Creating the Perfect Email/Digital Marketing Program for Your Organization Part 2

Welcome back! Hopefully you read my last column, “Creating the Perfect Email/Digital Marketing Program for Your Organization.”

If so, you should have a wish list of things you would like to do for your email marketing program – or for your marketing program in general. Even better if you collaborated with your internal team; then you should have a really long list of ideas!

If you didn’t read my last column, it’s not too late. Take a quick read now and then write down a few things to start your list (you can go back and add to it later).

As I mentioned, I’m going through this process with a client. Here are few items which are representative of the things on their list:

  • Integrate systems so we can use past purchase data to target future email marketing campaigns
  • Identify and migrate to an email service provider (ESP) that is a better fit for our needs
  • Analyze the online checkout process and look for things to test to optimize conversions
  • Develop and implement a “single sign-on” for customers across all our websites
  • Research and draft one to three alternative attribution models to better identify the source(s) of sales
  • Create and maintain a master calendar of all marketing initiatives (email, social, SEM, etc.)
  • Review and update the content in our triggered email program; make sure all the links work

Once you have your list, it’s time to prioritize. You’ll need a whole lot of sticky notes, preferably two different colors (let’s say we’re using blue and orange). You’ll also need a pen or pencil. And a large blank wall or white board.

If you worked with your internal team to create a master list, get them back together and do this exercise as a group. If not, it works just as well solo.

Let’s start with the blue sticky notes. Write each item on your wish list down on a blue sticky note. There should be enough detail for you to easily understand what the item is – but you don’t need a complete description.

Once you’re done, do the same with the orange sticky notes – each idea gets its own orange sticky note as well as its own blue sticky note. They should mirror each other.

Now it’s time to prioritize.

First let’s think in terms of benefit to your organization with a special emphasis on its overall mission and goals.

For the moment don’t worry about what it would take in terms of time, resources, money, or anything else to implement your idea. Just imagine that you could wave your magic wand and make it happen.

Let’s work with the blues sticky notes here. Pull your first blue sticky note idea, look at it, and decide whether the benefit to the organization would be large, small, or somewhere in the middle. Then put it on the wall in approximately that location (large benefit ideas high up, small benefit ideas toward the floor).

Keep going through your ideas and placing the sticky notes where they fall in the benefit continuum. Feel free to reorder them if you change your mind. If you’re working with a team you’ll want to talk through each idea and determine, as a group, where it belongs.

Once all the blue sticky ideas are on the wall, take a final look and sanity check your work.

Once you’re happy with it, it’s time to move on to the orange sticky ideas. These will be sorted by how much it would take to implement the idea; this is where time, resources, money, and other considerations come into play.

Just as we did with the blue sticky notes, place these on the wall along a continuum. Here the easiest things (needing the fewest time, resources, money, etc.) will be at the top – and the more difficult things (needing the most time, resources, money, etc.) will be at the bottom.

Continue placing the orange sticky notes and sanity checking your work until you’re happy with both continuums.

Now comes the fun part. Number the sticky notes based on where they fall. Start at the bottom of each column with “1.” Then move up the column numbering each sticky note. Here’s a rough idea of what it will look like.


Now you have what you need to prioritize and create a roadmap. Chart each idea using the “Ease of Implementation,” ranking as your X-axis value and your “Benefit to the Organization” ranking as your Y-axis value. It will look something like what you see below.


Break your chart into four equal quadrants as I did above.

Your sweet spot will be the top right quadrant. Ideas here are easy to implement and have above average benefit to the organization. So the first project you should undertake is the development of some alternative attribution models.

Next on your list should be optimizing the checkout process and creating a master marketing calendar. If you have a team, I’d assign the master marketing calendar (average benefit, very easy) to a junior person and have them create a first draft; you can tweak from there if you need to.

The cart checkout process is more difficult but also much more important (since it’s very beneficial to your organization) – so I’d either handle that yourself or hand it off to a trust senior person to shepherd it (while you stay closely in the loop).

You get the idea. Once you’ve implemented those three ideas you can move into the top left quadrant and focus your efforts there.

The bottom right quadrant is easy but not that beneficial. This is another place that you could just assign tasks to a junior person and hopefully they can make it happen without needing much in the way of guidance or resources.

Once you’re conquered the projects in those quadrants you can look to the bottom left. These are the difficult and minimally beneficial projects. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them, you just want to focus on the other quadrants first.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes!

Until next time,


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Vector illustration with a magnifying glass focusing on a pie chart, a graph line trending upwards, and other metrics symbols.