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October 25, 2011


Is e-Mail Marketing Dead: Free State Case Study

by Andrea Vernot

I don’t know many people today who don’t suffer from information overload.  With the explosion of social media networks, mobile devices, instant messaging and user-generated blogs / vlogs, there’s certainly no shortage of content providers or delivery methods.

As a marketing professional, I’ve always felt strongly that organizations need to be clear, concise and creative in their communications to rise above the noise and be heard.

Despite – or maybe because of – the 24/7 news cycle, I’ve come to I believe that e-letters remain one of the most inexpensive and efficient methods available for stakeholder communication. Based on the growth and recognition of Maryland’s business-focused Pulses – so too do our customers.

With a subscription base up 600% in two years, the Pulse now includes five editions and has delivered 68 issues.

Edition   Launch Date   Issues
Economic July 2009 26
Business August 2009 27
Global September 2009   9
Bio February 2010   4
Cyber August 2011   2

*total issues since debut/inception

Today, reaching 38,000 subscribers – the Economic, Business, Global, Bio and Cyber pulses – have been nationally recognized by three organizations for their design, content and branding.

Developing Effective Communications from Existing Resources

A little background is probably in order:  In June 2009 – a week into my job as chief of the newly configured Marketing Division – I was handed 9 pages of densely typed narrative with numerous charts and figures.  After learning that this meticulous analysis of Maryland’s monthly employment statistics was prepared by our research team for the Governor, I realized that – in a time of plunging resources and an anemic marketing presence – we had a unique opportunity to translate this information from a technical statistical analysis into a regular economic report that business owners, elected officials and the general public could readily receive and easily understand.

And so the Economic Pulse was born. Capitalizing on an earlier iteration of the concept, they quickly grew from a monthly report for one customer – Governor O’Malley – to a suite of five subject and stakeholder-specific communiqués.


Produced in-house, the newsletters are designed by senior artist Saundra Jones, edited by seasoned communications pros and written by subject matter experts in international, life science, IT, small business and research.

Recognition & Respect by Marketing Peers

Last month, I travelled to Charlotte NC for IEDC’s Annual Conference and to accept their marketing award for best newsletter by an economic development organization.  Waiting at the awards ceremony for the Department to be called up, I jotted down the five principles we used to create this relevant, respected and now recognized email marketing tool.

Pulse Principles & Practices

  1. Capitalize on talent and subject matter expertise of your most important resource – your team
  2. Know what information your customers are interested in receiving and give it to them!
  3. Strive for intelligent, intuitive & inspired design
  4. Create an easily identifiable brand and carry it through on all iterations
  5. Solicit feedback and seek peer review

Sign Up, Share & Comment

If you’d like to receive one or more of the Pulses, comment on the content or share our work with someone you know, click here.   You can also email me directly at

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Lee V
    Oct 25 2011

    Informative and detailed, a great read to share with others.


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