really have to follow 10.000 thousand platforms and we managed 30 to 50 billion emails. Actually it’s going up about 50 billion emails out to bid a year. And we don’t have our you know, go to list of ESPS you know, 10 years ago we kind of did when Dave and I started the business there was the options were less even at the enterprise ESP space they they probably doubled since then. And so we don’t have, I don’t have a go to list. I, you know, I sit there work through with the clients requirements and use cases and then I match those that segment of platforms that I think best fit their needs so in the course of one year, beyond just getting the briefings that they give us ’cause all the vendors want to want to be in our RPSI see them in action in an R, in an RFP filling out requirements documents if they make it to final four, doing use cases. So we have, so we have a really, really good look annually at all of the leading platforms at least once and much more than what what Forrester sees in a wave again, we’re seeing them in action pitching a client and and responding to a particular client’s needs. Now, if you move down market, to your point, SMB and we don’t work in SMB, we don’t even work in lower mid because you’re right, they don’t do RFPs and even if they did, they would not pay what we charge. And I don’t blame them. So, you know, that’s the area where the explosion has really happened and, and you’re right, I, I, you know, I could list, maybe I, I call them cheap and cheerful platforms down at that level. And how do you, how do you define a cheap and cheerful platform this very, very simple definition. It’s an ESP that has its pricing on the website. Now, I’m not making a value judgment against. There’s cheap and cheerful platforms that that’s not a derogatory it’s, it’s meant to imply they’re low cost and very easy to use. And, and so to try to even to, you know, compare them to one another gets really tough it, it, it, it’s almost back to the days, you know, in 2006 2007 you won an enterprise RMP. 90 % of that was your price, your CPM. And over the course of the next five, six seven years, pricing became less of a driver of the decision and features and functionalities that were exploding on the leading platforms became much more of a decision but it made the decision process much more complicated for brands. You know, instead of just saying, well, who’s cheapest now, they had to start understanding, well, who’s who’s right for us. And that’s a much harder decision to come to. And that’s where I saw the opportunity and why I started doing the doing this business first relevancy group is that brands needed guidance to make their own selection. And, and you know, and that’s, you know, with explosion platforms, again, that’s all you know, today it’s, it’s just as important. But going back to the sort of SMB, you know, a lot of good platforms out there deciding between them in my mind, often times if I were advising an SMB as a nice guy, I’d say look at price and look at who they have built in integrations with. Because SMB, you know, do they have any e commerce integrations do they have any? Those are things that make one of those platforms better than another does it come, you know, does it come with a ready made, you know, components that all you need if you’re a small e commerce shop to run your business and and do email marketing and maybe do your E commerce site. So those types of things I think differentiate that the SMB level and don’t really require an RFP as you said.

Sella Yoffe 12:40
And after RFP and choosing the right email, platform you need to do immigration. Can you tell us more on ESP migration?

