Enterprise organizations have been hit by the pandemic in countless ways. With entire teams moving to remote work, companies have had to reexamine everything from employee working environments and workflow routines to customer communications and sales processes. These pivots have put a spotlight on inefficiencies throughout the organization with many teams lacking the necessary tools, resources and skill-sets to implement the digital transformation initiatives needed to keep businesses moving forward. Even worse, with layoffs and hiring freezes now a common circumstance, many B2B enterprise organizations are having to do more work with fewer team members — creating a whole new set of challenges.
Email marketers have had a front row seat to the business struggles brought on by the pandemic. With digital transformation now a key priority for B2B and B2C businesses alike, marketers are looking to their email programs to keep audiences engaged. According to a recent HubSpot report, email send volumes jumped during the start of March and remained at elevated levels throughout the second quarter, with marketers sending 21% more emails in Q2 versus Q1. Last month, HubSpot’s data showed send volumes reached a peak, rising 36% beyond usual benchmarks. These numbers underscore the fact businesses are relying on email to connect with customers as offline channels have essentially gone silent.
Marketing operations teams especially are finding their bandwidth shrinking as the number of email requests keep coming with no signs of slowing down. The MOPs leaders who have an agile process in place for email marketing routines are likely the only ones able to stay ahead of the curve. For everyone else, the road ahead may feel, at best, overwhelming and, at worst, hopeless.
So what are marketing operations leaders to do when there’s no time to optimize the email creation process – much less scale current workloads – without risking a downward turn in email performance rates?
How did we get here?
Understanding how we got here is the first step toward finding a viable solution. The unfortunate reality is, even before the pandemic, email marketing was already a challenge for many organizations. With multiple groups managing the email creation process, editing, review and approval routines for a single email easily can take up to a week or longer.
For many organizations, copywriters, designers and coders are all working in different tools to build the email — making it difficult for the marketing operations team charged with managing the entire process across tools that don’t talk to each other. The back and forth between teams to edit an email, perform final reviews and then get everyone to sign-off becomes a time-intensive routine for all involved.
Now, these same teams are being asked to increase the number of emails being created and often with a smaller staff. Across industries, the cancellation of conferences, field events and need to make up for offline sales and/or engagement has left many B2B enterprise organizations reconsidering how they engage with their audiences.
To fill these gaps in customer communications, businesses are dialing up their email marketing programs. The new surge in email requests leaves the marketing operations teams that were already at capacity not only unable to optimize the email creation process, it scarcely gives them enough time to do the necessary work. Instead of focusing on strategy, testing and activation – the very tactics that help deliver strong results – marketing operations teams get stuck spending a majority of their efforts on raw execution.
Flipping the script: Putting more time on strategy and less on execution
After working with hundreds of enterprise brands, over and over again we see most brands spending 90% of their time on execution during the email creation process, with only 10% of the team’s time going to strategy, testing and activation. By enabling an agile process, email marketers can flip the amount of time they spend on execution and prioritize strategy, allowing for more efficient review and approval routines, major cost savings and improved engagement.
With its roots in software development, an agile process means focusing on a specific amount of work collaboratively, iterating rapidly in a thoughtful and deliberate manner with the goal of pushing to completion before moving on to the next batch of work. Stensul’s core capabilities enable an agile email creation process by offering a single platform for multiple teams to work in. It frees email marketers from having to use rigid templates, while giving creative and marketing operations teams the ability to put guardrails in place to maintain branding guidelines and compliance rules.
The collaborative nature of stensul’s platform streamlines the email creation process. Editing, review and approval routines go from taking a week or more to a matter of hours. The entire email creation process is optimized, making it possible to scale email marketing programs without having to add more team members as the number of email requests continues to rise. With less time spent on execution, marketing operations leaders can reevaluate their processes, investing more of their team’s effort in strategy and testing to refine email marketing results.
With an agile process in place, more email requests do not amount to diminished returns. In fact, businesses see just the opposite: Performance rates improve as more focus is put on strategy and activation.