Zachary Scott seduced Joan Crawford with that line in the classic film "Mildred Pierce," but it also applies to the way you run your email-marketing program.
If you could start your email program all over, what would you change, and what would you retain? If you took over a program someone else started, are you perpetuating old practices just because that's the way they've always been done?
Focusing on the Trees or the Forest?
We talk a lot about optimizing email-marketing programs here in Email Insider columns, at industry conferences, in Webinars and white papers, in tweets and blog posts. There's nothing wrong with this. In fact, perpetual optimization is a habit that all marketers should adopt.
But expending your limited resources only on a tiny improvement here and a tweak there -- subject lines, say, or where to put the unsubscribe link in the email template -- can distract you from going for the break-through opportunity that will drive dramatic increases in revenue, generate more high-quality leads, increase loyalty or accomplish whatever your email and business goals are.
Rethink, Then Tweak
Are you missing the chance to make significant improvements to the very program you are optimizing incrementally? Without a doubt, there are better ways to do many of the things you are doing in your email program.
Get out of the office with your team, grab your favorite inspirational beverage and a whiteboard, and ask this question: "If we were joining the company today, which aspects of the email program would we throw as far as our pitching arms allow, and which would we keep and simply improve?"
Here are just a few sample questions to kick off your "blow up or tune up" brainstorm session. The only "right" answers are the ones that are right for your company.
1. Organizational issues
2. Email's role in the enterprise
3. Programming issues
4. Measuring and communicating email's performance/value
These are just a few examples of areas and aspects of your email program where you could ask, "Do I need a detonator or a wrench?" So the next time you contemplate another subject-line A/B split test, consider instead if there is a better approach to your email program that best achieves your business goals.
What other "big picture" questions would you ask to achieve quantum, rather than just incremental, leaps in your email-marketing program? I welcome your comments below.