Chris Marriot 12:48
Migrations are longer and more complex than ever and in fact, that’s why we’ve started doing some work with partnering with Ryan Phelan of RPE Origin because they, they specialize in migrations and we which an RFP is an is inevitably followed by a migration. And so kind of funny how those two things fit together so you’re absolutely right you don’t want to you, you don’t want to be switching you know, your old thing was, you know, every three to five years yeah, take a look around. You don’t want to do that but but couple of things one, I, I meant to say this earlier because I see marketing automation and ESP as one in the same so let, let me start with the definition of the modern ESP. And this is the one that brands, this is what buyers think about because buyers use ESP. And when they say I need a new ESP, what they’re saying is it should have built in marketing automation promotional, the typical promotional campaigns, which ESPS did, it shouldn’t be on the channel and be able to send out in any channel. And that’s what so they when they say, you know, so all of these distinctions and definitions and, and and you know, it should be able to do orchestration. So yeah, it gets confusing when when all of these analysts say here’s our orchestration wave, here’s our cross channel marketing platform wave, here’s our ESP wave, here’s our marketing automation wave. You know, brands aren’t dumb. They look at those and they say it’s kind of the same companies and platforms and every one of these and guess what, they’re right, it is. And that’s because again, that’s what a modern ESP is. Now, none of them call themselves ESPS. You look at, you know, if you look at all these enterprise platforms, they run from the label ESP, which I don’t understand. There’s no stigma attached to that again, brands, they know what they need and when I talk to them about an RFP and they say we’re looking for new ESP, I don’t say, well, do you want marketing automation with that? Do you want multi channel with that? I know exactly what they’re talking about. They’re saying they want all of that and, and so it’s when you when so. And it doesn’t surprise me that marketing automation and email platforms top that list because there are some very aging platforms out there that brands have been on for 10 years i’m not gonna badmouth anybody but that brands have been on for 10 years or eight years where innovation kind of stopped a long time ago and investment kind of stopped a long time ago. I mean, most of the brands looking are coming from 5 platforms. And it doesn’t surprise me that those folks on those platforms are looking and you know that so that’s, that’s what’s driving a lot of this it isn’t, it isn’t, oh, I made a bad decision two years ago. It’s I made a great decision 10 years ago, but I kind i ten years later i kinda needed to, you know, like you said, it, it, it, it’s time to get a new car we’re we’re working with clients today. And when I look at that around on some of these platforms that haven’t really done much for 10 years, and I look at all of the third party vendors they’re bringing in to help them make up the deficiency of that platform. And I say you’re gonna be really happy when this is done for lots of reasons. One of them is though, you’re, you’re gonna be able to consolidate a lot of the stuff that you’ve been giving the third parties who are good at what they do. But there are platforms that can do that in the platform. So we can take three or four vendors that are currently helping you get all this out and, and move it down potentially to one new platform and and one or two new platforms so it’s it really is driven again by the fact that there is just some platforms that people need to be moving off of and they are.

Sella Yoffe 16:48

Chris Marriot 16:48
And I’d love, I know you’d love me to say who, but I’m not going to on the OI calls, you know, I did.

Sella Yoffe 16:54
What happened in the OI calls, stays in the OI calls, or something like that.

Chris Marriot 16:59
Exactly. Sella and I know each other from, that’s exactly right you gotta join Oi, you gotta, you gotta join only influencers and then you have to join the weekly Zoom call and then you can hear what Sella and I really think that that’s what the gloves are off, but no.

Sella Yoffe 17:22
Can you tell us how finding a new email platform looks like from the organization’s standpoint?

