Deciding whether your company needs an enterprise-level email marketing platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, including a comprehensive self-assessment of your organization’s business needs and resources, staffing, management support, and financial resources.
Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.
- Do we have the right human resources in place? Employing people to implement and use all the features available in an email marketing platform is a prerequisite to success. This includes design and content creation as well as data analysis and strategy. Typically, email providers accommodate multiple levels of expertise when it comes to building email templates, so you’ll want to ensure your staffing matches the functionality available in a platform. Utilizing the toolsets available within these platforms can help make your marketing staff more efficient and effective.
- Does our customer data reside in disconnected silos throughout the organization? Organizational silos between departments such as sales, marketing, procurement or customer support increase the risk that your customer’s experience with the brand is not as targeted or consistent as it should be. An enterprise email marketing platform may help connect these disparate systems to provide a more insightful view of customers.
- Do we have customer knowledge gaps that could be filled with trusted second- and third-party data? First-party data, which includes an email address, is the foundation of your brand’s relationship with customers, and becoming more important as third-party data sources like cookies and mobile IDs are phased out by Google and Apple. A unified database that can be appended with data about demographics, locations, financial and other anonymized second- and third-party data can allow you to fill gaps in customer insights. As data collection and matching techniques improve, along with access to cooperative data sources, creating a 360-degree view of customers may make sense.
- Are we in compliance with CCPA, GDPR and other data privacy regulations? Consumer data breaches and evidence of misuse continue to make news headlines. As a result, data privacy regulations are on the upswing. Are your organization’s data governance practices in compliance with the EU’s GDPR or the CCPA? Data-driven marketing is a competitive edge in today’s environment but can also escalate the risk of damaging your brand and incurring legal consequences. Many email marketing platforms can ensure compliance with the growing list of regulations and create greater customer trust in your brand.
- Do we have C-level buy-in? Since email is such a commonly used medium, those not directly involved may not be aware of the complications involved in large-scale mailing and how a dedicated platform can help businesses meet those challenges. It is critical to educate C-level executives and demonstrate the value of a new email marketing platform by running pilot test projects and agreeing to a definition of success in advance.
- Can we invest in staff training? To ensure you’re achieving the greatest possible benefits of a new platform, it is vital to provide ongoing training to technical, design, content and marketing teams and reinforce it on a regular basis. Some tool companies include or offer training for an additional fee, so be sure to ask about this.
- To what extent do we need to share data and reports with non-email marketing staff? Some tool providers focus significant resources on unifying data across the enterprise, so teams like customer service and product development can also benefit from a holistic view of the customer. If you plan to take advantage of these capabilities, make sure the integrations, interfaces and reports also meet the needs of stakeholders in other organizational roles.
- Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring, and reporting results? It’s important to know up front what you want your email marketing to achieve. Are you seeking to turn newsletter subscribers into customers, or more frequent customers? Perhaps you’re looking to build brand affinity and nurture recipients through a more long-term purchase cycle. Having specific goals will help you decide if you’re ready to put an enterprise platform to good use, as well as help you decide which tool will best meet your organizational needs.
- Do we have realistic expectations? Adopting a new email platform, especially if it differs significantly from the system you’ve been using, can take some time to deliver results. There are likely cultural shifts and workflow processes that will need to be implemented and refined. Setting realistic timelines and goals will help build support at all levels of the enterprise.