EP #46 Reaching Inbox Nirvana

EP #46 Reaching Inbox Nirvana

About this Podcast

In today’s episode of the “For The Love Of Emails” podcast, we welcome Nate Brink – Manager of Channel Marketing at Udemy, with host Matthew Vernhout – VP, Deliverability, Netcore. Nate is an email industry veteran who has thrived in both demanding corporate environments as well as in less structured, smaller companies. With expertise in email marketing, digital marketing, and account management, Nate has years of experience working with clients, and agencies and always looks forward to a challenge.

Quick Snapshots
In this podcast, they discussed:
The fundamentals of email best practices and mistakes
to avoid
The importance of data in email marketing
Limitations and boundaries to keep in mind when gathering relevant data
A shift in how mailbox providers look at
domain reputation
Hyphenated domain vs sub-domain? Which is more effective for your domain reputation?
How important are email security features like DMARC, DKIM, and BIMI for your brand?
Episode Transcripts

Introduction (00:07):

You’re listening to “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, smart, and effective email communication and engagement. Discover actionable ways to increase ROI and deliver value through email innovations, personalization, optimization, email deliverability, and email campaigns. No fluff. Tune in to your best practices and tactical solutions from the best thought leaders and practitioners. Master your email communication. Now.


Matthew Vernhout (00:40):

Welcome back to the “For The Love of Emails” podcast. I’m your host, Matthew Vernhout, Vice President of deliverability for Netcore Cloud, managing the America’s division. We have a very exciting new video series coming to a marketing desktop near you. If you are a marketer that wants to stay in the know for all things coming new in email, you’re not gonna wanna miss Netcore’s “No Redirects” November video series. We are gonna be talking about AMP for email, which is a very exciting technology that enables dynamic email content and interactive capabilities, directly in the user’s inbox. These videos will be released every weekday in November, starting on the first Monday of November and running right through the entire month. You’ll be able to find them on all of our social media platforms, which we will be putting in the show notes later today. So definitely check out anything related to AMP for email and “No Redirects,” in November.


Matthew Vernhout (01:39):

These videos will showcase a variety of email use cases across five different industries, including e-commerce, FinTech, job portals, travel, and publishing. Learn how your brand can leverage AMP for email and achieve fewer drop offs, higher engagement, higher conversion, and much more interactivity from your consumers. Watch the videos that are already live. Once again, we’ll put their links in our show notes. We have several live videos and demos available, so definitely stop by, and check those out. You’ll be highly impressed with what you can do with AMP for email. But diving into today’s show, I’ve got my friend joining us today. Nate Brink. Nate is an email industry veteran currently managing the email program at Udemy. And Nate, welcome to the show. Please introduce yourself to the audience.


Nate Brink (02:34):

Thanks, Matthew. So Matthew and I had a chance to meet each other at the email Innovation Summit back in June in Vegas. We had some great opportunities just to discuss our experiences and some of the different thoughts that were being kicked around there, which was a blast. And, I so appreciated our conversation – that we had an opportunity to introduce this chance for us to record this podcast. So my experience dates back to 2005 when I started in email, working at what counts as an email service provider (ESP). So I’ve gone on the provider’s side working at what counts, also working at “Responses” several years later. I’ve worked on the agency side, and I’ve worked on the client side. And I’ve had the good fortune also of working as an agency reseller where we were vendor agnostic and, and reselling several different ESP. And I’ve had my hand in both the B2C and B2B worlds. So I’ve had the good opportunity to get exposure across a number of different types of efforts and a lot of different, varying experiences throughout those different stops.


