Cross channel marketing rfp


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Cross channel marketing rfp

  1. 1. Cross-Channel Marketing Request for Proposal signal 1
  2. 2. Choosing the right cross-channel marketing product isn’t easy. It’s an emerging space without a clear playbook.Providers in the industry vary greatly in quality and scope of offering. That’s why we created this sample RFP, consisting entirely of actual questions from real RFPs submitted to Signal. We hope it helps you in your search for the right cross-channel marketing solution. Products Pricing, Implementation, Services and Support Security, Systems and Data Company Information
  3. 3. products Text Message Marketing Why This Matters The SMS inbox is the only place where you’re guaranteed to get an open. It’s important to complement an effective email marketing program with targeted and timely text message content. Your customers are more mobile than ever before and expect your marketing to be mobile-friendly. By cultivating an opt-in list of SMS subscribers, you’ll be better equipped to delight customers with important news, alerts and offers at the times and places they can act on that information. Make sure your text message marketing provider can send SMS to all the cell carriers that your customers use and that they are experts in the rules and best practices of SMS marketing.What text messaging aggregator(s) do you work with? What is your experience with provisioning new shortThink of aggregators as your “middlemen” to the major codes? What support do you provide in handling thiscellular carriers. As with most things, not all aggregators provisioning? Can I use a temporary shared shortare created equal and vary in delivery reliability and code while my new code is being provisioned?carrier coverage. A short code is the “phone number” for your text message marketing campaigns. It is the number all yourTier 1 aggregators typically have connections to most or messages will come from and the number people willall of the major carriers. Tier 2 or below may not have text message keywords to (e.g., text WIN to 75309).connectivity to one or more major carriers. Like with your own phone number, you can request a vanity number or get a randomly assigned one. UnlikeAre you aggregator agnostic? getting a new phone number, short code provisioningThis simply means that the company has connections can be a long and complicated multiple aggregators, which significantlystreamlines the process of transferring short codes It typically takes 8 weeks or more to get a short codefrom other vendors. ready for use. It’s important to have a provider that is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of this process and that has the relationships to make it as painless as possible. 3
  4. 4. If I choose not to provision my own short code or do Do you support Mobile Marketing Association andnot have an existing code to transfer, do you have carrier guidelines? Are you a member of the Mobileshared short codes available for me to use? Marketing Association?Shared short codes are used by text message The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) offersmarketing providers to give multiple customers use guidelines for text message marketing that allof one short code. This reduces your costs, as you reputable providers follow. These guidelines generally,don’t need to provision your own code, but there are but don’t always, align with policies followed by thetrade-offs to this approach. carriers themselves. It’s critical the provider you work with has an intimateDo you support the use of multiple short codes? understanding of these policies to ensure yourIf you want to segment your text message marketing campaigns or short codes do not get interrupted or shutcampaigns between different brands, product lines or down by carriers.campaign types, there can be value in having a shortcode for each campaign. Does your product support the ability to provide consumers information by sending a simple textWhat carriers do you currently support? message in response to a call-to-action, such as those I include in my marketing materials?You want as many carriers to be supported aspossible to ensure as many of your customers Commonly called autoresponse or info responderas possible are eligible to participate in your text campaigns, appending a text message call to actionmessage marketing campaigns. Tier 1 aggregators to packaging or print materials is an effective way foroffer the widest carrier coverage. consumers to receive information on-the-go (e.g., Text “INFO” to 12345 for information).Do you support international messaging?Which countries? Does your product support timed or drip campaigns that allow me to schedule messages to be sent in theIf you have customers outside of the U.S. and would future or at certain milestones that I set?like to allow them to participate in your text messagemarketing efforts, you need to ensure your provider There are many times you want to schedule a messagecan support this. to be sent at a time in the future that you specify. You may also want to have certain messages set to send on a person’s birthday, anniversary or other preset periodWhat message throughput do you support? after they have opted in.How many messages/second can you send? Make sure your provider can support these scenarios.If you have large lists or simply need to deliver alarge quantity of messages, the speed with whichyour provider can send these messages is critical.Understanding your provider’s throughput gives youan idea for how long it will take to send messages. 4
