Email Creation Maturity Model Part 1

Why should I read this whitepaper?

Email marketing is a discipline that has been around for over two decades, with extensive content detailing its industry best practices. There are scores of technology solutions for just about every industry and B2B and B2C process models on the planet.

But just when you think you know everything there is to know about email marketing, you come across a big industry problem almost no one is talking about.

How big is the problem? Over 80% of brands spend over one week to create a single email. The larger the creation team, the longer it takes, with some organizations taking three weeks or more … for one email. And this problem is not all that new — it’s just hardly ever written about.

Why is the problem getting attention now?

In a rapidly changing global climate, getting the right information to email audiences quickly and efficiently has never been more important. Delivering a superior customer experience is key for any business to stand out, global pandemic or not. As Accenture noted in a recent global study, 75% of senior marketers admit past methods are no match against the new disruptors who are able to deliver more relevant customer experiences.

However, most email creation processes operate within a flawed model. The teams can’t keep up with the demand for email marketing assets, and too much time is spent on creation rather than strategy. Inefficient processes and lack of proper technology are keeping teams from strategy work and achieving greater overall agility. When these areas are aligned, however, the output delivers breakthrough results across email marketing programs and a great customer experience.

The problem explained

The events of 2020 highlight how much brands are struggling with email marketing. The agility needed in today’s environment, coupled with the increased demand for email and complicated processes has left little time for activities that improve performance. Our research shows that most teams spend 90% of their time on email production and 10% or less on program strategy, testing, and activation, while the market leaders spend 70-90% of their time on performance improvement activities. This situation limits the success of the overall program and makes it difficult to keep up with the competition.


To correct these practices and issues, digital and creative leaders need to redefine their creation lifecycle in order to transform their email marketing. The benefits from embracing agile practices are substantial and include:

  • Reduced creation time by up to 90%
  • Significant cost savings
  • On-brand emails
  • Aligned teams
  • Increased engagement

More importantly, brands with high-performing email operations realize a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace. The name of the game today is relevance and audience engagement. Breaking through the endless sea of emails to create meaningful customer relationships requires best-in-class, end-to-end email programs that drive business results.

So why read this whitepaper?

When we assess the content landscape for email marketing, several things stand out. No one to date has established a martech industry category for email creation. The solution space for the problem is relatively new with very few technology players, mostly served by internal and external agencies. Furthermore, industry analysts are not covering this space. There is no Gartner Magic Quadrant or Forrester WAVE for email creation. So we decided to start to fill the thought leadership void.

The stensul email creation maturity model is the result of 5+ years of stensul’s industry experience working with hundreds of enterprise brands with the most demanding requirements. This maturity model lays out the different stages organizations will go through to optimize their email creation process. This framework helps identify the key levers that must be pulled to take email programs to the next level.

It is possible for email teams, whether internal agencies, digital teams, or external agencies, to achieve breakthrough performance with advanced technologies that streamline production processes so that:

  • The organization spends over 80% of their time on strategy and has escape velocity to tackle greater challenges.
  • The company has consistency in communications using technology to control and permission across multiple teams.
  • All teams and users are empowered with processes customized to them
  • A center of excellence is in place to establish best practices through technology and agile marketing methods.


This whitepaper outlines the five phases of email creation maturity and the attributes that characterize each phase. This model will allow you to assess your current operation against a set of practices, and provide you with a framework for improvement. As you move up the maturity curve for your email marketing strategy, technology, and process, your team will become more competitive in the market.

To learn more about how to access and transform your email marketing, please download the whitepaper now.