Matthew Vernhout (03:53):

Yeah, it’s been a long ride for some of us that have been in the industry that long. I think I just celebrated 22 years recently in the industry. My anniversary is, that was – the Tuesday after Canadian Thanksgiving. That was my first day working on an email in 2000. So going back in time, it’s been quite the ride and things have drastically changed over the years. But, you know, one of the things that I would say hasn’t changed, they’ve evolved certainly over time, you know, is that idea of an email best practice. You know, back in the day it was, “make sure you include unsubscribes.” Then we evolved and said, “Make sure you ask permission.” Then we evolved again, and we continue to build on those best practices around list churn and configurations. And we developed tools like SPF and DKIM and DMARC, AC and BIMI, and all of these amazing tools that now go along with the email.


Matthew Vernhout (04:53):

One of the things, Nate, you know, we – and I – when we were talking about this, we both kind of realised we’re both music lovers, and we said, you know, we want to talk about, you know, the things that happen in email and we kind of geeked out about you know, music and all the different things. You know, and we even sort of thought- talked about that – planning ideas, right? When they talk about there’s a “stairway to heaven,” but a Highway to Hell talks about capacity planning, right? So that was kind of one of those jokes, but it makes sense, right? If you want to get your email into email heaven, it’s a long, slow process to ensure you’re doing the right things. From a best practice point of view, you know – you’ve got- you, as you said, you had experience on the brand side, on the vendor side, and agency side. You know, where do you see those best practices evolving? Or, you know, the experiences that you had, How do you incorporate those, I should say, into your daily practices of email?


Nate Brink (05:53):

Yeah, I mean – it’s – I think the critical thing is that the right people are working into the right steps. I think the misses that I’ve seen over the course of my career have been where teams who don’t have the right level of expertise are performing that work without consulting, the right folks who do understand those best practices, who will get the DNS records set up straight, who will do all the right leg work to get the BIMI together, right? Like, all the different steps so that by the time, you know, you’ve constructed the framework of the house, you’re ready to sheetrock that sucker and, and move ahead, right? Like, get the roof on there and get her altogether. Like, I just know that like, there’s always that kind of, yeah, like a correct foundation, so to speak, because somebody didn’t pour the cement, right? And, I think, you know, as yourself or myself, when we get into those conversations, any time there are those kinds of configurations, and we start to analyze and look at the, behind the scenes we’ll be able to tell, right? Like, this wasn’t thinking about the long-term life span of this program or, what, so yeah, it’s critical, critical to ensure that the blueprint is both designed and followed.


Matthew Vernhout (07:22):

Yeah, I like to think of that. That’s a great fundamental sort of base. “Make sure your configurations are right.” I always like to add that base – like data, is a huge part, whether it’s your data collection practices, your data management practices, or data retention. As privacy has become significantly more public – you know, GDPR is a few years old now. CCPA is around in Canada, and we’re seeing new privacy laws coming out, most recently, one in Quebec, and another one is right now federally in discussion with the government. So privacy is continuously changing and forcing it like the building code of a house.


Nate Brink (08:05):



Matthew Vernhout (08:05):

Right. So, yeah, that’s a great way to say, get your fundamentals right.


Nate Brink (08:10):

Yeah. Then you can build from there. We don’t, we don’t need any termite tents over this baby, you know when we get a few years in, right?


Matthew Vernhout (08:16):

Absolutely. Right. We always wanna make sure we’re hitting that gold standard and trying to do the, do the right thing in the best possible way and make sure that the, you know, I always like, as a deliverability professional, I feel more like a data analyst most days because I spend time analyzing “Where’d the data come from? What’d you do with it? How’d you get things out the door? And, what are you doing with the data that it produces?” Because all of those things have a part to play in getting your messages out the door, you know, as someone who’s you know, looking at these types of things, how important do you think data is to the average email program and, sort of the decision- making?


Nate Brink (08:57):

I don’t think that it’s relied on enough. I think it’s important, yes. Used no. Like, I just, I don’t think that you know, having worked with various programs over several years, it’s not something that’s tracked. And even when you try to bring those arguments to the table, again, you’re working with people who are outside of your industry, especially if you’re, you know, dealing with a client-side, oftentimes they can’t get to that empathetic level of understanding that the piece that you’re bringing to them, how critical that is. And so you can bring all the data in the world to the table, but the conversation kind of stagnates because, you know, the importance, yes, is, peak around the data, but it’s the buy-in, right? That someone else is gonna come to that same conversation and meet you with the understanding of the importance of that data.