  5. 5. Does your product support the ability to collect Does your product offer SMS coupons? If yes, doescustomer feedback via text message? Can I have this this feature allow me to offer unique coupon codesfeedback routed via email to my customer support to recipients? How can provide these coupon codesteam, with the response sent back to the customer to you—CSV and/or API call? Are reports for couponvia text? distribution and coupon views available?Offering print and in-store calls-to-action to collect SMS coupons typically use alphanumeric codes, oftenfeedback is an easy, effective way to address the generated from a point-of-sale system, that are includedconcerns of on-the-go customers. in text messages and are unique for each recipient. These are an effective way to close the redemptionDoes your product support the ability collect loop and track direct marketing ROI.customer data via text message?Collecting information from customers via text message, Does your product create short URLs that can besuch as contact information like email, demographic embedded into SMS messages and tracked?info or product preference, is an effective way to gather Can I create my own custom short URL?insights from on-the-go consumers. Though short URLs are ubiquitous, having a tool to shorten URLs integrated by your text messageDoes your product have the ability to display text marketing provider helps you efficiently trim URLs onmessages sent in by consumers to a screen/video the fly and track clicks on links used in your campaigns.display at a live event (conference, sporting event. etc.)?Often called “text to screen,” the ability to send text Does your product support sending an initial messagemessage comments or answers to questions you pose with an incentive for people to sign up to my list?to a video screen can create an engaging attraction Can you prevent consumers from unsubscribing andat live events. re-subscribing to exploit this one-time incentive? Offering stronger initial sign-up incentives helpsDoes your product support QR code creation? drive opt-in behavior, but it’s also important that yourWhat QR interaction reporting capabilities do you offer? provider has protections in place to prevent abuse ofQR codes can be an effective way to bridge off line these offers.calls-to-action with an online experience. Can I customize the content and sequence of the messages sent when people opt in or out of my lists, or when they text STOP or HELP? Flexible SMS message options provide control to produce the customer experience you desire and ensure compliance with MMA and carrier guidelines. 5
  6. 6. Can I personalize messages with your product? Does your product support the creation of alternativePersonalized messages, using people’s first/last name, or alias keywords for use when I want to track theetc., are proven to increase relevancy, receptiveness source of a campaign entry or opt-in? Are thereand response over generic messages. reports that show text message activity by keyword? To help you determine which of your marketingThis is typically achieved with tags you in insert in a tactics is most effectively supporting your textmessage that pulls in the personalized content when message campaigns, it’s useful to be able to createthe message is delivered. Commonly called Merge multiple keywords for a single campaign, where aTags, make sure your provider offers this feature. unique keyword is used for each marketing action you want to test.Does your product have Spanish-language support?Any provider will allow you to use Spanish in the Can I search the database of text messages sent bymessages you compose and send. Where this feature me or my customers in order to help my customerbecomes relevant is for “system” messages, like those support team troubleshoot any issues?that are sent when a consumer texts STOP or HELP. Sometimes customers have questions or concernsSince you may not always be able to configure these about text messages they receive from you and contactmessages (some providers won’t let you configure your support team.them). it’s important to make sure these can be offered Having the ability to search your message database byin Spanish. phone number, short code or message content makes it easy to diagnose customer concerns. 6
  7. 7. products email Marketing Why This Matters Email is the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. While there are a number of providers that can help you manage the email marketing basics, it’s important you seek out those companies that have a track record of high email deliverability and give you the tools to create hyper-targeted and personalized messages. It’s critical to be able to cut through the clutter of email inboxes with content that resonates.Also, many email providers assume you have technical resources at the ready to manage email templatecreation and other creative development needs. If you don’t have easy access to these resources, make sure you find a provider that makes it easy for anyone to create and send great-looking emails.Does your product require me to have an IT resource Can I personalize email messages with your product?to create emails or email templates? Personalized email messages that use people’s firstOften, email marketing providers require you to know and last names are proven to increase relevancy,code such as HTML or CSS to build the creative receptiveness and response over generic messages.elements of your emails. If you don’t have this This is typically achieved with merge tags you in insertknowledge in-house, then your costs to do email in a message that pulls in the personalized contentmarketing will rise and your productivity will drop using when the message is delivered. Make sure yourthese providers. provider offers this feature.Are emails shared across campaigns in your product? What type of email delivery tracking and optimizationIn many cases, the emails you create will be useful tools do you provide?in more than one campaign or for more than one list. To ensure that your messages reach inboxes and thatAllowing your emails to be shared across campaigns your reputation as a sender is maintained, your emailand lists saves time and fosters messaging provider should have capabilities to track delivery statsconsistency across campaigns. for your emails and have procedures in place to ensure strong standing with the email service providers. 7
