Presenting Your Holiday Email Program Success to the C-Suite
"Connective tissue," "star maker," "peanut butter," "glue," etc. Experts and analysts have used these unexpected terms and others to describe the unique role email plays in uniting multiple marketing channels and powering their collective success.
If you're an email marketer who's coming off another successful holiday season, don't expect the executives within your organization to automatically recognize your great email strategy, flawless campaign execution and fully measurable impact to the company's bottom line. With marketing "darlings" like social and mobile garnering more attention and budget than ever before, you've got to favorably position email marketing's consistently strong performance so that it gets full recognition and funding this year.
Many executives mistakenly see email as a cheap, fast and easy medium. It's your job to help them understand that it's complex and valuable. Here's some information you can use to begin pulling together the most important components of this past year's holiday program as well as tips for presenting your wins in a way that grabs the right kind of attention.
1. Start now. You may already have an overall marketing strategy that includes email program goals and tactics that you're executing toward. If so, start there. With your existing plan as a framework and a clear objective to educate, inform and publicize, you've accomplished at least half of the holiday email post-mortem battle.
2. Take a scaled approach with two presentation decks. As you devote valuable time to developing your post-holiday results, don't make the common mistake of tailoring your materials so tightly to the C-suite that the information becomes less valuable for you. Instead, build two decks:
Deck No. 1 should look at the entire year in review and be your team's working reference for this year and beyond. Expect to invest about 30 hours to 40 hours of time pulling together the stats and tweaking the information, which should include the following:
- key program financial metrics, including revenue, return on investment, profit and the largest revenue day;
- critical stats such as list size, number of emails/campaigns sent, active/inactive user count and acquisition/attrition rates per month;
- average open, clickthrough, click-to-open, conversion and order value rates compared to industry verticals averages;
- best and worst campaigns, including learnings;
- testing plans and learnings, with emphasis on revenue;
- special programs associated with a companywide focus or multichannel campaigns;
- key accomplishments such as new email service provider, changed template, etc.;
- significant challenges and how they were or are being addressed; and
- preliminary goals and requirements for 2013, including incremental cost, resource requirements and expected revenue gains.
Deck No. 2 is solely for executives, who have little time and just want the facts. It should focus on a specific holiday timeframe and contain the following:
- a spreadsheet-based executive summary that highlights key metrics and introduces the goal of the deck (e.g., "The purpose of this presentation is to highlight key 2012 holiday email marketing accomplishments and their relevance to 2013 program goals and associated investment");
- the top three industry highlights during the holiday season;
- key holiday metrics abstracted from those mentioned above;
- screenshots of best/worst holiday emails, associated stats and learnings;
- a report on email's role in holiday multichannel success (e.g., the number of Facebook page visits that were driven by your holiday email campaign efforts);
- overall learnings from holiday 2012;
- this year's goals, next steps and requests; and
- reference the full deck for more information.
Don't be afraid to ask for the sale
It may be unrealistic to expect your C-suite to make the jump from last year's level of investment in email to incremental budget in 2013. Use the "this year's goals" section of the executive presentation to ask for the sale.
If you've taken a strategic and methodical approach to presenting holiday email program information to your executive team and you've communicated a clear understanding and road map for 2013 program enhancements, you can feel confident requesting the additional support needed to achieve this year's goals. Rest assured you've done your part to uphold email's unmatched position in the holiday digital marketing mix.
Ryan Phelan is the vice president of strategic services for BlueHornet Networks.
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