Matthew Vernhout (10:00):

Yeah, absolutely. I’ve had tons of conversations over the years about things like list size and the number of contacts, and I think sometimes you get lost that you know, there are “people” at the end of those email addresses that you’re sending. Correct?


Nate Brink (10:13):

Hopefully. Hopefully. Yeah.


Matthew Vernhout (10:16):



Nate Brink (10:16):

Yeah, exactly. Recently I had a dialogue around, you know role-based addresses and folks, you know, wanting to permit role-based addresses to get submitted from a form at the website. And it’s like, well, listen, you understand that, like, if you got, let’s say a hundred people at marketing at, you know matthew.com as the God domain there, somebody can just go click forgot password, and now they’re gonna get a distribution to go reset it, and we don’t know who owns that role-based address. They might go logged into your account. You didn’t want them accessing that information. So there’s, (that?) just kind of a connection kind of why you shouldn’t do this from a common sense standpoint. So there are those kinds of things whereas email folk, we’re trying to make that argument, like, no, implement some kind of check on submit such that we’re not- we’re keeping our list pure upfront, to your point, so that we do have an individual one -to- one type relationship.


Matthew Vernhout (11:19):

Well, that’s the other thing, right? Like, you may have a distribution list where one person signs up and says, “I want this.” There could be X number of people on the other end of that “I don’t want it,” You know, it could be one person – additional person that doesn’t want it, and then all of a sudden they’re reporting you as spam, and now nobody gets the email because you’ve removed them or they’ve been suppressed, or, you know, God forbid it’s the wrong person, and you’re now block-listed somewhere, so you can’t deliver mail anymore. So, you know, there are lots of different aspects around role-based addresses that make them dangerous to mail to. And I think that goes back to that data conversation. We were just having good data in good results out, bad data in, well, it explains itself, right? And it’s much easier to get, it’s a lot easier to get bad data than it is to get good data for any brand. And when it comes to things like, you know, those decisions, who should you involve in the decisions around, you know, maybe the limitations or the boundaries of what a brand should consider acceptable for the data they’re collecting?


Nate Brink (12:32):

Interestingly enough, I’ve found that you know, when you are on the client side, and, and I’ve worked on the client side, right? Even if you’re an email expert, the weight of the voice isn’t as heavy as it could be. And so an outside consultant is always- then -the more valuable voice because it’s seen as an objective third party, right? So taking, and either bringing, you know, those, they can be considered data points, but bringing articles to back your opinion or employing yet, you know, an outside vendor or agency to contract to come into the discussion within your teams internally on the client side. Like, that voice is going to be heard with more, kind of, attention than someone who is a co-worker. And I don’t know what the dynamic is that makes that, that way. I don’t know if it’s interpersonal or what that is, right? But I’ve just seen it time and again where the expert within the client’s seat isn’t necessarily going to be hurt. And that’s whether I’m, you know, sitting on a provider side or agency or in the client house myself. So yeah, it’s, it’s critical though to have those “me voices,” right? Who can speak to those subjects very objectively?


Matthew Vernhout (14:20):

Yeah. I can’t tell you how many conversations I had when I was working at my previous employer where we were sort of in between. We weren’t a sender client brand, we weren’t a network provider. As an ESP we kind of were a reputation vendor somewhere in the middle. And someone would call me, you’d be like, “I just need you to explain this because nobody’s listening.” I’ve been that person. I’ve been on that third-party phone call. “Please come and explain this to somebody, why we shouldn’t do this.”


Nate Brink (14:48):

They call that “the heavy,” right?