  8. 8. Does your product have a library of email templates to Does your product support the ability to previewchoose from? If so, how many do you offer and what emails as they would look in different email clientare some of the types or styles of these templates? inboxes (e.g., Outlook, Gmail, etc.) before sending?Storing and re-using email templates saves time and Do you support email previews on email clients fromfosters brand consistency. mobile devices, as well? Seeing how your email will look in your customers’ inboxes, whether it be on their computer or mobileDoes your product offer support for customizing email phone, will help you troubleshoot any issues with yourtemplates? If so, can I create my own HTML templates email content or design.and upload them or can I only edit the HTML in thetemplates you provide?The ability to customize email templates, either by Do you run spam filter tests for emails sent fromcreating your own from scratch or by editing HTML in your product?existing templates, provides complete design control Spam filter tests help ensure your emails are reachingand flexibility. customers’ inboxes by scanning them using every major spam filter before you send.Do you provide repeatable content regions in an emailthat I can use to create content features? Does your product support timed or drip campaignsRepeatable regions make it easier to write multiple that allow me to schedule messages to be sent in thefeatures for your newsletter (e.g., linking to your last five future or at certain milestones that I set?blog posts, featured menu items, etc.) There are many times when you will want to schedule a message to be sent at a specified time in the future. You may also want to have certain messages set to send onIs it possible to upload and store images for use in my a person’s birthday, anniversary at a certain time afteremails and email templates? they have opted in.Being able to easily upload images to an email or emailtemplates, and then have those images stored to a Make sure your provider can support these scenarios.library for reuse in the future, makes it easy to enhanceyour emails with your engaging visuals. 8
  9. 9. products social media Marketing Why This Matters You already have a Facebook page or Twitter account. Make sure you also have the tools to manage social with the precision of your email marketing. Seek out providers that offer social publishing capabilities that allow you to schedule your social posts at the right time and to centralize all of your social accounts in one place. Relevancy and targeting aren’t just for email or SMS, either. Make sure your provider gives you the analytics to mine the social graph for the insights you need to make your social content resonate with your fans and followers.Can I track which social media sources are most Does your product offer the ability to track brandeffective for me when running marketing campaigns mentions or other relevant keyword mentions onwith your product? social networks?You need to understand the ROI of social media. People are talking about your brand, your competitorsMake sure your provider can determine, via tools like and other topics relevant to your business everytrackable URLs, engagement metrics (comments, likes, day. Make sure you have the ability to monitor theseshares, re-tweets, etc.) and search metrics, how your conversations to learn more about customer needs andcampaigns perform across the various social networks. respond directly to customer questions and concerns.Does your product offer social sharing functionality Can I manage all of my social media accounts/pageson landing pages and in emails? using your product?It’s useful to allow your content to be sharable, both in It’s common for marketers to have a number of Twitteremails and on landing pages. accounts Facebook pages to support various aspects of their social marketing efforts. Make sure your provider allows you to manage all of these accounts in one place to help you be more efficient. 9
  10. 10. Can I schedule my social posts for a future date or Does your product allow me to track sentiment intime using your product? social media posts?Timing of your Facebook updates and tweets can have Determining which social media conversations abouta big impact on reach and engagement. Make sure your your brand and competitors are favorable and which areprovider allows you to control when your social posts negative gives you the ability to identify key customerare sent. pain points and trend customer satisfaction over time.Does your product identify who my most active fans Does your product track my most popular socialor followers are? media posts and display them prominently so I canUnderstanding which of your social media fans and better determine what’s working?followers are most engaged in conversations with you You post a lot of content on Twitter and Facebookcan help identify your true influencers, allow you to and it can be hard to see which posts generate thereward them with exclusive offers, and ask them to help most likes, comments and retweets. Make sure yourspread the word to others. provider can identify these and show you how to duplicate your success. 10
