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    Whether you implemented or inherited Marketo, one of your first tasks as a Marketo owner will be the creation of new email templates.

    Your old email templates may need a refresh, or you’re unhappy with the default ones; either way there is no shortage of options for their creation.

    Don’t be fooled. The cheapest option is anything but.

    To make the right decision you need to consider the true cost of email templates: TCO (total cost of ownership).

    Only by considering TCO, can you make the best decision when it comes to choosing between options on how to get your email templates built.

    Low or High Volume Email?

    Firstly you need to consider how many templates your company is likely to need, and how many emails you send.

    The right option for an enterprise company may be very different to that of a small business.

    To help you, we’ve collated some common email statistics we’ve seen for 3 broad company sizes:

    * Number of edits to existing templates which are done each year. All templates require bug fixes, edits and new sections - we have used 2-5 edits per template per year for this.

    We’ll use these stats as a basis to calculate the TCO for email templates.

     

    Calculating TCO for Marketo Email Templates

    TCO includes the cost of template creation, maintenance and usage for one year.

    To get an accurate picture, you can’t just consider the email template but also the usage; the creation of emails from the template in Marketo.

    The reason we do this is because the better the template is, the less work is required in creation and fixing of emails in Marketo.

    Some concepts

    To understand the analysis we perform, it’s important to explain these terms:

    Marketo editable – this means the email template has the tags to make it editable in the Marketo email editor. This is quite easy for the average coder.

    Marketo optimized – this means the email template has been designed in such a way that it is easy to edit using the Marketo email editor, without breaking the email. A coder needs specialised experience in Marketo to achieve this.

    On-brand – this means an email is custom built for your company and meets the company’s brand guidelines. It is much more than a template having your logo and colors.

    Option 1: Pre-made Email Templates (non-Marketo)

    Professional looking, responsive emails are commonplace and inexpensive. They can be had for as little as $20.

    There are serious downsides with these however:

    • Not on-brand – this is a deal breaker for companies with brand guidelines and/or a corporate communications team. Even for smaller companies, adding a logo and changing colors will take a coder time (1-2h)
    • Not Marketo editable – takes time (1h) to make these editable and requires a HTML coder
    • Missing images – any images used in the template (buttons, spacers, styling, stock photos) need to be manually extracted and uploaded into Marketo (2h), then the links in the email template need to reflect the location in Marketo – this requires a coder (1h)
    • Not Marketo optimized – which means they are easy to break in the Marketo editor by a non-coder. When an email breaks, it can take a coder a long time to find and fix the problem (2-8h)
    • Fixed wireframe – means you only get one layout, if you need a different layout you need your coder to add this and it’s time consuming (2h-10h)

     

    Cost of Templates

     

    Cost of Usage

     

    Assuming:

    • It takes on average 2 hours to create an email in Marketo from an existing template
    • 1:2 emails will experience a break in the Marketo editor and/or on an email client

    Option 2: Free Marketo Templates

     

    Marketo offers a limited range of responsive emails for free.

    There are some downsides with these however:

     

    • Not on-brand – this is a deal breaker for companies with brand guidelines and/or a corporate communications team. Even for smaller companies, adding a logo and changing colors will take a coder time (1-2h)
    • Fixed wireframe – means you only get one layout, if you need a different layout you need your coder to add this and it’s time consuming (2h-10h)

     

    Cost of Templates

     

     

    Cost of Usage

     

    Assuming:

    • It takes on average 2 hours to create an email in Marketo from an existing template
    • 2:5 emails will experience a break in the Marketo editor and/or on an email client

    Option 3: Generic Email Builder

    There are a variety of online email builders offered by vendors such as Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor

    and also email publishers such as Envato.

     

     

    There are some downsides with these however:

     

    • Not on-brand – this is a deal breaker for companies with brand guidelines and/or a corporate communications team. Even for smaller companies, adding a logo and changing colors will take a coder time (1-2h)
    • Not Marketo editable – takes time (1h) to make these editable and requires a HTML coder
    • Missing images – any images used in the template (buttons, spacers, styling, stock photos) need to be manually extracted and uploaded into Marketo (2h), then the links in the email template need to reflect the location in Marketo – this requires a coder (1h)
    • Not Marketo optimized – which means they are easy to break in the Marketo editor by a non-coder. When an email breaks, it can take a coder a long time to find and fix the problem (2-8h)

     

     

    Cost of Templates

     

     

    Cost of Usage

     

    Assuming:

    • It takes on average 2 hours to create an email in Marketo from an existing template
    • 1:2 emails will experience a break in the Marketo editor and/or on an email client

     

    Option 4: Design Agency/Internal Designer (non-Marketo certified)

    The traditional method of creating on-brand email templates is to use an agency, or your own creative team.

    Usually this requires two people: a designer and a HTML coder.

    In this case we are assuming that the agency or internal staff are not Marketo-certified.

    The downsides of this approach are:

    • Time lag – usually takes from 5-15 days on average to complete a custom template
    • Feedback time - approvals and feedback required to manage an agency/creative team (10-20h)
    • Not Marketo optimized – which means they are easy to break in the Marketo editor by a non-coder. When an email breaks, it can take a coder a long time to find and fix the problem (2-8h)
    • Agency rates – are significantly higher than your own internal staff ($100-$150)

     

     

     

    Cost of Templates

     

     

    Cost of Usage

     

    Assuming:

    • It takes on average 2 hours to create an email in Marketo from an existing template
    • 1:2 emails will experience a break in the Marketo editor and/or on an email client

    Option 5: Design Agency/Internal Designer (Marketo certified)

    See above. The only real difference from a non-Marketo certified is that emails are Marketo optimized and less likely to break in the Marketo editor.

     

    Cost of Usage

     

    Assuming:

    • It takes on average 2 hours to create an email in Marketo from an existing template
    • 2:5 emails will experience a break in the Marketo editor and/or on an email client

    The Results

    Here are the results in order of lowest TCO to highest TCO.

    If on-brand emails aren’t strictly necessary, then the free Marketo templates are the best option.

    If on-brand emails are necessary, having an internal designer who is Marketo certified is the best option in terms of TCO.

    Option 6: Better Alternatives?

    An alternative which we haven’t covered this article, is the use of an email template builder built specifically for Marketo.

    There are several on Launchpoint, but these are constantly being improved with new features so we can’t accurately cover them here. I recommend looking into them as they can provide significantly lower TCOs than the options covered above.seg?add=3901491&t=2

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