Matthew Vernhout (14:50):

Yeah. Come. Exactly. I think I still kind of do that. In some cases, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve, still received phone calls where it’s like,” I just need you to send an email that says the following because you’re an external third party without an opinion.” I’m like, “Okay, I can do that.” So yeah, I’ve experienced that side of things. But, you know, other conversations, right? Like talking with your legal, talking with your privacy team, talking with your support team, maybe around the different variations of who you should include in those discussions, right? All the different stakeholders need to be brought on board and maybe educated, or, you know, at least consulted when it comes to, you know, “there’s this very small universe of role addresses we’re gonna throw away. There’s this very small universe of typo domains. What do we do with them? Do we let them register, but don’t send them an email? Do we throw them away and don’t let them register?” You know, how much friction do you put in front of an account?


Nate Brink (15:52):

Yeah. And I mean, it goes back to, kind of, the metaphor of the house before, and as you said, the stairway to heaven, which requires both, you know, work in terms of producing something that takes you up in a positive fashion. But if you think about it now, if we further expand on that metaphor, you need a handrail, right? And so if we think of a consultant, they are kind of that handrail that aids you as you build, right? So if we’re going to be able to, to reach that next level of our house, we’ve gotta have both the staircase that gets us there, but also we’ve gotta have the right guides to keep us safe, right? To get us there. And I think that can be, that voice that provides that consultation.


Matthew Vernhout (16:45):

That’s a great analogy. I’ve never really thought about it that way. I might use that again in the future.


Nate Brink (16:51):

Take it away,


Matthew Vernhout (16:52):

Building us their case. I’m here to be your guardrail.


Nate Brink (16:56):

Right? Without this, you’re gonna get a lawsuit. Somebody’s gonna fall down the staircase.


Matthew Vernhout (17:01):

Exactly. Yeah. Well, yeah, people trip all the time. I’m perfectly good at staircases. Just like an email, you can easily trip on something. You know, it’s…


Nate Brink (17:14):

I apologise, man. Yeah, that’d be derailing there.


Matthew Vernhout (17:18):

No, it’s all good. Now, in my head, it’s full of all these images of people tripping and falling and, I shouldn’t laugh. That’s a terrible image. But you know, it’s an analogy that works well in the world of email where I see brands trip and fall over things all the time. So you know, building and maintaining a reputation takes a lot of effort, a lot of work. And it certainly is easier to, you know, “burn the house down and build” – most days.


Nate Brink (17:51):

Yeah. And on the flip side, you know, but as you said, the highway to hell, right? Is the well-greased eight lanes of 60 miles an hour, or sorry, kilometers an hour? Do we measure time and hours?


Matthew Vernhout (18:08):

I speak miles, don’t


Nate Brink (18:09):

Worry. Okay


Matthew Vernhout (18:12):

I speak miles It’s all good.


Nate Brink (18:15):

All right. So we’re just, you know, “burning down that highway to hell.” So there’s, you know, much more breath to failure. There’s much more speed to failure, you know, It takes so much more to build than it does to destroy, right? It’s so quick a path to destruction. Just like everything else, right? It’s easy to tear someone down. It’s difficult to build someone up, right? Just, and that’s the same way it is with an email program. You know, it takes work to build, and it’s the easy path. The wrong path is the shortcut, right? And, not seeking out those consultations or not using the data, right? And, getting it right. So I think those are the those are kind of those keynotes that we’ve talked about that do fall, again, under those musical notes, so to speak


Matthew Vernhout (19:10):

Right? Yeah. And you mentioned earlier that you wanted to reach that email nirvana, right?


Nate Brink (19:16):

The heart-shaped inbox.


Matthew Vernhout (19:19):

The heart-shaped inbox. I love it. I love it, Right? Smells like an email inbox.


Nate Brink (19:26):

That’s right. Yeah.

