The Only Influencers Blog

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

Email Marketing Inspiration for 2015

Here’s What’s on the Email “To-Do” List of Top Brands, and Should be on Yours Too

This dispatch comes to you slope-side straight from MediaPost’s winter Email Insider’s Summit at Deer Valley in Utah’s upscale ski country. Boasting record attendance and the presence of big brands like Wendy’s, Office Depot, Amazon, Bank of the West, Angie’s List, American Airlines and countless others, the event has been a hotbed of email marketing growth, expansion and innovation ideas. In short: everyone’s excited (and in some cases a little daunted by) what’s on their email marketing plate the new year.

Here’s what’s on the 2015 “to-do” list of these top marketers, and should probably be on yours as well:

1. Grow Audience Reach

      Sure, every brand wants to grow its email list, but many are also finally waking up to why. The value of the email address as a contact point has been sorely under-recognized, but marketers everywhere are now seeing it as the gold it is, especially in comparison with social media and SMS for individualized, private, detailed, even complex communication.  The struggle for most is not to grow their email reach (or what I refer to as “coverage”) to customers, but many also are investing aggressively in new customer acquisition with email a key piece of data gathered right from the start.

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Dela Quist is the Founder of Alchemy Worx

1. How did you get started in Email Marketing?

Before becoming involved in the digital world my background was in publishing and advertising. In other words, using content to provide marketers with an opportunity to showcase their products and services to our readers. As I saw it the content on the pages of the magazine or newspaper acted as the interface between the readers and the advertisers. So when I first became aware of the internet I was immediately struck by the realization that, the main driver of success in the world of publishing both on and off line was and still is the size and quality of the readership or subscriber base and those are predominantly determined by the quality of the content – does that sound familiar? Added to that was the fact the interface between marketer and customer was interactive so I was tremendously excited by the possibilities of this new world.

Soon after that an opportunity came up to join Excite, heading up their sales efforts in Europe and I jumped at the chance. During my time there I began and was heavily involved with an initiative in collaboration with a UK Government agency to provide each UK school child with a free, web-based email address for life and the rest as they say is history.

2. Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like.

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Tim Watson is the Founder of Zettasphere.

1. How did you get started in email marketing?

My first experience of email marketing was a little unorthodox. Little did I know it was the first step into many years of email. And it’s a secret I've never shared until now.

Back in the early 2000's I developed a specialised software utility for translators, plus a website to market and sell the utility. This was before the days of eCommerce in a box; hand coded PHP and integration of one of the early online payment gateways.

Then came the biggest issue in any business, how to get people to know about the new software utility? I applied the early SEO techniques, on page and off page - this was in the time of running link exchanges to get a good listing.

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tinktaylorTink Taylor is Founder and COO of dotDigital Group PLC.

How did you get started in Email Marketing?

 Via being a windsurfing instructor! I’ll explain… I started my career as a computer programmer working for an organisation in the UK called Sequent Computer systems that were later acquired by IBM.

 During my time at Sequent I worked in team who experimented with new technologies. As the company was growing fast our brief was to look at emerging technologies and how they could improve internal commutations. One of the first projects I was involved with was to understand how the concept of a new entity call the ‘World Wide Web’ could possibly help! I am showing true my age here! A big part of the work we carried out was focused on electronic messaging, we built and rolled out numerous intranets globally that were powered by some of the first Content Management systems to be built. We of course looked at email and other forms of communication.

Having left Sequent I worked for a few web companies at the back end of the first dotcom crash. I was interested to see that many of projects carried huge price tickets for what I thought was relatively clunky and difficult to use systems. So before long I had with a group of friends set up my a web agency called Ellipsis Media with the intention of building quality easy to use software with a much lower entry price point. Or as we coined it ‘We will build Nasa technology with Fisher Price interfaces’ and make the difficult things easy.

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gretchenScheimanHow did you get started in Email Marketing?
I was working for American Express and I had been eyeing the digital side of the business for a few years, but it was still really tiny. Finally, in early 2000 they started to grow the digital team and I jumped at the chance to work on email marketing. It was a great place to start: American Express had all the rigor and experience of direct marketing to apply to the new channel, and in my role I was constantly challenged to figure out how to drive the best results out of a channel that no one really knew how to use. In a way, it was my first consulting gig. I still believe that the best way to get into email marketing is through a strong direct marketing program.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like.
I run my own marketing consulting firm, L5 Direct Consulting Inc., where I focus on overall marketing strategy and direct marketing - which of course means a lot of email marketing. In a given day I might be talking to current clients about their business challenges, educating them on what the email channel can help them achieve, identifying the right next step or program to help move their business forward, pricing out what that program will cost to put in place, building analyses and case studies to prove a point, or even pitching a new client who I've been referred to. This is the second company I've started, and although the first was 20 years ago and completely unrelated (film production is as unlike email marketing as you can possibly get), a lot of the same principles apply. Consulting is a referral business, so it's still about who you know, how you present yourself, and how well you helped your client on your last gig. I don't meet as many famous movie stars as I used to, but the working conditions and hours are much better!

What do you see as the future of email marketing?
Email marketing is becoming more and more integrated with other channels, which means the strategy and process for email marketing will change as it becomes the driving force behind fully integrated marketing efforts. That is going to drive subtle but significant upheaval in programs as marketers adapt, but fortunately it's going to happen over time. In the short term, there is already some change happening on the creative side, as the line between desktop and mobile client blurs a bit more and people's habits - how they interact with email across all their devices - settle down a bit and are reflected in email design.

Why should anyone choose email marketing as a career?
Email marketing is a great choice for someone who wants to build their career on mastery of a craft. Choosing email marketing allows you to focus on expertise and skills that are the cornerstone of CRM and direct marketing efforts, skills that are always in demand. And because email marketing drives measurable results, you can learn a lot about how to look at numbers, which will be a huge help no matter where you decide to take your career.

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