Responsys is the Ferrari of ESPs. As with other reviewers, Responsys is an extremely robust tool. From security to customisation, if you are well resourced (both in monetary and human resource).
You have to ask yourself, do I need an enterprise solution? Or, do I just need to do the basics? Yes the below is subjective as I represent a small business. Ready through the following 10 tips to evaluate whether Responsys is worth putting into your consideration set.
1. Responsys is priced as an enterprise solution. I've never seen such a high CPM cost for sending <20M emails p.a. in my career? Why? They cost their services as a 'blended CPM'. Vs just a CPM for email sends.
2. You will need developers to use the product. Don't bother considering Responsys unless you have a robust front/back-end development team. If you don't, you'll have Responsys users getting very frustrated by a product far too advanced for the average marketer.
3. It is a min. requirement you know SQL to be an user of this product. Have a junior marketer who needs to use Responsys? Get them trained on SQL as it'll really help.
4. Training is too broad and expensive. In-person or online, their training skims over how to use their features vs. going deeper into common challenges marketers face. Real missed opportunities here by their training teams.
5. All post-integrations will cost money. Best you allocate at least another 10-15% on-top of the annual fee as you need to have budget reserved to further optimise Responsys to your needs.
6. Unless you pay, you'll get basic, reactive account management included. Smaller clients will get an account manager who manages at least 6 clients = can be a challenge to get a hold of them at short notice.
7. Need quick technical support? You'll have to' raise a ticket for that. If you need a quick answer for a question, Oracle support typically wont be able to help on the spot. This can quickly amplify your frustration if you just need somebody to guide you through usability challenge within the platform.
8. The interface is not for dummies. It is clunky to use at times. It take quite a long time to send a campaign if you do not use the campaign on a daily basis. I like to think of ESP programs to be easy as learning Google Analytics. A day or two and you can generally find your way. Not here. You really need to be trained up to use the interface.
9. Not a turn-key ESP. Everything has to be customised from scratch with Responsys which is frustrating. It is similar to Airbus creating the A380 aeroplane. They manufacture the plan but it is up to the airline to customise it.
10. Basic campaign insight for an enterprise solution. The architecture is the USP here, not the insight tools. If you need an ESP that provides a mini-BI tool, you will not get this from Responsys Insights (the name for their reporting tool). It only provides basic email behaviour reporting.
If you can support an enterprise ESP, consider Responsys. I.e. you need 3-5 staff to get Responsys up and running otherwise you'll haemorrhage cash like a slot machine. A combination of developers, a mid-level marketer and manager to lay down the strategic objectives to Responsys will yield the best ROI.
When you look at the 'Marketing Automation features' section of this review, note all is possible 'if you pay to integrate it'. Typically, unless you can integrate INTO Responsys, you cannot access/use it.
Trying to create a meaningful dialogue with the customer through the email medium. With the romantic view of 'doing the basics well', the Responsys platform has forced us to really understand the customer journey and how email plays a part in conversion. Their platform is very robust with many fail safes should the user miss particular detail. For example, when creating an automated email program, the canvas tool is very robust highlighting potential errors and warnings e.g. customers who could receive more than 5 emails per week.