Matthew Vernhout (19:27):

As you move towards that nirvana state or email, right? Then, the pieces that you need to accumulate and manage, get more and more complicated. You know, it could be multiple SubDomains, one for support, one for transactional, one for marketing, one for you know, outreach, one for just general communications from your company. All of those become one more thing to manage. Maybe it’s multiple vendors that you’re working on, and we’re not just talking by email. You could have an onsite personalization platform, you could have an SCL platform. So it becomes, you know, one more thing over and over again to manage that layers on top and layers on top. But as you are thinking about that inbox nirvana, you know, what are the elements that you are looking for to make that experience for your consumer, right? Thinking about the consumer point of view, what is the inbox nirvana contribution that you make to your consumer’s day?


Nate Brink (20:30):

It’s such a, it’s such a “never happen” that it’s like, let’s talk about this because it makes it fun, right? It’s like, you know, we’ve done so much of what we know and we don’t question that. And so this is such a conceptual, hypothetical conversation that it, gets into that. Like – and I was talking to you about this too – like – you know, imagine, right? And as we, since we were still talking stairway to heaven and highway to hell, imagine there’s no heaven, no hell below us, right? Like we’re, we first have to start by saying, imagine there are no destructive paths or beneficial paths that first we have this kind of ability to detach ourselves from what we know is true, which goes span out ballet this much is true. But if we were to then say, Well, let’s put a pin in all of that so that we can have this other thought.


Nate Brink (21:36):

Let’s talk about what it would mean for true email marketers who have that little Twitter blue check mark, right? Who is certified fresh, whatever you wanna call it, that those senders could be in the club, right? Not waiting by, the red velvet rope outside with the bouncer, but they’re in the VIP and they’re talking to the ISP such that when they give an email to the ISP it’s delivered to the inbox without all of the need for all of the hubbub and all of the kind of surrounding, you know configurations and different pieces that we know in reality are required. And so it started with, it was at the Email Innovation Summit where we were, some of us were talking, and I was thinking –  like, you know, Gmail has such a death grip on the market, like our demographic, if you look at people’s list demographics – like what percentage of their list is Gmail, right?


Nate Brink (22:39):

And so what if Gmail sat down at a table and started to leverage its presence and said,“Listen, we’re gonna create a trusted environment. We’re going to completely flip the script and make the email different so that we’re gonna tell you like matthew.com, your domain is certified fresh. Like you got your blue check and you’re in, and if you violate or if you start to go, you know, wayward, then we’ll have a conversation about what we’re doing with your program.” But the benefit of that type of thought is that it wouldn’t matter what IPS associates with your domain, right? We’d certify you at your domain level. And so you are part of our community in that thought, right? And so, I don’t know what all of those details that fall out are. They’re smarter people than me to do that. What I’m saying is what if we, you know, imagine right that the kind of the starter to our sourdough bread here?


Matthew Vernhout (23:55):

You know, it, actually sounds like you’re describing domain reputation very closely to what you’re talking about, because the general idea of IP reputation – I think people understand that it’s the source where the mail comes from – it, it looks at how many bounces, how many complaints, what’s going on, the types of traffic coming from that IP. When you step back and you’re looking at domain reputation, it gets to that point of, “I don’t care where you’re sending mail from. I know what your domain does. I know if you behave well globally I know if your marketing emails are good, and I know if your transactional emails are good because I know your domain,” right? As you’re saying, the domain carries that reputation. Now, I don’t think we’re – we’re not quite at a point yet where domain reputation is the only decision-maker. But I do think that we’re getting closer to that where we are seeing domain reputation.


Matthew Vernhout (24:51):

You know, you can’t just migrate from one IP to the next to the next anymore and hope that your delivery continues to remain good. You know, we’ve seen brands migrate between platforms and their reputation follows them. That’s the intention of domain reputation, if you don’t get it, you don’t get to hide anymore behind an IP – IP reputation is still important. I don’t want to ever say that it’s not at this point, but domain reputation is. And that’s why we tie reputation to things like Dcam records that are tied to your domain, that are tied to your account, that are tied to your platform, regardless of your platform. That man-key is always gonna be tied to your domain. So that’s where those reputations are coming in. So we’re not quite there yet. Not completely. You know, a lot of people have talked – you know – Gmail kind of started a bit late to the game, so I think they kind of skipped a lot of IP reputation and moved into domain reputation because it was more available for them.


