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Things that go wrong when creating dynamic content emails and how to avoid them

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will. That applies to the typical process used to create an email with dynamic content.

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will. That applies to the typical process used to create an email with dynamic content. It’s complicated, with many points in the process for bad things to happen to email marketers and their emails.

Three things occur all too often that cause the email creation process to derail. They are:

  1. Data isn’t available or reliable
  2. The ESP/MAP dynamic content implementation isn’t optimal
  3. Proofing, review and approval of each module, and QA aren’t efficient 


There are more than three problem points. Consider the less-than-user-friendly email builder found in most ESPs/MAPs. It’s a big reason things go wrong.

Dynamic content email is predicated on the right code prompting the right content to appear in the right module when triggered at the right moment for the person. A time-intensive review process must be used for that to happen. Each module is reviewed and approved. Once found to be correct, the module is converted to handle dynamic content. 

Unfortunately, in an ill-conceived attempt to save time, many will handle content while simultaneously working on the data/code. The potential for problems by doing these two things at once is high. What’s more, troubleshooting any code, and thus a content-related issue, is a major time-suck and never fun. When QA best practices are not followed – including testing each dynamic content permutation – the likelihood that an email will be a resounding failure is considerable.

Let’s get back to ESP’s/MAP’s email builder. Even if you feel you’ve done everything right, you won’t know until you have that ESP/MAP send a proof. The first proof of an email rarely created this way is ready to be uploaded for deployment. 

What happens next is an often frustrating back and forth of reviewing, adjusting, more reviewing, and adjusting until the email with dynamic content is right- in all its variations. 

Things go wrong because creating emails with dynamic content this way requires too many steps and time, making the risk of production problems, launch delays, or worse, unavoidable. 

The option of simply not building dynamic content into emails makes little sense. Directing emails to individuals with messages that adapt to appeal specifically to them, which is what makes the content dynamic –  raises click-through rates 15% and boosts transaction rates by 6x – on average.

A better way to create dynamic content emails

The way to simplify and speed the creation process – while reducing the risk of error – is to author and preview dynamic content from a single platform. Specifically, that should be an Email Creation Platform where everything can be done with ease and control outside the ESP/MAP, allowing the MOPs team to focus that resource on its true strength, email deployment.

Creating dynamic content in this way lets you

  • Create and save segments in the Email Creation Platform and build components from content and segments
  • Create content versions from existing modules
  • Publish components directly to your ESP/MAP or an HTML export with a syntax script included 

By placing an Email Creation Platform that enables the creation and handling of Dynamic Content with the same level of detail as the other email components at the center of your process, emails will be created in a single, collaborative environment. 

An Email Creation Platform simplifies the creation process. It removes much of the time-consuming back and forth. It doesn’t deploy emails. It sits in front of your ESP/MAP, letting you leverage its core strength.

An Email Creation Platform empowers non-technical team members to create emails that are on-brand, compliant, and responsive every time due to robust guardrails that can have every element of your corporate branding guidelines programmed in.

Create with more control, speed, and safety 

Creating an email in an ESP/MAP is already clunky. Now add dynamic content to the mix and it’s even more of a challenge. That creates yet another problem for the MOPs person overseeing that system. They likely weren’t part of the campaign plan, can’t control what a user can build or write, and now have to test the dynamic content. What are the risks of using dynamic content? Besides bad code, the emails may not conform to branding guidelines, regulations, or even accessibility requirements, among other matters. Authoring emails with dynamic content in an Email Creation Platform removes those issues altogether. Robust, programmable guardrails ensure that such emails will be quality in all manner, shape, and form.

Along with control, an Email Creation Platform allows you to create emails in up to 90% less time than the typical approaches. That’s key since email requests continue to rise, forcing you and your team to make the most of your time, resources, and skills. To be sure, creating new segments can require more technical help. The Email Creation Platform allows you to deal with that effectively by compressing overall creation time.

If you run your review and approval process through an email thread, a workflow system, or messaging platform, there’s no way to see the result. The dynamic elements of the email can’t be viewed unless a proof of each version is prepared and distributed. Using an Email Creation Platform, you can see the email’s appearance before you produce your first proof.  

Not being able to see dynamic results creates plenty of risks. Guessing what it’ll look like isn’t a prudent strategy. Reviewing each version is probably out of the question unless you have an endless amount of time.

With an Email Creation Platform, an admin can set up dynamic content in a once-and-done way, where an end user can re-use that dynamic scripting in an easy, no-code way. Instead of needing to touch code with each dynamic email creation, you can reuse dynamic elements without knowing the technical back-end. Yes, even a non-technical person can create emails with dynamic content quickly, easily, and with the certainty of their working as planned. By keeping people from accessing code, the chance it might break is essentially zero. 

To learn more about creating emails with dynamic content faster, easier, and safer, download the Stensul eBook The dynamics of Dynamic Content in email creation.

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