Chris Marriot 17:29
There’s three ways brands sort of say, oh, I need to do an RFP, who should I look at? One is they look at the the analyst reports, which you know, as we, as I was saying earlier, you know, force will say here’s the only 13 ESPS you need to look at well, that’s preposterous that there’s only 13 you need to think about. And not only that, but the ESPS that are in that in their typical wave report are not ESPS that I would see as competitive with one another because they’re either bit different size. They, they go from everywhere from, you know, enterprise, you know, marketing cloud down to, you know, almost like ACDP type ESP. And and so they don’t, but brands often go and say, let’s take the top six of of the Nanos report well, that’s not a good way to go to your point. Vendors will tell them, you know, it’s hard to tell for them to understand the difference between vendors because vendors can apparently do everything according to their salespeople. And so that’s another source of bad information. And lastly is their peers how many times have I seen on, on discussion boards, people say, who do you like? And everybody chimes in and says, I use this vendor i like that vendor i heard this vendor. And like, when you go that route, the danger is you’re gonna pick the vendor that was perfect for your friend’s company because and, and not your company so brands are bombarded by all of this information that that is is paints an incomplete picture of of the landscape from their perspective at in terms of what they need. And that’s why I think bringing in an advisor is helpful because I’ve seen it time and time again. The number one cause of an RFP to blow up or produce a bad result is when a brand invites the wrong vendor mix to look at. Because if you think about that, let’s say you’re looking at 8 vendors and you’re doing your brand, you’re doing it by yourself, and you pick four that were really good picks, and then you pick four that aren’t good fits, you now have a 50 % chance that you’re going to make a bad decision. And I always tell brands the most important thing to get right is who you look at, because it ensures that they’re at least gonna be a fit. And, and who wants to waste their time evaluating, I don’t evaluating vendors that can’t win your business. I, I was talking to a client last week and I said I was going through the criteria big RFPI was going through through the criteria and saying, yeah, here’s here’s, here’s what they had their hurdles they had to clear to get included. And I said, but one of the most important hurdles, and it wasn’t written down, but I said one of the most important hurdles is that I think they have a chance of making the final four you know, cutting down from 8 or 10. If I don’t think a vendor can even make the final four, why am I wasting my time with looking at them why am I asking my brands to look at them so, you know, we take it very seriously. And, and I said earlier, we don’t tell clients who to pick we don’t, we do strongly advise them on who to look at because we think again, that’s our job we come in, we know the landscape one of the reasons they hire us, not the only reason, but one of the reasons they hire us is make sure that they’re looking at the right vendors. And I’m very proud of our track record of, of winning vendors not having been on the radar screen of our clients before they hired us meaning they would not have ended up with the vendor they did if they’d done it themselves, because they had either hadn’t heard of that vendor or they hadn’t considered that vendor until we advise them to look at it and so and it, and it’s not, you know, this is in no way, shape or form meant to, meant to be a criticism of brands. Why should they know what’s going on in the vendor landscape that’s not their job. And it’s with, as you and I said at the upfront, with the explosion of new providers and all of the, you know, changes in the marketplace, it’s if it’s not your job to pay attention to the vendor landscape, you can’t possibly do it because it’s just, there’s too many moving parts and, and, and there’s too many flavors of the weak ES PS and there’s too many report misleading analyst reports, all of which. And, and there’s too many sales people like you said that say, yes, our platform can do that yes, our platform can do that. Yes, our platform can do that. That it makes it really hard for brands to understand what are in fact, there are tremendous differences between these vendor platforms that are meaningful in a way that impacts a brand’s business for better or for worse. And again, that most brands don’t have that knowledge going in and and that’s, you know, that’s what advisors like near Fort to, you know, provide that knowledge of matching their requirements to the right vendors.

Sella Yoffe 22:38
Your focus is working with large scale organizations. Could you provide some advice for SM BS when selecting an email platform?

