EP #36 Email technologies that make a significant difference in terms of exponential customer engagement.

EP #36 Email technologies that make a significant difference in terms of exponential customer engagement.

About this Podcast

In today’s special episode of the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, we welcome Nicholas Einstein, VP of product marketing for North America, Netcore cloud. He is a Marketing professional with more than 18 years of experience in email marketing. He is out of box thinker, and he is passionate about email and brand building. Matthew Vernhout, VP of deliverability with Netcore cloud, hosted the podcast.

Quick Snapshots
In this podcast, they discussed
Two-way communication that helps brands to grow their marketing visibility.
The pace of digital transformation has grown exponentially for the brands.
How brands retargeted online with banner ads through an email.
How to develop extraordinary experiences across the board from the website.
How BIMI helps brands to maintain user connection and get recognised easily.
How brands will use AMP and get involved in sending flip page conversations.
Episode Transcripts

Intro (00:09): You’re listening to the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, powered by Netcore, a weekly show dedicated to helping email marketers, marketing enthusiasts, and professionals of all walks engage, grow, and retain customers through reliable, innovative, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalisation, optimisation, email deliverability, and email campaigns.No fluff tune in to hear best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners master your email communication now.

Matt : (00:09)

Welcome everybody to the first episode of the for the love of email podcast for 2022. We hope that you all had a wonderful holiday break in a great new year, as always. I’m your host, Matthew Vernhout, vice president of deliverability with Netcore cloud. I’d like to start by thanking everybody who voted for us in the webinar, best email marketing webinar, podcast, and event series of 2021, and ranking for the love of email podcast as the number one selection of the year. we are humbled and honoured that you supported us in that effort. And, we’d like to thank we for putting that all together. and recognising us, I have a great guest today,brand new to the Netcore cloud family, industry veteran, a powerhouse, and email someone that you might recognise their name. And I’ve been a long-time friend of mine. we’ve known each other for over a decade. I was looking at it just the other day. It’s been over a decade, welcoming Nicholas Einstein, Netcore clouds, VP product marketing for the North American team. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad that you’ve decided to join us today and join us, here at Netcore cloud,

Nick : (01:36)

Matt, it is a pleasure certainly to be here today. first kudos on, best podcast, what an honour, and, and I’ve been a fan of Netcore, as well from a fan. And couldn’t be more excited about kicking off 2022, by joining as VP of product marketing. I’m delighted to be here.


Matt : (02:03)

Awesome. Yeah, we, we’re delighted to have you very excited. So Nick, as I said, Nick and I have other for more than a decade, we’ve travelled in the same circles in email both as friendly competitors, and sort of, side by side volunteers in different organisations working together, well at the same time working against each other, but now we’re going to be on the same team finally, and, and hold your hats. It’s going to be a wild ride. I think we’re going to; we’re going to do a lot of amazing things. So, Nick, let’s just start. Why don’t you give yourself like the little intro to the audience for those that don’t know you for those that know you? They’re going to be like, oh yeah, old hat, this guy, he belongs here. but for those new to introducing themselves to you, yeah. Just give the audience a bit of a background of who you’re. Sure,


Nick : (02:52)

Sure Absolutely. have been a while I cut my in email, back in, in the old days when, some of the old folks on the line had, real players on there, on their desktops, when they signed up for a real player, they gave me you, you gave me your email address. And, and so I kicked off my career in an email at real networks where I ran email and CRM and, we had extensive lists and we’re, we’re getting into the kind of segmenting them and, and sending relevant communications. I went from there to the vendor side and worked on services teams, ran strategic services and deliverability teams, for a date, trend media, and pulse point and men did some stuff in, startup world in Silicon Valley before joining David Daniels at the relevancy group and serving as an industry analyst for five years.


