Separating the design from the coding is indeed the best way to go. Good Graphical designers usually do not make good coders, especially when you what to adapt to the difficulty of creation of a fully responsive modular Marketo template.
This is the challenge with using the pre-built templates: making them conform to the Designers' needs.
I am a fervent Knak fan! They have the email and landing page templates, true, but they also offer an enterprise tool where you can build your own email layouts on the fly. Excellent tool, excellent customer support. We became a customer after meeting Pierce at the 2017 Summit. Feel free to ask any specific questions if you have any.
I agree with Shelly. We use Knak. If you can use them OOTB, then they are great. We had to brand them differently and have had a few issues with the responsiveness after we inserted code to them.
Hi Karen, during the Demo with Knak, I checked a couple of emails templates + enterprise options and both seem responsive and I also checked with the AM. Which type of issue did you have on responsiveness? What did you have to do to fix it?
Andreia - one thing that's important with responsive and modular templates is a clear idea of your requirements. A good analogy might be car shopping - there's a ton of options from power-windows (toggles) to # of doors and color (# of sections and branding). You can expect a pretty wide range of options (and costs) and a good email developer should understand your audience and the devices they use so that you get a template that's both modern and appropriate to your audience with the feature you need to create the variations you'd actually use. Said another way, you can buy anything with 4 wheels to get around, but a good salesperson is going to get you into something that suits your lifestyle and use-cases.
I've seen kinda two schools of thought with this:
1. We need something for now, for this design and use-case. Pro: Quick, cheap and efficient. Cons: Limited flexibility, support and tailoring
2. We need something that's flexible and able to stand the test of time (and reuse) Pro: Long-term cost-savings,consistency, scalable Cons: Short-term cost is high, requires planning and longer timeframe
Generally, you can expect to pay much more for the later, but it's money you'll make back in the long-run by paying for occasional updates instead of new templates. It might be good to keep in mind that you could always hire an expert developer for a few hours to add any add'l features that didn't come with your template if you get a pre-packaged deal, but not all email frameworks are created equally so it's usually best to look for a team that both creates and supports their templates for their clients. Personally, I've heard fantastic things about Knak for its ease of use and that might prove to be a good starting point for you.
...and the million dollar question to ask anyone who's developing an email template for you: Have you logged into Marketo before?
I thought this would go without saying, but it's important to understand that "designing an email" (graphics) is much different than coding an email, but you'll need both to make it sing! Marketo's email 2.0 is amazingly customizable and you'll get the most for your money from anyone who's familiar with that and not just "email design in general".
You need to make a choice between 2 approaches here:
There is no perfect choice, simply be aware that the highest number of templates is not necessarily equivalent to being the most flexible solution. Our experience is that more and more Marketo customers are moving to the Master Template approach. One of the big pros of the Master template approach is that you can clone an email and completely modify its layout, which is impossible if different layouts require different templates (you cannot change the template an existing email). In the Template library approach, you will more often be led to recreate the email from zero, which can be a little painful when the email you want to redesign is being used by smart lists, smart campaigns etc... You will have to remove all adherences before you can delete it.
I really like the Master Template option. You can then create customized email templates in your program templates that fit the marketing campaign you're working on...but you have the flexibility of swapping around your modules if you need to. Otherwise you have to completely start over if you decide you want to add another button, switch from 1col to 2col header, etc.!