  11. 11. products web pages Why These Matter Web page creation isn’t just for IT anymore. Web content is critical to support all of your SMS, email and social marketing efforts. Whether it’s a form to add new subscribers, information about your store locations or a valuable how-to video, you need the flexibility to quickly create on-the-fly web pages. Make sure your provider offers the ability to create web content without relying on your IT team, and that those web pages always look great on mobile devices.Does your landing page creator have a drag-and- Will web pages that include forms pre-populate thosedrop interface, or do all pages need to fit into forms with existing subscriber data?predefined templates? People are more likely to complete forms if they don’tEase-of-use contributes to greater efficiency and have to enter information they know you already haveincreased productivity. Make sure your provider has a about them.commitment to making complex tasks simple. Does your product help ensure my web pages areDoes your landing page creator have support for optimized for mobile devices?HTML import and editing? It’s critical that your web content renders elegantlyThis provides greater flexibility around design and on mobile phones. Make sure your provider has thecreative efforts. necessary data about mobile phone types (from resources like the WURFL database) to ensure your web content can be optimized for specific devices.Are web pages shared across campaigns in your product?In many cases, the web pages you create will beuseful in more than one campaign or for more thanone list. Allowing your web pages to be shared acrosscampaigns and lists saves time and fosters messagingconsistency across campaigns. 11
  12. 12. products promotions Why These Matter Promotions are the fuel for your subscriber growth engine. Most providers focus on helping you manage customer databases and subscriber lists. Very few also offer the tools you need grow your database. Promotions like coupons, sweepstakes, polls, trivia and surveys offer you ready-made solutions to excite customers and offer them value for joining and staying subscribed to your lists.Make sure your provider offers promotions you can run via SMS, web and social media for maximumreach and impact. Also be sure all the data you collect from these promotions are stored to the same database where all your customer and subscriber information is housed. CouponsDoes your product have the ability to create web Does your product offer support for customizing webcoupons that can be sent via text message, email or coupon designs? If so, can I create my own HTMLsocial media post? design templates and upload them or can I only editCoupons are the most effective tool to encourage the HTML in the templates you provide?people to become subscribers, fans or followers and The ability to customize web coupon design templates,to stay engaged after they do. Make sure your provider either by creating your own from scratch or by editingprovides the ability to create them. HTML in existing templates, provides complete design control and flexibility.Does your web coupon creator have a simpleWYSIWYG interface?Ease of use contributes to greater efficiency andincreased productivity. Make sure your provider has acommitment to making complex tasks simple. 12
  13. 13. Do you have options to prevent abuse in the Can I embed barcodes that work with my POS systemredemption of web coupons created in your product? in web coupons created in your product? If so, whichSetting limits around the redemption of your web barcode types do you support?coupons, such as capping the number of time the If tracking coupon redemption at the POS is critical tocoupon can be viewed and personalizing coupons so your business, make sure your provider can supportthey can’t be shared or used by others, are important barcode insertion in coupons and that it can support thefeatures to prevent abuse. Make sure your provider type of barcode specific to your POS system.offers such restrictions. Sweepstakes/ContestsDoes your product offer Sweepstakes campaigns that Can I run a text message trivia campaign usingsupport entry via text message, web page, Facebook your product?and Twitter? Trivia campaigns are an enjoyable way to engage yourSweepstakes promotions can be an effective way current subscribers or drive new subscriptions. Triviato encourage people to join your email and SMS responses can also be used to build your database ofsubscriber lists to collect valuable demographic and insights about subscribers.preference information for future marketing. They aremost effective when you have the ability to collect For promotions like polls and trivia, does your productentries from multiple channels. Make sure your provider support insertion of live campaign results intohas the ability to do this. response text messages? For people who vote in a poll, or answer trivia orDoes your product offer Polling campaigns that survey questions, it’s important to show them other’ssupport entry via text message and web page? responses to keep them engaged. You can even askPolls can be a fun tool to engage subscribers, while you them to join your list before voting to see the results.also use their poll responses to build your database ofinsights about them. Allow customers to answer the poll If I am running a promotion either sponsored by avia SMS or web page to create greater participation. cellular carrier or with rules or content specific to certain carriers, do you support the customization ofDoes your product offer text message surveys? text message campaign responses based on carrier?Building an SMS survey to collect demographic If you run promotions that have any carrier-specificinformation is an effective way to gather insights messaging needs, it’s critical that your providerfrom on-the-go consumers. support the ability to deliver dynamic text message content for each carrier. 13