Chris Marriot 22:48
Well, again, if we’re talking about SMB, the the, the first problem is there’s probably 200 platforms that you can consider 200 but they’re, but they’re the, but they’re the. Yeah, yeah, there’s a lot. Don’t ask me to name them all but there are probably only 10 or so that are, let’s say big enough have enough clients that they’re they’re they, they are in good financial shape they’re not going anywhere that you, you potentially want to consider, but I think it comes down to something I said earlier, which is, you know, compare their pricing ’cause it’s all there because you can, cause it’s on their websites and, and the pricing’s not that much they all offer free and then, you know something. But I would also look at, you know, and they also give you demos sometimes they’ll let you do it, you know, have a demo trial yeah. We’ll also look at who their integration partners are and and which, which are important to you. And they always have that. They’ll have a page on their on their website. So if you’re in E, commerce who do they support are they integrated with Shopify are they integrated with someone else but whatever there is, you know, there are, there are third parties that may be important to your business, even if it’s a small business. And seeing again with those integrations are are out of the box are gonna make a big difference. And that might be the biggest difference when you’re looking at these platforms. You know, they’re all, as I said, they’re all easy to use and don’t require a whole lot of training. Some of them are better at responding to questions while they’re not providing services. Some of them are better at responding to questions of or help with the platform. But a enterprise platform selecting the wrong ESP is going to be disastrous on their business. It’s, it’s going to, it’s going to hurt the bottom line. An SMB making a wrong decision on a platform switch that’s gonna, it’ll take 24 hours to switch to another one it’s not going to the, the impact because the, the what makes a decision wrong at that level i’m not even sure what the wrong choice would look like because it’s just the platforms are similar and you’re not asking them to do very much yeah and now we’re not talking about S and B anymore we’re talking mid market enterprise brands should think of, first of all, go into a migration saying I’m gonna correct everything dumb I did when I set up on this platform cause ’cause there’s things I did that I, that I’ve been paying the price for for 10 years. So identify those and again, that’s we’re bringing in a trusted advisor may help. And there there are things you have a chance not just to get the right platform, but get your data structure right to clean up your automations ’cause you’re always gonna have, you’re gonna discover automations you need to remember that may or may not still be running and and yeah, I mean, you’re gonna undercover uncover so much in that migration. And that’s why you want to take enough time to rethink potentially how you do things and, and, and processes that can speed things up you might have had a platform, just a dumb example, you might have had a platform that didn’t have a, a WYSIWYG nice email editor and you were still cutting up and putting, putting, putting the email, together which is very time consuming and very painful. And now you’ve got a new platform that that got WYSIWYG and can store content blocks. All right, well, you know, rethink how you’re going to create your emails as you’re moving over and maybe you’re gonna blow up the whole thing where you just create one email and cut it up. But now you create dynamic content blocks that will, you know, improve your ability to personalize dynamic. It’ll it’ll speed the market. Those are, you know, that’s just one of the things that I think can can, you know, you need to use a migration if you’ve lived in a house for 20 years and you move you in the process of that move, there’s like, Oh my God, I have a lot of.

Sella Yoffe 27:06

Chris Marriot 27:08
That I’ve been working around for 10 years that I don’t need. And, and if you’re smart, you throw it all out and, and the same thing is again with a email, migration you’re gonna, there’s gonna be a lot of processes and junk that you’re gonna say, I can’t believe I’ve been living with this for 10 years. I’m getting rid of it and I’m gonna start fresh. And now you’ve got a new platform, you’ve got a new better data schema, you’ve got better data flows. You’ve got, you’ve, you’ve, you’ve combined journeys And so from 100 down to a number that makes more sense that incorporates journey branching and, and so your whole program is going to be better as a result not just you’re not just going to have a better platform, but the way you do things is going to be ideally will be much improved. And that wasn’t something in the day of lift and shift was possible, You know, back to, to, you know, 15 years ago, even at the enterprise level, you’d pick up, you’d lift, you’d shift and four weeks you’d be running again. But we didn’t have hundreds of automations. In fact, in those days we pretty much had none and and now we have all these automations that that need to be moved so.

Sella Yoffe 28:22
Yeah, it’s like moving while you’re on production because automation are always on you you need to you you also need to calculate your gap pricing because you you’re probably gonna use two platforms at the same time while migrating.

