The path to unlocking your email program’s full potential


Email-centric marketing leaders carry the weight of ensuring email programs operate effectively and efficiently, but what steps should they take when they  notice features don’t work as they should? To bring clarity to chaos, we have detailed three paths for consideration.

While we always recommend that marketers truly understand their unique needs, we also acknowledge an appreciation for the solutions available for helping set a path forward. The 3 paths outlined below represent the least effort to the most effort. Generally speaking the more change in a team’s tech, the more resources are needed to implement that solution. So let’s start out small.

How to better utilize a program without changing the martech

Organizations often start to seek out help when they realize their programs fail, or plateau, or don’t function optimally. If you opt to stay with your existing martech, start by looking for internal inefficiencies.

At Shift Paradigm, our clients ask where they should look to unearth these internal inefficiencies, and we tell them to start by documenting their current processes. Doing so allows them to identify how they currently interact with their technology.

Through process mapping, we often discover the program itself actually functions as it should. The program doesn’t function when marketers don’t utilize it correctly. Sometimes it takes 45 steps and 9 people involved to get one email message out the door. We’ve seen this before.

In documenting your processes and interactions with your current tech many hidden issues suddenly appear when you realize who does what (and when) with the program. Identifying these internal inefficiencies early on often leads to some quick wins because of the refreshed perspectives: “How can we work together to make it more efficient?” or “How can we better use the technology we already have?”

Sometimes this exercise shows your company already pays for a great program, but the marketers probably don’t use it as efficiently as possible. Sometimes they need additional training, but sometimes it comes down to establishing how to best serve customers without an increase in spending.

Ask yourself these four questions:

What do we need to do?

What do we want to do?

What can we do?

Do we have a martech issue or a process issue?

Take a step back and remember why you integrated this tech in the first place. So many ‘AHA!’ moments occur when we take the time to process-map, assess our current situation, and understand how to best utilize our program. Do we really need 20 people signing off on 1 email? Probably not. 

How to evolve a program with additional tech or data

In this second scenario, stay with the current program, but identify ways to enhance its functionality by integrating with additional tech offerings. Be sure to pinpoint the key pieces missing from the existing program.

Determine where the marketing team spends most of their time, and you will discover some key solution options. Often teams spend more time on data and email development than necessary, and you could add data integration or email development tools to your tech stack to free up more time.  

How does the team use the program?  What unnecessary ‘baggage’ has built up in the program over time? Does the team hoard data yet never use any of it? Does the current approach to personalization work? Does the team automate everywhere they can?  

While there can often be large costs upfront for any implemented integrations, those integrations really pay off over time with huge performance gains. Don’t waste time; a useful integration is well worth the investment.

How to find and implement the right email platform

Marketing leaders may select a new program that better suits the business, but they must not get enamored with the bells and whistles of a new program that they’ll never use. Far too often, we see clients that were sold on a demo and only use 10% of the program.  

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

What are you asking email to do at your organization? What do we believe the new platform can do that our existing one cannot?

If your program can’t do what your business needs, you should switch programs. Look at what needs to be done with an existing email program and get a clearer understanding of how that would look and work with the new program. 

Understand the importance of seeking the ‘best way’ to perform a task with the new email platform, and don’t simply hope to migrate experiences. 

The alternate platforms you consider should be able to provide industry-specific examples of how they handle data security and privacy issues. If they can’t provide this information, search elsewhere.

For clients that are trying to find the ‘right’ email platform for their organizations, we recommend focusing on three components: needs, plans for the future, and people. Clients often forget to acknowledge the most unquantifiable component: the people. Marketers need to really like the culture of the organization with which they will potentially work, and the people who will be supporting their brand.

Marketers face an enormous task when moving tech stacks, so we recommend they exhaust all other options first. Switching programs is a massive undertaking. The switch will be difficult, and the team most likely won’t stick to the predetermined timeframe for implementation. Expect bumps in the road, and stick with it.

How to decide the best option for your email program

Many factors can eat into a great email ROI (42:1) investment. In order to identify the best path for the team and organization, take a good long look at the existing program, workflows, data, and demands. Really looking at the  program whether the team sticks with what they’ve got, evolves their existing set-up, or starts 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.

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The path to unlocking your email program’s full potential

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