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Flexmail is a Belgian B2B email marketing tool that helps companies standardise email campaigns, forms and surveys. They are focused on GDPR compliance and email receiver transparency. This is how they can compete with big US-based competitors like Mailchimp.

Clean up, scale up!

After 12 years of development-driven design and the acquisition of the most influential local competitor, Flexmail needed a fresh start. New management was installed, and a long-term product plan was created. The feature list of Flexmail had grown extensively under client feedback. This made it not only hard to use but also hard to cut in legacy features and the linked client expectations.

User research and creating persona

While talking to a wide range of Flexmail users, we figured out their struggles in their job and the software. This gave us a hunch on what to focus on first. We also dove into the analytics data and tried to understand how people used Flexmail at that moment. We learned that, for instance, A/B testing is effective as a sales argument but is only used by a small percentage of users. There is a gap between what people say and what people do. Based on these insights, we created a better hierarchy in all Flexmails features.


Before we created a plan, we wanted to plot the difference between different types of users. Starting from the insights gained - we gathered the existing user database on relevant user data. We looked for the number of campaigns, complexity in contact segments and how forms were used. The results gave us a clear distinction between several personas we could focus on. The personas became a handy tool for prioritising (read: getting rid of) a vast amount of features.

Clear product vision

A product vision explains what problem the product solves for whom and why it’s so important to solve it. Bringing together the positioning of the competition, the trends in (email) marketing and the insights from the user research, we supported Flexmail to formulate their product vision.

Spam, no more.

This vision has a big impact on how the software works and how contact data is organised. For starters, the concept of ‘contact lists’ has to be displayed with one centralised database of all contact data. By making this move, it would be easier for a contact or a marketer to find all data from one person and edit it.

  • 01 / Vision

    Power to the receiver of the e-mail

    Detailed analysis of all functionality - we created feature passports where the why, the how and the success metrics are captured.

  • 02 / Vision

    Control over their own data

    We designed a high-fidelity HTML version of the user interface. Patterns were documented for swift implementation.

  • 03 / Vision

    Better-targeted campaigns

    The engineering team (of Exthand) was able to build the MVP based on our feature passports.

  • 04 / Vision

    No more spam

    The result was an improvement to the user experience that is tested and validated.

Smooth Sailing rocks at challenging existing concepts but they are conscious enough to stay true to the nature of your product.

Aligning Process and people

From the beginning, the goal was to create a strong and self-structured team that shares insights, makes decisions together, and respects each other's expertise. This requires clear decision structures where agreements are documented, but there is still room for changes. With these changes, Flexmail is ready for a long-lasting quality product.

  • 01 / Focus

    Feature passports

    Feature passport is a way of documenting decisions and their impact on all parts of the organisation. It describes what is in and out of the scope, how we will measure success and how support can answer user questions. The future possibilities for the feature are described as well, this gives the salespeople extra arguments to convince prospects.

  • 02 / Focus

    Product & engineering meetings

    Having regular meetings between product and engineering teams can make sure everybody stays on the same page, especially regarding priorities changes and progress made. We focus on installing the right meetings in the team to improve efficiency and ensure smooth delivery.

  • 03 / Focus

    New team roles

    We made a division between product and marketing designers and upgraded the team with a UX designer. The roles of lead engineer and product manager were made explicit to get responsibilities clear.


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