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					Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE




Email Marketing RFP
Guidance and Templates

E-consultancy
March 2007


Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007 – not for distribution to non-subscribers without
written permission




                                         1                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


Table of Contents

About E-consultancy ............................................................... 3
Contact .................................................................................... 3
1. Introduction to Email Marketing ......................................... 4
2. Setting out the RFP process ................................................. 6
Why selecting the right partner is critical .................................................................................. 6
A technology supplier or a marketing partner? ......................................................................... 6
What kind of service do you want? ............................................................................................ 6
What if you need more than just the technology? ..................................................................... 7
How long do you want the relationship to last? ......................................................................... 7
How will you judge the winner? ................................................................................................. 8
How much firepower do you really need? .................................................................................. 8
How long will the process take? ................................................................................................. 9
Who should get involved from your organisation? .................................................................... 9
Where do you look for ESP vendors? ......................................................................................... 9
3. The Invitation to Tender Process ... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Information you need to share .............................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Narrowing down the field – to one ......................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Final review and negotiation ................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
4. RFP Template ................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Background to our organisation, email marketing and business goalsError! Bookmark not
defined.
Background to this project ...................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Timescale..............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Project deliverables ..............................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Account set-up and training .................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Pricing Error! Bookmark not defined.
Platform and System Capabilities ........................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Service Level Agreements ....................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Other requirements of your proposal ..................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
5. Appendix ....................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Roles and Responsibilities for Email Campaign ..................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Detailed Specification of ESP Capability .............................Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Technology Platform, Security and Integration ......................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Account Set-up, Training and Account Management ................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Data Management ........................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Delivery and Deliverability Capabilities ..................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Campaign Deployment ................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
      Reporting Capabilities ................................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.



* Not available in Sample RFP




                                            2                                                              Author: David Hughes
                                 SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                    Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE



About E-consultancy

E-consultancy is an online publisher of best practice internet marketing reports,
research and how-to guides.

E-consultancy, which was recently named Publisher of the Year at the 2006 AOP
Awards, also publishes buyer’s guides and has a directory of 100,000+ third party
internet marketing white papers.

Since moving to a paid-content model in 2003 E-consultancy has amassed thousands
of paying subscribers, more than 50,000 registered users and 150,000+ unique users
sessions per month. E-consultancy is popular among internet professionals around
the world, for delivering practical, time-saving advice and insight.

Subscribers pay from £149 per year to access the exclusive and highly practical
content. E-consultancy has more than 100 events lined up for 2007, including
roundtables and monthly Supplier Showcases, where six suppliers pitch to an
audience of pre-qualified buyers in a Central London venue. E-consultancy also runs
both in-house and public training courses.

http://www.e-consultancy.com/about/


Contact

If you would like to know more about Corporate Membership and our roundtables
then please contact us on +44 207 681 4053 or Peter@e-consultancy.com.

If you have any comments or queries about this briefing then please contact
Linus@e-consultancy.com

E-consultancy URL: http://www.e-consultancy.com




                                         3                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE



1. Introduction to Email Marketing

Based on a wide variety of criteria, email marketing is now accepted as one of the
most important tools in the marketer’s armoury. Some organisations see it simply a
case of using a channel customers have requested to be communicated through – if
they like it by email, we’ll send it by email; others will identify the huge cost
differential between messages delivered digitally and messages conveyed through
direct mail or telemarketing and use “sticks and carrots” to encourage more
customers to opt in to lower-cost email messaging; yet more marketers will argue that
email allows such a rich click-stream of response history to be built up that they can
segment, personalise and trigger campaigns based on the “watch, don’t ask” mantra
of digital marketing.

In short, email is being used by more and more consumers and business
professionals and for marketers is a low cost-per-contact channel which provides a
wealth of tracking and reporting information.

Originally restricted to “welcome” messages and regular “e-zines” or newsletters,
email is now woven into many companies’ relationship marketing programme. For
instance, some pioneering marketers are moving away from just sending out
messages based on the rhythm of marketing life (newsletters every third Thursday of
the month) to messaging based on actions and/or events in the customer lifecycle.

