The pace of digitisation of marketing shows no signs of slowing. An increasing number of technologies are forming part of the marketing stack for companies in the financial sector. One of the main problems derived from this “technification” of marketing lies in operations, the set of tasks necessary to convert a plan, strategy or initiative, into a perfectly executed campaign/journey (on time and without errors).
Marketing operations are responsible for creating audiences, submitting tests, validating links, including tracking codes and other tags, converting designs into HTML pieces, writing the query codes so that the personalisation rules and dynamic content work correctly, etc. Without marketing operations, plans remain just plans.
One of the most stressful situations from an operational point of view occurs during the production and approval of the final pieces (emails, push notifications, in-apps, banners, etc). In the specific case of email marketing, another stress factor is the generally short production times. Although the campaign briefing may be approved several days in advance, the designs, links, UTMs, copies, translations, etc., usually arrive when the deadline for release is imminent.
In a climate of tight deadlines and regulatory compliance, operational excellence will deliver agile and secure email and marketing automation management.
Although each team in an agency or client will have its own modus operandi, there are three core aspects, without which campaign managers or marketing teams will find it very difficult to achieve the desired operational efficiency.
1 – Using a modular template
A modular template is an HTML matrix in which we incorporate all the design structures with which we plan to work in the medium term. These structures must be agreed between design, commercial and layout with the designs adhering to their blocks. Otherwise, we will have to model from scratch every time we receive a structure which is new or outside of the parameters of that template.
2- Using the text whenever possible
Although the advantages of using text in emails, instead of images, have long been well-known, it is still common to find companies sending emails using images only. In most cases, the reasons for favouring the use of text are based on usability, such as the ability to transmit content when images are blocked or to personalise content. Both are extremely relevant in any communication between a financial services organisation and its client.
In addition, the operational efficiency argument is also a compelling one. A common bottleneck is found during the revision stage of a project – when last-minute changes are required to modify copy, price, legal text, and different language versions. In a context like this, modifying text, instead of an image, is much faster and more agile. It will avoid extra workload and reduce the chance of errors.
3- Using the personalisation languages of ESP/Marketing Cloud
The benefits of content personalisation have also been known for many years. The challenge for e-commerce and CRM departments in the financial sector, from a marketing operations point of view, is taking advantage of the information from each client record (often hosted in different repositories) to create unique user experiences. However, most ESPs/Marketing Clouds have developed their own customisation language (in many cases you can create queries directly in SQL) which will consult the values of a field in a table or database, and return a certain value (a text, a name of an image, a URL, etc.) to HTML.
Using these customisation languages, we can send the same email to 1 million different users, but display it in 1 million different versions. The intelligent and creative use of content personalisation is key to optimising the entire campaign management process for our clients.
Email marketing, well done, is one of the tools with the most ability to impact the profitability of your business.
Use operational efficiency to improve your own email and marketing automation programs.
Ariadna Gubern is Communication & Marketing Manager at Digital Response.
This article was first published on the Digital Response website in August 2021.