The last couple reviews I did of Salesforce apps were a bit of a downer, because despite how well-designed they were, they were also redundant. Well, I do have to point out that sometimes redundancy, if the balance is offshifted enough, is actually helpful. While many apps reproduce things Salesforce can do out of the box … in some cases, they can do it vastly better. This is the case with Salesforce iContact. Now, Salesforce iContact sounds like some sort of fancy Apple application to work with Salesforce, but thankfully, it’s not. Don’t let Apple design software. What it is, however, is a very powerful mass email marketing tool which integrates with Salesforce natively. Yeah, Salesforce has POP3 and SMTP support to do its own mass email marketing, but wouldn’t it be easier to just piggyback all of your campaigns, email templates and, yes even your custom Apex functions for email, over an established, powerful IaaS email system? Well, Salesforce has several apps that can accomplish this. More information is available on send mass email salesforce page. So, the big trick is that iContact has to compete with other, similar services that Salesforce also can integrate with. Such services as MailChimp and AWeber are examples of very well-liked email IaaS that can integrate just as natively with Salesforce. With that said, does iContact stand out for any reason, compared to this competition? They can all make avail of Salesforce’s campaigns, templates and flexible data structures. What can iContact do that the others can’t, or at least, what can it do better than they do? Well, the big sellers for iContact are things I’ve pointed out about being successful with email campaigns in Salesforce in the past. One of these is the set of metrics it tracks effectively. It can track unique openings, total openings, unique clicks, bounces, delivers, ubsubscribes and spam complaints. Given it’s natively tuned to Salesforce in this version, it also allows for good archive design and accommodation of data footprints, and it handles these significantly better (if a bit more technically) than competition does. Along with these, it has a sharply designed integration capacity for social media, including call to action button integration into templates for tweets, likes, shares and the like, which means you can harness the power of the social network quantum foam to make your email campaign have greater range and bandwidth than they ever could before. Well, the competition can do that to some extent, but they don’t handle it nearly as well nor as accurately as iContact. This is quite useful, and it is indeed a big edge for iContact. Now, it also lacks some of the functionality of its competitors, offering less targeting opportunity by their logistics systems and the like. Nonetheless, these are probably temporary shortcomings, as iContact is somewhat newer, and has some growing and refinement. Well, this is a redundancy scenario with Salesforce iContact. But, in this situation, it’s actually a good thing. It brings in a lot more functionality, flexibility and efficiency compared to manually operating your own email subsystem via Salesforce’s out of the box setup. And, while its competitors have their excuses to gloat, iContact should have their competitors worried.