What has changed the most in email marketing over the last few years? We asked a savvy veteran (Brian Jackman) a few pointed questions and felt we should publish his responses for everyone to see. For context, Brian joined Cordial a few months ago and has spent over 14 years selling solutions for some of the most recognized ESPs and technology companies in the industry.
Q. How do you describe the future of digital marketing?
Digital marketing will be driven by marketers who can collect data from across the customer ecosystem (CRM, website, beacons, wearables) and convert it to intelligent 1:1 messaging that reflects what they will be interested in next instead of sending them the next best offer.
Q. You’ve worked in sales with major ESPs. Why jump to a new/startup like Cordial?
Most email platforms are great about helping the marketer send regular calendar-driven email. With some effort and additional expense in internal resources and dollars, you can even get out a few key triggers that help manage the conversation.
However, almost all of them were built 15 years ago, when customers were tethered to desktops. We could use a sequential messaging platform to send what felt like a very personalized email compared with a weekly circular. The marketers knew these subscribers were paying customers.
But, those legacy systems make transactional, automated and lifecycle programs expensive, time-consuming and often unreliable. Marketers struggled to reach real-time engagement without add-on vendor services or extensive IT work.
I joined Cordial to help clients catch up to these on-the-move customers, moving the conversation from a latent “What they have done?” conversation and decision-making to a real-time “What are they doing?” conversation.
Q. What were the biggest challenges your customers faced when working with legacy companies?
There were 3 main issues almost every client expressed
1. Data: The duplication effort to get an ESP up and running, moving content from internal CRM or other systems, building tables, setting up regular feeds to update data always seemed very arduous for the marketing team and took too much effort across the organization to support. The problem now is there are all these ESPs that grew through acquisition, so you have an even more disparate technology and data model, it just doesn’t need to be that complicated.
2. From broadcast to 1:1: Marketers are still evolving from batch and blast or mass customization to 1:1, but 1:1 means something different than it did 15 years ago when CRM emerged. Most marketers have multiple partners, systems trying to cobble together a connected experience and this just makes it unmanageable to optimize anything that is real-time or near real and in most cases its become difficult to even fathom how to do this at scale.
Getting to 1:1 has turned into an expensive proposition with legacy platforms, but what is most frustrating to many of my former clients has been the paralysis and reliance on vendor’s professional services to make up for what the technology can’t do natively. I’ve heard this called a “legacy tax” a few times.
3. Reporting speed: The fastest I ever saw meaningful data show up was four hours after send and in formats with the data that is meaningful. That delay made it very hard for digital marketers to determine what customers were engaging on and how best to pivot or respond to that interest, demand or lack thereof.
Marketers knew they needed to meet customers more in the moment but did not have the resources or budget to do this. They began outsourcing much of this email effort to their partners and with that they lost some control over their ability to act fast. This prevented many from automating what they could, and testing where they wanted.
Q. Why are marketers replacing their ESPs so often? What was your perspective on that?
That question was always hard to ask when I was in the thick of the battle working for ESPs, but it was easy to ask during my tenure at Movable Ink. I heard three reasons most often:
1. Marketers need to be more personalized and relevant with the conversation with their customers. They know that increased personalization drives stronger engagement and conversions than the traditional batch-and-blast programs of the past.
2. They need to learn faster, understand customer interest and intent with detailed reporting, and to collect feedback showing what their next steps should be.
3. They’re always looking for ways to be in more control of messaging to the customer lifecycle.
Q. Are you just selling the same thing with a different spin? Or does Cordial do something special that others don’t?
After 14 years of working with some great marketers, I’m finally able to say “real time” and mean it. Cordial moves the technology stack 15 years forward.
This lets marketers act on the customer experience with a different mind set and a confidence they can actually do smart things with the same budget. Cordial was founded by some really smart folks from the space that wanted to address some hard challenges that hadn’t been fixed by legacy ESPs.
Cordial had a realistic vision for how to move marketers to this new world of 1:1 and recognized that content is the biggest drag on email production. We are able to manage content so much more efficiently and flexibly. We address real-time on several fronts: reporting/analysis, analytical/algorithmically and how we allow marketers to test and optimize any variant in their message. But we knew that everyone uses an ESP, so we had to make it easy to try, fall in love with an not a major change initiative to switch or even use in tandem. Cordial’s mission was to help you solve today’s challenges with a platform that can help you evolve to tomorrow and all the devices, signals, data, content, and audiences.
Q. What do you tell clients in your first conversation or elevator ride?
I like to tell them I might have a path in which they and their teams can regain control of their email messaging strategy that rests now with their current partners and internal IT teams. That you don’t need 3 systems to do what one should.
I tell them we built Cordial to prepare marketers for the new web, mobile, and consumer push/pull behaviors , in essence realistic means of building and optimizing better customer experiences. Additionally, Cordial allows them to adapt and capitalize on customer behavior and journeys in close to real time.
Q. What does Cordial mean to you?
With Cordial, I can empower digital marketers like never before and do it faster, more intelligently and most importantly with the same budget if not less. We believe we will make you faster, more agile and that translates into top line and bottom line values to marketers. After 15 years selling platforms to marketers, I finally feel I’m not selling demoware, we actually have a technology that can have an impact on what you do today and tomorrow. While I believe Cordial is better than the marketing clouds and loose integrations that exist today, I didn’t come here simply to sell another email platform, the foundation we’ve built will solve marketers messaging needs today but open up so many possibilities with the Internet of Things and how marketers bridge the future of marketing, consumer behaviors, signals and devices – anywhere. A very cool message to deliver.