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With Email Deliverability Comes A Huge Responsibility

Thomas Senne
Senior Director of Global Deliverability

I am privileged to manage global deliverability, across all Oracle Marketing Cloud properties. As you might imagine, I have the chance to speak to all kinds of customers, across all different customer life cycle stages.

One of the things that I find most interesting about customers in these different stages, is the way they understand how deliverability actually works, and what they can and can’t do to change it.

The End Comes First

Let’s start with the end-game first.

The reality is that you, as the sender, control and are responsible for your own deliverability. Deliverability in its simplest form boils down to some simple truths. Senders who deliver messages that are relevant to their customers, will see much higher engagement, inbox rates, and fewer complaints. It all seems pretty simple, and that’s because it is in theory.

One of the misnomers that I hear with new clients on occasion, is something like this; “I have better deliverability now than at my old ESP”, or “I had better deliverability on my last ESP”. Both of these statements are, for the most part false. There are things that an ESP needs to have in place from an infrastructure perspective, that are 100% necessary.

You could be moving to or from a setup that may or may not have all of those table stakes elements. There’s a natural reaction to want to look at deliverability numbers and forget the context of those numbers. Understanding that context, will take you much closer to that Utopian Deliverability state we’re all looking to achieve.

When is it okay to compare numbers between two different sending origins? You can do it when the numbers are coming from the same base source. We all know that the warm-up period is critical in establishing your reputation with specific email receivers. During that time, it is important to make sure and put your best foot forward from an engagement standpoint.

Even as you do that, you will still see a significant portion of messages go to the bulk folder as ISPs evaluate your mailings. Comparing these warm-up numbers to another mailer with an established history, just doesn’t add-up. The later-on comparison can also be problematic. Unless you are sending the exact same content to the exact same audience, (and why would you do that from 2 different systems?), it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The Deliverability Reality

Here’s the reality of our space today. Unless you made a really bad choice of ESPs, you are probably covered from an infrastructure perspective. That means you are responsible for your own deliverability success.

The expertise and knowledge provided by ESPs is a differentiating factor between us, and can make a big difference in helping you reach your goals. Oracle Marketing Cloud puts a lot of emphasis on the warm-up period, and we offer incredible analytic tools such as our Deliverability Plus solution.

If you are in a place where you see better numbers from one source, think about the root cause instead of the blame game. What about audience and message? Are they the same, or are you doing better/different segmentation or messaging? Can you actually account for the difference in segmentation?

Even people who are in the same segment or demographic behave differently. It’s important to stay focused on the end-game, and not get too caught up in comparisons that don’t prove anything good or bad without a ton of extra analysis.

ESPs don’t have “better” deliverability. They have experts and procedures that you may like and take advantage of, but at the end of the day, you are in charge of your deliverability.

Do you need help taking charge? Download the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide today to gain best practices, ISP landscape, international regulations, and much more.

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Dick Johnson Friday, December 2, 2016
    I have to disagree a bit here. Experience shows that some ESPs are just better set up than others. Some are plain hopeless.

    A large part of inbox placement comes down to paying 'the mob' - by whom I mean Return Path - for certification. You only have to look through any Hotmail JMF to see what they kick to spam if you're not paying you fifty grand a year. Some big names in there. All set up properly. All relevant. All right message right time.

    Let's not be under any illusions here. Major email deliverability is controlled by a small and secretive group of 'digital ganstas' masquerading under a pseudo badge of legitimacy,security and safety - all of which are happy to take money for inbox placement with very little concern for best practice,the message content or relevance.
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