Is My Agency Charging Me Too Much for Emails?

Hey Joe,

My team and I have been working with an agency to create our emails — but I’m worried we may be paying too much.

Every time we send a request, it takes weeks to deliver. That makes it a challenge to get to market as quickly as we need to.

How much should agencies charge for an email? And how long should it take to create them?


Cost-conscious Caroline

pink seperator line

Hi Caroline,

Thanks so much for bringing up this question.

Email is an important marketing tool for B2C and B2B businesses. It’s tough to feel that your partners aren’t doing the most they can to make your campaigns both efficient and effective.

Trust me, you’re not alone.


The truth is, it depends.

I know this may sound like a wishy-washy answer, but bear with me.

When it comes to how an agency scopes out an email project, it depends on:

  • the size of the campaign you’re giving them
  • how many other clients they’re dealing with, and
  • how long they’ve been in the space.

These are all things that can dictate the price tag on an email campaign — as well as how much time it takes the agency to deliver the end product.


Hold your agency accountable

You likely first engaged your agency because you lacked the right resources and skills to create emails in-house. And that’s totally fine. It’s the same with many marketing teams.

That said, you still have options to hold your agency accountable or find ways to reduce how much of your budget goes to email. Here are three ways.


1. Have open discussions

Have frequent and frank discussions with your agency partners to set key performance indicators.

This can include the:

  • cost per email
  • time spent to develop each email, and
  • performance-related metrics.


2. Ask questions

Ask your agency questions so they can let you in on their process and build a stronger relationship with you.

Here are a few examples:

  • How are they building your emails?
  • What tools are they using?
  • Why does it take them two weeks to deliver one email?


3. Know that there’s an alternative

You do have the option to bring email in-house — and that doesn’t have to be scary.

With a platform like Knak, for example, you can build emails in 20 minutes and be sure that they’ll reach the right people, render properly, and offer an on-brand experience to your readers.

And you don’t need a whole team to do it.

This last one doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your agency partners.


Leverage your agency

Agencies are built on bold, creative thinking, so tap into that.

You can work with your agency team to build the next standout marketing campaign in your industry.

And if you feel you still need help with email, Revenue Pulse has an exclusive partnership with Knak — and they’d be happy to help you use the digital platform to its fullest potential.

You’ll be set up for success whichever way you choose to go.

You’ve got this,

Joe Pulse

P.S. Have a question? Contact us here.

4 Steps to Explain Technical Debt to Your CMO/Marketing VP

TLDR: Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by poor planning. Think long-term about your projects, and you won’t have to choose between speed and execution. 

Technical debt describes the implied cost of making “quick fixes” to your tech stack or IT infrastructure.

Technical debt accumulates when the people building your software take suboptimal shortcuts to complete projects over more effective approaches that take longer. Doing so entrenches flaws into your tech that become more troublesome to fix as time goes on, leading to higher rework costs later.

In this Tough Talks Made Easy, you’ll learn to discuss the causes and consequences of technical debt with your CMO and suggest cultural changes to prevent it from building.


Why technical debt builds

During projects like platform migrations and implementations, a CMO and VP generally focus on contract negotiations.

Their efforts to get the best deal. This focus can, inadvertently, eat into the time needed for the technical work.

When projects start too late, those responsible for building the project will face pressure to make up for lost time and choose “quick fixes” to hit deadlines and achieve results.

While CMOs aim to make the most cost-effective decisions, they often account just for the purchase cost of a new application or platform.

For instance, your CMO may choose a marketing automation platform license cheaper than its competitors without considering the extra admin, consultation, and custom development necessary to make it work.

Add in the cost of training personnel and additional support, however, and you could well face a higher total cost of ownership. Especially if you don’t plan from the beginning to bring these resources on board, or if the project is already running behind schedule.

Short-sighted thinking leads to these negative outcomes:

  • compressed timelines
  • bloated costs and scope, and
  • increased project vulnerability due to mistakes and substandard workarounds.

These decisions compromise a project’s execution and encourage technical debt, making subsequent improvements more challenging to make.


Preventing technical debt

Influencing upwards is an impactful approach against technical debt.

Depending on the dynamics of your organization, a direct line to your CMO or Marketing VP might not be possible. In that case, look to your Operations Manager or Marketing Director as allies with the access and technical expertise to impart the urgency of starting on time.

While it’s impossible to identify every gap a solution has until it’s in-house, you can confidently speak to the consequences of a late start.

Here’s how to sell your boss on the respect the project deserves:

“If negotiations drag out and leave us behind schedule, it will impact our ability to deliver this project on time, on budget, and to the level of competency you want. X will happen if we don’t start as planned, and it’ll take Y additional costs to fix.”


Implementations and migrations

Implementations and migrations are demanding initiatives. The planning phase is crucial to map out all your anticipated costs and labor needs.

Your CMO/Marketing VP can’t expect key contributors to carry their full workload and give their all to an implementation or migration—people who are stretched take shortcuts, and that just leads to technical debt proliferating.

Freeing up key team members to commit and provide the necessary focus to the project gives them space to contribute to the best of their ability, without incurring rework costs.

For instance, sales and marketing leadership could reduce the quarterly targets of the sales reps involved, or lessen the day-to-day campaign execution responsibilities of contributors from marketing.


Create a change management team

The creation of a change management team is a particularly progressive solution to technical debt.

Technical debt arises from rushed responses to problems created by short-sighted planning.

