Full Service Email Marketing: Good Fit, Misfit or Myth?

Full Service Email Marketing

Today’s email marketing tools are incredibly user-friendly and increasingly affordable, yet there is growing demand for full service email marketing. But why?

By now we all know that email marketing produces the strongest ROI but building compelling emails (or an effective email program for that matter) takes both time and expertise.

So until the folks at MailChimp Labs can figure out how to create autonomous email marketing robot experts (which I’m sure they will do at some point), the tools are only as good as those who wield them.

But who are these companies that decide that full service email marketing is a viable option? And what does full service email marketing really consist of anyway?

Who’s going the full service route?

In my experience, those that decide to seek full service email marketing providers are a very diverse bunch indeed but they all have at least two of following characteristics in common:

  1. They acknowledge that email marketing, either directly or indirectly, is responsible or could be responsible for a healthy chunk of their revenue.
  2. They have found that hiring or training in-house talent is cost prohibitive, in relationship to their email-driven revenue.
  3. They are missing critical talent in their email production process.

As for their general makeup, these companies typically fall into the following classifications:

  • Small, one or two person, operations that either have a high-margin product or those with a small-margin product with a large email list.
  • Small to mid-size online sellers, be they consumer or b2b focused, that have in-house marketing talent. But that talent is either comprised of generalists or specialists with little to no email marketing expertise.
  • Large organizations, with heavy campaign output, who are missing production specialists or they are simply overwhelmed.

Who are the full service misfits?

For all the organizational types that may be a good fit for full service email marketing, there are many more that find little value in outsourcing their email production, such as:

  • Large to mid-sized organizations that have not seen historical or upside potential in email; those that typically send static newsletters and use email primarily as a cost effective ‘stay top of mind’ communication channel.
  • Email-driven organizations; those that are dependent on email to drive the bulk of their revenue, such as Living Social.
  • Traditional Publishers. With few exceptions, large or small, their email assets are so closely tied to their other products that it doesn’t make sense to outsource.
  • Certain B2B organizations, which have a manned sales force and refined sales process. They rely heavily on marketing automation and therefore have no need for ongoing services.

Full service email marketing, usually isn’t.

The most important thing to remember is that the term “full service” is often misused. What we’re usually talking about is managed email marketing.

The difference is that managed email marketing services are tailored to the needs of the marketer. The managed services vendor plugs in only those services that the marketer needs, such as a hybrid of strategic and production services or simply email coding and delivery.

It could be that the marketer truly needs full service email marketing, which typically includes strategy, execution, reporting, everything; all of the duties typically provided by and in-house team or team member. But more often than not, the marketer has some in-house talent, such as marketing managers or creatives, which they can leverage.

So why are companies really choosing managed email marketing?

As for those that decide to utilize managed (or full service) email marketing services, aside from the relief in their production burden and the efficiencies it might create, they are finding considerable value and comfort in knowing that their vendor is responsible for staying abreast of the tactics and strategies that truly drive revenue, their vendor has to. As a provider of managed email marketing services, we at Indiemark know that we have to perform as if our jobs depend on it, because it does.

About the Author: Scott Hardigree is the Founder of Indiemark. He can be reached at scott@indiemark.com or indiemark.com



  1. I understand why people are moving to managed email marketing. I work for a small graphic design agency, and despite us being very tech-savvy, we have a hard time with our email marketing. Luckily, our service (Contactology) has some great customer service, and now has the same prices as mail chimp and all of those companies.

Leave a Reply