Making a Case for Managed Email Marketing

For marketers who want to mine more gold from their email programs; outsourced email marketing is quickly gaining popularity.

Managed email marketing can take many forms, such as the crafting and management of recurring email communications.

It could also involve content development, cross-channel distribution, list growth, as well as untold technical integrations and reporting mechanisms. The list is long.

In any case, when our clients come to us requesting managed email services it’s largely because they’re frustrated and frugal.

Frustrated Marketers

They’re fed up. They can’t find qualified in-house talent or siphon additional production (or ability) from their existing staff, yet they know they could and should be doing so much more.

That’s common. In many ways email marketing is a unique discipline. Email is hard. But in other ways it simply requires talent and tenacity. It’s difficult to find both of those requirements in a single source or an overworked and under-trained team.

Outsourcing works because it allows marketers to tap into the diverse, yet specialized, skillsets of their partner…be they an email marketing agency or an ESP.

Besides creativity, technical skills, and powers of persuasion (all of which are required if you’re going to win the email game), an email marketing partner also brings with them the experiences of working with a varied client base. This is a limitless source for fresh ideas which ensures that the effort does not become a victim of “group think” and that every dollar spent is maximized.

Frugal Marketers

When deciding to outsource their email marketing or keep it in-house, many of our clients first looked at the dollars to see if it makes sense. They’re frugal not stupid.

Let’s face it, email marketing services takes time. So, in one form or another, time is the source of the marketer’s expense.

That’s one of the reasons why outsourcing makes sense; it takes less time.

Because of the experience that your email services partner brings to the table, there is little to no learning curve, as it pertains to their capabilities. They also feel the need to prove their value, every month.

I can’t speak for all agencies but we’ve spent months with our faces buried in almost every ESP’s interface and API. We know their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations.  We have crafted thousands of campaigns and provided consulting services to many many B2C and B2B marketers. This creates an efficiency that is only gained through experience. Efficiency means less time, which means less cost.

Besides efficiency, continuing education becomes the expense of the service provider. Payroll expenses, medical, vacation time? Fugetaboutit.

The cost is usually less than that of a full-time staffer, or depending on the requirements, even greater cost savings can be found. Again, it all backs out to time.

If they outsource, what kind of ROI can the marketer expect? There is  only one way to find out: initiate a conversion and choose wisely. It may pay huge dividends to find a partner that can work in concert with them or their in-house teams, or maybe they’d like to outsource the entire email marketing effort, soup to nuts.


  1. Excellent post. What I have found is that initially a marketing department or company will attempt email marketing themselves without realizing the knowledge needed to properly execute an email marketing campaign. More often than not they are taking the live and learn approach before finally realizing that they need to either hire a knowledgeable person solely for their email marketing or (as you mentioned) outsource to a company more capable.

  2. Hey rachel and Scott

    I am finding the same thing here at my business. You should see some of the monsters these big business make with their autoresponder series. Then they wonder why they have a 75% opt-out rate, it is very amusing. More to email marketing then just writing the email and getting the days right

  3. Another problem that I’m seeing is that once companies start either syndication marketing or email marketing they aren’t sure what to do or how to handle the leads that come in or properly nurture their current clients/subscribers. It’s a lost relationship at that point and unfortunately that leads to a higher unsubscribe rate. This could lead down a long tunnel of blame on unnecessary people or other companies (vendors). More education is definitely needed.

      1. I completely agree. But not every company agrees with you.

  4. I find that customers don’t realize how specialized the skills are and what goes into creating the polish that is attractive. For example, did the client think of a landing page? Did they put into play the appropriate analytics either tool or configuration? Will your logo appear in all (as best as can be expected) situations? No your copywriter isn’t qualified to write an email because they will put keywords in the title that will bin your email. Is that what you want?

    Sometimes, when clients talk about email marketing and what they are going to do I seriously have to think about whether saying something is really worth the rabbit hole I’ll have to travel to fix their thinking.

    Anyone else feeling this pain? Also I think we do a great job of email marketing, but even I have to say I’d like to work with a cost effective EMA that just does email marketing. Then my organization can focus on the strategy, integration, cross-platform measurement, etc.

    Thanks for writing this piece, it has been on my mind quite a bit the last 6 months.


  5. PS. Props on using OneSwipe properly. I tried it and once they improve the menu and how it’s constructed I may deploy the plugin on client sites in the future.

    –written on my iPad–

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