Email Architecture & Design Suite: Implementing Today to Prepare for Tomorrow

The following blog post was written by Amy Pepler, VP GM, Digital Client Services at Epsilon. You can see more of our content with Epsilon here.

If you think your email program is stuck in the past, you’re not alone. Keeping up with evolving technology can be daunting. The good news is that the ubiquity of consumer data means brands can now create personalized, exciting customer experiences.

Many brands are creating email architecture and design suites to achieve this goal

To understand this approach, keep in mind that a design suite features a features a library of custom modules that can be leveraged to create highly dynamic and personalized emails that adapt to subscriber behaviors and deliver on campaign objectives. The wireframe format within this architecture allows certain elements to remain consistent for every recipient, typically the logo and footer copy. But almost everything else — from the header, the body copy, the offer, to the call to action (CTA) — is fair game for dynamic tailoring. This also allows email marketers the freedom and flexibility to incorporate intelligent content, like store locators, which are highly personalized and engaging.

When I started in email in 2005, I worked with a major airline client that supplied email offers based on the recipient’s self-reported closest airport. An offer would be populated based on their location. It was innovative technology for the time, but over a decade later many companies have not moved beyond this basic step. Considering the amount of personal data available today, email templates are the next logical phase in creating focused messaging.

Although some marketers have already been implementing this strategy, this flexible type of architecture is a critical need for everyone in the ultra-dynamic world of email marketing. Even those who have been taking similar approaches for some time, like the airline client I mentioned, must adjust and evolve as the channel changes.

How computers and babies drove modular template success

Dell set out to engage small business owners to drive revenue, but it quickly found out that using static HTML for email resulted in major inefficiencies. In order to streamline the email process, Dell converted over 150 of its static templates to four dynamic templates and did so in just a few short weeks. For Dell customers, this meant receiving more relevant content based upon their own personal profile. For Dell, this meant cutting email production time in half while doubling productivity. Dell’s paradigm shift now allows it to be more strategic with the content it delivers by eliminating production bottlenecks. It also has set them up for future success. With a standard system in place now, Dell will be able to further enhance its email content with personalization powered by machine learning.

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RB Health (formerly Mead Johnson), a manufacturer of infant formula, also developed email architecture that incorporated versatile components to aid its approach to delivering various email streams to its audience. In one stream, messages were personalized based on the recipient’s week of pregnancy, providing informative content pertaining to her specific stage of pregnancy and relevant product offers. All messages adhered to the branding guidelines but had the flexibility to incorporate a high level of personalization based on information RB Health had about its customers. The goal is to continue using this template system as more data points are collected about the customer and eventually send messages based on personal data, like where the customer lives or fun activities they can do with their growing child.

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Though standardized email architecture may sound antithetical to unique, personalized messages, implementing this kind of structure actually allows you to enhance the level of personalization that you can provide to your subscribers. By making it easier to input tailored and personalized content, you can create emails that deliver relevant messages in the moments that matter most.