Meet the Influencers: Dela Quist
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.
I am the owner and CEO of Alchemy Worx a digital marketing agency and software provider specializing in email, that employs over 70 people on 3 continent. In addition my experience and knowledge has kind of thrust thought leadership on me, so I have to use 2 distinct skillsets daily, Business skills - Team building, Leadership, Communication, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Operations; and Digital Marketing Skills - Creative Copywriting, Design, Data and of course Technology.
I have always been good at verbal communication - a great asset when it comes to public speaking, but to be a more effective thought leader for the company I have had to improve my writing skills. As a result of this and because I spend 25% of my time in the US I don’t really have a typical day, but broadly speaking I have 3 types of day.
When I am in the UK – I would estimate that about 60% of my time is spent running the business and developing strategy with the help of my senior team, 15% - 20% on Sales & Marketing and the rest is devoted to a combination of driving our thought leadership and helping clients with their strategy.
In the US I tend to schedule my trips to coincide with speaking engagements at shows like EIS, EEC, Connections and Amplify, to name but a few, so I spend about half my time in the Atlanta office and the rest split between business development and shows (which is why some might think I don’t do very much actual work if they attend the shows too).
Then of course there are the days that I travel. British Airways have an App that tells you how much you have flown with them and with the help of the BA app and taking into account the time I have spent flying US domestic on American I calculate, in the last 3-4 years I have spent 30+ days in the air, flown the distance to the moon and half way back, visited 15 US states (out of 22 in my lifetime) spoken in 10 other countries, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Romania, Sweden….... and as for the time I have spent in airports! Enough said.
What all this means is that I feel extremely privileged to have worked with and met a lot of incredibly dedicated and talented people and worked with some of the best known brands in Europe and the US, including. Expedia, Hilton Hotels, IHG, Getty, Aviva, Tesco, UNICEF, Sony PlayStation, Manchester United FC and Cox Media Group, to name but a few.
3. What do you see as the Future of Email Marketing?
In the last 12 – 18 months technological advances by the main ESP’s and new tools that have been developed have meant it is now possible to automate content management - the last and most difficult part of the email marketing process and that is what we are telling all our clients to do – and fast.
Well think about it, in terms of assembling content and creative into an email personalized to the individual and getting it to the right person at the right time (more on that later), you need not 10, 20 or 30 versions, but 10,000, 20,000 and possibly several hundred thousand versions and that isn’t possible without automation. This is why until very recently the only brands able to deliver such ultra-personalized experiences to their customers have been companies like Amazon and they have only been able to do it because the scale of their businesses made developing their own tools cost effective.
When it comes to the sales and marketing funnel most people in our industry tend to view email marketing as being a bottom of the funnel activity. As a result there is a tendency to focus on conversion and optimizing the conversion, but this won't be the case going forward.
Over the next few years, more companies will need to consider how they can make email equally as effective at the top of the funnel as a powerful branding tool. If a customer or prospect decides not to open an email, that doesn't mean it hasn't left an impression. We'll see more marketers figuring out how to account for and better optimize top of the funnel activity. If marketers can learn to optimize email for both the top and bottom of the funnel and more importantly get better at omni-channel attribution, we'll see even more powerful and impactful campaigns.
These are very exciting times for our industry because automation of the content piece gives our email marketing another major boost. Automation means our clients and other companies that embrace it can stop worrying about the technical and operational aspects of email marketing and zero in on crafting messages with great content. Understanding what subscribers want and delivering it to them in a creative and personal way are the keys to connecting subscribers with your brand. Or as I think we should now say; send PERSONALIZED messages to EVERY person ALL the time.
4. Why Should Anyone Choose Email Marketing as a Career.
Anyone who needs an answer to this question should read my answer to Q3