Email Marketing: What brands get wrong about the email creation process

To remain competitive, marketing operations and email creation teams will need to move beyond outdated processes and implement solutions that enable more agile email creation processes.

In 2020, major brands were forced to accelerate digital transformation initiatives at record speed. Marketing organizations quickly learned they had two options: Be more agile than ever to meet customer expectations and drive critical business outcomes or fall behind in the wake of the massive shifts happening in the market.

The hard truth is, while the pandemic may have sped up digital transformation initiatives, marketing leaders have known that internal structures and processes were long overdue to be improved.

“More than 75% of CMOs now admit that past formulas are no match against the new breed of disruptors that seems able to win, time and time again, by delivering more relevant customer experiences,” reported Accenture in its 2019 Way Beyond Marketing Report surveying nearly 1,000 global enterprise CMOs.

To compete nowadays, brands must be built for speed and collaboration with a keen focus on the customer experience. “It’s less about changing what marketing does and more about transforming how the work is done,” writes McKinsey in its article Modern Marketing: What it is, what it isn’t and how to do it.

No other business function understands this more deeply than the teams powering a brand’s email marketing efforts. They know firsthand that to be successful, they need to be more agile. But, while many readily admit their email creation process is broken, few know how to fix it.

Why email is so important

Email is the lynchpin of a marketing organization. It is the face of communications with customers and partners, and the most effective channel for brands to connect and engage with their target audiences.

Gartner refers to email as a “staple channel” for marketing leaders. Here’s why: Email conversion rates are three-times higher than social media conversions. HubSpot reports 81% of B2B marketers say their most used form of content marketing is email newsletters and that 86% of professionals prefer to use email when communicating for business purposes. Consumers are five-times more likely to see and consume a brand message via an email than branded social media content.

Marketing technology has enabled many advancements for email marketers, there are literally thousands of tools and platforms to choose from when it comes to your email marketing tech stack.  And yet, one key component of email marketing — the email creation process —remains a challenge even for the most technologically advanced teams.

Email creation processes are broken

Email marketing and marketing operations teams are drowning in inefficiencies when it comes to email creation. Stensul’s research shows 80% of brands are taking a week or more to produce a single email, with a majority of teams taking as long as two to four weeks to move an email through the review and approval process. Even worse, a majority of market leaders spend as much as 90% of their time on email production, but only 10% or less on strategy, testing and activation.

The primary problem: Marketing operations and email creation teams are often using an outdated model to create emails, working with disjointed platforms in non-collaborative work environments that fail to enable an agile process.

According to the marketing operations leaders we talk to, they know the email creation process is broken, but often they are too strapped for time and have too few resources or staff to address the challenge. The central challenge for many marketing organizations is that they are shifting to adopt an agile mindset without implementing agile technology platforms.

The solution: An agile email creation platform

Speed, agility and collaboration can only happen when you have the right tools in place.

“There’s a lovely old agile value of ‘individuals and interaction over processes and tools’ which I think remains totally valid,” says AgileSherpas’ Co-founder Andrea Fryrear, “But within those statements we understand that the second item doesn’t go away or lose value entirely. Having the right digital tools can either make agile run more smoothly or become a major impediment.”

An agile mindset relies on agile platforms that accelerate innovation and help remove silos across marketing functions. An agile email creation platform delivers the very same benefits on an email marketing level: It accelerates the creation process by removing the silos that separate the teams attached to their organization’s email email marketing efforts. Designers and copywriters are able to all work within a single, no-code platform. The collaborative work environment also allows stakeholders to easily review and approve emails from the same platform, rather than digging through their inbox for proof after proof awaiting comment or approval.

It’s a win-win for everyone: the email marketing teams creating the emails are able to focus on strategy instead of execution and their partnering business units are able to reap the rewards of high-performing email campaigns.

Stensul to the rescue

The brands that have enlisted stensul’s agile email creation platform have experienced nearly immediate results, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to create an email without having to add staff. Not only were they able to accelerate launch times, they saw improved performance across their email marketing KPIs.

“We needed a platform that’s flexible and can scale with us over the long haul. And we had to be confident that our people would love using it,” said a senior customer communications manager with Box, “We are driving even more operational efficiencies without having to give additional people access to our ESP or train them on those systems, which are complex and sensitive.”

After Box’s team began using stensul, they saw a dramatic drop in the amount of time it took to create an email: From five to ten days to only four hours. The Box team was able to increase the number of emails created per month by 166% and reduced agency spend by 60%. And they’re not the only brand to see such stunning results: Catalent, Grubhub and many more are relying on stensul to create agile email creation processes to accelerate launch times and improve email marketing results.

If you want to add more speed and agility to your email creation process, take a moment to see how stensul works and all the ways it can enable a more agile, collaborative work environment.

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