The Only Influencers Blog

The top thought leaders in email marketing share their insights and thoughts.

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The proliferation of SaaS solutions into the massive and ever-growing cloud ecosystem has been godsend for digital marketers for more than 15 years.  The days of expensive, IT intensive, on-premise solutions are largely a thing of the past.  However, all the benefits of cloud solutions have not come without a significant negative side effect for data-centric marketers:  silos of information stored by cloud solutions have made it almost impossible for marketers to have a unified view of their customers.  For example, customer website activity may be stored with one vendor, email engagement with another, and on-line purchases with yet another.  Those organizations that can overcome this handicap to have a unified view of their customers will gain a significant advantage over their competition.  As always, technology continually evolves and improves, and there is a new breed of solutions gaining huge momentum across many industries.  Please welcome the hybrid cloud.


So, what exactly is the hybrid cloud?  Gartner defines it as a cloud computing service that is composed of some combination of private, public and community cloud services, from different service providers. Why is this a big deal?  Hybrid cloud applications can enable secure and seamless integration of the private resources of an organization with vendor services in the cloud.  Say goodbye to the silos.I can’t imagine an application that benefits more from the hybrid cloud than enterprise email marketing.  On one hand, email marketing is an extremely data-intensive application devouring information from all over an organization for segmentation and personalized content.  On the other hand, it also requires massive amounts of servers, bandwidth, and deliverability expertise that are best provided by an expert email service provider.  The hybrid cloud promises email marketers secure, seamlessly integrated solutions that eliminate the limitations of SaaS (data duplication, data security, and ETL).

In the end, the hybrid cloud is just common sense.  The all-or-nothing (on-premise and SaaS) solutions of the past simply can’t provide the performance, security, and convenience of the hybrid cloud.  It is ushering in dramatic improvements over pure SaaS solutions across the board, and enterprise email marketers will be some of the biggest beneficiaries.

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Posted by on in Meet The Influencers

captashAndy, aka Captain Inbox, is the Email Oracle at Pure360.

1. How Did you Get Started in Email Marketing

Even though the education system and I didn’t get on, I picked-up programming pretty quickly during a job fixing and building (then new) Pentium4 PCs at a local business equipment company, so I made the late choice to go to university at the age of 22 to see where that took me. When I left university in 2006 with a Higher National Diploma in Web Programming and a Bachelor of Science (degree) in Business Software Development I needed a job that I could do fairly easily whilst I looked for the right job. I didn’t want a sales job, done too many of those and found it too morally challenging over time; I wasn’t ready for a programming job, I needed something more social for a little bit to get my head back in the real world.

A software startup (something called an ESP) named “))) Pure” were hiring new sales people beginning with three months of account management as training, sounded perfect. I’d do my 3 months and quit before I had to go into sales; I should have got myself together by then and be ready for a proper job.

3 Months in, I went to hand in my notice, I was given a pay rise and made the first dedicated Account manager; I went on to build a team of account managers and then took on deliverability and invented @Captaininbox, before recently settling into marketing services, in a company of now nearly 200 of which I’m employee number 14 and now it’s called Pure360.

2. Tell Us a bit about your Current Role and what a typical Day is Like

I’m currently on something like my 6th job title in 8 years having just recently been promoted in my latest role as the company’s first Senior Managed Services Consultant. It’s a role I thoroughly enjoy. Everyday I get to use my experience and knowledge of email, account management, design, marketing, a bit of programming and our Pure360 software; I get pushed and motivated to stay on top.

The job is about delivering services sold to customers whether they are new customers or existing; some are one offs like training sessions handed to me by project managers on how to get the best out of the software, small projects like a full service campaign, data intelligence, creative fixes etc. and some are on going where I manage the project and do some or all of the email marketing for a brand.

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Tagged in: Andy Thorpe Pure360

I have been in marketing for a long time – certainly before the advent of digital and the industry is and has always been about how we manipulate our audience in to buying what we sell and not buying what our competitors sell. Whether it done by broadcast or by being more relevant is to be frank irrelevant. What matters is that we understand and are comfortable with what we are doing, which is changing people’s behavior to favor our brand. The minute we cease to understand that or fail to quit the business if we ever do feel uncomfortable, will be a sad day.

My fear is that in many ways we as an industry are doing exactly what everyone else is doing but spend a lot of our time trying to pretend we are not. Worse still, we allow everyone else, such as Facebook, apple Samsung, Fitbit or indeed our own media departments, to do stuff we deny ourselves. To what end?

The point I would like to make is that there is a double standard being applied to the email channel and bizarrely this double standard is often welcomed by the email industry. We never seem happier than when someone else moves the goal posts or makes our lives difficult. We seem to think that overcoming obstacles both real and perceived (e.g. being blocked by blacklists creating email addresses out of common misspellings of email address and then blocking you when a clumsy consumer mistypes on registration, Gmail constantly changing the rules) are evidence of how committed we are to permission and privacy. They do not.

One of the things that I find truly surprising about the email industry in general and the Influencers (a group of people I hold in extremely high esteem) is how unconcerned we appear to be about the moral and ethical considerations that surround (the lack of) privacy and permission of the consumer – our customers.

Some of you might think that the opposite is true, that we email marketers are the most impassioned defenders of the consumer’s right to privacy and permission. To be honest I did too. However, events of the last year or two have led me somewhat reluctantly to the conclusion that we do not. What we actually care about and spend all our time worrying about is getting delivered/not being blocked. We also, to a lesser extent, spend our time worrying about being perceived as a spammer (something that I have written about extensively and call “Fear and Self Loathing in Email Marketing”). But that is not the same thing as caring about privacy at all. In fact, I would even go as far as to say the email industry does not give a rat’s ass about privacy and permission from the perspective of our customers.

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Here is what was on the Influencers' Minds Last Week:

 (Only OI Members can access the links).

1. Unroll.me: A number of folks were interested in the newsletter managment service Unroll.me and curious about their business model. Members can  read the full discussion go here and I've included some discussions on Unroll.me from 2012 as well.

2. Examples: Good, bad and ugly of cross-brand email promotions/opt-ins: Do you cross promote your brands in your emails? Check out some examples here.

3. From what devices do people signup/register for email? Do people sign up for your list more from a desktop, mobile device, or a tablet? Find out in this discussion.

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(Editors Note: I posted this on the OI lists back in 2012. I'm reposting for everyone else today).

It has become a bit of a tradition here at OI to once a year reflect on September 11th, 2001. At the time I was writing a weekly column called The Tuesday Stroll. This year, in commemoration of 9/11 I though I would reprint my September 11th and September 18th from 2001 columns which directly addressed the horror of that day. Each Tuesday I would visit a series of companies and write about my visit. On 9/11/2001 I was to meet BuzzMetrics for their first interview with the media. They were directly opposite the World Trade Center. Needless to say, that meeting never happened.

Below are the two columns I wrote. You might find them interesting as they mention companies that are no longer around and people who have since moved on to other challenges. I hope you find it interesting.

Bill's Tuesday Stroll September 11th, 2001:    

Bill's Tuesday Stroll:

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