Consider how much more engaging messages would be if they were based on the last
time you flew with an airline, the destinations you have visited with a travel company,
or the type of white-paper you downloaded from a website. Add in email
programmes of reminders about important events, or alerts to new web content or
relevant new products and you have a medium that adds real value to a customer
relationship programme.

In late 2006 the DMA USA published its “Power of Direct” economic impact study
(DMA USA “The Power of Direct Forecast”, August 2006). In it they showed that
email returned $57.25 for every dollar spent in 2005. Compare and contrast, they
said, with print catalogs generating $7.09 revenue and all non-e-mail internet
marketing delivering a healthy $22.52. Not only that, E-mail is going to keep
delivering significant contributions - $51.45 for every dollar spent in 2006, $48.29
for every dollar spent in 2007, and $41.05 for every dollar spent in 2011.

This huge rise in use and quantified success is in no small part down to the size and
maturity of the Email Service Provider (ESP) marketplace. Whether a client is
looking for a global tech partner or a local supplier with basic email capabilities and a
high level of account management and support, there will be the right partner out
there. The trouble is, there are quite a few to choose from…

The 2006 E-consultancy Email Marketing Buyers Guide lists 26 vendors in the UK
market able to manage your email broadcasting, and more seem to spring up every
month. The marketplace includes organisations with truly international scope and

                                         4                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


ones that just serve the UK; there are suppliers with full-service managed options,
self-service web-based systems and even in-company installed solutions; there are
some that just offer the technology and those that offer strategy, account
management and technical support.

This report guides you through the choices that you need to make to select the right
vendor for your needs. It looks at the things to consider at the planning stages, the
questions you need to ask of a technology partner and some guidance on how the
process could be managed. We do not seek to offer a definitive template for all client
situations – the email marketing world is too complex for that. Instead, we give you
the high level issues and detailed checklists from which you will be able to build your
own RFP process and documentation

One final point – this document is intended to cover the selection of a web-based
email service provider, rather than any possible combination of software, technology
architecture and platform management solutions. We have assumed that clients will
turn to this document because they have chosen the ESP route and will use a separate
technology solution evaluation process if weighing up an installed/in-house solution.
A number of the vendors who offer web-based platforms also have in-company
systems but we will not be extending this RFP process to these products.




                                         5                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE



2. Setting out the RFP process

Before getting into the detail of how we choose one supplier out of the many in the
marketplace, we’ll need to step back and look at some wider issues.


Why selecting the right partner is critical
Your choice of which vendor to work with will have a huge impact on your email
marketing effectiveness. If you select a partner with too few technical tools and
capabilities your campaign management and execution will be compromised.
Similarly, if you know that you will need plenty of hand-holding, guidance and
support during the contract then selecting a partner with less focus on service may
leave your marketing team exposed to risk. Integration capabilities with existing up
and down-stream technologies need to be considered as the wrong choice could mean
expensive re-engineering of data processes. There is also the cost issue of trying to
work with an un-suited partner…paying too little for the wrong solution will result in
lost revenue opportunities and may be more commercially damaging than paying too
much for an over-elaborate solution!


A technology supplier or a marketing partner?
Some organisations see email marketing technology as a commodity and, with little
perceived difference in supplier capabilities, can be traded for at the lowest cost.
However, most marketers probably want a deeper relationship with their key
partners and we should not treat them in the same way that we treat utilities
suppliers! Some ESP’s are more akin to marketing agencies and you should strive to
find a partner where the “chemistry” between organisations and personnel feels right.
After all, your teams may be speaking several times a day and your email marketing
campaigns will become increasingly important to corporate commercial success.

Use the like-for-like benchmarking tools provided here, create scorecards to
determine the winner, but pause to reflect whether you can really work with the team
that comes out top. It is notoriously hard to factor these softer relationship qualities
into a formal RFP document so your intuition about whether you can really work with
the chosen vendor becomes critical.


