Email marketing provider MailChimp has recently made a move that Mandrill will become an add-on for monthly paid MailChimp accounts. Mandrill is transactional email delivery API used to send emails to developers and marketers. As per MailChimp, Mandrill was developed for the specific requirement of sending one-to-one transactional emails to customers, especially by small and medium enterprises and developers. Mandrill was launched in 2012 and in three years, is being used by more than 800,000 users and has delivered more than 88 billion emails till now. Transactional emails have evolved in two separate branches:
- Users who want a service to provide transactional emails as a utility that only delivers emails and that too in an efficient manner
- Users who want a service to provide smart emails (read personalized and value-added emails) to their customers/subscribers
For transactional email delivery as a cheap and reliable utility service ( the first point mentioned above), there are better services available in the market like Amazon SES, MailGun, nd SendGrid. Transactional email services are simple and utilitarian providers innovate focusing mostly on increasing efficiency and reducing cost.
Image Source: Happy Birthday, Mandrill
On the other hand, personalized emails ( the second point mentioned above) requires expertise in design, a lot more data and is more sophisticated and complex to build. MailChimp has decided to take this second route as they do not want to compete on process but would rather compete on features. Moreover, the mechanism to send emails is fundamentally different for MailChimp and Mandrill. Mandrill is a distributed service in which smaller number of one-to-one emails are sent to customers quickly requiring a distributed infrastructure. On the other hand, MailChimp is an aggregated service in which a set/template of email is loaded in the server and copies of the same email template is sent to a huge number of customers, requiring a centralization of infrastructure to make things more efficient.
In short, this decision of merging Mandrill services with MailChimp is a strategic move to weed out bad accounts and to improve the revenues for MailChimp. There were users who used the Mandrill free service for felonious activities like sending spams. Also, this strategic decision was taken consciously to make sure that small businesses and users who could not afford to pay for a high end service would move away from MailChimp.
How Developers are adapting with this change:
As the email marketplace continues to evolve and in the light of the recent merger of the Mandrill free services with MailChimp paid account, several competing entities have pitched in with their support to help Mandrill users migrate to their platforms.
SendGrid is one such product which is a pioneer in the transactional email services category since 2009. They continue to be the market leader in email infrastructure, sending over 23 billion emails a month (3 times the volume of Mandrill). They offer world-class deliverability, SMTP server and API integration options in the transactional email services category. They have scale, expertise and resources to help the users migrate from Mandrill to their platform and be successful in the long run. They have offered a special discount of 10% for the first full month of service in case the account is migrated to SendGrid by 30 April 2016. Moreover, they have also set up a special Mandrill Migration hotline at 1-888-796-4374 and have dedicated a team of sales and support specialists to help users make their transition from Mandrill to SendGrid in an easy, simple, painless and cost-effective manner. Read the complete post about SendGrid helping Mandrill customers.
SparkPost is another transactional email service provider with great email inbox deliveries, has also extended their support with 100,000 free emails and wanted to match the price of Mandrill. SparkPost claims, world 25% legitimate emails are delivered through their platform and some of the well know customers include, PayPal, SalesForce, Groupon, Linkedin, Oracle, Comcast, Twitter and many more. SparkPost detail about this announcement is available here.
As a comparison on new pricing structure, through Mandrill, 25,000 emails can be sent at $20 per month. Now for free, SparkPost allows their customers to send 100,000 emails.
Pros of using Mandrill after this Merger:
- Built in list management feature from MailChimp panel
- Ability to send personalized emails to customers with better design features
- Aggregation of data from both platforms leading to huge benefits for users
- Ability to design campaign flow and send email triggers
Cons of the Mandrill Merger:
- Multifold increase in costs specially for low volume transactional emails, calculate new Mandrill Price.
- Diversion of precious development time on shifting from Mandrill to MailChimp API
- Services provided which are neither needed nor wanted and could not be afforded by small developers
- Uses Policy of Mandrill updated which are not aligned with uses of transactional emails
- It takes time to shift to an alternate transactional email delivery service
The Path Ahead for MailChimp as as whole:
- Better template design and thus better email personalization
- Better E-Commerce automation workflows (MailChimp has 150,000 email automation customers)
- MailChimp and Mandrill integration will allow all the data to be located at one place providing huge benefits to both MailChimp as well as Mandrill users
- Single minded focus on personalization, making those services better
- Investment on architecture and infrastructure to improve personalization services
- Appreciable reduction in prices for its customers using personalization services
Why EasySendy Pro hybrid solution is the future:
EasySendy Pro integrates with many SMTP relay service providers, using which you can easily deliver email campaigns. You add your subscribers to the list, micro-segment and micro-deliver emails to them, using SMTP relay services of your choice. This also opens ability to send one-on-one personalized emails to the end subscribers. As, discussed about the micro-delivery factors which can drastically improve email delivery and then, email open rate, EasySendy Pro is the way forward to send email campaigns. Following are advantages of using EasySendy Pro:
- One can hot-swap their SMTP relay server from their existing SMTP relay ( Mandrill, in this case ) to a variety of new SMTP relay servers like Amazon SES, Sparkpost, Mailgun, etc instantly and painlessly
- Option to instantly hot-swap also give ability to test and optimize wide variety of SMTP relay servers to get much better email delivery rates
- Availability of 7 different SMTP servers integrated with the platform which can be integrated instantly, few more are coming in next few months
- EasySendy Pro has complete focus is on improving email open rate
- Has best in class email list management features with micro-segmentation
- Far better and user friendly email list segmentation capabilities
- Ability to send emails based on past behavior of email subscribers.
- Advanced features for personalization of email campaigns
- EasySendy Pro APIs, which will enable EasySendy Pro users to save and send transactional email templates too
- EasySendy Pro Marketplace, this will enable marketers to use upcoming innovation in customer communications like, email to push notification services on mobile and electronic devices.
- Ability to optimize email marketing budget.
Available Alternatives for Mandrill:
Customers who are using Mandrill on EasySendy Pro, our support team is helping them to migrate to following SMTP relay choices:
- Amazon SES
Apart from above, if the EasySendy Pro customer want to use the new Mandrill add-on from Mailchimp, then, they will have to signup with MailChimp and start using Mandrill.