Nick : (03:55)

And that’s where I think I, I got another exciting angle on and the marketplace riding alongside with David for, for five years and, and not only working with virtually all the big players in the space as David used to say everyone from Adobe through Zeta, but also doing kind of vendor comparison guides and, and buyers guides. And we did, I think the first-ever CDP buyers guide, and then come to Netcore directly from Chah digital, where I’ve been for, for the past two years doing product marketing there. So yep. I have a rich history in the space for sure. Been, been doing it for 10,000 plus hours, but more excited now about what’s happening in the space than ever before.

Matt : (04:47)

You know, it’s funny when you started talking about real players back in the day; I think that probably actually goes back to when we met. Cause I think I was your original deliverability guy way back in the day, early two-thousands because you were sending off our, I remember the brand; I remember the challenges, I remember the just volumes of email that were being sent. So, you know, going way back, that means we probably knew each other when I said a decade initially it’s probably closer. Probably it


Nick : (05:14)

Probably goes way back. You’re right. You’re right. That’s funny.


Matt : (05:17)

So it’s certainly been a long time there, product marketing. You’ve been doing this for a while. You’ve got a lot of experience you were talking about as an analyst and, and seeing the different products and such, you know, where do you think within like the marketing role of a company that Product marketing fits and sort of what is there, you know, the main role, maybe that’s a little bit different or maybe it the same role as sort of your traditional brand marketer?


Nick : (05:46)

Yeah, so, In product marketing, we generally bridge the silos between product, traditional marketing sales internal operations, sales, marketing, operations folks. We generally product marketing kind of sits in the middle there and, and serves as kind of a, a key, both external evangelist of, of the product, for sure, as well as kind of an internal, enabler across those different businesses silos, I, I say in a, negatively, but different groups, especially when it comes to launching new products and bringing new products to market. And so as kind of those events are happening, product marketing kind of activates across those different groups, marketing, is being a key stakeholder, for sure, but digging in, you know with the product on a specific feature , development, you know, from, from roadmap on through to launch as well as, yeah, again, sales enablement internal customer success enablement, and then that external evangelism, which I think is we’re very closely tied with marketing on,


Matt : (07:12)

It’s kind of like that gear that sits right in the middle of the machine that kind of is important to talk to the back half of the machine and get that working in the correct order and then translating those things that that machine’s doing to the front half of the machine and say, you know, here’s how you talk about those things that we’re doing over on the other side it’s as centrepiece kind of fits.

Nick : (07:34)

I think you hit the nail on the head. And I also think in, in really highly functioning org, it’s also kind of serves as a backward, also helps voice that the voice of the customer back to the, to the product teams and, and internal teams and ensures that kind of yeah. , work both.


Matt : (07:53)

It’s a two-way communication team then indeed, you’re talking to both has all the time pushing an idea back and forth between the two. That’s great. Cause I’m going to be able to give you a lot of that stuff that I’ve been getting. So


Nick: (08:05)

I know, I know that’d


Matt: (08:06)

Be true. I know that excited about that. , but at the same time, I’ll miss some of it, for sure. So, where do you see, you know, brands that struggle when it comes to, you know, that delineation between marketing and product marketing or in general, where are you seeing brands struggle with marketing? you know, especially as we’ve had some, you know, life-changing challenges over the last two years in the industry.


Nick : (08:34)

Yeah. You know, right. Challenges and opportunities for sure. And I think, you know, over the last two years we have seen it’s probably trite to say, but, but the pace of digital transformation has grown exponentially, right? Like you know, restaurant quick-serve restaurant accounts had to go a hundred percent, you know, phone order and, and virtual and online. And, and so there’s been just and I think that that holds for retail and for really across everyone. And so, and, and unique challenges for travel and, and hospitality too, as, as those significant disruptions happened there too, but, but the real, I think it all comes down. You’ll be happy to hear this, Matt as, as a deliverability guy. Still, it all comes down to data it’s, today I think marketers have, both the opportunity and the challenge of having more data sources than, than they could manage on, on a good day and not, the appropriate tools, people, process, or technology to kind of harness that and make the best use of it.


