4 ways to ensure your email marketing gets the kudos it deserves


I’ve been listening to brand side email marketers a lot over the last 20 years. They’re frustrated. They are resource and time poor. And on top of that, for many, email is one of the last channels to be given much attention. Leadership aren’t much interested, sales just wants marketing to get the email out the door, and not much thought is given to the channel as being a great relationship building tool.

But why?! Email as a channel has one of the best ROI’s at £35:£1 and it is the most preferred channel to receive marketing messages by consumers. Its ability to deliver near one to one communications at scale is surpassed by none.  Yes maybe the ROI is the issue. It does deliver sales and it is a great direct response mechanism, so maybe it is the victim of its own success. But this success doesn’t come easily!

To get the most out of email marketing there’s layers of complexity. The blend of art and the science, that when carefully and thoughtfully crafted can not only drive huge revenues for the brand but create awesome customer experiences that have consumers coming back for more.

So we go back to why? For those who work in the community as vendors, agencies and consultants it’s time to take a step back, to think introspectively. Maybe there’s more we can do as a community to help brand side email marketers get the extra resources, technologies and ultimately the kudos their work really does deserve.

Instead of discussing all the great things email can do and how to do them, let’s take it back a few steps. Here’s some tips on the foundations you can build to ensure your email strategy gets the kudos within your business that it really does deserve.

Set goals

Goals, objectives, whatever you call them, are essential. Many marketing teams fail at the first hurdle when they lack objectives that are aligned to the overall business goals. Not only does this mean an absence of focus, it also leads to little interest from the rest of the business.

However with clear set goals that are SMART, you’re able to have clarity of direction which leads to success. So rather than reporting mid-tier metrics back to board with KPI’s that are a derivative of business goals, you’re able to demonstrate how your actions have let to business outcomes. Suddenly everyone is interested!

Make friends with sales

Sales and Marketing often work in silos, this leads to a big disconnect. An estimated $1 trillion a year are lost due to a lack of sales and marketing alignment. However, with aligned teams many businesses are more effective at closing deals, retaining customers and driving huge increases in revenue.

It’s time to break down those barriers.

Here’s a few things you can do:-

  • When planning your goals, get sales involved. Agree and get them to sign off on your goals and KPI’s
  • Create your buying personas together. Sales are on the front line and therefore interact with your customers or prospects on a daily basis.
  • Strategise content and campaigns together.
  • Own a sales KPI! A great win for better sales and marketing alignment is for marketing to take ownership of a KPI one step into the sales funnel. For B2B a marketing KPI would be an SQL rather than an MQL. For B2C that might be a revenue number.
  • Keep communicating – Weekly if not twice weekly meetings between sales and marketing is essential to driving greater unity

Find an interesting story to tell

You don’t have to be a Data Scientist. Your email marketing data can tell you more than you think. It can hold nuggets of insights that excite leadership to want to find out more, to suddenly give your QBR meetings with your partners more attention, to unlock that budget or the extra resource you have been desperate to get hold of.

It’s not about quoting open and click through rates – this data in a vacuum isn’t interesting or useful. It’s about getting under the hood a little more to shape that data into compelling stories. Facts tell. Stories Sell.

I worked with a client many years ago. They were sending three newsletters a week. The same newsletter to all (we’ve all been there!). And their results were OK. They were getting average open rates and click rates and were seemingly fine. The email marketing manager was tasked with increasing open and click rates but no change of template or subject line could shift the needle. As their agency we delved into the data a bit more, to look at who was opening and clicking, maybe that could give us a bit more insight?!

We suddenly saw a huge disconnect between age and gender. We gave the email marketing manager a story to tell their boss. The boss was interested, their assumptions of what was and wasn’t working was interrupted and they wanted to solve the challenge. This sparked meetings and further analysis. It spurred extra resources and support for the marketing team to focus on segmentation together with new creatives with defined tones for different personas. After seeing increased engagement and results this then created a groundswell for even more support. All from a soundbite created from a single bit of insight.

I know this might seem like an overly simplistic example, but sometimes it is the simplest things that can make the biggest difference.

Get a mentor!

Finally I would urge everyone to get a mentor! There are plenty of marketing leaders that have been in your position, they may have already solved the challenges you are facing today. They will be able to give you sound advice on the steps to take to ensure the work you do is given more air time at a leadership level. If you find the right connection they will also will be a main stay for helping you navigate your career today and into the future.

To conclude we all know that email can drive awesome results and relationships with your customer or prospect. How awesome really depends on how much support you get internally. Lean on your agency, consultants and your vendors to help you get there! And this is my rally call to the industry, it is within us to also enable brand side email marketers more. So let’s get to it, the opportunities are endless!