  14. 14. Does your product support the ability to clone Does your product support the ability to collectpromotions for reuse? customer data before or after participation in aSometimes you’ll want to run a promotion that has promotion (e.g., email address, preferences, etc.)?the same options as one you ran previously. Cloning Having the option to collect customer data before oror duplicating past promotions can save time and after promotion entry gives complete flexibility overcreate efficiencies. campaign design.Does your product support customizable entry form Does your product have the ability to ask entrantsdesign for promotions like sweepstakes and polling? to subscribe to your email and text message listsCustomizing web landing pages and forms gives upon entry?complete flexibility in design. For most promotions, a key goal should be to turn entries into subscribers in order to keep the conversation with your customer going beyond the promotion.Does your product support scheduling of promotionstart and end dates?Scheduling of promotion start and end dates ensures Will information about which promotions myconsistency with published terms and rules for customers entered and the data about their entrycampaigns like sweepstakes. be stored in a database for me to use for future campaign segmentation? It’s important that the tools you use for runningDoes your product support the ability to enforce age promotions are tied directly to both a customerrestrictions before being allowed to enter a campaign database and to the tools you use to manage ongoingvia text message or web form? email, SMS and social campaigns. This allows you toAge restrictions are critical for certain brands or have a complete picture of customer activity and leadspromotions that involve content only appropriate for to more relevant and targeted communications.certain audiences (e.g., alcohol products). 14
  15. 15. products List and Data Management Why This Matters Data quality and segmentation done right separates your marketing from the pack. It’s important that you have the tools available to maintain an accurate and rich database of customer information. Without it, all of your efforts to segment and target your marketing will be undermined. Make sure your provider has a clear process for helping keep your database clean, in addition to easy-to-use options for creating segments based on that data to make your targeting efforts simple.What options do you provide for eliminating duplicate Am I able to run batch data updates on any customcontacts in your database? If I import subscribers attribute I create?already in my database, will you de-duplicate them? If Batch updates help keep data up to date in ansomeone already subscribed tries to subscribe again efficient way.via web form or SMS, will you create a new contact orsubscription or deduplicate it? Is there a limit to the number of contacts we can storeHaving a clean and high-quality database is critical to in your database?your marketing efforts. Make sure your provider hasthe appropriate checks in place to eliminate duplicate Storing large data sets in a manner optimized forcontacts or subscribers. segmentation and reporting is complex, and requires a provider experienced in working with high volumes of data.Am I able to create custom attributes that can beassigned to subscribers in your database? Can I segment SMS and email messages sentSupporting custom data attributes that are unique to using your product by any combination of customyour business is necessary to maintain a complete data attributes I create?set for reporting and segmentation. Robust segmentation provides the basis for more relevant and targeted marketing. 15
  16. 16. Does your product support list segmentation based Can my subscribers edit their subscription preferenceson participation in past campaigns? (preferred messaging channels, interests, etc.) via aTargeting your marketing based on campaign events web page provided by your product?like email opens and promotion entries allows you Show respect for your customers’ desire to be in controlto hone your marketing efforts toward your most of the information they receive from you by ensuringreceptive customers. your provider has an option for them to easily edit their subscription preferences.Does your product support the ability to createcustomizable web signup forms to add email and SMS Is all the data about my subscribers (demographics,subscribers to my lists? preferences, campaign activity, etc.), regardless ofWeb forms are one of the core tools you’ll use to whether they are SMS or email subscribers, storedask customers to subscribe to your email and SMS in a single database?lists. Make sure your provider gives you the option to Storing customer data including demographics,customize the design and data fields you collect on preferences, and campaign activity across marketingyour form. channels in one place gives you a complete view of your customers and allows you to leverage this data in sending both email and SMS campaigns.Can I easily upload subscribers and subscriber datavia Excel or CSV file? Can I export my contact andsubscriber data to an Excel or CSV file?You should be able to get subscriber data into and outof your database without hassle and in the formats youprefer. Make sure your provider’s import and exportfunctionality includes values for the custom attributesyou create and the channels customers are subscribed to. 16
  17. 17. products Reporting and Analytics Why This Matters The more transparent the results of your marketing are, the better your future marketing campaigns will be. The only way you can improve is to get feedback on what is and isn’t working. Make sure your provider offers the reports and analysis you need to determine which campaigns are a success. This means your provider should be looking beyond the basics of email open rates, SMS deliverability and social fan/follower counts to offer you additional context, benchmark stats, to make continuous improvements.What reports and analytics do you provide for my What reports and analytics do you provide forcontact database and subscriber lists? understanding my text message marketing activity?Providers can offer a number of reporting options. Providers can offer a number of reporting options.Make sure these are among them: Make sure these are among them:• Trends over time showing your subscriber growth (opt- • Reports on SMS delivery and click rates on links you ins and opt-outs) by subscription type (email or SMS) include in your text messages• Reports that show the campaigns (both email and SMS) • Breakdowns of text messages you’ve sent by sent to your lists cellular carrier• Summary stats that highlight the composition of • Trends over time of your text messages sent and received your database, such as demographics and attribute • Reports that allow you to search the history of text ratios (e.g., 60% of your database are males, 25% messages sent by you and your customers like pizza, etc.) 17