Nick : (09:49)

And that’s a challenge because consumers today, as we both know, really expect extraordinary experiences across the board from the website to the mobile phone, to their inbox, and they expect them to be highly coordinated and, and timely and relevant. And yeah, that’s very hard to do sometimes. And so it’s a challenge, a challenge, but, but an opportunity for those who are, who can, to manage that. Yeah.

Matt : (10:22)

I would say I see that. And I would say as a consumer myself I experience that I expected you to send me an email and I read it on my phone, the mobile landing page better be functional, right. It better not just take me to a web version. That’s impossible to read and navigate on a seven-inch screen. right. And I think a lot of brands before the pandemic just didn’t care, their website was their website, and their email was their email, and the two teams didn’t talk and, and you’re right. The game had to change. And the brands that adapted are doing well; the brands that haven’t adapted, you know, are struggling.


Nick : (11:00)

Yep, yep. No, for sure. And, and, and, you know, one step, even beyond that, how many times as a consumer are you surfing around you end up making a purchase and then for the rest of the week, you’re, retargeted online with banner ads for that exact item that you just purchased through an email or whatever. And it’s just, you know, there’s not that connection in the data and that unified customer experience to your point. It’s yeah.


Matt : (11:30)

Yeah. There, there are certainly some retailers that I work with or shop with, I should say, not necessarily work with shop with as a consumer that you make a purchase, and three days later they send you an entire advertisement of similar, but related items to the one you just purchased. And maybe the one that just arrived at your door as the, you know, the delivery is happening. And like, you know, you were looking at this here’s six similar items. I purchased that right. So right. You are getting that piece fixed. I think there’s a challenge for a lot of businesses, but at the same time, maybe it’s that aspirational thing that this year yeah. Businesses should be looking at fixing how you fix those data flows? Yeah. When someone makes that purchase.


Nick : (12:14)

Yeah and yep. And I tell you when you have every not to get too deep into the product, but when you have everything in kind of a full-stack environment, it’s easier to make, keep those connections, make those connections. When you got a kind of the diversified a disparate kind of marketing stack, it can be, it can be more challenging, but


Matt : (12:37)

Preach. That’s what you’re here to do. Mr Product. Yeah. Marketers come in and tell everybody how to make, how it works, and how the product works better together. So, yeah. , don’t feel wrong about that. Right. you know, where do you see, you know, like the industry’s changed a lot, like over 20 years, the industry’s changed a lot over the last five years, the industry’s changed significantly over the last year, the industry has changed. We’ve seen massive acquisitions. We’ve seen mergers, we’ve seen companies close their doors. where do you see the email industry moving over the next, you know, a couple of years, and what’s going to make a brand successful?

Nick : (13:22)

Yep. Yeah. , so, it’s such a dynamic environment to your point. And, and been, been a, been a crazy few months with apple NPP and all this, all this stuff. email, as I kind of kicked off with, I’ve never been more excited about the space in general, highly relevant well, targeted timely email messages are driving huge percentages of revenue for, for big brands today, right? Like a, you know, big brands count on email for, for a big swath of, of their revenue. It’s become mission-critical. So, I’m delighted that, you know, consumer response to, to good email is, is strong. And, and I only see it getting more robust. I think there’s, I see, big development as people, are gaining, 360-degree view of their customers. And so a lot of, you know, back in the old day, when I was at real networks, I had an email address and maybe a couple of other fields in my database that I could play with.


