Pharma Email Development & Process Optimization

Sector: Pharma

Task: Email Development

Project Highlights:

  • Our agency client was in need of quick and smooth production of several,differentiating product emails each week, none of which followed a specific consistent template.
  • Due to the complexity of the distinct email designs, the agency created an online integrated development environment (IDE) that integrated all the technologies this level of detail required — which Assemble quickly adapted and supplemented with reusable elements that expedited the process even further.
  • Several concerns around communication gaps, inconsistent assets, and unclear instructions and expectations caused confusion, redundancies, and delays, which Assemble addressed with the creation of an internal action plan with invaluable resources for each workflow.
  • As a result of the collaboration which accommodated the client’s specific work styles and tools, Assemble was able to streamline the production process, reduce errors, and consistently create distinguished, high-functioning newsletters daily.

The Challenge:

When you have a Pharma client that prides itself on out-of-the-box email layouts that break the conventional industry mold, old-fashion, table-based html code can present a major challenge during implementation. That was the case with our agency client that came to Assemble in need of simplifying these complex developments, so they could continue to push the boundaries of design detail, while meeting their mass weekly delivery without errors and headaches.

The two main libraries that hosted the items required to accomplish the next-level design were EJS (a simple templating language that facilitates HTML markups with plain JavaScript) and MJML (a semantic syntax that’s responsive by design to minimize code written from scratch). Coming into the project, the agency had already created an Online IDE that incorporated both of the non-traditional utilities, so instead of a developer needing to install each of the libraries on his/her own local environment, they can simply start coding in this cloud-based environment. And while Assemble had our own high-functioning email development framework, we knew we had to adjust to those of their internal dev team — and help find a way to maximize its capabilities.

But that wasn’t the only challenge the request presented. Custom to a specific way of working internally, our agency client’s partner workflows lacked structure and clear instructions/feedback, which translated to a very complicated asset hand off and risk of miscommunications.

The Approach:

First things, first was nailing down an internal action plan that would streamline handoffs and approvals throughout the process. Assemble first identified the root cause of the various issues through a QA audit and unit testing, creating a list of all of the elements that needed improvement. We then created several checklists with detailed instructions to ensure accurate validation seamless handoffs — from which files to use, where each type of file should be, and how to send them.

Then, the real work began. Assemble not only adopted the client’s Online IDE, but also enhanced its level of efficiency by creating our own MJML snippets generator with a collection of common blocks that are frequently present in the client’s emails, expediting the production workflow even further.

Assemble also created a basic template built on the MJML utility that included the required imports to work with EJS and MJML, along with a collection of reusable MJML snippets within an independent, easy-to-use module, known as BAM! (Build-a-Mail Interface) tool. This gave our developers a nice canvas to recycle various usable elements to incorporate into the client's IDE, instead of manually creating each row of code in HTML, as well as the ability to generate entire blocks of code by simply typing a small keyword.

The Big Wins:

With the new internal workflows in place, Assemble was able to help our client streamline the process, reduce feedback, and avoid costly gaps along the way. While fully invested in our own email development framework, we were able to make the necessary pivots to adopt our clients’ specific development processes, so collaboration between both teams was easier and more systematic.

Thanks to this flexibility and organization paired with our collective tools, Assemble’s entire team of developers was able to use EJS and MJML to create the emails in record time, despite having no previous experience on either utility. Overall, we improved the quality of the email, delivered fewer human errors, and revamped the internal workflows for our clients to make collaboration with us, as well as other partners, far more effective moving forward.