Is it time to manage your e-mail in-house?

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The gloves are off
The gloves are off

Chris Curtin, CTO, Silverpop
20 years' experience in development of distributed business applications

In the long term, companies generally find that outsourcing their e-mail efforts is the most effective and most practical solution. With an outsourced provider, an experienced team that constantly monitors your programs, investigates rapidly changing issues, such as deliverability, and proactively resolves challenges comes standard. You are also able to benefit from your partner's extensive investment in infrastructure and reporting systems.

E-mail service provider (ESP) customers also can incorporate the latest product innovations into their programs without incurring additional costs or enduring new software installations. With the superior user interfaces typical of ESPs, new products literally roll out with the click of a button and a quick training call.

An on-demand solution also allows for greater scalability. When preparing to deploy an on-premise solution, many companies misjudge their needs — a costly mistake. E-mail is an ESP's primary business. Rather than having to rely on an already overworked IT department, when you work with an ESP you know the team will be well equipped to act quickly.

With many companies now doing more with less, the predicted growth of software-as-a-service isn't surprising. Outsourced solutions make everyone's lives easier and allow marketing teams and IT departments to focus on strategy and help their companies achieve their corporate objectives.

Ryan Deutsch, VP of strategic service and marketing development, StrongMail Systems

12 years of direct marketing experience

The decision to bring your e-mail program in-house should be based on volume. Essentially, when marketers decide to purchase an e-mail service, they can choose to buy it (on-premise) or lease it (hosted). This typically depends on the value of e-mail to the business and the maturity of the e-mail program.

According to JupiterResearch, e-mail marketers that send more than 8 million e-mails per month can see significant cost savings with an on-premise service, because they only have to pay one fee instead of recurring CPM fees year over year.

On-premise services also are suited for companies that require tight integration to fuel data-intensive e-mail programs, because they offer real-time data access to applications (such as e-commerce systems, CRM and Web analytics) instead of the constant synchronization required with hosted solutions. Additionally, owning your e-mail provides the deliverability benefits of not being on a shared IP block and data security advantages.

Historically, businesses that wanted e-mail ownership had two options: build it themselves or purchase packaged software. Both models had real limitations in terms of scalability, deliverability and features.

Today, on-premise services provide the same feature-rich, scalable technology offered by e-mail service providers. With the gap now closed, businesses that are serious about their e-mail programs should consider e-mail ownership.


Curtin makes a compelling case to work with a partner, especially if your e-mail program is nascent and still needs to be nurtured. What he doesn't touch upon is relative costs. Any marketer whose e-mail volume justifies investment should heed Deutsch's advice to consider in-house options.

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