Leading the charge for digital assets under The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, my team was tasked with fixing our broken email system. We faced three major challenges, the first—branding and design was a mixed bag. We had 32 events with different designs, and an exuberant amount of templates (none of which were responsive); needless to say, this fragmented the brand, and crippled view-ability. The second problem, was “voice”—the copy had multiple personalities, oddities in headlines/taglines, and varied greatly in length and content. Third, there was no process or system in place to make sure that problems one and two remained under control. This is how we solved those challenges.
Like most projects, we had a tight timeline, and no budget. So how do you create emails, leveraging our existing team, and in a way that doesn’t require extensive training on a non-existent platform? Simple, we built our own. Our staff, already maintained our current site—RunRocknRoll.com by way of the CMS framework, WordPress. Our solution, scaffold WordPress to generate emails—we built a complete interface—with logins, training, downloadable assets, and visibility to all emails. This gave structure, and an intuitive user experience, all departments understood; with no monthly cost. Hence, the email generator was built, dubbed “Guardrails of the Galaxy.” A play on keeping the emails within “guardrails,” and well, because we all loved the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.
Our emails were designed to be modular in build. Simply fill in the appropriate meta boxes in the WordPress interface, and WordPress would build the emails like LEGO blocks. The simplicity was a major emphasis, not simply for design aesthetic, but we had an immediate need to create emails that read on mobile devices. And, because our marketing messages needed to scale, meaning, the plan was to increase communication by 4X. The objectives, and goals achieved; easy to read, work on phones, easy to build, and build brand equity.
Although our teams used WordPress daily, we wanted to provide clear instructions on how to utilize the email generator. In addition to continuous on site training, we provided downloadable PDF guidelines, that they could print out, hang in their cube, and reference while they created new emails. We took it a step further, and researched the inherent need to provide clear and concise copy. The photoshop templates for imagery, and limitations in character count were built in to funnel external teams in creating a ubiquitous message for our runners.
A sneak peak at the backend of the email generator—modular meta boxes for content. Sometimes, the solution requires redefining out of the box solutions, and sometimes it can mean redefining existing technology. Simple, intuitive, and scalable.