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4 Faulty Justifications for Under-Staffing Email Marketing Teams


“There aren’t enough of us to do everything.”

“We never have enough time.”

“We don’t have the tools to succeed.”

If you’re an email marketer, you’ve probably said (or at least thought) one or more of those statements. If you’re a manager or executive, you’ve probably been told one or more of those by an employee or read it in the body language of your staff.

That’s because under-resourcing and -staffing email teams is a major, persistent problem in marketing departments. Email marketers told Litmus that insufficient staffing was No. 2 on their list of biggest email marketing challenges of 2018. They also told us that adding new staff and expanding their use of agencies and freelancers was at the bottom of the list of top email marketing priorities for 2018 at their company.

The failure to address what is clearly a common problem may be because of several misconceptions and blocking issues. Let’s address some frequent ones:

“Everyone is under-staffed, so this isn’t actually a problem. It’s just whining.”

[Tweet this excuse along with the truth →]

Actually, only 43% of marketers say their email program is under-resourced or very under-resourced, according to Litmus’ 2018 State of Email Survey of 3,000 marketing professionals worldwide. Nearly 24% say they’re well-resourced or very well-resourced.

While email marketing has an unfortunate reputation for being a cheap marketing channel, lots of brands have wisely decided that they want to maximize their returns from this high-ROI channel by investing heavily in their teams and tools.

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“Lean programs are successful programs. It forces teams to get creative.”

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At least in the email marketing world, this doesn’t appear to be true. Our research shows a powerful connection between program resourcing and program success.

For instance, marketers who describe their email programs as very well-resourced are more than six times more likely than those with adequately resourced programs to say their programs are very successful.

“We’ve had trouble attracting full-time employees to work on our email team. We’ll just have to make do with the staff we have.”

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Full-time employees are just one possible element of an email team. Others include part-time employees, agencies, and freelancers. According to Litmus’ Snapshot of an Email Team research, 46% of brands have part-time employees on their email team, 34% use agencies or the services arm of their ESP for their email marketing, and 27% use freelancers or contractors.

Using those other sources of staffing allows brands to ramp up during peak seasons, tackle special projects, get access to skills their current staff doesn’t have, and be more flexible in general.

“We don’t have time to do the research required to determine the best way to resource our email marketing team.”

[Tweet this excuse along with the truth →]

Litmus can help with that. Our latest executive summary, Email Marketing Staffing & Resourcing for Success, lays out the clear differences between well-resourced email marketing programs and those that aren’t as well-resourced in terms of:

  • The number of full- and part-time email marketing staff
  • The use of freelancers and agencies
  • The email tools that are made available to staff

All of the data is broken down by company size, so whether you’re a company with 15 employees or 15,000, you’ll get relevant information to help you right-size your email marketing team to maximize effectiveness.

Download the free executive summary →

Also, check out other executive summaries from Litmus’ Email Marketing Leadership Series: