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How Agile Email Creation Can Impact Your Marketing Org

Stensul’s Agile Email Creation PlatformTM dramatically reduces email creation time by up to 90% to help team resources focus on improving email performance. With stensul, teams launch campaigns faster by streamlining the collaboration process and simplifying creation for all marketers, so they can build emails that drive results. If you want to see how the stensul Agile Email Creation Platform can elevate your email marketing programs, please request a demo.

Read on for the Senior Vice President of Marketing at stensul, Geoff Smith’s, guest contribution to the Iterable blog, and to learn his perspectives on the impact of agile email creation.

More than 11,000 search results for the term “agile marketing” were returned. It was here where I found myself a recent study by management consultancy McKinsey on the benefits of businesses being agile.

McKinsey describes agile marketing this way:

“Agile, in the marketing context, means using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating. At scale, a high-functioning agile marketing organization can run hundreds of campaigns simultaneously and multiple new ideas every week.”

But, in a classic example of the difference between theory and practice, the consultancy goes on to observe:

“The truth is, many marketing organizations think they’re working in an agile way because they’ve adopted some agility principles, such as test and learn or reliance on cross-functional teams. But when you look below the surface, you quickly find they’re only partly agile, and they therefore only reap partial benefits.”

For many such marketing organizations, they also believe that simply by adding a bunch of digital tools and some point solutions, they’re able to be agile. They’re not. And nowhere is that more the case than when it comes to the oftentimes arcane art and science of creating html emails.

As a marketing channel, email has been around for about 25 years. And marketers love it. Routinely, email yields a 40x ROI. It beats social for customer acquisition by 40x. And it performs like that whether working for a B2C or B2B marketer.

Days, weeks to create a single email

The truly remarkable thing is that is emails are still produced the same way as they were in the 1990’s: specialists using single-purpose tools, operating in silos with a near-complete absence of collaboration let alone real-time feedback. It makes for a complicated, often frustrating email creation experience that takes far more time than it ought to, and costs more than it should.

Stensul surveyed email creation teams in large companies recently and found it took anywhere from five to 10 days to create a single email. The reason being those teams used the commonly-used Design to Code method, which has been known to require one-to-two weeks to create one email. Others using the second-most-often used method, Templates & Modules, saw a time-savings over the other approach. For them it took about 30% less time than Design to Code to create a single email. That’s still a lot of time for one email.

In the first instance, it takes that much time because each email must be hand-coded by a skilled developer. If, in the review of that email, a comma needs to be changed to a period, it has to go back to the developer. And that takes time. With Templates & Modules, any time-savings can be lost if a template has broken code. Again, it must go back to a developer for the fix. 

Based on feedback from email teams surveyed, that happens frequently.

All this translates to the available time to create an email being allocated 90% creation/10% strategy. Most of the time is spent creating and barely any is applied to developing strategy to make the email perform optimally. 

Think about it. You’ve aggregated mountains of data from prior email efforts, analyzed it and realized what can be done to have the next email campaign perform even better. But you want to conduct some A/B testing.

That’s great. But, let’s not forget,  there’s no time to do that. All of it has been taken up by a creation method born before the web and the cloud.

Creating emails in this way is far from efficient or simple and, as a result, email teams can’t quickly or easily adjust to changes or take advantage of unexpected opportunities. That’s the definition of not being agile. If this seems like stating the obvious, it is.

Get agile with an Agile Email Creation Platform

To achieve agile email creation you need to democratize the process itself. Recall the controlling role developers play in Design to Code and Templates & Modules. Those workflows can grind to a halt if developers aren’t available. What’s needed is an email creation platform that allows non-technical people, individuals without any coding know-how, to create emails quickly and of high quality.

Stensul’s Agile Email Creation PlatformTM spans between the email brief and email deployment to an Iterable ESP. It lets you achieve agility by tearing down the walls that separate all involved in the email creation process, from the marketer and designer to the brand and regulatory compliance folks. It connects them for real-time collaboration through the entire email creation process. And, instead of taking days or weeks to create an email, it gets done in hours.

For example, a tech company integrated the stensul platform with their marketing technology stack and saw impressive results fast. Soon after implementing it the volume of emails created monthly rose 166%. Those emails were created in far less time. In four hours. Not the five to 10 days they had experienced previously. Further, 100% of all emails created on the platform were on-brand and responsive. 

What’s more, 60% of developer time that had been taken up with fixing punctuation marks or broken code was now reallocated to more strategic projects—the sort that made better use of their skills. With agile email creation, teams across the company can quickly generate the emails they need to reach and engage target audiences using the right branding and including all the required regulatory statements. Every time. There’s no chance an out-of-date template will be pulled from a library. What’s more, there’s no chance for it to contain broken code.

And since it doesn’t operate in a vacuum, the stensul Agile Email Creation Platform offers one-click integration with the Iterable ESP.


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