I just spent the first part of the week at the Exact Target Connections Event. What a top-notch conference. 

  • 3,000 attendees
  • Assiduous attention to detail
  • Inspiring and fun speakers including a presentation from Aron Ralston whose survival story was retold in the movie 127 Hours
  • And terrific industry content – I’ll post the lessons I learned at the event in my next few posts. 

This event was good timing for me as I just kicked off Forrester’s 2011 Email Marketing Service Provider Wave — a vendor evaluation of email marketing vendors (see our 2009 one here).  Although it is expanding to provide other capabilities, email marketing is Exact Target’s sweet spot. What should you notice about Exact Target besides its events? We like its: 

  • 50% annual revenue growth, striking considering email marketing spend overall is pacing at a 10% compound annual growth rate.
  • International expansion — new offices in the UK, Melbourne, and just announced Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Multiple automated security protection including a functionality it calls “watch dog,” which trolls for anomalies in your email program data, access, delivery, responses.
  • In-house research — it has a dedicated research function putting out studies on the value of mobile and social programs.
  • Midwestern work ethic and approach to relationships. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Nebraska, but I find this Indianapolis-based firm chock-full of some of the nicest people in the marketing technology space. And since most clients I talk to are looking to switch email vendors because of poor customer service, I think how a vendor handles its people relationships — with clients, with analyst, with employees — matters as much as its software.