Nick : (14:30)

but now we can, we as marketers have big, you know, swaths of data, it, when we have a, an actionable 360-degree view of the customer, which, which comes either through having a, a fully integrated CDP or having a CDP as part of the full-stack solution, which we’ve maybe talk about it on the next podcast, but so the ability for marketers to, to, yeah, again, have all those, that 360-degree profile and act on it. I also see significant opportunities in interactive email. A lot of us have had you know, amp and other formats kind of available, but I haven’t seen full adoption yet. And I’m, I’m encouraged by some recent stuff I’ve seen and, and believe there’s a real opportunity there as the inbox gets more kind of interactive. I love your take on that too. What I mean, we’ve, I amp has been around for a while. I think only now starting to get


Matt : (15:36)

Cool. Yeah. I’m, I’m bullish on Amp. I’m bullish on BIMI. I’m bullish on many things that way when it comes to, you know, increasing user connection to a brand. So something like BIMI, where the low logo is someone’s likely to recognise. Right. You know, I said it before, and different podcasts and in different locations, but, you know, humans process images way faster than they process text your brand logo. Is there in the inbox, staring somebody in the face? Chances are, they’re going to recognise the logo before they recognise the name? So, you know, those types of things, you know, I’m, I’m bullish on, we’ve just actually completed a series of webinars with our partner redif, where we talked about BIMI and, and how to get your program enabled for BIMI. We have many clients who are actively pursuing that within their solutions, and their emails.


Matt : (16:35)

You know, we’re also right now working very hard with a lot of brands to enable amp and get those messages configured. there’ll be some cool announcements about that later. , you’ll be part of those because I think you know, you’re excited about it. I’m excited about it, and you’re right. Many people talk about apps, but not many people do apps. so you know, the same examples get used over and over again, they have for years, you know, short of Google docs, I don’t think I’ve ever received a single app, right? Those are the only emails I get that are amp. And I’m subscribed to brands that say they do amp, but they don’t send me amp emails. So I don’t quite get that connection, but you know, what I’ve seen with our client base, absolutely amp is on the radar.

Matt : (17:25)

Amp is something they’re looking at, and we’re looking at enabling it and making it that much easier for brands to, to get involved, send those flip page conversations, send, you know, shopping cart type emails, send those catalogue emails where you can change products without leaving the inbox. , and I think that’s exciting. , and I think many brands should be looking at that. the challenge, I think, is it’s a bar that a lot of email developers aren’t ready to jump over, so they need a partner to help them do that. And I think that’s what we’re trying to do: give them that, give them the tools to help push over that limit. So I’m excited about the following year. I think it will be a big deal for, amp and BIM and branding and email.

Nick : (18:21)

Yep, yep Yeah, I totally, I buy it in, in you know, all of our times need to sit back and remember that, you know, on most sends we’re only addressing 20% of our audience, you know, you know, in, in anything we can do to, to drive those up. Many of us are addressing more in some senses, but, I think, yeah, I’m excited about the yeah. Some of the techs, too, help do that in data.


Matt : (18:51)

Yeah. For the average brand, a B2C brand targeting consumers, you know, they’re going to be sending maybe 40 to 50% of their email to Gmail, which is fully amped capable, another 10 to 15% to Yahoo, which is fully amped capable. so, you know, even if you look at that from a conservative point of view, you’re looking at more than 50% of your list is amp capable. That’s a huge audience too, to give that inner activity to, and have them engage with your brand for more than five seconds. Cause they’re going to look at it. They’re going to flip through emails. Some of the best emails I’ve ever received were almost like an early version of Amp where the brands would just change the image hosting in the backend from day to day. So it would be, you know, here’s an email of the weekly deals of which four were blacked out and said coming soon, and the Monday deal was visible, and on Monday night to midnight, they change the picture for the Tuesday deal.


Matt : (19:53)

And they would say the Monday deal expired. It’s not Amp, it’s very manual, but it’s like an early version of Amp. And guess what? I would go back and see what that email would look like on Tuesday. See what it looked like on Wednesday because I was engaged with the brand, and I wanted to know what the deal was. Now you could do that through Amp. So if somebody doesn’t read your email on a Monday, it’s just Tuesday’s deal when they open. So there are some pretty cool things there. I think that brands need to pay a little more attention to in the future.