Advocate for a dedicated team of people to support the project from conception, mapping out the ramifications of any change in:

  • costs
  • timelines
  • resource requirements, and
  • post-implementation training.

This increases the project’s resilience to disruption and lessens the risk of technical debt.


Long-term thinking

If projects are delayed at the early stages, you’ve ultimately got a choice between paying upfront or later on.

Do you use the most effective methods to build a new implementation or migration, accepting you’ll be up and running later than planned? Or do you take shortcuts to make your initial launch date, at risk of introducing flaws into the project that carry large rework costs and compromise how effectively it works?

Between the two, it’s not an even trade.

The cost of technical debt often outweighs the agility of completing a project as fast as possible.

Steps to avoid technical debt:

1. Reinforce the importance of making a plan and sticking to it with leadership.

2. Scope out your timelines, labor needs, and total cost of ownership upfront—when things need to progress to meet your deadline, the people you’ll need to be involved in the project, and its real financial cost.

3. Advocate for a change management team to reinforce the consequences of starting late or making changes, and to find solutions in a proactive, planned manner.

4. Take the demands of your project seriously, and you shouldn’t have to choose between speed and execution.

Need more guidance? Get in touch — we’re always here to help.


P.S. Like this post? Follow us on LinkedIn to never miss an update!

Why Your CMO and CFO Will Love Knak

TLDR: Knak is the first campaign creation platform for enterprise marketing teams—and it seriously speeds up the production of emails and landing pages. But together, Knak and Revenue Pulse give you as much control as you want over emails and landing pages, deployed at the speed you need.

When working with agencies to create emails and landing pages, cost and timelines are often out of your hands.

Emails can cost you anywhere from several grand each to tens of thousands for a batch.

After factoring in your partner’s various processes and steps, campaigns might take weeks to get out the door. And even then, code errors and display issues can creep into the final product.

This production process is crying out for improvement:

  • high price tags
  • high wait times
  • limited ability to shift direction mid-campaign, and
  • no guarantees of perfection.

Hard truth: Your marketing operations function will struggle to be as productive and profitable as it deserves if these issues slow down and strain the execution of your most basic campaign materials.

Good news: It doesn’t have to be this way. For this Tough Talks Made Easy, pull up a chair with your CMO and CFO. It’s time to tell them about Knak.


The basics of Knak

Knak is the first campaign creation platform for enterprise marketing teams. It seriously speeds up the creation of emails and landing pages.

Knak makes it possible for users to create code-free emails and landing pages. Knak boasts an average production time of 23 minutes. 

If your C-Suite needs a sense of what this means for agility: this is roughly the amount of time you’d spend briefing an agency, or even less. From there, the agency would likely return your campaign materials several days or weeks down the line.

Compare 23 minutes to weeks for one email. Now imagine the productivity gains across a whole working week, with all the coding and drawn-out processes eliminated.

That increased speed also fuels value for money. Putting your previous email budget into a Knak subscription frees you to quickly execute unlimited emails and landing pages against your budget, and it also saves significant cash money.

The result? Greater bang for the buck and streamlined spending compared to working piecemeal with agencies on campaigns. 


Brand control

Persuasive as that might be for your CFO, your CMO also wants to hear about brand control.

Knak lets you populate templates with your organization’s branding, and the platform’s approval workflows and permission management mean that only the people relevant to each campaign can make changes. 

In other words: you avoid a ‘too many cooks’ situation where people spoil your assets with inconsistency. The people in your team who really understand customers unleash their creativity on beautiful, on-brand emails and landing pages—and get them to market up to 95% faster than before. 

That’s a significant leap forward, but for some organizations, time is too valuable.

Your CMO might still prefer to delegate all executional work and have MOPs steer strategy and deliver high-value projects. If that’s the position your leadership’s in, we’ve got even better news for you.


Knak + RP = A perfect match

When it comes to agencies, Knak works exclusively with Revenue Pulse.

Working with both at the same time drives even more value from your investment. Our staff are Knak experts, and you have the option of deferring to our team for the hands-on work while delivering campaigns exponentially faster with Knak.

For C-Suite, this is where the magic really happens: together, Knak and Revenue Pulse give you as much control as you want over emails and landing pages, deployed at the speed you need.

Both sides of this partnership amplify each other to substantially increase the agility and control you have with campaigns. It’s far beyond what other agencies that provide these services can offer.


Focus on A-list strategy

With emails and landing pages being created faster than ever, perhaps off your plate entirely, this opens the door to high-level prioritization.

Your CMO can elevate the workload of your MOPs or RevOps teams so your time and energy are spent achieving A-list strategic items, like:

  • lead lifecycles
  • lead scoring
  • attribution, and
  • analytics.

The ability to iterate fast and valuable projects that deepen the sophistication of your marketing operations team leads to evolving maturity.

The more you can execute and refine campaigns, the more you can optimize the ROI and impact of your marketing automation investment. 

Long-term, using Knak and RP together expedites your evolution into an operation that produces effective campaigns with swift efficiency to the benefit of your bottom line.

This is what C-Suite ultimately wants marketing operations to achieve. Knak and Revenue Pulse give you the tools and the expertise to get there.

Knak was born of a necessary need to simplify complex processes with emails and landing pages. As it develops to become the starting point to create any campaign, we’re excited to see how else we can make the lives of marketers easier.

Curious about Knak and/or Revenue Pulse? Contact us or our friends at Knak for a chat.