What kind of service do you want?
Most ESP’s in the UK market offer some or all of the following levels of engagement:
   Full service – staff available to manage data, creative, production, broadcast
      and reporting using own platform
   Self-service – use a technology provider’s broadcast architecture but all
      campaign management is handled by client-side staff
   Hybrid service – a self-service contract where clients can draw on additional
      resource when manpower is scarce or when specialist skills are called for.

Your choice of service level will depend on a number of factors. For instance, an

                                         6                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


organisation just finding its way in email marketing will value the support, guidance
and experienced staff that a full-service solution offers, but over time may choose to
dedicate resource internally for data or campaign management. Organisations with
in-house resource able to manage all aspects of campaign activity will benefit from
the lower management costs and more flexibility in campaign production that a self-
service solution offers.

Work hard weighing up the possible service options and evaluate which one will suit
you best. Bear in mind that your needs may evolve over the duration of the contract
(you may recruit extra campaign management resource once you get up and running)
and make sure that your RFP and subsequent contract identifies the cost implications
of any alterations like this.


What if you need more than just the technology?
ESP’s all have different business models and you may want to consider what range of
services you require now, and as your email experience grows. For example, some
players see themselves as “technology providers” and seek to make their money
through contracts that offer a huge degree of self-service dependence and very little
manpower support. Guidance about email delivery issues, HTML support for
message design or strategic help with testing will probably not be readily available
and you will need to seek this elsewhere. Conversely, some ESP’s have a model more
akin to traditional agencies and will have account teams that manage everything from
data integration, campaign production and strategic input – more of a full service
solution with manpower hourly rates and service levels.

There is no right or wrong answer for which model to use and your needs may evolve
over time too. Ensure that if you need that extra bit of hand-holding in the first 6
months your chosen ESP can provide it, or you factor in the costs of tapping into
providers of strategy, design or production services alongside your ESP budget and
contract. The E-consultancy Email Marketing Buyers Guide provides some useful
reference material provided by each ESP for where they see themselves in the
marketplace.


How long do you want the relationship to last?
As a general rule, the longer the contractual period, the more attractive the terms will
be from vendors. In a fiercely competitive marketplace ESP’s will probably be happy
to trade a lower cost for greater commitment – with many offering significant
discounts for 24 or 36 month contracts. For them, a well-established client familiar
with the ESP’s technology and processes will also be less of a “burden” on account
management and technical support and they will reflect this with better commercial
terms.

As for a minimum term, there are no hard and fast rules but given the strategic
nature and technical complexity of many contracts anything less than 12 months
probably won’t yield high returns for the effort expended. One alternative to the
“winner takes all” process is for a client to run projects with two suppliers and
compare the experience on a range of different levels – a judgement on the “softer”

                                         7                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


qualities of responsiveness, willingness to help and commercial acumen can be more
effectively gauged after such a trial. Your own needs will determine if this is
necessary or possible and do not underestimate the additional planning required to
manage the potential issues of multi-IP address campaigns, un-subscribe
management from different sources and campaign management on different
platforms.


How will you judge the winner?
A detailed RFP process will enable you to glean information in a consistent format
from all potential partners but will not necessarily tell you who will be best. Indeed,
there will be many criteria where virtually all ESP’s will provide the same answers
(“Will you provide dedicated IP addresses?” Yes; “Can you offer real-time, web-based
reporting?” Yes). But restricting the questions to a binary yes/no sequence will make
the tender unnecessarily complex and may not allow a good potential partner’s
expertise to shine through.

Where possible allow vendors to respond to standard questions about their company
and services, but give them enough opportunity to demonstrate how well they could
support you. This could be a “campaign planning scenario” that asks them how they
could configure their segmentation, personalisation and response analysis tools to
tackle a complex (but likely) set of circumstances. The way they respond to this
should give you a good indication of how they might cope with similar requests in
future.

