This is what email marketing software for agencies needs to do

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76% of marketers have business needs that are unmet by their marketing agency. This is a very interesting finding. All marketers would think of an agency as a business partner that understands their business, helps reach marketing goals and bring results.

Does marketing technology help the agency to drive growth for their customers? This brings the question: What does email marketing software for agencies need to do?

Email marketing software for Agencies

Technology is a part of the puzzle that should help the agency to drive growth for the customer. So client needs translate into agency needs. An agency would like services to be available to make the everyday life easier and more efficient. So it is important to know what email marketers really want from their marketing agency, that is the starting point. Then additionally what the agency needs to manage the client relationship. To start off, let’s first have a look at the (unmet) needs of the Brand.

What marketers are not getting from their digital agency

In a large U.S. survey, the Domus Client Needs Poll, 76% of marketers said they have business needs that are unmet by their current advertising and marketing agencies.

email-marketing-agency-unmet-needs

From what we see, the uncovered needs include taking advantage of Big Data opportunities (36%). And measuring and reporting the impact and ROI of marketing and advertising programs (28% of respondents). In a way, a marketer should feel that an agency is a partner that helps understand metrics and bring results. Providing actionable segmentation is less of a problem.

Digital Marketing agencies handle multiple clients under one roof

Digital Marketing agencies often handle multiple email marketing or marketing automation projects. They tend to deal with the marketing campaigns of their customers, or even software houses, Value added resellers and Production companies should be considered as a market niche that needs special functionality and assistance that often succeeds their client’s needs.

marketing-agencies

Are Marketing Agencies Platform hoppers?

As a Digital Marketing agency, you handle various online projects for your customers, you are part of the strategy, you drill down on Big Data, you are doing creative, you edit content, you handle social media, you run the display ads, the AdWords campaigns, the email campaigns etc. The typical account manager is more like a ninja, jumping from one platform to the other. The aim of the full-service email agency is to help make customers worry free while achieving online results.

The importance in the case of full-service agencies and organizations is the fact that they need features that would allow managing multiple Clients at the same time. That gives them the opportunity to execute marketing activities – amongst which, email campaigns and marketing automation campaigns in single environment more effectively.

Marketing Agencies and their email marketing software needs

Zooming in on email marketing, you need to be able to manage the email campaigns of all your customers efficiently, through a single user interface. Give them access to their reporting if you wish, and take advantage of the economics of scale in pricing.

So let’s imagine the situation: As a large organization or agency, most probably you would like:

1. Client Management through parent accounts

As said, Agencies need to handle multiple clients at the same time. This calls for the Email marketing Software to offer a parent account, to be able to add several sub-accounts that the agency manages.

The Agency should discuss if their clients get a customer login to their account with their own username and password.

They often would need access to:

  • Reporting and statistics about important KPI’s
  • Email creative and scheduled mails
  • The customer database, audiences and lists

Especially if they do several tasks themselves. This access should be without seeing the reports of other customers, billing pages and often without being able to purchase email credits directly.

2. Agency Control over margin and Email marketing pricing

A marketing agency also has their own business to think about. An agency might want to handle their own commission plan and be able to control their own pricing and margins. So the price that the end customer would see and pay is the one that they have decided and agreed upon.

For instance, if your customer needs to purchase a credit plan of 300.000 credits, which costs let’s say 600 USD from your ESP, and you decide that you want to set a profit margin of 25%, you want your ESP to charge the end customer with 550 USD, as a markup, and receive the credit of 150 USD back at your own master account after payment.

Same type of kickback happens more or less with any kind of media buying.
A marketing agency can also take advantage of economies of scale in pricing. The email marketing software for an agency would be even more affordable and profitable, even if the agency is not setting a higher price for their customers.

Let’s say the marketing agency is handling the email campaigns of two customers and reporting to them. Their email list consists of 30.000 subscribers, and 15.000 subscribers respectively. Until now, the agency maintained two different accounts in his ESP, the one costing $120/month for 25.000-50.000 recipients for unlimited campaigns, and the other $70/month for 10.000-25.000 subscribers for unlimited campaigns.

Surely any marketing agency would prefer to add both clients under a parent account and manage these two Sub-accounts with 45.000 subscribers for only $120/month, getting an additional agency discount from his ESP.

3. White label email marketing software

A marketing agency can choose to present the email marketing software as their own solution. They would need to be able to “White Label” the ESP. The clients shouldn’t see what technology is under the hood. Those solutions are limited in number. So choosing a white label email marketing solution can be a real headache.

A true white label email marketing software for an agency needs to be able to make all the links of the email campaigns go through a custom domain. When the email marketing agency sends an email campaign for a customer, the links inside the HTML newsletter will lead to yourcustomer.youragency.com, instead of yourcustomer.yourvendor.com.
So practically, that means that email marketing agencies could offer this service like it was developed by them, so they are actually reselling the service. You want this service to be completely hidden, and the only firm one sees behind this is your agency.

Email marketing software for Agencies is available

The true and everyday needs of any given brand is not science fiction. Brands should show the way. Email marketing software for an agency that allows Client Management, is the answer to many problems and the solution of various everyday issues.

An account manager working with a customer cannot always be a superhero. And as a human, he makes mistakes. Imagine him having a single account, with all the databases of his customers inside. Bad things happen. The worst thing that could happen is to send a newsletter to the wrong database.

So let’s get back to the survey mentioned above, about the unmet customers’ needs. An email marketing service built for agencies would help them improve the ROI of email campaigns more effectively for their customers. Wouldn’t it help them take advantage of big data opportunities, and share this data with their customers in a more secure manner?