  18. 18. What reports and analytics do you provide for Are your reports updated in real time?understanding my email marketing activity? It’s important to have an up-to-the-minute snapshot ofProviders can offer a number of reporting options. your customers and marketing activity.Make sure these are among them:• Email delivery stats such as bounces and unsubscribes Can I export data from your product to an Excel or related to your campaigns, shown by the hour or day CSV file? after your campaign is sent No matter how robust a provider’s reporting options are,• Open and click rates on links you include in your emails, there is always a need to extract the data to analyze in shown by hour or day after your campaign is sent ways custom to you. Make sure you can export the data• Trends over time of your emails sent you need for your core analyses.• Reports that allow you to search the history of email messages sent by you and your customers Do you offer reports or notifications delivered to me via email?What reports and analytics do you provide for For the information most critical to you, make sureunderstanding my social media marketing activity? your provider has options to automatically notify youProviders can offer a number of reporting options. through email of key activity or data.Make sure these are among them:• Trends over time showing your Facebook and Twitter fan/follower growth, new fans/followers and lost fans/followers• Engagement metrics, such as comments, likes, retweets and @ mentions, trended over timeWhat reports and analytics do you provide forunderstanding my marketing activity by location?Providers can offer a number of reporting options.Make sure these are among them:• Summary reports that show subscriber growth across locations• Summary reports that show campaign activity across locations• Reports that show you the best- and worst- performing locations in terms of subscriber growth and campaign activity• Drill-down reports into individual locations to help you diagnose why they are top or poor performers 18
  19. 19. products multi-location marketing Why This Matters When local marketing is at the heart of your business, make sure your digital marketing provider has it at the heart of theirs too.Orchestrating marketing efforts at the corporate, regional and store levels is extraordinarily difficult. Whether or not your local marketing is centralized at corporate or spread out among franchises, the challenge of making your marketing feel targeted and local to all your customers is great. Seek out providers who have tools to help you manage rights and roles, approval workflows and location-based analytics that map directly to your business.Does your product have the ability for me to create Can email or text messages created by certain users ina hierarchy of users based on role (e.g., corporate the hierarchy be subject to approval by other users thatmarketer, regional manager, franchisee, etc.)? have admin rights?For many businesses with multiple locations, various When you have scenario where some users may notlayers of management are responsible for marketing have authority to create and send campaigns withoutacross these locations. If you have a franchise model approval, you need to have a workflow in your cross-or similar hierarchy, make sure your provider allows to channel marketing product to require such approvalcreate user roles that map to how your business works. before those users can send messages.Can I control access rights for users at each level of Is it possible to create preapproved messages,the hierarchy? templates or designs that are locked for some users?Sometimes you need to restrict the access certain users Cut down on your risks and the time it takes to approvehave to features of your cross-channel marketing product campaigns as they are created by providing users, suchto ensure your brand standards are met. Make sure your as single location owners, the ability to choose fromprovide the ability to set such restrictions. content preapproved by you. 19
  20. 20. Can users with admin rights “shadow” other users to Do you offer the option for me to add my brand logoreplicate their experience with product? and a custom URL to your product?“Shadowing” users can be an invaluable tool when Custom branding gives you the option to provide users a troubleshooting issues those users may be having in seamless experience. creating and sending campaigns. Do you provide a way for my customers to getCan I group contacts or subscribers by location or information about my store locations via their mobilegroups of locations? phone? If so, how? Does your system allow on-the-Whether it be a geographic region or shared attribute go consumers to find your nearest store locations by(e.g., locations with an ATM attached), grouping your texting their zip code or offer code snippets to create alocations by data relevant to you is important to make web version based on GPS?sure your marketing efforts map to your business. Nearly all of your customers have a need, at some point, to find a location nearest them while they are on the go and away from a computer.Can I segment my email and SMS campaigns by theselocation segments (e.g., locations in the Northeast or Make sure your provider offers options to do this,locations with an ATM attached)? including:Segmentation based on locations with shared attributes • Allowing customers to text in their zip code to receive agives you added precision and relevancy in your list of locations sorted by distancemarketing messages. • Providing a mobile web page that uses a phone’s GPS to determine the customer’s location and display locations nearest to them 20
