MailChimp Review
When they shut off our ability to send mail, there is no email sent to us which explains why. However, we do love the RSS campaigns.


Valuable Features

The ability to do send emails via RSS.

Improvements to My Organization

With RSS campaigns, nobody has to login every morning to send the daily news email to 19K readers.

Room for Improvement

Pretty much everything, and the RSS campaign is the only reason we stick with MailChimp. The connector to Salesforce is the worst thing about it. Expect your Salesforce storage to increase by 100% after connecting to MailChimp, maybe even more than that. I've seen organizations jump from well under their data limit to 240% of their data limit because of MailChimp. It is actually easier to manually import and export between the two systems than to use the connector.

MailChimp's deliverability is pretty poor, and I don't think they are interested in improving it. Our news is something that our subscribers actually want and they call when they don't receive it. That's not your typical MailChimp customer, and so MailChimp support really doesn't care (the monkey puns don't help.) We routinely see subscribers unsubscribed without their knowledge. MailChimp insists this is because they've forwarded to a friend who has clicked the unsubscribe link. If this happened once a year, I'd believe it. This happens several times a week and I just don't buy it.

MailChimp also chooses not to fail gracefully in some situations that have caused me big problems. For instance, I had a list in Salesforce that I knew was already mostly in MailChimp, but I knew that there were at least a few emails that weren't in MailChimp and I wanted to add them. Because MailChimp does a nice job of not adding any email address twice, I foolishly imported the list into MailChimp. Unfortunately it contained too many emails that MailChimp had decided not to send to (unsubscribes, bounces, etc.) and instead of simply refusing to import all of those, it imported the entire list and shut down our ability to send email. We couldn't send email again until we took out every single subscriber that had been in that import, and this included ones who had been active subscribers with no issues, and were simply duplicated in the list we imported. We had to contact these people individually and ask them to re-subscribe, and they were not impressed. I'll likely hold a grudge about this for a long time.

Use of Solution

I've used it for two years.

Deployment Issues

Setting up MailChimp as a mail marketing tool is easy, however, connecting to Salesforce isn't hard, but it works poorly.

Stability Issues

There's an issue with MailChimp at least once a month, and usually we spent three to five hours dealing with it.

Scalability Issues

The basic MailChimp services scale well. The Salesforce connector, however, scales very, very poorly.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Poor. When they have shut off our ability to send mail, there is no email sent to us. Therefore, we have to login and go to our notifications to find the reason.

Technical Support:

Very poor. Expect monkey puns and people who don't care about your problem.

Previous Solutions

We've used Constant Contact, which also charges by the size of the list rather than total sends. We definitely need a provider that charges that way. We switched because Constant Contact didn't have RSS Campaigns. As I said before, we do like RSS Campaigns and they work most of the time.

Initial Setup

It's straightforward, and you don't really have a lot of choices, which can be a good thing.

Implementation Team

We did it in-house.

ROI

Tough to say. Employees are generally happier, because their email sends are automated through RSS campaigns. Those of us who have to deal with deliverability and connectors are much less happy, and we've had to spend a lot of (expensive) time dealing with it.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

This is where MailChimp shines. Our licensing cost is US$120/month, which is very cheap for sending 15k emails per day. As soon as another vendor starts providing RSS campaigns, and not charging $1200/month (low end of other things I've found that do this and connect to Salesforce), we'll probably switch.

Other Solutions Considered

  • Constant Contact
  • Vertical Response
  • Predictive Response -- as soon as they launch their RSS campaign feature, we'll seriously consider switching

Other Advice

Don't connect to Salesforce, and expect about 80-90% deliverability.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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