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Why is Email Creation Such a Pain When it Doesn’t Have to Be?

Email marketers suveyed by stensul used the word "painful" to describe creating an email because they use methods that take days, not hours. This post explains how to eliminate the pain and get creative, effective emails done...well...pain-free.
puzzled businessman

Chuck Palahniuk, an author best known for “Fight Club,” the book turned into a Brad Pitt-starring film, wasn’t thinking about creating emails for B2B or B2C marketing when he said: “You’ll need to suffer to make any real art.”

Yet, far too many who actually create emails suffer. In fact, when asked, “How painful is your email creation process on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most painful, more than 75% of marketers surveyed recently by stensul tagged it between 5 and 10. And 15% gave their pain level a 9 or a 10. Ouch!

Clearly, the blocking and tackling of creating email for marketing purposes isn’t art. Then why do so many suffer to create emails?

For the most part, the answer lies in the enormous inefficiencies that exist in how most marketers at many of the biggest companies behind many of the world’s best brands create emails.

More than half of survey respondents noted their marketing operations teams are expected to create 6 to 25 emails each month. At first glance, that doesn’t seem to be too uncomfortable a number. But it is when you realize that it takes 4 to 11 hours for those teams to create a single marketing email. That’s a lot of time spent on creating just one email by a team of three or fewer people who just happen to have a whole bunch of other marketing responsibilities to manage.

Let’s do a little math. If we’re looking at creating 25 emails that take 11 hours each, that equates to nearly 35 8-hour work days. It’s painful just thinking about that. What’s more, it seems incomprehensible given how most such teams are running all out, supporting multiple business units, and handling multiple email campaigns on a daily basis.

It appears a root cause for this pain is how marketing operations today are still creating emails the way they were produced in the 1990’s. That means: a creative brief is submitted to the email creation team to be put in the email marketing queue. From there, it is handed off to the designers, copywriters and coders (if it is being hand-coded) — each working in separate, disjointed platforms that result in various bottlenecks.

This is all before it enters the review and approval stage which eats up an incredible amount of time depending on the number of stakeholders involved.

Instead of prioritizing strategic, high-value work, marketing operations teams are stuck on execution, leaving little, if any, time to implement effective tactics like A/B testing, personalization, audience segmentation, and optimizing email deployment platforms. No wonder marketing ops pros tend to have a pained look at any given moment.

Without an agile email creation process in place, they’re unable to keep up with requests and cannot scale their email marketing programs with the business as it grows.

Analysis by stensul shows there’s vast room for improvement when it comes to building less painful email workflows. Far less painful. By adding speed and agility to the email creation process, teams can turn a painful experience into an effective process that makes for a happy team and high-performing email campaigns.

Let me prescribe a pain-killer: Establish more agile workflows to take the ache out of the email creation process. The only known side-effect is emails take 90% less time to create. You can learn more about this cure for painful email creation here.

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