  21. 21. products integration Why This Matters Marketing can’t succeed when it’s trapped in silos. Ensure that your databases and tools can talk to each other. Whether you have a loyalty platform, CRM system or internal database that you need to sync with your cross-channel marketing solution, make sure your provider has the experience and product features (such as APIs) to make the integration process a seamless one.What other products or providers do you or have you Can you create a bi-directional synchronization of dataintegrated with? between your product and my internal databases orIt’s important to establish whether your cross-channel other CRM tools I use?marketing provider has experience integrating with If you have internal customer databases forother tools or databases you may use to support your information your cross-channel marketing platformmarketing efforts. can’t provide or CRM tools for other marketing actions, it’s important you have data sync betweenExamples include: them to ensure you have consistent, up-to-date data• Your internal customer database, which may and coordinated marketing activities. contain information like purchase history or loyalty program participation• Your website or mobile apps• CRM products you may use to manage customer loyalty programs or offline marketing efforts 21
  22. 22. Do you provide application programming interfaces Does your product have the ability to call web services(APIs) that can be used to perform some of the major using HTTP/HTTPS?functions of your product or be used to integrate with To successfully build the integrations you need, it’s likelyyour product? that your provider will need to use APIs and other webTo effectively integrate with your other partners, it’s services that either you or your other providers offer.almost necessary for your cross-channel marketing Make sure your provider can call these services usingprovider to offer APIs that allow you and your partners to the protocols that you and your other providers support.access key information and features.You should make sure your provider offers APIs to: Do you provide the ability to post updates to• Add subscribers (including custom attributes) customer and subscriber data to a URL (commonly called a webhook)?• Manage subscriber status To keep multiple databases in sync, it’s important that• Update customer data record (add/edit attribute your cross-channel marketing provider can post changes values, etc.) to subscriber status or customer profiles to you or your• Send SMS and email messages other providers. 22
  23. 23. Pricing, Implementation, Services and Support Why These Matter Though the rides at Disneyland are incredible, you really go for the Disney experience. Similarly, a great product isn’t great without a terrific customer service experience to surround it. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a demo of an amazing product, only to discover tons of hidden fees and suspect support when you get started. Make sure your provider is transparent with its pricing and the specifics for its implementation process. Also, make sure it has a clear structure for supporting your needs after the initial training and implementation period. You’ll be most successful when your provider has a deep commitment to getting close to your business and becoming an extension of your marketing team.Please provide details on how you price your product. If I need to integrate your product with other databasesCross-channel marketing providers price their solutions or tools I use, what is the cost?in a variety of ways (monthly subscription, annual It’s important to work with your cross-channel marketinglicense, charge by message volume, charge by number provider up front to determine your integration needsof subscribers/database records, etc.). Make sure you and any associated costs.understand each provider’s pricing structure and howthey compare. Do you provide a dedicated account manager and training program to help us get started with the product?What other costs are involved with your solution, A dedicated account manager can help cut down onbeyond costs for the product itself? For example, implementation time, meaning you can get up andwhat are the costs of training/onboarding, account running quickly for fast, etc.?Be clear on the services costs and other relatedfees you may incur to manage your cross-channelmarketing campaigns. 23
  24. 24. Do you have an online support and best practices Can you provide details of any available, optionalcenter? If so, how regularly is it updated? services that your company provides?You don’t want to have to always rely on an account If offered, services like creative design and consultingmanager to answer your questions and help optimize your can improve the quality of your cross-channelcampaigns. A useful support center and knowledge base marketing essential to getting the most out of a product. How frequently does your company have newPlease provide a typical timeline for implementation. product releases and how is training done on newThe faster you implement marketing automation, the features and functionality? Will there be a cost forfaster you can achieve ROI on your purchase. Make additional training?sure it’s clear how long it will take for you to get up and Cross-channel marketing is an evolving technology.running and what the steps are in the process. Your provider should be constantly improving its product without passing on additional costs when new enhancements arrive.What is the process for uploading my existing data?Uploading your existing data is a critical initial step whenon-boarding with a provider. Make sure the process is Is your solution offered as a hosted service or will weclear to you and you’re comfortable with how your data need to install it on our servers?will be handled. SaaS products are much easier to get up and running, so seek out providers with hosted solutions. 24