Nick : (20:21)

Yep. I’m with you, I’m

Matt : (20:23)

With you. So, you know, we’re talking a lot about ESP and CDPs, and we’re always throwing around acronyms like BI and things like that. You know, when you think about the difference between an EP and a CDP, how would you explain that to somebody who’s not in the email industry?


Nick: (20:43)

Yep. And, and CDP and, as a former analyst, I had an extended definition. I could go to a that’s


Matt : (20:53)

Why I asked you this.


Nick : (20:54)

Cause I know there are a bunch of extended definitions, and there’s a lot of confusion, too, right? Like, like there’s everyone, you know, when it’s hot, CDP are hot. And so many people like to call themselves CDP, and E is as a term there’s, you know, some people like to shy away from it. In many respects, I embrace it but, and, and David Daniels going to the term himself, actually email service writer at Forrester back in the day. But, CDP is quite simply and I’ll take it from David Rob, who is from the CDP and to who I’m a big fan of two CDPs build profiles. And so CDPs at the core are systems, customer data platforms that build in-house and manage customer profiles. And, and stitch them together on a deterministic or problematic basis and make them available to other systems of activation.


Nick : (21:50)

ESP is a crucial stakeholder there because they’re one of the extensive critical systems of activation where, where, those audiences you know, and, frequently machine learning and, and other things that happen in the CDP can kind of kick-off to that system of activation in, in many, organisations or many, marketing platforms that they have some sort of CDP built-in. , my former employer, CHTA digital, has the Cheeta platform at the core. and now I’m a fan of that kind of full that integrated solution because their CDPs, in general, serve a lot of different purposes across the enterprise, creating profiles, not only for marketing purposes but also sometimes for support and services and other back-office and things. And in many respects in, in some cases built more for kind of it, you know, data stitching then for marketing, you know, audience creation and that sort of stuff. And so, but so CDP is built profiles, ESP send emails, but, but increasingly we’re seeing those lines blurred as many more ESP either acquire CDPs or, or you know, build them natively in house, which, which, you know, makes sense to me because as, as I hit on previously, like having that 360-degree profile natively, you know, powering your communications can be extremely powerful.


Matt : (23:30)

Yeah. That, that evolution has been happening slowly over time. you know, even looking at the net customer experience platform, right? It is not managing just email; it’s managing web and social and SMS and WhatsApp. It’s managing a wide variety of communication channels for a customer with a centralised view of the activity, deciding, you know, through the AI engine, is this the right time for an SMS message? Is this the right time for an email message or a web push or an app push, and looking at the evolution of that platform, even over the last 18 months that, that, you know, that platform has just continued to grow, new features are added. , it’s been excited to see exciting to see that, you know, E P platform evolve into that CDP platform. and take on that role, like you’re saying of building a unified customer view for our customers, yep, for sure. For there, our customers, their customers, and their customers. Indeed, indeed. A lot of


Nick : (24:38)

Customers and yeah, indeed. And, and I believe, you know, Netcore has been a member of the CDP Institute for a while too. And, and, and you can go so that to CDP institute.org or com or something and, and see that kind of breakdown there, but yeah, a lot of exciting stuff happening in the net core platform around customer profiles and, and customer data management tool, and more to come this year for sure in that.


Matt : (25:03)

And I think the series of acquisitions over the last couple of years also points to that indication, right? Either ESP, like you were saying, are being acquired ORPS are acquiring companies to expand out to those technologies that they didn’t traditionally play in, which might just be email or an API tunnel, and moving into more S and ask more messaging, you know, more broadcasting options for their customers. So indeed an interesting time, if you’re out there and you’re listening, and you’re ready to make that jump, or you’re interested in making that jump, definitely do some research, definitely look at your current marketing stack and say, you know, if I had, you know, one or two vendors versus the six or seven vendors I have now, how much better could I service my customer in regards to the messaging and the consistency of the communication that you are sending to those individuals. And what would that do for right now is the time to do that as these platforms continue to evolve, because not only will you have a voice in that evolution, but you know, you’ll be able to drive product, you’ll be able to drive sort of that leading-edge technology, I think, for your brand and be seen as one of those innovator companies you know, around the globe? so I, I think there’s a lot there for, for people to think about and sort of focus on.

