E-Dialog, CheetahMail top JupiterResearch e-mail buyer's guide rankings

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E-Dialog and Experian's CheetahMail fared most favorably in JupiterResearch's latest vendor evaluation report that pits these e-mail service providers against the top names in the industry.

The two companies were cited as offering full and collaborative service to at least 60 percent of their client base. David Daniels, research director at JupiterResearch and the leading e-mail analyst, authored the report with his team.

"We're thrilled Jupiter ranked us at the top for the second year in a row," said John Rizzi, president/CEO of e-Dialog, Lexington, MA.

"Clients want a real partnership, a vendor who will be part of their team and truly understand their business and their goals, to bring passion and intelligence about e-mail marketing, and to challenge the client to reach new levels," he said. "It's not good enough to just get execution right - there has to be added value."

Matt Seeley, CEO of CheetahMail, said many of his company's clients use the JupiterResearch report as a guide.

"I think what most clients, as their e-mail programs evolve, are looking for is a partner that can help them execute online strategic initiatives. We're simply seeing that more and more every day."

(Disclosure: DM News is a CheetahMail client.)

The report, called "E-Mail Marketing Buyer's Guide, 2006," warned that 32 percent of marketers who use e-mail service providers may switch vendors in the next 12 months if they find the same capabilities for a similar or reduced price.

Vendors who lack tight integration with their clients or who don't deliver a satisfying process and service experience are most susceptible to churn as the e-mail market matures, Mr. Daniels said.

The report assessed the offerings of 28 e-mail service providers and the needs of marketers. It ranked the performers based on their overall value, suitability and breadth of addressing distinct needs.

Also in the report was an examination of how these e-mail vendors' offerings improved in the past year as well as the changes anticipated in the year ahead.

The e-mail service providers mentioned include e-Dialog, CheetahMail, Click Tactics, Acxiom Digital, infoUSA Inc.'s Yesmail, Merkle/Quris, Harte-Hanks Postfuture, Blue Sky Factory, iPost, KobeMail and Bluestreak.

In addition to these full-service vendors, JupiterResearch also evaluated e-mail service providers with a small to midsize focus. ExactTarget, SubscriberMail and EmailLabs topped this category.

Also, Responsys, Silverpop and Premier Global Services were the high-scoring enterprise-class e-mail service providers mentioned in the report.

"Silverpop is the only company that has consistently appeared as one of the top 5 enterprise-oriented ESPs in the buyer's guide each of the last four years," said Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop, Atlanta.

"We believe our commitment to our clients' success has been the single greatest contributor to our consistent growth, both financially and in the analyst reviews," he said. "We also believe that it has contributed to our high client retention rate -- the highest among our direct competitors."

In all, JupiterResearch measured the vendors by their small to midsize market focus, service orientation and large-enterprise tilt.

"One of the more interesting findings is the shortage of experienced services personnel," Mr. Daniels said.

Meanwhile, database giant infoUSA announced Nov. 1 that it had completed the acquisition of Digital Connexxions, an e-mail marketing firm in Oakville, CA. Digital Connexxions' operations will be integrated with Yesmail's.

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