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There are over 400 ESP’s and counting, every one of these must be unique and different to the next right? Not quite. They are really not all that different. Yes they have their quirks, some make the most simple processes make you want to curl up in the corner and gently rock, others make these processes easy and fun. Maybe this is what makes them so great! The good and the bad, the great usability and the not so much. There wouldn’t be one without the other.

“Automation” “drive revenue” “multi-channel marketing” “targeted” “personalized” “ecommerce integrations” “innovation” All really great buzz words. It only took me about 30 seconds to collect these from a few ESP bios. So much wow! But isn’t everyone saying these things. From practical time spent in various ESP’s it seems more effort is being spent on the shiny things and less on the basics. Would people still buy if you pitch “usable” “practical” “quick” “easy” “informative” maybe not…and maybe this is where the problem is.

So how do you pick the right one?

Try before you buy, pretty much everyone has demo versions, give them a go, see if they are easy to use. That doesn’t mean go and check out their personalised targeted innovative multi-channel integration tool. Do what you do most days and find out if it’s easy.

These questions should help

1. Does it do what you want it to? – Look at your aims and requirements for the ESP, don’t be blinded by the shiny things.

2. Does it do these things quickly? – If it does, great! If not these are the jobs that will become tedious and costly over time.

3. Is it fun? – People won’t want to use it if it’s not, they will try to find other ways to get it done.

4. How long does it take to learn? The longer it takes to learn the more expense. The harder it is the more mistakes will be made (not bad but this does cost)

5. Is there training? – Allow you to use it to its full capability, if you only know about A and B using C could save you time.

6. Who’s there when it hits the fan? – Support is huge in my eyes, things don’t always go to plan and support is needed, are they based in the same country? Is there 24 hour support?

So, is it time to take a look at your ESP?