The Best Of The Best? Forrester Ranks Email Vendors

Marketers wondering who the best email service provider is now have an answer.

It’s Epsilon, if you believe it. That firm is rated first among the Leaders, according to The Forrester Wave—Email Marketing Service Providers.

Also in Forrester's Leaders category are Cheetah Digital, Zeta Global and Oracle. However, Cheetah Digital and Oracle are strongest in market presence.

MediaPost does not take a position on this. Nor does it endorse any of the companies.

As Forrester notes, clients have different needs. Whatever their ranking, we guess that none of the 13 vendors analyzed by Forrester got here unless they are very, very good. And several other firms may deserve to be here.



Next in is the Strong Performers Group. This includes Adobe, Cordial, Salesforce, dotdigital and Iterable.

Salesforce and Adobe enjoy the strongest market positions. Then there are the Contenders: Exponea, Bluecore and Braze.

Now you may be wondering how Forrester came to these conclusions. It has a weighting system, judging firms by numerous factors.

Epsilon scores 4.28 on its current offering, compared to 3.96 for Cheetah Digital, 3.85 for Zeta Global and 3.10 for Oracle. In contrast, Braze pulls a 2.45.

Drilling down into the subcategories, Epsilon scores a perfect 5 in each of these areas: analytics, data integration, privacy and security, distributed business model support artificial intelligence and vertical capabilities.

Other providers also score 5’s in certain areas. For instance, Iterable draws a 5 for dynamic content. Oracle gets three: for analytics, artificial intelligence and vertical capabilities. And Salesforce matches it, with 5’s in analytics, distributed business model support and artificial intelligence.

However, the Current Offering metric constitutes only 50% in Forrester’s weighting. The providers are also assessed by other factors, including strategy and market presence, along with various sub-categories.

Epsilon draws a 3.20 on strategy, but it is outweighed there by Oracle, with 4.30 and Salesforce and Zeta Global, which come in with 3.70 apiece. But Epsilon does score a 5 for vision, as do Oracle and Cordial.

In addition to Epsilon, the top score of 5 in the all-important privacy and security category was achieved only by Adobe and Exponea.

Forrester also offers insights into who’s who — for example, its analysis of Epsilon.

“A longtime powerhouse in this study, Epsilon continues a model that many email service providers have eschewed: it balances good email technology with the strongest professional services in the study,” Forrester says, adding that Epsilon’s email business is stable one year into its acquisition by Publicis.

But Forrester adds that “Epsilon does miss the alacrity of some of the newer vendors we evaluated.”

Despite that, “client references value this vendor as an extension of their teams and don’t notice many shortfalls,” Forrester continues.  

Then there’s Cheetah Digital. “The 25% of top-line revenue that Cheetah Digital allocates to R&D is well spent,” Forrester writes. “It offers an analytics environment for data exploration and scenario modeling.

Salesforce, meanwhile, is “consistently a strong option for marketers of any type and sophistication level,” Forrester states. It combines the usability of a small business application with resources and infrastructure only possible from a $17 billion firm.”

Forrester continues: “This evaluation found Salesforce (expectedly) focused on groundbreaking innovations, while (unexpectedly) average in several key current capabilities.

Then there is such a company as Braze. “Originally appboy, Braze specializes in customizing mobile and email transactional and marketing messages at the content block level,”

Braze is “less mature than competitors,” the report continues. And Forrester observes that the firm’s corporate positioning contains braggadocio.

Well, what’s wrong with that?

We're picking and choosing at random here, and do not claim to be thorough. For a complete analysis, readers should access the report itself.

One thing’s for sure: You can expect most or all of the firms listed by Forrester to be promoting their ranking, particularly the Leaders.  

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