Speaking before thinking is something that drives our PR firm Clarus crazy.
A great case is the interpretation of some comments I made about the consolidation brought on by list companies buying email service providers. Here is an example:
....As expected, the responses came quickly concerning e-mail software concern ExactTarget's co-founder and chief marketing officer, Chris Baggot's contention in last week's Magilla Marketing that e-mail service bureaus have too much employee overhead to survive. Al DiGuido, president of e-mail service provider Epsilon Interactive said Baggot's idea was an example of "very old thinking" and that software can't replace expertise when it comes to interpreting raw data....
My comments were construed to say that I was an advocate of eliminating people and letting software do all the work. This is absolutely not my position at all.
My contention in the case above was that I don't need my email service provider to be the sole source of those services, and those revenues are vulnerable to more nimble software solutions that can put powerful tools into marketers hands.
The strength of software (ESP's, CRM, Web Analytics...not to mention Multi-variant testing and dynamic web sites) is to provide ton's of data back to marketers that help in the decision making. With great insight available through this data, coupled with easy to use software tools that allow execution of that data; what happens is a much more level playing field for all marketers. It makes for better marketing generally and lowers costs significatly.
The reality is that there are tons of great, creative and skilled marketers out there. ExactTarget alone has over 350 licensed agency partners that provide fantastic services for their clients.
The availability of easy to use software is what enables many of these firms to become experts in email marketing. What I'm saying in this story is that you don't need to source (necessarily) email marketing professional services from your email software vendor.
I guess the closest example might be with Google. They create great software and around them there are literally thousands of agency's that have become experts on the medium of search. It's a data driven practice that mixes some art with a lot of science. Although there may be some special cases, for the most part, there are plenty of people who can provide really expert services and deliver fantastic results for their clients. The same is true for Web Analytic's. None of the main Web Analytic's players drive much revenue from professional services.
The ExactTarget model is to provide the best software in the world that is sophisticated yet easy to use. By opening our software platform up to literally thousands of users, our clients can choose the best way to execute as part of their overall strategy: through agency partners, by themselves or leveraging our internal resources.
Usually, this results in a lot more effective marketing and at a lot lower cost.