If you are fortunate then you will now have an objective set of scoring values and a
more subjective feel for how the vendors compare, allowing a winner to be selected.
A scorecard could be created to evaluate the “softer skills” that each vendor displays –
a simple system of marks from 1 to 3 for “commercial acumen”, “ability to contribute
to strategic discussions” or “depth of account management support team” will help to
nail a winner.


How much firepower do you really need?
There are a number of suppliers in the UK market with sufficient technology
functionality to match the needs of the most demanding, sophisticated client
marketers. Everybody wants to broadcast messages in text and HTML formats, or
have access to tracking and reporting for every campaign; but do you really need to be
able to broadcast more than 1 million messages per hour? Or segment based on a
telemarketing conversation 15 seconds ago? Or trigger messages based on the pages
people have visited on their last web visit?

The E-consultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2007 noted that:

 More than half of Company Email Marketers (57%) said their organisations were
using less than 50% of their email systems’ functionality. Less than a third said they
            are using more than 50% of their email systems’ functionality.

This suggests that, as with many technology applications, most people are only using

                                         8                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


a small amount of the functionality they have bought into. This does not necessarily
mean that they have over-specified their brief and are paying a premium for a system
they under-use; firstly, most of the ESP’s bundle together their technology so that for
a fixed price you get access to all the modules regardless of whether you use them.
Secondly, this observation does not take into account the scalable opportunities that
great technology offers – just because you are not using functionality today does not
mean that it will not be needed before the end of the contract.

As a result, you may end up opting for a technology provider that has much more
capability than you need right now. As you become more experienced you may need
these extra tools and they probably come bundled into the basic package price in any
case.


How long will the process take?
You may take the view that if a supplier comes highly recommended and seems to
tick all the right boxes you may not have to go through the tender process at all!
However, for a long-term partnership it may be worth casting your net as wide as
possible and give all suppliers enough time to do justice to the brief. Before that you
will need to build your pitch document and that may take weeks. (See the next
section for the outline RFP)

Once the brief has been given to the suppliers they will need time to digest the brief,
prepare the bespoke elements and respond in the format you have specified. It is
reasonable to allow at least 2 weeks for this stage of the process, but the more time
you allow the better the responses may be…you are appointing a strategic marketing
partner and a critical success factor may not be how fast their new business team can
turn around complex tender documents!


Who should get involved from your organisation?
Each company has its own procurement processes and selection of an email
marketing partner should follow the necessary financial, technical and legal steps.
Your email marketing activity is likely to touch the lives of many personnel across the
company and you may want to consider who should be involved in the process, at
what stage, and with what influence. Here are a few of the functional teams that may
be affected by your choice of vendor:
    IT – systems integration, security, bandwidth, support
    Customer Service – in-bound email, call centre activity
    Database marketing – data supply, data hygiene, results importing
    Sales management - integration with sales management systems
    Web management – post-campaign tracking, conversion tracking
    Legal – is there is a “show stopper” clause in the contract


Where do you look for ESP vendors?
There are several lines of enquiry you should follow to determine your prospective
partners. Firstly, ask colleagues internally if they have worked with, or heard good

                                         9                                                 Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007
Email Marketing RFP – Guidance and Templates – SAMPLE


things about, any player. Secondly, turn to sources like exhibitors at trade shows
(Technology for Marketing, Internet World etc) or buyer’s guides in the trade
press…the E-consultancy Email Marketing Buyer’s Guide 2006 lists 26 UK players.
Finally, monitor the trade press and marketing web sites and look out for ESP’s
getting a reputation for great technology, service and strategy. Affiliation to trade
organisations like the Direct Marketing Association should offer a final sweep of the
supplier marketplace.




                                         10                                                Author: David Hughes
                              SAMPLE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL
                                 Full version: http://www.e-consultancy.com/in/email-rfp

Copyright © E-consultancy.com ltd 2007

				
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