I’m as big a fan as the next guy about saving money. Give me a bargain any day.
However, when it comes to saving money on an email solution, less doesn’t always equal more.
You’ve heard me say that with email volume, less can equal more when relevance and engagement go up at the same time. However, if you plan to take a good, long, look at Amazon’s new SES email solution, don’t misread its value for your brands to go beyond transactional email services.
This ClickZ article runs down some of the basic details about the service, and asks some fair questions about how it’ll affect the major ESPs. However, the article itself actually misses the point completely with its central question.
Amazon’s Simple E-mail Service (SES) could open up bulk e-mail marketing to cash-strapped companies. Will it siphon business away from established e-mail service providers?
The central issue is not the ESPs losing a couple points on share or struggling companies using SES to send marketing emails, c’mon Susan. The issue here is the access to cost scalability and deliverability assistance for companies already plugged into Amazon Web Services. There’s certainly some development required.
What SES means for marketers is you can potentially send transactional email through a low-feature, low-price email tool — and if your transactional volume is high, it could offer some savings. The ClickZ article is slightly misleading when it says SES will “open up bulk e-mail marketing to cash-strapped companies” — I’m sure nobody would sign off on that being a good idea. And email is one tactic in the toolkit, not a solution in itself. And even when Amazon describes SES as “a highly scalable and cost-effective bulk and transactional email-sending service,” the potential for misunderstanding is there. Just remember that bulk is exactly what customers do not want.
Consumers want relevant, engaging content in their inboxes. Offers targeted to their history, their preferences. They don’t want to be bulked or spammed or hammered by “cash-strapped companies” who could care less because it costs nothing to send email. Email is strategic now, part of a dialogue — not a one-way megaphone or shotgun blast anymore. All SES delivers in terms of analytics is basic — “marketers can also use a simple query to obtain basic statistics, such as volume sent, bounces and complaints” — so for marketers, SES would never replace Exact Target or any other powerful, analytical email solution. Econsultancy also weighs in that they don’t see SES displacing traditional ESPs since SES doesn’t provide the campaign management and reporting that are critical to what we need as marketers.
Amazon further describes SES by saying:
Amazon SES takes proactive steps to prevent questionable content from being sent, so that ISPs receive consistently high-quality email and therefore view the service as a trusted email origin.
One thing I’ll have to ask how does Amazon define “questionable content?” I think what that statement really means is they ensure nobody sends any blatant, flagrant SPAM through their service — think porn and Viagra emails. They’ll help your email get through to people, yet whether or not any emails sent through SES are “high-quality” in terms of best practices and content are still going to be at the sender’s discretion.
Have some specific comments or thoughts to add about any issues regarding SES? Charge ahead and weigh in.
Filed under: Brands, Customers, Email, Engagement, Marketing, Online Marketing, Relevance Tagged: | Amazon, Amazon Web Services, ClickZ, Econsultancy, Email, email solution, email volume, ESP, SES, transactional email