Nick : (26:40)

Yep, yep. No doubt.


Matt : (26:43)

Putting your analyst hat back on, so thinking back a few years to your time as an analyst, you know, what are the things that sort of stood out that said, you know, this is that company that belongs in the upper right-hand quadrant versus that company that maybe is somewhere in, in the middle of the pack when it comes to focusing on, you know the delineation between innovative and functional or functional and, you know, extraordinary type platforms.


Nick : (27:19)

Right? Yeah. It’s, it’s interesting. And there’s a balance there too. , for sure. I think at the relevancy group, we followed a methodology pretty similar to, to foresters. , David Daniels, my former partner, had come from Forrester.  but he kind of followed a lot of that, but optimised it, I think in, in some respects, or suited it better to, to our usage at the relevancy group, I should say. But, and, and it focused on, on three big areas of focus. We did an external survey where we got the marketplace’s kind of feedback and market requirements. And we used feedback on those market requirements to weigh our internal scoring. So, what’s important to marketers today, if it’s deliverability or personalisation or whatever, is going to be weighted more, you know, in, in, in our analysis.


Nick : (28:15)

So that was kind of one significant source. Another one was a deep kind of survey questionnaire, similar to a wave questionnaire or something where you’re just getting all the details and then correlating that with a demo. We would get detailed demos from. And so you’re looking, trying to dig through, the questionnaire and the demo for a kind of, you know, clever innovative, visionary stuff in the platform ease of use for, for marketers in, in any differentiating kind of features and qualities that, that we think kind of that are highly weighted and valued in the marketplace and kind of correlated there. So that’s one, those are kind of biggies and then customers, customer reference stories. And so at, you know, Forester, Gartner well, Gartner, maybe less. So they use a kind of pure insights data, but Forer for sure the relevancy group and others love data from existing customers and understanding, you know what they value about the existing platform they’re on what, you know, what’s working, what’s not working.

Nick : (29:24)

And I think that at for, for me in the past has been the most significant source of insight and the source that I valued the most as an analyst, because, you know, that’s where the rubber hits the road, really just driving value for customers. And so, if customers are happy and what I liked in the platform looked seemed to be innovative. That’s that gets what gets you kind of into that upper right corner, you know, it’s performance or, you know, a platform on the, on the way, and VI, you know, visionary on the, on the X and getting up in that upper right is kind of that, that mixture of the two.


Matt : (30:06)

Awesome. Well, Nick, thanks very much for joining us today, for the love of Email Podcast. , again, welcome to the company; very excited to have you here. I like to be here looking forward to all the fantastic things we will do. I can’t wait to hang out in person again. It’s been far too long. and I think you know, in short time fingers crossed that’s going to happen for those of you out there listening. , suppose you have an ear to the ground for all things email marketing. In that case, we have a massive report with an email metric benchmark across five geographical regions in 19 industries that studied over 100 billion emails sent;  be among the first to benefit from this report, you know, register for your copy. Now we’re going to put a link in the transcripts for this. , so definitely pay attention,  get that insight.


Matt : (31:03)

Everyone wants to know what the benchmarks for their vertical are in their geographical region. So they know if they’re performing, not performing it’s going to be full of a lot of insights. I’m, I’m excited to reread it. , it’s a study done benchmark report every year by the net core team. So definitely register for it and pay attention to the links in the podcast. So Nick, once again, thank you very much. This has been the January for the love of email podcast. I’m your host, Matthew Bern. Thank you for joining us today, and I hope you all have a wonderful day.


Nick : (31:41)

Have a great one. 

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