Article

The path to unlocking your email program’s full potential

Trendline Interactive

5 minute read

As an email-centric marketing leader you carry the weight of ensuring that your email program is operating effectively and efficiently, but what steps should you take when you identify that things are not working as they should? To bring clarity to your chaos, we have detailed three paths forward for your consideration.

While we always recommend that you truly understand your unique needs, we also acknowledge that an appreciation for the solutions available can help to set your path forward. The 3 paths outlined below represent the least effort to the most effort. Generally speaking the more you touch or change your tech, the more resources needed to implement that solution. So let’s start out small. 

How do I better utilize my program without changing the martech?

Organizations often start to seek out help when they realize that their programs are seen as failing or plateauing, and not functioning optimally.  If you opt to stay with your existing martech you will want to start by looking for internal inefficiencies. 

We are often asked by our clients where they should look to unearth these internal inefficiencies, and we believe the best place to start is by documenting your current processes.  This is a great way to identify how you are currently interacting with your technology. 

Through process-mapping we often discover that the program itself is actually functioning as it should.  What isn’t functioning well is how it is being utilized.  It’s incredibly eye-opening to realize that there are 45 steps and 9 people involved in approving getting one email message out the door.  Don’t laugh – we’ve actually seen this! 

In documenting your processes and interactions with your current tech many hidden nuggets are often identified when you realize who is doing what (and when) with the program.  Identifying these internal inefficiencies early on often leads to some very quick wins, because of the refreshed perspective of “How can we work together to make it easier [more efficient]?” or “How can we better use the technology we already have?”

Sometimes this exercise brings to light the fact that you are already paying for a great program, but probably aren’t using it as efficiently as you could be. Perhaps additional training will help you use the program more effectively?  Sometimes it comes down to figuring out how to best serve your customers without an increase in spend. 

Ask yourself these four questions:

What do we need to do?

What do we want to do?

What can we do?

Is this a martech issue or a process issue?

Take a step back and remember why this tech was brought in in the first place.  So many ‘AHA!’ moments occur when you take the time to process-map, assess your current situation and understand how best your program could actually be utilized.  Do you really need 20 people signing off on 1 email?  Hint – no, you don’t!

How do I evolve my program with additional tech or data?

In this second scenario you want to stay with your current program, but identify ways that you can enhance its functionality by integrating with additional tech offerings.  The key piece of this option is to identify what is missing from your existing program. 

Start by identifying where you are spending most of your time, and you will likely discover some key solution options.  Perhaps you are spending more time on data and email development than is really necessary, and there are data integration or email development tools that could be added to your tech stack to free up more of your time.  

Evaluate how the program is being used and if there is any unnecessary ‘baggage’ that has built up in your program over time.  Are you hoarding data, but not using any of it?  Is your approach to personalization working?  Are you automating everywhere you can?  

Time is money!  While there can often be an initial big cost up front for any integrations that you implement, they can really pay off over time with huge performance gains.  A really great useful integration is well worth the investment.

How do I find and implement the right email platform?

Deciding that selecting a new program that better suits your needs is the third option you have, but please don’t get enamored with the bells and whistles of a new program that you will never use.  Far too often we see clients that were sold on a demo and are only using 10% of the program.  

We suggest going back and looking at your email business model, and asking yourself these two questions;

 What is email being asked to do at your organization?

What do we think we can do with the new email platform that our existing one can’t do?

If your program isn’t doing what you need and want it to do (and it can’t), it’s likely time to switch.  Looking at what you want to do with your email program and getting a clearer understanding of how that would look and work with the new program is incredibly insightful, far more so than a flashy demo. 

It’s also important to understand that you shouldn’t be hoping to migrate experiences, but rather be seeking to understand what the ‘best way’ to perform a task with the new email platform is done.  

The alternate platforms you are considering should be able to provide you with industry specific examples of how data security and privacy issues are handled, and if they can’t provide these table stakes search elsewhere!

Our recommendations to clients that are trying to find the ‘right’ email platform for their organizations often comes down to three components – needs, plans for the future, and people.  This third ‘people’ component is an unquantifiable part of the assessment and one that isn’t often acknowledged.  It is incredibly important to really like the culture of the organization you are potentially going to be working with, and the people who will be supporting you.

It is an incredibly big lift to move tech stacks, so we recommend you exhaust all of your other options first.  If anyone (ahem…we see you sales guy with the slick demo) tries to tell you that switching programs is going to be a painless walk in the park, and that they will stick to the predetermined timeframe for implementation, they are lying to your face.  This is a massive undertaking and you should expect bumps in the road!  Stick with it!

What’s the best option for your email program?

Email has great ROI (42:1), but there are so many things that can eat into that investment.  In order to identify the best path forward for you and your organization, you need to take a good long look at your existing program, your workflows, your data and your demands. Really looking at your program whether you are sticking with what you’ve got, evolving your existing set-up, or starting anew, will undoubtedly bring operational efficiencies to light.

If you need support choosing the best option for your organization, we would be happy to help you narrow it down.

Trendline Interactive

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About the Author(s)

Trendline Interactive

Built from email marketing, Trendline Interactive is an agency and consultancy that inspires brands to create meaningful engagement through cross-channel communications. Our passion is that every single message sent is not only meaningful to the audience, but drives success for our clients.

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