Chris Marriot 28:44
You certain brands that that’s a must you’re exactly right and which just means it’s never too early for you to start an RFP as as you have started an RFP even a year in advance, if you’re a big enterprise sender almost ensures to your point that you’re gonna be running to platform you’re you’re gonna be extending the contract of your other guys you just fired. And, and so, you know, building the account on migration and the RFP starting two years in advance or 18 months in advance, 18 months. Well, there there are, you know, we just finished a client where the migration is probably gonna take two years. And given the complexity, the number of vendors are on that they’re moving and consolidating. But they knew that and they expected that and they built that in they were smart. There are. But if you think about, you know, if you haven’t done an RFP or a migration in 10 years, I don’t expect you to know how long it’s gonna take but if you’re listening to podcasts, it is going to take way longer than you think. Way, way longer. And to your point, even if you started at the right time, you’re right you’re gonna be paying, You’re gonna be ramping up on one, at least paying the migration on one vendor while you’re still sending for the other you can’t, you cannot get around that you cannot, you cannot shut down a vendor and then do the migration. But what you can prevent is trying to renegotiate a contract with your existing vendor that you just fired because that’s not going to be an easy, pleasant conversation for anybody. But you know, I advise brands, think about brands that have like four or five separate sub brands. And in the past it would have been saying, oh, we’re going to just lift and shift it again going back 15 years now it’s the better way to think about it because that scares brands and it’s like you don’t have to do a big bank migration. You got 4 sub brands all right, let’s migrate the smallest one first. How’d that go? Great next smallest one second next smallest 1/3 next smallest one fourth. And if you’ve done everything right, you’re, you’re, you’re ramping up your sending over the course of say 12 months. And it it you know that the contract, last contract you have with the, with your existing one, you know, has, has lower volumes baked into it than you traditionally were running. So, so you’re not spending double. And again, these are intricacies that that advisors, outside advisors can, can help you think through because again, we do this every day, many times a year. And of course we know what are the, what are the smartest things to do when because we’re doing it all the time. And so again, that’s where IIA trusted advisor will pay for himself or herself many, many, many times over. And you know, we haven’t talked about pricing negotiation, but I’ll, I’ll throw that in here, which is when I’m managing 50 billion emails out to bid a year, you can only imagine how many pricing proposals I see from across a wide variety of vendors, you know, and then I see what the final deal pricing is. Nobody, nobody could not even your procurement people know where pricing in as well as somebody like like us knows when we tracked it for 10 years, we know what brand should be paying. And even better, the vendors know we know. So it’s when, when they see it, you know when, when they know we’ve been hired and are working with a brand, they know that the pricing is gonna have to be really good because we know what it should be and, and it just makes you feel better as a brand to know you didn’t leave any money on the table you got the best price you could get.

Sella Yoffe 32:54
I see many email platforms price based on the number of records in the database, which practically cost them nothing these years and not based on the number of emails sent. What do you think about that?

Chris Marriot 33:08
Yeah, let’s take a step back. Historically, one of the big differences between B to B platforms and B to C platforms was how they priced B to C platforms charged based on C P M B to B because volumes were way way way, lower than B to C couldn’t make money at CPM, so they charged for records in the database. So Fast forward to today that and that’s still what B to B platforms do. And and that’s why I advise any B to C platform that’s looking at AB to B platform to stop because it’s gonna be way too expensive for that. But you’re right, a lot of the other vendors have have added different fees in order to make their CPMS even lower. They’re adding other fees to sort of subsidized reduction i call it whack a mole pricing you lower this, this one goes up, you pound this one down, goes up over here. And and I’ve seen a lot of them do that, you know, add like data storage fees like you were saying, data storage fees, contacts in the database, fees in the in B to CI.

Sella Yoffe 34:17

Chris Marriot 34:18
I can tell you vendors, brands hate that and I hate that because it is costly and it makes them do things like maybe switching their database charge the CPM keeps pricing simple and but most vendors keep it very complex and brands over and over and we have a in our process we created what we call a common pricing template and we make, I mean we’ve included everything that we’ve ever seen vendors put into a contract. And we say here you go put your pricing into this because we want to compare your pricing to the other three vendors. And we know we won’t be able to do that if we just have you all submit pricing the way you want. And I so I see it all over the place and and that’s where I see the whack a mole like I’ll tell one vendor, these stated storage fees are outrageous and arbitrary. Cut them in half, OK. And the next come, then come back, they’ve been cut in half but I look at the top and the CP Ms gone up i was like, Nope, this is not, you know, this is, this is not an opportunity for you to charge me more elsewhere. It, you know, I get it that vendors have a, a number in their head that they have to get or that their finance is saying contract’s only worth it if it’s it’s this much i get that. But don’t, but be transparent in your pricing. Don’t make me have to dig and and you know, and, and don’t don’t make me think, how about people look at your pricing and go, Oh, I get it. Don’t make me think if you make me think, you’re making me angry. So to the original point, I don’t like it. You’re right more brand, more vendors are doing it. I think it’s a mistake, particularly to your point, storage is is is nothing in these days. You know, they’re all storing it in the cloud. And so adding additional records doesn’t change their infrastructure at all. So, you know, they copied it from B to CI think it was a bad idea. And you know, I’m, I, I can’t, I’m not a one man wrecking crew that can make it go away.

