The marketing automation platform (MAP) served the organization well – for more than 11 years. But it was time. American Bankers Association (ABA), a banking trade association representing banks of all sizes and charter types and their over two million employees, needed a more robust MAP to help carry its messages to all its members and customers.
Our Stensul Email and Landing Page Creation Platform was impacting marketing asset creation efficiency. Creating an email in this platform is 7x faster than when it was built in the existing MAP.
“We looked for a way that would allow ABA to better deliver the right message at the right time through all phases of the member and customer relationship,” said Kim Borbely, Senior Director, Marketing. “Along with moving to a more modern MAP, we saw this migration as an opportunity to achieve better alignment with our overall martech stack – to realize greater performance and value.
“Although integration of the new MAP was challenging, the benefits — including somebells and whistles not available in the prior system — were well worth it,” Borbely said. The decision to migrate from one MAP to another takes work. It can be challenging to control the costs associated with this process. Many activities can be delayed, if not halted, for a potentially unknown amount of time. Interestingly, ABA had not recognized Stensul’s role in simplifying, speeding, and managing the cost of the migration to a new MAP.
“Since we went with Stensul, everyone at ABA builds emails in that platform,” Borbely said. “Whether from Marketing, Member Communications, or our international subsidiary, the emails are created in Stensul.”
Even before the existing MAP had reached its usefulness as a deployment platform, Borbely saw that its email builder presented limitations for marketers who were not familiar with HTML coding. The existing MAP’s native email builder was not advancing ABA’s email capabilities. We had limited staff knowledge of HTML, which created a backlog and roadblocks to sending out brand- and accessibility-compliant emails to our members. Adding Stensul to ABA’s martech stack offered an attractive alternative to the existing email creation process that was complicated and time-consuming.
Stensul is a no-code/low-code approach to email and landing page creation. If you can drag and drop, you can quickly create a quality HTML email. Importantly, it offers programmable guardrails that ensure every email completed is always brand- and regulatory-compliant. What’s more, it lets you set permissions for each step of the creation process, from drafting a headline and selecting an image, to approving the email, and allowing it to move to the deployment platform.
Borbely and her team handling the MAP migration did not realize the benefits Stensul would bring to this initiative.
A typical and time-intensive activity that’s a must-do during a MAP migration is to redo all the email templates built for the existing MAP. “Since we had Stensul, there was no need for that,” Borbely said. “If that weren’t the case, we would have had to revise and reconfigure hundreds of thousands of elements. Instead, we were able to save a significant amount of time.” Industry observers suggest with Stensul, as much as half of template-related time can be cut, saving lots of money. In addition, since developers aren’t fixing templates, they can work on higher-value matters that better use their skills and experience.
If you install a new MAP and then build emails in it, users of the MAP’s email builder need to be trained or retrained. There is little similarity between the process of one MAP brand to the next. The risk is high and the costs can be even higher. With Stensul in place, those creating emails could continue doing as they were. Here, too, ABA saved significant time.
By removing email creation from the new MAP, ABA could focus on its core strengths, deployment and analytics capabilities. “Being able to focus on how the MAP works and ways it can send out emails was a huge help in moving the migration along,”
No change to look & feel
“The emails created in Stensul sent out via the new MAP meant recipients would not see anything different,” Borbely said. Sometimes a shift to another MAP and using its email builder changes some aspects of branding or the look & feel. ABA subscribers, members, and customers would continue to consume its content via email as they had been. They experienced no change or did not see anything different.”
The American Bankers Association moved to a new MAP to better align with other tech in its ecosystem, especially since much came from the same vendor. Those integrations improved data management, provided a clearer view across business lines, and created opportunities to engage with customers in real time across all
channels. Of course, this allowed for more sophisticated reporting to
inform stronger campaigns and drive results.
Beyond that, “the integration with Stensul and the new MAP is more seamless than it was with the one we were replacing,” said Borbely. “Granted, how long ABA had been using the old MAP may have been a factor, but the difference was noticeable.”
She explained: Our Member Communications team would create emails in Stensul. They’d copy the code because they didn’t trust the API between Stensul and the old MAP. A team member dropped copied HTML code into a template in the MAP email builder and then checked the settings. Now they trust the integration and upload
directly to the MAP from Stensul, saving team members hours per week working on news and promotional communications.
Benefits now and over time
“A project like this will be complicated even with a solid project structure and committed project stakeholders. Remarkably, the migration to our new MAP – from start to “go live” – took about six months. I was amazed by how fast we could move and avoid many of the typical chokepoints in this process.
“Having Stensul in place proved to be an immeasurable benefit to keeping the migration moving without delay and avoiding several consequential expenses,” Borbely said.
“This platform will continue to be of benefit to ABA’s email marketing efforts and member communications. By letting us create emails in far less time than it used to take us, we can be more strategic. We can conduct A/B testing, refine our messaging, and personalize emails to boost engagement and impact recipients more.
“In addition, its integration with other elements of our martech stack lets us get more out of each system or platform. Lastly, it should go without saying, Stensul lets us make more and better use of our new MAP,” Borbely said.
To learn more about how Stensul can make your MAP or ESP migration smoother, download the eBook How an Email Creation Platform makes a MAP/ESP migration easier, faster, and less costly. See Stensul in action here.