  25. 25. Security, Systems and Data Why These Matter Your data is your business. Make sure your provider has the same commitment to security as you do. Given some recent high-profile breaches of customer data stored with marketing platforms, you need to ensure your provider has the appropriate checks and balances in place to prevent you from being the next headline. In addition, it’s important that you push your provider to offer the details of that technology infrastructure, including information like its historical uptime, to feel confident that your marketing efforts won’t be interrupted by an unstable platform.What security practices do you employ to prevent How is data segregated or partitioned in your system?unauthorized access to data? Your provider needs to have thought through how dataYour customers trust you with their data. Make sure is isolated between its customers. You don’t want youryour provider has a clear and defensible process in data to be accessed by your provider’s other to ensure that there are no holes that wouldallow others access to that data. Describe your hosted infrastructure. Look for providers that tap into both dedicated and cloudDescribe your software architecture. servers as they likely understand the power of dedicatedYour provider should use web frameworks that have a machines for data processing and cloud based instanceslarge install base and are frequently updated. to scale up with traffic/processing needs.What data storage software and hardware do you use? How frequently is your software updated in production?Not all data is created and stored equally. Companies Seek out providers that make frequent changes ratherthat employ NoSQL data storage mechanisms to than releasing monthly or quarterly updates.complement traditional relational database storagehave a strong understanding of how to roll up data forreporting and analytics. 25
  26. 26. What testing procedures do you employ to prevent What is your commitment to R&D as a percentage ofissues from happening in production? your total expenditure dedicated to improvements?Look for providers that use a mix of automated and You want to work with providers who are committedmanual QA. Neither approach on its own will ensure to keeping up with the changing landscape of cross-that a product is free of bugs. channel marketing. Ideally, your provider will look to include you on beta tests and other RandD efforts to help you stay on the cutting edge.What is your SLA?Target 99.9% uptime with the ability to quickly producehistorical reports. Please provide a high-level technical architecture diagram of your solution and how it integrates with our existing infrastructure and consumer touch points.What web browsers does your system support? Having a technical diagram makes it easier for youLook for the broadest support possible so your users to consult with your internal technical teams or otherhave the freedom to use their preferred browser when providers that will integrate with this product.accessing the product.How do you inform customers of outages, upgradesand maintenance?Make sure your provider has an established process fordowntime notifications that they can articulate in writing.Also make sure that process gives you enough advancenotice to ensure your teams can plan appropriately. 26
  27. 27. company information Why This Matters Know who you’re working with and make sure their company is a good fit for yours. Choosing a cross-channel marketing provider is a big investment. You’ll likely be switching from multiple providers to their solution and your goal is to establish a long-term relationship. Make sure your provider has the history, staying power and financial stability to not only meet your needs today but also to grow at a rapid pace to meet your needs tomorrow.Please provide your company details, including registered Please provide information on any current industrycompany name, address and registration number. standards or accreditations you have obtained andThis is important information to help research any industry awards won in the last two years.potential providers. This is important information to help research potential providers.Please provide your primary contact details inrelation to this activity, including contact name, What is your employee retention rate and averagerole, telephone number and email. lifespan at your company?Be clear about who your point of contacts are so you Make sure you work with a provider that has a strongdon’t waste time in the process of evaluating providers. track record of retaining employees. This is a strong leading indicator of the quality of product and service you’ll receive.Please provide a document that gives an overviewof your company and products.This is important information to help research Please provide a list of customers.potential providers. Make sure the provider you choose has experience with companies like yours.Please describe your organizational structureincluding the names and titles of key team members. Please describe your largest customer.This is important information to help research Understanding the top end of customer type apotential providers. provider works with can help you evaluate its capacity to support your needs. 27
  28. 28. Please provide three references that are current customers. Contact: Company Name: Title:1 Email: Phone: Launch Date: Contact: Company Name: Title:2 Email: Phone: Launch Date: Contact: Company Name: Title:3 Email: Phone: Launch Date: 28