Email Creation Maturity Model: Phase 3 Defined

If these scenarios sound familiar, your organization is in Phase 3 of email maturity.

Part 4 of the Maturity Model Blog Post Series

We recently released stensul’s Email Creation Maturity Model, which outlines the five stages of email production maturity as determined by our 5+ years of research. Over the last couple of weeks, we dove into where most organizations are today (Phase 1 or Phase 2), and today we’re going to take a deeper look at Phase 3, which is the first phase where tech-enabled creation is leveraged.

Phase 3 Overview

When companies first realize they need to shift to a more efficient solution, they look to an email creation platform that will provide an end-to-end solution for the entire creation lifecycle. The objective is to allow all members of the creation team, including requesters, to be able to collaborate seamlessly and in real-time.

Requesters will still submit a brief and the central team of designers, producers, and copywriters still build the communication. However, instead of requiring every person on the central team to use single player technologies like Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Word, the team is able to collaborate in a single platform in which everyone can access the email as it’s being built.

In too many email production processes, designers and copywriters can only see the email in full after it’s assembled by the producer. Consolidating workflows into a single platform is a very straight-forward change from Phase 1 or 2 as the workflow steps are streamlined and the excess back-and-forth communication is eliminated, making the central team much more agile.

The Phase 3 process and teams

Any email production team that currently finds itself in Phase 1 or Phase two can move to Phase 3 fairly easily. (This includes internal agencies and digital/marketing operations teams.) In a Phase 3 process, usually a marketer or other requester sends a brief to a central creation team.

The producer or designer then lays out the modules or selects a template. With guardrails in place, the designer can easily update the images and the copywriter can drop in text. This way, teams avoid the designer and copywriter having to wait to see their assets in the full email, dramatically reducing the amount of back-and-forth. This is where we see the biggest timeline reduction.

Because the email is in a centralized platform, reviews and approvals are simple. They can be done directly in the platform or can be exported with a single click to another approval platform.

In addition, the platform allows content to be pulled in with a single click so the central team can avoid downloading and re-uploading content. Less time is spent on final checks because technology guardrails are in place to ensure everything is on brand, mobile optimized, and ADA compliant.

The end-to-end process takes fewer than 2 touchpoints, typically lasting 2-3 days. Creation time is 1-2 hours. Last minute changes are also simple since the code is enforced with technology, eliminating the errors that quick fixes otherwise risk.

What does Phase 3 strategy usually look like?

The central team is no longer involved with managing the modules/templates and can collaborate — they’re now able to focus much more time on strategy. The creation team can now spend about 50% of their time on performance improvement, like being more hands-on with requestors, leveraging the deployment platform, A/B testing, and analyzing and acting on performance data.

The tech stack 

The technology used by Phase 3 organizations is an email creation platform that standardizes the build for the entire creation lifecycle. It also has reviews and approvals in the platform and can easily work with other workflow platforms like Workfront.

  • Design: The technology can connect with content sources like an image DAM and enables designers to perform image editing to avoid trips back and forth to Photoshop. The technology also allows for greater creativity, since the code is enforced.
  • Copy: Copywriters have text formatting controls so that they can edit copy without having to worry about breaking code.
  • Producers: The build process is enhanced as repetitive build steps are pre defined once  instead of each time an email is created.
  • Analytics: Tracking is done consistently every time and can be done at a granular level.

Once the asset is completed, it can easily sync with the deployment platform. The platform can also give executive insights into things like creation time, optimizing training and process.

What clients experience working with stensul

Using our detailed assessment process with clients, we find they retain $400,000 or more in value moving from Phase 1 or 2 to Phase 3 and above. After implementation, organizations find at least one to two full time employees that could be focused on higher value work and strategy. In addition, moving to mobile optimization and enabled testing can yield a 20%+ uptick in revenue, increased focus on strategy, improved engagement and conversion, and possibly decreased external spend. This return can easily reach millions of dollars for larger teams.

Although Phase 3 allows for significant gains, Phase 4 and Phase 5 yield even more value for the business.

Client story: Catalent moved from a Phase 2 to Phase 3

Creating emails was time-consuming and a very manual process. Catalent was using templates to build their emails, but there was a lack of responsive design and guardrail capabilities within the templates.

Catalent’s goals were to reduce time spent on creating emails, move to mobile responsive design and create consistency across the program.

With the help of stensul’s platform and success team, Catalent was able to reduce their email creation timeline from 3 days to 1 hour by allowing the entire production team to collaborate.

This also freed up the production team to spend 40% of their time on strategy while ensuring mobile responsive and onbrand emails.


To learn more about the Email Creation Maturity Model, download the whitepaper now.

Read part 1 of this blog series, Why should I read this whitepaper?

Read part 2 of this blog series, Phase 1 Defined

Read part 3 of this blog series, Phase 2 Defined

Continue on to an in-depth look at Phase 4, the next phase of the Maturity Model.