[thelist] Email Best Practices and Standards - B2B

Janet Nabring-Stager jnabring at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 21 09:00:02 CDT 2004

Trying to find out if anyone has resources/anecdotes/information on best practices for sending emails to B2B customers.
I work for a Fortune 1000 manufacturer.  We currently send out multi-part MIME emails to our customers for Advanced Shipment Notifications and Order Acknowledgements.
Our IT department wants us to use the content their Document Management System can provide.  Rightfully so, they want to avoid customization to the DMS.  This content would either be a PDF or a TIF.  We need to change our data source due to an ERP implementation, so we have to make a change on our backend regardless.
We are against this idea and want to continue with the multi-part MIME emails.  Our customers are currently happy with this format and we don't want to increase troublshooting phone calls to our department.  We can then further customize these emails with small marketing messages as needed.
Also, the TIF format isn't standardized across all email platforms, as far as I know.  Plus, PDFs can be stripped out by email virus scan software, plus they weigh more than a standard HTML email.
On the plus side, IT does want to ensure the same data is available from the document management system and via email and that the formats are standardized.
We are under the impression that making a user click through to a location on our server or to open an attacment to view a PDF is a bad idea, as it decreased usability for the customer.
I'm not looking to start a huge argument or debate (even though I know this is the subject of email and will probably do just that) but rather want to hear of any best practices resources or even anecdotal stories.
Many thanks in advance - I'm hoping the wealth of knowledge on this list can assist me!

Janet Nabring-Stager
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