Increasingly, developers look to specialist vendors of modular functionality to deliver their needs. If you're building an application, you might just want to plug SMS and voice functionality into that app. Rather than build it yourself, you'll look to a vendor like Twilio that delivers highly specialist communication services for developers.
Another specific area that developers need to fulfill is email. Traditionally, developers have looked to either stand-alone email vendors like Sendgrid and Mailgun, or platforms with an email offering like Amazon Web Services (AWS) with its Simple Email Services (SES). The problem with those solutions is that they're pretty raw and still need a lot of work to do all the stuff that makes emails look attractive and appealing. The strange dichotomy that exists here is that regular newsletters are seen as the preserve of the marketing department, while transactional ones often fall to the developers since they require application integration.
Sensing a market opportunity, email vendor Campaign Monitor is rolling out a new solution. Campaign Monitor was founded by a couple of Aussie mates, Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner, who, as the legend goes, were in need of a nice solution to automate the delivery of marketing emails. Seeing nothing in the market that met their needs, the two built Campaign Monitor, an email management solution, and the rest is history. Since its inception, Campaign Monitor has been self-funded. That's 10 years of being profitable while meeting the email needs of marketers and small businesses. High-profile customers include BuzzFeed, Coca-Cola, Disney, Rip Curl and the San Diego Chargers.
Since raising $250 million round from Insight Venture Partners, the company has been looking for avenues to build its business and justify its heady valuation. And hence today the announcement of a Campaign Monitor Transactional solution. So what's going on here? According to the company, transactional emails (those most prosaic of emails: password notifications, sign-up confirmations, and customer notification email are the most effective type of email in the world. Average open rates are between 30% and 40%, which is three times higher than regular email. The different types of transactional emails include online purchases, password reset, newsletter subscriptions, credit card statements, travel reservations, receipts, etc. Every month there are approximately 60 billion transactional emails sent.
But the problem with these transactional emails is that generating them requires integration within an application and, hence the need for a developer tool. But tools that are powerful and useful for developers are sometimes not the sort of tools that meet the needs of the business in terms of brand-identity and attractiveness. In order to make transactional emails as appealing as the campaign emails that organizations already send, developers need to manually code them alongside the developer email tools. The problems with this approach are myriad:
- Marketers have no control over the look/feel over the most effective email in their toolkit
- Every change takes engineering resources away from other projects
- There are no modern A/B testing solution for transactional emails
- Developers want to spend their time building cool stuff, not confirmation emails
And so to this company's proposed solution. In its view, Campaign Monitor Transactional solution will take the burden off developers and put it into the hands of the marketer. The solution will offer users:
- Unlimited changes, testing, and optimization without additional coding
- The same drag and drop, templated experience that Campaign Monitor customers are used to
Of course other believe they're doing the same thing. In particular MailChimp has its Mandrill product which has created a developer tool off the back of MailChimp's email management platform. That said, with the massive number of emails being sent on a daily basis, there is real opportunity for multiple players, and for customers who already use Campaign Monitor, being able to deliver transactional emails on the same platform is a bonus.
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