Sella Yoffe 36:29

Chris Marriot 36:30
I constantly tell vendors I don’t like it, so, you know, there’s that.

Sella Yoffe 36:36
There is a new kid in the block called CDP Customer Data Platform and I see some of those integrated inside Esps. What’s your opinion on that?

Chris Marriot 36:48
If if one thinks the ESP landscape’s confusing, CDP landscape is chaos. Everybody’s calling themselves ACDP, though the CDP Institute has got 4 distinct categories of CDP. And I think David Rabb who runs that has has nailed it. So if you want to learn about CDPS in your own time, go check out the CDP Institute website but today there are CDPS that act like ESPS and ESPS that act like CDPS. So are they just E? S C D P that’s a acronym of of, E S C D. P what on the CDP side, you have what you call deployment, what David Rabb calls deployment CDPS. That I mean CDPS initially were meant to activate data and send it out to your ESP, to your mobile, to your this, to your mail house and, and, and those CDPS will be around forever. But the higher functioning CDPS like what David calls the deployment CDPS or the orchestration CDPS are, are barely distinguishable from ESPS and I think that’s gonna to your point, it’s gonna be it, it is gonna be the culmination of the dream of CRM it’s it everything’s gonna be in one platform. All of the all of the data aggregation, all of the real time feeds, all of the identity resolution, all of the things that that CDPS were meant to solve for, plus the ability to send deploy email and multi channel campaigns. And there are CDPS that meet that definition right now and they’re ESPS that meet that definition right now and I think, you know, the, some of the larger ESPS have CDPS sort of adjacent. And, and you know, I call it CDP inside, but some of these newer platforms, it, it’s not side by side it’s, it’s, they’re fully merged fully, I mean, built, built that way it wasn’t an ESP with ACDP grafted on. Again, that’s a good solution, don’t get me wrong, but these are platforms that, that were actually built as they were intended and they are CDPS and ESPS all in one and that’s, that’s going to continue longer term. I see the CDP market again, the, the, the, the base CDPS that, that data and IT love the ones that are just for data management and aggregation and deduping and cleansing. They’re gonna stick around and maybe we’ll continue on CDPS, but ESPS and CDPS have already merged at the top and that’s just gonna, and that’s gonna continue. Yeah, it was interesting because CDPS sort of ate the DMP market there. There’s DMPS around and CDPS came along and said, you look like us, we’re just gonna absorb you right in. And DMPS, we’re gone overnight. That’s what’s gonna happen to at least a half the CDP market, and it’s gonna be ESPS that are the next evolution. Es PS aren’t going to become CDPSCD P S are becoming ES PS.

Sella Yoffe 40:06
The majority of modern email platforms utilize cloud based Mtas, while older platforms maintain their own infrastructure, each option presenting advantages and disadvantages. What do you think?

Chris Marriot 40:21
About that, yeah, this is one of those arcane debates that we like to have in the email marketing industry as you know, what we’re talking about here is, is MTAS, which stands for Mail Transfer Agent. And as you said, those are the things that literally deploy the email the. Historic model of an ESP has been that they bought MTAS from. So Spark Post was, was owned by Message Systems and Message Systems was a company that sold ES PS the, the hardware, the Mtas so that they could attach it to their platforms and send mail so all of the, for years that was the model. And then and then Sendgrid and and Spark Post came out as as distinct offerings. And IT guys loved them because they were very simple to set up. You know, transactional emails triggered emails off of off of platforms and infrastructure so ID guys love them. Marketing people hated them because they were, they were they did, they were not designed to do promotional campaigns they were, they were not designed to set them up. So what happened was suddenly all the what I call a class of next Gen. Esps to your point, all started using instead of buying their own Mtas started using and David Daniels, I was first one, he was the first one I heard use this phrase MTA in the cloud and he referred to all of these Mtas in the cloud, which is what they are and all so all of the next Gen platforms that have emerged in the last five years deploy, all of them deploy through Sendgrid or Spark Post or as he said, Mailgun. And even the deployment CDPS we were just talking about, they go through these Mtas in the cloud again, which it just is one more reason why, you know how they just look just like the next Gen platforms. I mean, the next Gen platforms and the CDPS are what they’re going to merge and I should have made that more clear earlier. Next Gen cDP merging now, which better normally whoever I spoke to last is what I think so if I spoke to a, a legacy ESP who’s got their own Mtas and I say, why is that better? And they, and they say, well, because our deliverability team is able to monitor it on behalf of our clients, You know, we can control what IPS are being sent off of. We can help better manage your reputation, I think oh.

