MessageGears is an Atlanta-based ESP that works with large B2C Enterprise brands such as Expedia, Chick-fil-a, and Ebates. They have what they term a Hybrid system (that we will get into in a bit) which provides their main differentiation and selling point. They see the three main requirements for any ESP working with these types of clients to be:
- Data Access: the ESP needs access to the latest client data.
- Campaign Management: the ESP needs to provide robust tools required to creating engaging email content.
- Deliverability: solid email rendering, sending and deliverability.
The area where MessageGears differentiates itself is in the first bucket: Data Access. According to MessageGears, today’s marketing cloud based ESPs have failed the market in a number of areas:
- Data Silos: for large enterprise B2C companies, customer data resides locally or in a private cloud, requiring constant syncing with the ESP.
- Privacy Issues: certain PII (personally identifiable Information) are prohibited from being shared, particularly in health care and finance industries.
- Syncing: syncing itself can be expensive and limiting
- Out of Date: once the data is synched it quickly becomes out of date with the newest data being collected between syncs.
This leads to a bifurcated system where data resides on one side of the firewall which needs to be share with the cloud, and additional data being generated in the cloud as people subscribe, unsubscribe, open and click plus change their preferences which needs to then be sent from the cloud back through the firewall where the core data resides. That method requires IT folks to get involved, and can lead to failures and other problems that can affect large enterprise clients. The time spent on tactics to properly maintain the syncing outweighs the time spent on email strategy.
Unlike the old Strongmail system, where everything resides on the client end, MessageGears sees their solution as a hybrid: the data access and the campaign management portion reside 100% behind the clients’ firewall. The rendering, sending, and deliverability portion is handled by the cloud.
All the content creation, business logic, segmentation etc. resides on an interface that sits on the original primary data on the client side and when the marketer hits the send button, the final segmented email creative is sent to the MessageGears cloud for rendering and delivery.
Clients that would utilize MessageGears products are those marketers sending over 25 million messages a month, on up to a billion messages a month or more.
Let’s look at the interface:
The interface itself is two tiered, allowing a simplified view for the marketer creating campaigns and a more in-depth view for the technical team to create things like custom SQL queries.
The three main components to the tool are:
The marketing database is automatically selected and under Target, the marketer can create a custom segment based on any criteria in the database.
The Personalization Attributes specify exactly which fields in database get shared outside the firewall. In the image below only the FirstName field is selected, so that is the only field shared to the cloud. So, for example, companies in the Financial industry can segment on fields such as “creditscore” but only reveal the first name data when the email is sent out to the cloud for delivery.
The Content section of the interface is where the marketer develops the email creative using an easy to use drag and drop interface.
The Drag and Drop interface can easily be converted into an HTML view for quick editing.
The email can be previewed to see how it would look on both desktop and mobile and you can also preview various personalization scenarios plus MessageGears integrates with best of breed third party vendors like Movable Ink and Persado.
In the Campaigns section you can set up marketing, transactional, and drip campaigns.
And finally, a robust analytics section is available:
Analytics can let you see your delivery curve in 15 minute increments and your delivery by ISP as well as opens and clicks by device.
In summary: MessageGears is a hybrid ESP whose sweet spot is any enterprise client sending more than 25 million emails a month and who has complex datasets. Their hybrid methodology keeps client data behind the firewall and only reveals select data to the cloud for rendering and delivery. It is a perfect system for clients whose PII is sensitive and must remain confidential such as the Financial and Healthcare fields.