Featured: The 2020 Email Creation Maturity Model

How Knak’s amazingly disruptive product is letting marketing teams get more out of their agencies

Knak is doing for marketing emails what Uber did for the taxi industry and what Airbnb did for hospitality: We’re disrupting the status quo.

Unfortunately, that upsets some people – those with a stake in doing things the old way.

In today’s blog, I want to tell you how that disruption is creating opportunities for agencies.

Until recently, it was an accepted fact that it took several weeks to create a proper marketing email.

The cumbersome technical process of hand-coding emails took time; so did testing the emails to tease out the mistakes caused by human error. The hours and hours of work were costly, eating up a significant portion of campaign budgets as marketing firms outsourced the technical work to agencies.

Knak’s product makes it possible to do away with the whole technical process of hand-coding emails. And because the emails are not hand-coded, testing isn’t really needed either.

Creating customer-ready marketing emails can now be done in mere days, if not hours, by people with no technical skills whatsoever. 

Consequently, the cost of creating emails has tumbled significantly. No one has to outsource email creation anymore. And if people do decide to outsource, the cost is significantly lower.

Agencies can become value creators

Agencies are nervous. Will customers stop coming to them to create marketing emails?

They shouldn’t worry.

We think agencies and marketers should seize upon the fact that Knak’s disruptive product will allow them to repurpose their budgets. They will be able to direct funds away from workaday technical aspects of the job, and towards other tasks that will result in better marketing emails and better campaigns.

Disruptive? Yes.

But does disruption improve things for customers? Just ask anyone who uses Uber or Airbnb. Or Knak.

Our customers are discovering that they are able to significantly cut the cost and effort of creating crisp, effective and branded emails. And they can do it without having an agency pay for time-consuming technical work.

We have nothing against agencies. We started out as one. We know that their creative input is crucial.

What we’re saying is that agencies should not be used to code emails anymore. With our product, there’s simply no longer any need to do things that way.

If the agency builds the email, they can build it in Knak quickly and inexpensively — no coding involved. That frees up money, so that  the agency spend can focus on making marketing emails perform better.

With Knak, marketers are suddenly free to think of new ideas for their agency to work on – work that can be paid for by the money Knak’s product frees up.

Smart marketing companies can repurpose their agency spend on brighter copywriting or amazing illustrations or animated GIFs – anything that will set their email apart from ever-increasing competition in the inbox. 

Why some want to keep us a secret

Our clients have told us their agencies don’t always tell them the Knak option is available.

In some ways, that’s understandable. By going codeless, agencies run the risk of losing some of the work they are used to doing.

Would a Blockbuster employee have told a customer about Netflix? Probably not.

But what’s better for the customer? Driving to the Blockbuster store, renting a VCR for a day or two (if the title you want hasn’t been checked out already), and then returning it, without forgetting to rewind the tape? Or being able to watch a movie on Netflix on demand?

We think our way is better. Much better. So do more and more enterprise marketing teams.

We think every agency (and every marketing firm) should know that the codeless option exists.

And we think everyone who can benefit from our disruptively amazing product should be using it.

What we hear from our customers is that once they sign up for a Knak subscription, they are gung-ho about what we can do for them. They see how easy our product is to use, and how well we support them, especially during the learning phase.

It could be that not everyone knows about codeless email creation yet. It’s a relatively recent development; only in the last year or two has it become possible to create great marketing emails without technical expertise.

It is also a reality that marketing firms and agencies using the old process are comfortable with it, even if it’s cumbersome. It can be a leap of faith to ditch your VCR player for a smart TV that allows access to Netflix.

Because we started out as an agency, we get this. We also know that agencies make money when they are able to bill hours to their clients.

But because there’s now a quicker and ultimately cheaper way to build emails, we know that smart agencies can offer their clients higher value ways of spending their money.

This is all the more valuable because of COVID-19, which has changed, and continues to change, the world we live in. Who doesn’t want added flexibility when you can be forced to change your approach overnight?

We sell directly to customers

Agencies may also be nervous about us because we sell our product directly to customers, and not to them. We do that for a very simple reason. We want customers to save money, time and effort. We all come from the client side, and it’s been our mission from Day 1 to help marketers.

We know we’re up against an established way of doing things in which agencies, email testing companies, coders and email developers all have a stake.

We know a lot of people don’t like change.

They don’t want to hear that you don’t need agencies to create great marketing emails. That you don’t need testing companies. That you don’t need email developers or need coders.

But the reality is that Knak has made them obsolete.

So when someone says “We’ve always used an agency to do this,” you can tell them there’s a new, better way.

When someone tells you, “My agency says there is no other way to get this done,” you can tell them there is.

And when someone says, “Our people don’t have the time or the skills to do this kind of work,” you can tell them they don’t need to anymore. It can be done easily and quickly.

We have had customers tell us Knak is enabling them to save 30% of their agency spend.

We hope they put those savings into getting better results. Because we like it when our customers get the best value for their money.

Pierce Ujjainwalla has years of experience as a CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing leader. He has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo, and he launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. Visit his personal blog, Modern Marketer, for more of the insight he’s gained as founder and CEO of Knak.

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