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Forrester Picks Responsys as E-Mail Marketing Leader

Responsys re-emerged as a leader in the e-mail marketing space after overhauling its platform and corporate strategy this past year, according to a Forrester Research report released yesterday.

Responsys is a standalone e-mail application service provider based in Redwood City, CA, and has been in business since 1998.

The report, “The Forrester Wave: Email Marketing Service Providers, Q4 2005,” said Responsys’ interface, dynamic content, reporting and integration capabilities are particularly strong, making it an easy choice for enterprise or midmarket users running sophisticated e-mail programs.

Responsys is better as an application service provider than as a full-service solution, Forrester warned, “so marketers seeking an e-mail agency should look elsewhere.”

Forrester said Responsys long has been known for its sophisticated technology and challenging interface. However, the company floundered a bit between 2002 and 2004 as upstart e-mail vendors took center stage with better dynamic content capability and more nimble platforms. However, this era has passed.

In the past year, Forrester said, Responsys gave itself a much-needed overhaul and emerges from this year’s evaluation as one of the strongest players in the market. Forrester evaluated Responsys’ e-mail offering and strategy against 75 criteria. It also demonstrated each platform profiled in this evaluation and interviewed two client references per vendor. According to the report, Responsys came out on top because:

· It works for advanced marketers but is easy enough for basic users. The platform’s new workflow-based interface provides simple access to complicated functions like setting up segments using e-mail and non-e-mail data, creating dynamic message layouts and even allowing open access to design collaborators. Responsys’ reports are also highly executable. Users can group campaigns together to track multi-campaign programs, and reports can alert users of changes in response data using callouts and color cues.

· It aggressively redefined its company vision. Responsys took less than 12 months to overhaul the flaws that Forrester identified in its 2004 e-mail vendor review. It brought in new executive and marketing officers, threw out its old interface and repositioned its entire product and marketing strategy around its concept of “Individualized Lifecycle Marketing.”

But the vendor isn’t stopping there. It intends to keep refining its user interface and reporting functionality, according to the report. And one client reference recommended that the company take a more holistic view toward customer service: “We get great response to critical issues but not always to our bigger picture.”

Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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