Holistic Email Direct Marketing: The Framework Recipe


Email channel, one of the most cost-effective e-marketing channels available today for both BtoB and BtoC, though many companies lack the understanding on how to harness it’s true potential and to streamline the integration of strategy, delivery and business intelligence.

In this overview, I’ll provide you a holistic snapshot of what a full organizational email plan (or CRM plan) requires to streamline all efforts different business units and processes within the organization. This email marketing framework can work within a centralized head office, or an organization with global offices and marketing efforts. Though for the later, system and process integration is integral – but user empowerment is decentralized to all locations. To digress….

Over the last +3 years, email marketing has change dramatically. As email marketing proliferates over 2008 and 2009 in the marketing mix of companies plans (or maybe it’s the CRM guys driving it), individuals discover the intricacies of how to properly get the performance out of the medium. Unfortunately its the channel that gets the least amount of attention and budget in an organization and the end result is a low luster performing campaign taken as a shotgun approach to disseminating a message, promotion or announcement. However over 2007 this has begun to change as more businesses and organizations are understanding how this medium can integrate and work no just within the marketing strategy, but the overall business strategy and management of client relationships.

Depending on the size and budgets of the business, the email marketing efforts may involve a simple email campaign delivery through one of the many ESP’s (email service providers) available in the market, click send and watch the opens and clicks. Perfect for the small mom and pop business. And, not to knock these efforts, with the number of widgets and freeware applications available today, even the mom and pop guys can run with the big fish. Take your ESP and Google Analytics and integrate the two to begin generating re-marketing communications to those +X% people generating all that attrition on the check-out page.

For the more sophisticated, big brand organizations who have the budgets and resources, which thankfully is a growing demand these days, are those who are reaping the rewards of emails potential throughout the organization and in the marketplace.

Having consulted for a number of companies on email marketing (and overall web marketing strategy), if you’re one of the companies that are dedicated to capitalize on the email channel and seeking a holistic view on the organizations entire email marketing framework, even for those who are seeking to streamline and integrate all global emarketing efforts and implement email reputation management, we’ll cover the recipe of the core ingredients to include in your plan.
The intent is to cover the email marketing framework of the emarketing plan, and while each area can go into significant depth, we’ll scrape the subject here, and continue on in another post. If you’re eager to learn more quick, contact me directly.

Holistic Email Marketing: The Framework:

1. Email Infrastructure

  • In-house technology
    • CRM
      • marketing integration (history, customer responses, re-marketing, etc.)
      • Real-time triggered events (ex. retention and loyalty campaigns )
      • Transactional messaging
      • Subscriber management
    • Email Server
      • Email bounce management
      • Authentication (DKIM, SPF, Domain Keys, etc.)
      • Email volume throttle rates
    • Resources (email team, developers, business intelligence, etc.)
  • Outsource Technology
    • Large organizations can still benefit from integrating their database and CRM systems via an API with the more solid ESP’s in the marketing (Exact Target, Email Labs, Cheetah mail, etc.), but the purpose of this outline is for those seeking a medium to long term cost efficiencies to bring email marketing in-house. Speaking from my experience, do your due diligence as the confidence of a 99% up-time in API connectivity is not always the case (I should have bought stock in Aspirin or Tylenol during that project).

2. Marketing Management

  • Strategy: Customer Lifecycle Email Programs
    • Acquisition or lead generation
      • Ex. list build, conversions, etc
    • Retention or loyalty
      • Ex. Real-time offers, interaction communications, promotional marketing, relationship bridging, cross-sell, etc.
    • Awareness or Informative
      • Ex. newsletter, publications, etc.
  • Campaign Management
    • Campaign delivery application
      • integrates set up of the campaign, list and timing. Executes the delivery and captures the tracking. 
    • Processes and procedures
      • insertion orders, campaign set up, etc.
      • remediation procedures
    • Campaign research & planning
      • campaign brief, identify objectives, identify audience and segments, template formats, schedule, define KPI’s, etc.
      • A/B multi-variant testing
    • Content development
      • Editorial
      • Optimization 
    • Template development
      • creative design and development
      • optimization
    • Quality assurance / testing
      • Content check (spam triggers)
      • Subject line 
      • Template inbox rendering 
      • Campaign delivery
  • Transactional Campaigns
    • Management of templates 
    • Tracking

3. Subscriber Management

  • Permission-based management
    • Opt-in/opt-out methodology and processes
  • Bounce handling
  • List hygiene
  • ISP Complaint feedback loop handling (FBLs)

4. Reputation Management

  • Auditing & monitoring services
  • Blacklist & Blocklist monitoring
  • Industry spam authority sites (Spam Cop, Spamhaus, etc.)
  • Monitoring bounce rates
  • Handling FBL’s (spam feedback loops) 
  • Remediation process
  • ISP email volume throttling

5. Business Intelligence

  • Campaign Analysis
    • Marketing campaign performance
    • Transactional campaign performance 
  • CRM Processes
    • Customer identification and classification
      • (ex. customer lifecycle and interaction triggers)
    • Real-time triggers
      • Business drivers
      • Customer interaction and/or status
    • Data feedback
      • Capture, track and analyze all inbound/outbound email and customer data

6. Relationships

  • ISP’s
    • Spam complaint data
    • Remediation
    • White listing (and blacklisting)
    • Content filtering
  • Accreditation Services
    • Habeas, Goodmail, Return Path Sender Score
  • Vendors
    • Email Service Providers
    • List Brokers
  • Internal Depts. & Teams

7. Compliancy

  • Privacy & legal compliancy
      • CAN-SPAM, FTC, PIPEDA, etc.

Following these ingredients will give you a good base-line to start your audit and research on developing the email marketing framework within your organization. Whether its a centralized infrastructure, or decentralized throughout the globe, integration, coordination and management of your email marketing can result in an extremely streamlined and profitable marketing channel.

email marketing workflow

What techniques are you using to manage e-mail proliferation, email infrastructure, strategize communications, and get that e-mail out the door quickly and perform post analysis? Let me know.





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