Forming an Email Marketing Governance Group within Your Organization

Level 8 - Champion

Forming an Email Marketing Governance Group within Your Organization

Stemming from Meghana Rao​'s, here's a little about what we're doing at Chicago Booth to establish a broad email marketing governance group with departments currently using Marketo and beyond. While we have a central marketing team that focuses on some enterprise-wide initiatives and supports the various departments with marketing strategy and execution, a lot of the marketing functions are decentralized, and it can be a challenge to coordinate. After noticing some recurring themes/issues, our department leader encouraged us to establish an email governance group.

Setting the Stage

We started with a presentation to key communicators and senior leaders within the school. Here are some of the talking points:

  • Email channel can have high ROI, but it's only valuable if recipients receive > open > click > convert (insert blurb about "value > volume" from the Marketo roadshow a while back...)
  • Some stats about volume, systems, potential overlap between communications within our organization
  • All senders on our domain have an impact on the organization (sender reputation, anti-spam and privacy laws)

Setting an Objective

We wanted to accomplish a few things:

  • Facilitate collaboration between departments on content and communications strategies
  • Empower all departments/users to drive more of their email marketing efforts and feel confident about their use of Marketo/other tools
  • Share ownership in the process/practices (not just the Marketo admins acting as police or dictating the process)

Developing a Draft Group Charter

To help set a stake in the ground for the participants, we drafted a group charter to summarize why we were meeting and what we were trying to do. Here's the text with some tweaks to make it more applicable to other organizations.

[Organization Name] Email Governance Working Group Charter

Adopted on [Month DD, YYYY]

Purpose and Goals

The Email Governance Working Group, established by [department, executive, etc.] in [YYYY], is an element in [Organization Name]’s [description of structure: centralized/decentralized, formal/informal etc.] marketing and communications structure.

It serves to develop and implement consistent and effective email communications policies and procedures throughout the organization with the goals of (1) fostering deepened relationships with [Organization Name]'s constituents through email; (2) maximizing the ROI of email campaigns and systems; and, (3) ensuring the continued effectiveness of the email channel.

The Working Group addresses issues concerning email communication management including acceptable usage, coordination, quality, strategic alignment, and compliance.

The Working Group carries out its charge through review, consultation, analysis, and communication. During this initial stage, the Working Group will identify issues and potential solutions and determine next steps.

Core Areas of Focus

The mission of the Email Governance Working Group is to ensure that the use of the organization’s email channel is properly leveraged and managed. To support that mission, the following describes key objectives and roles of the Working Group:

  • Share email best practices and learnings to assist in the responsibilities of department administrators and communications practitioners.
  • Develop policies and standards and serve as a forum and a mechanism to disseminate those policies and standards in a consistent manner across the organization. For example:
    • Provide guidance on proper procedures to protect sender reputation and constituent data.
    • Maintain a consistent audience experience (branding, tone)
    • Foster alignment on special handling of key audience segments (e.g. [examples of sensitive audiences within the constituency])
  • Advise communications managers from the business units to develop and implement specific processes, procedures and standards consistent with best practices.


Working Group members represent a cross-functional set of email marketers/communicators with responsibility for key audiences. The Working Group may be expanded over time or subcommittees may be formed as deemed appropriate.

Current Members

Name ([department/function])

Name ([department/function])

Name ([department/function])

Next Steps

Over the coming weeks we'll be gathering with the group to discuss one by one some of the pain points we've noted in previous meetings. I'll keep you posted with our progress!