Are You Using Email To Help Other Departments Achieve Their Goals?

As marketers, we get so wrapped up in the daily issues of email, such as promotions, deliverability and list growth, that we often don't see all the ways email can help meet other departmental goals and objectives.

As the point people for email in our companies, we need to find opportunities in other departments where email can drive value and achieve business objectives. In part, that means spending time with other department heads, finding out their pain points, learning what they hope to achieve, and devising ways to incorporate your email resources into the process.

These may be standard goals such as working with finance to determine ways to help increase profit margins. Or it might be helping reduce customer support tickets for frequently asked questions or issues. The following are just a few examples of areas where you can use email to help other departments achieve their business goals:

Finance/MIS/HR: Finance and MIS are typically looking to reduce costs, while HR is focused on employee retention, satisfaction and recruitment.



  • Identify and promote higher-margin products or premium services and match your subscriber database with purchase history or Web activity to identify good prospects.

  • Timely and cost-effective communications to investors and other stakeholders.

  • Your CFO is probably very focused on reducing travel costs, underutilized software licenses, etc. Employee newsletters can be extremely effective in educating your workforce and communicating these corporate initiatives.

  • Beyond the employee newsletter, human resources can tap into other external newsletters to help communicate corporate values and open positions to help in recruitment efforts.

    Customer Support/Training: Email can help trim costs without sacrificing customer contact by driving subscribers to automated services, online customer support/FAQs and online bill payment. One of our clients has calculated that outbound email costs 1/60th of what it costs for call-center reps to make outbound calls.

  • Promote surveys via email to measure customer satisfaction and use of products and services.

  • Newsletters can educate customers on how to use specific features, with links to user forums and social-media channels where users can post questions and advice.

  • A "getting started" email series can includes links to a welcome kit and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

  • Payment reminders can have links to Web-based payment centers.

    Product Marketing/Ecommerce/Merchandising: These departments are typically looking to increase customer share-of-wallet, new product adoption, retention rates, etc.

  • Cross-sell and up-sell emails can educate customers on other products and services that may be of value. These may also be triggered off previous behaviors.

  • Offers to try premium services (free to paid, or basic to premium paid service).

  • Reactivation program for subscribers who haven't converted from free trials or basic subscriptions.

    Sales/Business Development: If you are a B2B company, the sales team wants more qualified leads and knowledge of marketing programs.

  • B2B marketers are realizing the power of using email as part of a lead-nurturing program that helps move the 70% of your leads that are long-term in nature (according to MarketingSherpa) into sales-ready leads.

  • Sending regular internal newsletters to the sales team keeps them in the loop on competitors, new sales collateral, marketing programs and other information that increases sales effectiveness.

  • Email is a great channel to keep partners in the loop on new products, company information and changes and enhancements to your partner initiatives.

    Many of the above email examples may not be driven by your marketing team, but nonetheless greatly benefit from your email marketing expertise. Your employee newsletter is probably driven by the human resources department, for example, but your email team can provide great value in ensuring good design and well-written copy, and by providing feedback on which type of content is actually being read or ignored.

    The goal is to help people rethink email's place in your organization -- as not just a revenue generator, for example, but also a key driver of employee education, customer retention, cost reduction and other corporate and departmental initiatives.

    The above are just a few examples where email can play a greater role in your company. If you have any great examples of how your company or clients have used email beyond the standard marketing initiatives, please share them in the comments area.

    Until next time, take it up a notch!

  • 2 comments about "Are You Using Email To Help Other Departments Achieve Their Goals?".
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    1. C.t. Trivella from NAS Recruitment Communications, July 2, 2009 at 2:08 p.m.

      I agree with much of what you are saying here. I do want to render my opinon on one of your comments, however. "When you say that HR is focused on employee retention, satisfaction and recruitment," while
      "Finance and MIS are typically looking to reduce costs" is not entirely true. As someone whose roots are in HR and now works as a consultant to HR professionals, I can tell you whole-heartedly, HR is also focused on reducing costs, and even more than that, focused on the value of returns on the (usually) limited budgets they have at their disposal. Yes of course, recruiting, compensation, retention all play into the strategy. I would bet you didn't mean to write it the way it comes across, however, HR has an often difficult time getting at seat at the "table" so please be cognizant of this when looking at the inner workings of a department's fiscal responsibility, contributions and value.

    2. Loren McDonald from IBM Marketing Cloud, July 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.

      C.T. - Great point, but you are correct in that I was not trying to be too precise or go into detail about the goals of each corporate department. And of course they may in fact be very different depending on the company situation. Google may increase employee benefits (and hence costs) in an attempt to recruit the best engineers away from competitors; whereas General Motors may reduce employee benefits (and costs) in order to be more price competitive.

      But of course my overall point was really just to say - understand the objectives of your company outside of the marketing department, and see if/how email can play a role in achieving them.

      Loren McDonald

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