Sella Yoffe 43:07
I think they’re sense.

Chris Marriot 43:09
And then I talked to a Nick, but yeah, it does exactly see that’s where it’s from. But then it tells me they have Shim platform and I say why is yours better? And they say, but sort of as you started it, these guys send more emails than anybody in the universe. They’ve got deliverability, you know, and they’re talking about Spark postings, not just Sangre, but Spark postings. They’ve got so much deliverability experience with all that volume of email, that you know, we can focus on other parts of our clients email performance and not have to think about deliverability. And I think, well, that’s a good argument. So I don’t know which is better, but I, I love that you brought that up because when I said earlier that there are much bigger differences between ESPS than brands recognized, this is one of those. I mean, this is a huge difference, a huge philosophical difference that may or may not have an impact on what type of ESP you want maybe it doesn’t matter, but it need that needs to be thought through because again, these are not things that are advertised by the vendors they’re not hiding it, but they’re not going out and saying we have our own Mtas hire us or we don’t have our own Mtas hire us. So, but that’s one great example of significant differences between various platforms that most people don’t know or think about or care about.

Sella Yoffe 44:35
I know you touched those points before, but can I ask you to summarize again the bullet points, the highlights of how to choose the right ESP? Yeah.

Chris Marriot 44:47
Sure number one is make you make sure you have enough time and whatever and, and that becomes more important the bigger you are as a company and the, and the bigger the ESP you’re looking at but whatever you think it’s going to take, double it because underestimating the time it takes is, is, is disastrous that’s number one number two, think long and hard about your requirements, what you want, Why do you want to move? What are your pain points? Why are you moving to begin with? If it’s not for cost, what’s driving you to move? Define those things in either use cases or in, in requirements. And the requirements if you’re an enterprise could be 250 requirements. We easily come up with that many, but understand again, what’s driving you to move in step three, make sure that you invite vendors that can fix that, that can whatever your pain points on or that at least you think can not the vendor that your buddy says is the hot vendor of the week, but vendors you gotta do. Everybody likes to take shortcuts. Everybody who do I, who should I be in my IRP? Everybody give me three names. Everybody likes to take shortcuts but to your point, your question was how do you ensure that you have do it to the best degree possible? Follow my three, give yourself enough time. Do the hard work of understanding what what you don’t like about your ESP and what you want to change. And three, limit those Esps that can that in your mind can potentially fix that. And you may have to rely upon a salesperson telling you that. So make sure you give yourself enough time to do it. Do the hard work of understanding what you don’t like about your current vendor what’s making you want to look around to begin with? Yeah, particularly if it’s not just pricing and number three look at vendors that you believe can can address those issues for you. Don’t look at vendors because Sela on the OI Zoom call said I like this vendor.

Sella Yoffe 46:54
Yeah, Thank you very much, Chris. It’s been a pleasure. How can people can follow you?

Chris Marriot 47:01
You can also follow me at CS Marriott on Twitter and I’m on LinkedIn and so is email connect LLC, so all those places.

Sella Yoffe 47:09
Thank you very much, Chris.

Chris Marriot 47:11
All right. Thank you, Sella.

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