Email Marketing services for an Agency

Email Marketing services should give agencies less things to worry about. Is this comfort? I think so. It surely is practical, affordable, effective and brilliant, making the everyday life of email marketing professionals more efficient.

Sofia Anadiotou

About Sofia Anadiotou


Sofia is Head of Sales for the U.K. based Email Marketing Service Provider Moosend. She is responsible for the establishment of Moosend in EMEA and manages the Sales Representatives in 4 countries. She consults customers with various everyday Email Marketing issues and trains business executives in Email Marketing best practices.

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  • Dave Greiner

    Worth mentioning here that this is far from science fiction. In fact Campaign Monitor has been doing this for the creative and agency space covering off all of those key features and much more: https://www.campaignmonitor.com/agencies/

    • Sofia Anadiotou

      Thank you Dave for your comment. There are not many solutions available of this kind, though. Services like campaign monitor, moosend, mailup etc have developed such a feature for sub-account management, but so many other services seem to neglect the needs of an agency, don’t you think?

  • http://www.copernica.com Walter

    Hi Sofia, good initiative to address agencies her on Email Vendor Selection. It is great to have a discussion going about the best tools for agencies.

    You are right that the number of ESP’s that are suitable for agencies are limited. Many ESP’s find it difficult to make the strategic choice of offering a true agency solution, simply because the fact that offering services besides the licenses is such a profitable activity for many ESP’s. Think about template development and campaign management, etc. As an agency you don’t want to bring in a ESP that turns out to be a competitor, right? This would feel a bit like bringing in a Trojan horse…. For over a decade, Copernica has been focusing on software alone (and not on any consultancy based services). Agencies know that we will never sell consultancy or services to their existing clients.

    We have a different experience with whitelabeling. As agencies are not known for their software development and in my humble opinion should not want to be known for that (but for outstanding projects and cases instead), I would not put to much emphasis on whitelabeling a product. Clients should see their agency as the specialist when it comes to the right tooling (or set of tools for that matter) and the client will know that the agency uses several software solutions.

    At Copernica we have always allowed our partners to whitelabel our software (look-and-feel, tracking URLs, etc.), but these days we rarely see agencies whitelabeling any more. Partly because of the reason mentioned above, partly because agencies choose to create a partner profile on Copernica.com and promote themselves towards the Copernica community. And, last but not least, because Copernica advertises its pricing transparently on Copernica.com, offering agencies a fabulous mark-up based on these prices. Because of this, Copernica often is not able to compete with it’s own partners, and that is exactly what we want, making us not only a great software solution but also a lead generator for agencies.

    A while ago we published the five characteristics of highly successful agencies, specialization and generating recurring revenues are two of them. For the ones interested to read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141006090944-5917090-how-to-excel-as-a-future-proof-agency?trk=prof-post

    • Sofia Anadiotou

      Thanks for your comment Walter.
      I would agree with you about the whitelabeling difficulties. Nevertheless, it depends on the agency type, there are agencies that work mostly under a “software house” profile, so solutions like that would easily fit to the services they offer, and presented as their own solutions.
      It also depends on the security concerns of the customer. The end customer relies on the agency, without knowing that there is an intermediate, who has access on his data and his mailing list. True? We handle this every day, and probably so do you. In this case, a white label solution seems necessary, and offered as a relief on the security concerns of the customer. What do you think?

      • http://www.copernica.com Walter

        Thanks for your reply, Sofia. In our experience, customers need to know where their data is stored. From a security perspective especially it is important for agency clients to be aware of the parties involved and the location (and security) of their data. Quite often we are asked to sign (parts of) a data processing agreement as well, which makes sense, as in those cases we host the data on our servers (Copernica Marketing Software is a SAAS solution). I can imagine that the situation would be different for software that you install locally.

        • Sofia Anadiotou

          This is exactly the case with Moosend Email Marketing, as our service is SaaS as well. Data storage is of major concern, mainly for banking institutions we have as customers, which have to comply with certain regulations, and for other industries as well.
          Confidentiality agreements are usually needed, either we work with an agency or with the end customer. And most of the times, we send out Infrastructure and Security overviews, to let the customer know that we comply with all international laws and regulations (eg Safe Harbor etc).
          And this is not the agency’s job to provide such a certification, therefore in those cases, the parts that are involved have to be stated. In those cases, the agency and the ESP are partnering to provide the end customer with the confidentiality and security he needs. Thank you for your comments Walter, cheers!

  • http://www.lyris.com/ Akin Arikan – Lyris

    Thank you for a great article. Agreed fully. While us email marketing solution providers are discussing, may I add a couple more items that mustn’t be missing to make agencies successful with delivering differentiated email marketing programs for their clients:

    * To identify and leverage the best performing practices across clients, agencies are asking for reporting not just at the sub account level but also visibility across all account.

    * To help onboard new clients more quickly, agencies are looking for ways to integrate data from clients’ systems flexibly

    * To help clients reach the inbox and be seen, agencies appreciate a partner by their side for email deliverability optimization. Somebody to proactively monitor and coach them on where they can tweak things to get better engagement and inbox delivery.

    * To help agencies with mobile optimization of emails and industry specific email marketing best practices, a partner that provides services and expertise helps.

    * And finally account management and customer support are just as key to agencies as they are to marketing practitioners, if not even more.

    A lot goes into serving agencies with their email marketing clients! Hats off to all the marketing solutions in this post that have signed up for the challenge, and thank you to Sofia for the post.

    • Sofia Anadiotou

      Thank you so much for your contribution Akin, your points are so correct. Your first point actually gives us food for thought: cross account visibility is of major concern for us. Thank you.