A small, growing email marketing provider says it has the technology to take on MailChimp.

Paris-based Mailjet launches a feature today called A/x testing which allows users to test subject lines, email content, sender name and send time for up to 10 email test groups before sending what Mailjet calls the most optimized email version to the broader target group.

It says no other email service provider (ESP), including MailChimp, offers it.

"We're an all-in-one email provider where clients get maximum insight and deliverability results from both marketing and transactional emails," said Anthony Marnell, Mailjet's New York City-based vice president and head of US operations.

"It gives those powerful APIs to the technical team and the robust marketing tools and analytics tools to the marketing teams. We're trying to give companies the ability to get maximum benefit from each individual contact with each email sent."

A/x Testing

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Mailjet's new A/x testing tool for its platform can test for up to 10 email test groups before sending the most optimized email version to the broader target group, Marnell told CMSWire.

But most ESPs have some kind of testing mechanisms, right?

MailChimp, when contacted today by CMSWire, said it offers A/B testing with both its paid and free plans, and it's something many subscribers take advantage of. It also, they say, offers email client testing and delivery testing. 

Responding directly to Mailjet's charge that MailChimp does not offer the A/x type of testing touted today by Mailjet, MailChimp told CMSWire that its A/B testing tool does not currently support more than two test groups.

"But we feel that two test groups used correctly are more useful than multiple test groups," MailChimp's data science team said in a statement to CMSWire. "Multiple test groups can be difficult to interpret, but two test groups allow a sender to isolate the change that they have made and accurately asses the impact due to that change alone."

More complicated tests can still be accomplished, MailChimp said, by randomly segmenting a list X times and performing an A/B test on each segment.  

Learning Opportunities

Mailjet, founded in 2010 and now serving 25,000 customers with a 50-employee workforce, says its A/x testing moves beyond traditional A/B testing because it allows users to cross-compare up to 10 different versions of test emails sent based on a mix of email subject line, sender name, “reply to” and email content.

Mailjet's technology helps users determine the best emails to send to customers, Marnell said. New segmentation and personalization tools let users zero in on specific contact criteria to tailor future emails for better customer engagement, he added.

"We want them to iterate on their email and find the best version to accomplish their goals," Marnell told CMSWire. "Mailjet determines the winner automatically based on bounce rate, click-through rate, etc."

Marnell called other email testing capabilities in the marketing "simple A/B testing" that can't match Mailjet's flexibility.

Lead Management Leaders

Mailjet did not have hard numbers when asked whether its clients are primarily B2B or B2C.

In Gartner's 2013 lead management Magic Quadrant, only Oracle and Marketo were selected as leaders. Lead management by Gartner's definition includes email marketing. Oracle (Eloqua) also appeared in the 2012 Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management. Bought by Oracle in February 2013 it has now become Oracle Marketing Cloud Service (Oracle Eloqua).

Marketo made its second straight appearance in the leaders section, coming equipped with tight integration into Salesforce.com and has an easy learning curve for marketing professionals.

MailChimp, meanwhile, which Mailjet singled out in its product promotion, dove into the marketing automation world with its latest release last fall. It triggers email based on specific website actions. MailChimp v8.8 has a feature that allows companies to connect website content like purchase confirmation pages or other popular pages to email that tracks customers visits.