Featured: The 2020 Email Creation Maturity Model

It’s Time to Fire Your Agency

If you’re using an agency to help create and code your emails, we’ve got something to say:

It’s time to fire your agency!!

Why?

Email creation used to require a technical resource that specialized in email development. In 2020, this is simply no longer the case.

It also used to require people with knowledge and skills in marketing automation. Again, that is a thing of the past.

Using your agency to code emails is like hiring a carpenter to assemble your IKEA furniture. It’s not a good use of their skills or your money.

Here are 3 reasons you should fire your agency:

  1. Agencies hand-code your emails and charge you for high-cost technical resources to do so. Coding an email from scratch is a long and tedious process that takes many hours & lots of $$$.
  2. Hand coding emails is a recipe for disaster. Humans are not perfect; one wrong character and the email can be totally messed up.
  3. Hand coded emails are not future-proof. If a new email client comes out, you will need to go back to them to recode things all over again.

Get better results with less investment

If your marketing team uses an agency, the agency should help shape marketing strategy, provide critical campaign execution capabilities, and lend a hand with design. These are high-level activities, and it’s where your agency budget should be going. This is where agencies can add the most value.

Having your agency create and code emails is not a high-level activity. In fact, we love the way one of our enterprise clients puts it:

“An agency brings a ton of value to the table. Use them to build nurtures, handle account based management, and other high value projects. Don’t pay them to copy and paste emails.” 

The teams that are the most productive right now are the ones that have invested those agency dollars into scalable technologies that allow them to create incredible emails in-house for a fraction of what they were paying their agency.

Look at the numbers*: 

Creating a new email template: $1K-$75KTime: 1-2 weeks
Modifying/recoding a template: $1K-10KTime: Few days -1 week
Redesigning/rebranding a template: $2000-$50KTime: 1-2 weeks
*These are ranges that we’ve heard from our customers… and yes, we’ve heard from companies who pay $75K for one email!

These figures are the reason that marketers stick with static templates and can’t update their design as often as they’d like. If every redesign costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars and takes weeks to create, it’s too expensive and too time consuming to test out new ideas.

Email Creation Maturity & Agency Involvement

When teams start out, they tend to create most emails by hand. This ad-hoc approach makes it difficult to edit or update the design, and creativity is very limited. 

The next step is to use basic templates. These are also inflexible and difficult to edit, but they’re slightly more customizable if you have access to an experienced coder. 

Next, teams move to more advanced templates, which are frequently built and coded by an agency or an overly busy internal resource. They look more polished  but can take weeks to create, and since they’re expensive, they’re used repeatedly, leading to design fatigue. 

The most mature email building solution is the use of an email creation platform, which allows anyone to create branded emails quickly. No coding, no confusion, and no agency required. Emails are built in-house and creativity is unlimited, so when you have an idea to test, you can build it into an email within minutes. 
Plus, since changes can be made in the platform without the help of an agency, approval time is drastically reduced. It takes minutes, costs nothing, and gets campaigns out the door in record time.

“At Palo Alto Networks, we build over 1000 emails per month with zero designers and zero agencies.” Ricky Luo, Senior Manager of Global Email Marketing – Palo Alto Networks

Check out the full Marketer’s Email Maturity Model here!

In-House vs Agency Emails: Better Quality, Faster Time-to-Market

Bringing email creation in-house isn’t as scary as you might think. In fact, it’s a surefire way to: 

✔️ Increase the number of emails you’re sending

✔️ Improve the quality of your emails

✔️ Get unlimited creative freedom

✔️ Streamline collaboration 

✔️ Speed up time-to-market by 10x

For the cost of a few agency-created email templates, your entire team can create an unlimited number of incredible, on-brand emails.

Let’s compare: 

Creating a new email template: IncludedTime: Minutes
Modifying/recoding a template: IncludedTime: Minutes (to modify an email. Recoding isn’t necessary.)
Redesign/rebrand a template: IncludedTime: Minutes

You’ll also be able to collaborate from within the platform itself, meaning approvals, feedback, and requested edits are tracked right on the email, giving you complete visibility into the entire approval process.

You’ll Be in Good Company – A Knak Use Case

When you switch to an email creation platform like Knak, the money you save can be redirected to other areas, and your agency dollars can be repurposed for high-level activities, like strategy and planning. Plus, you’ll be in great company. 

One of our large technology enterprise clients, the same one we quoted above, began using Knak, and within just a few months, they’ve made some major changes. 

This organization sends a business newsletter out to its partners around the world. Their Marketing Automation Manager estimates that between 30 and 40 different versions of this newsletter are created every time it’s sent. 

In the past, each regional or country manager would sift through the available content, customize it according to their language, region, or vertical, add their own relevant content, and then compile everything into a Google doc. 

They would send the Google doc to the agency, which would then build it into the email template and send it back for review. Each round of revisions took time – the Marketing Automation Manager noted that “it took 2 to 3 days for each round” – and by the time they got final approval, several weeks had passed. 

Since they started using Knak, time-to-market has been dramatically reduced. The regional and country managers now build out the newsletters in Knak themselves, get approval using Knak’s collaborative features, and sync it seamlessly to their marketing automation platform to be sent, bypassing the agency completely. 

“Our managers can edit as needed now,” says the Marketing Automation Manager. “The content creation process has gone from 3 weeks down to just 2.5 days.

“The barrier to entry with Knak is so low. Knak has enabled a hybrid, decentralized model by putting safeguards in place to keep everyone in their lane. The content-to-customer cycle is expedited, and we have greater agility to respond to changes in the marketplace.” 

A Solution for Any Size Team

Stop paying your agency to create email and landing page templates. No matter how large or small your Marketing or Marketing Ops team is, Knak can save you time and money. Whether you have a small team with only a handful of marketers or a huge global team with marketers spread out across the globe, we can help.

Let us show you how it works. Schedule a demo now, and find out what you could be saving with a true email creation platform like Knak.

Oh, and if you still think you need templates, we’ve got you covered. We’re giving away access to our premium Marketo and Eloqua email and landing page template libraries, free of charge. 

Save your agency dollars. Get the free templates now, and get great-looking emails and landing pages to market in minutes.

Pierre Hage is a results-driven marketing leader who’s passionate about helping businesses grow. He’s known for his unique blend of strategic, creative, and operational abilities, and he loves to find new ways to solve problems and drive growth. Pierre is Knak’s Chief Marketing Officer, but outside work, he’s a self-described woodworker, family man, and professional “cottager.”

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