The Only Influencers Blog

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

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Posted by on in Meet The Influencers


1. How did you get started in Email Marketing. I was working for IndyMac Bank running a huge direct mail operation when I saw the handwriting on the wall and got out of mortgages. In 2007 I ended up getting hired by Live Nation to be their VP of Direct Marketing, even though I had little experience with email marketing - because they wanted someone with a strong direct marketing background. I jumped at it because (a) it was a relatively new channel and (b) it was in the concert industry…which really is as cool as you think it is.

2. Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like. My current role at Zeeto is as the VP of Technology. I am responsible for the email program, our business intelligence team, our optimization team, our coders and our dev ops team. My job is relatively straightforward in that I spend most of my days either helping my teams solve problems or creating new problems for my teams to solve. In a typical day I might talk about redesigning a site, eCPM results from the dozens of test we run every month, helping my team negotiate a deal with a vendor, doing a deep dive on email delivery issues, educating myself on what’s new and interesting in the tech marketplace, revisiting our project management processes to make sure our projects are all on track and/or writing a blog post on Only Influencers that manages to tick at least a few people off. It’s really a bit of a hybrid role that continually presents me with new and interesting challenges. Or, in the words of the esteemed Vanilla Ice “You got a problem, yo I’ll solve it”…we even have an in-house DJ who can “revolve it.”

3. What do you see as the future of email marketing. I think the future of email marketing is brighter than ever for two reasons – (1) the (begrudging) recognition of email’s power by finally understanding the “non-linear” nature of the medium and (2) the fact that email marketers have come to accept that more frequent communication is not the road to eternal damnation. However, I don’t see a massive amount of change in emails themselves due to restrictions at the ISP level. The most interesting question will be around how the massive sizes of new phones change how we present emails to consumers.

4. Why should anyone choose email marketing as a career. If you’ve got any level of scientist in you, email is a fantastic career choice for one simple reason – you get to replace “I think” with “I know.” You’re able to strip away the fluff and get to what’s really happening…which I think is tremendously cool. Even if you’re not terribly analytical, email will force you to look at things more pragmatically. Which can be a tremendous boost to your career.

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Tagged in: Interviews
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As email marketing experts, we all know that if the present and future direction of email marketing could be summed up in one word, it would be personalization.

There are an abundance of resources delving deep into the various means of email personalization. Read as many of these blogs, whitepapers, and studies as you can. Additionally, routinely test to find out the personalization tactics that resonate with your brand’s audience.

Although there are a lot of resources about personalization out there, I’ve noticed a gap that exists—it’s hard to find articles where marketers can read about the strategy behind personalization. I’m talking about the big picture: when you want to learn about an overarching framework for personalized emails that sticks with subscribers.

I’m going to address the aforementioned gap by telling you about the lifecycle framework—currently one of the top email marketing approaches that focuses on an approach to personalization that spans the email life of a subscriber.

If you really want your company to be considered a leader in the email marketing space, and you want to achieve the highest possible return on investment for your email marketing, a lifecycle email marketing strategy is a must.

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Tagged in: Lifecycle Framework

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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Tagged in: Hybrid Cloud
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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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