Matthew Vernhout (25:49):

But we’ve definitely seen a move over the last decade – call it where mailbox providers are starting to rely more and more on domain reputation Yahoo to get part of their complaint feedback loop. The CFO you need to have domains associated with the messages or else they won’t send them to you. There are other mailbox providers that do the same thing and it’s not just an IP type anymore. So it’s a domain reputation. So yeah, I think we’re starting to get to that point of – you know – it’s not just a matter of what I’m doing here on the right-hand side, is good, when my left-hand side is doing some shady things. Because domain reputations are gonna factor in both of those things and say, “Well, I know what you’re doing over here and it’s not as good as what you’re doing on the right-hand side of things.”


Nate Brink (26:45):

So it’s not the “talking heads”- we’re on a road to nowhere – we’re on a road somewhere.


Matthew Vernhout (26:51):

Absolutely. You’re telling me. Absolutely. And I think, you know, these things become more and more important as well, domain reputation as we move into IP six space, just with the sheer quantity of IP space under I P D six. You can’t build reputation platforms on data sets that large, at least not ones that work at volume. So domain reputation will become that piece. You know – there’s – I’ve had conversations around things like the idea of no off, no entry. So should a mailbox provider, now that we’ve had SPF for almost 20 years, accept mail that doesn’t have SPF yet? We’ve had a DM for almost 15 years – should you accept mail that doesn’t have decamp?


Nate Brink (27:43):

I am sorry to branch out from this. Yes. But I’m curious because it’s come up a couple of times about DNX text files and the number of entries that those can contain. Do you see that changing? Or do you think that there’s gonna be an expansion to – like what, technically can that really only ever contain – what is it – 10 records or whatever that number is? Or is that ever gonna be something that we can fluctuate?


Matthew Vernhout (28:13):

So I don’t think there’s actually a limitation on the number of text records you can have. I’ve seen brands that have lots and lots of text records cuz they’re validating, you know, Google Postmaster, they’re validating Facebook, they’re validating Google Docs, they’re validating against Adobe, they’re validating against Zoom and 50 other platforms that they use. And then they also publish an SPF, Dmarc.


Nate Brink (28:36):

Is that a preference thing then? Because I’ve heard, I’ve literally had network teams tell me that we have too many entries in this DNS file for us to add or append to – you know – additional entries into this file.


Matthew Vernhout (28:53):

There, very well could be a limit – but I – I think it’s, it’s for most companies, they’re never gonna reach it. Now there is a limit to SPF, for example, you can only have 10 lookups. So, Okay.


Nate Brink (29:06):



Matthew Vernhout (29:07):

As companies get more and more complicated and the number of products they use, their SPF records get very full. So there is a lookup hierarchy maximum of 10, for SPF for sure. So maybe, I hope maybe


Nate Brink (29:22):

That’s, that might be, maybe I confused it. And that may also be, because if I recall correctly, it was because like we were employing – you know – messages out of Salesforce, messages out of our ESP, messages off our domain, our parent domain. And so all those entries were getting aggregated and all those lookups were being performed.


Matthew Vernhout (29:43):

Yeah. So absolutely. I’ve seen that numerous times with lots of brands. There are services now that do what’s called SPF flattening. So they will take all of your different SPF records and combine them into a much shorter set and then monitor for changes to those other SPF records and dynamically update to make sure you


Nate Brink (30:06):

So like a middleware or something like it sits in between?


Matthew Vernhout (30:09):

Yeah, it kind of sits in between and manages your SPF dynamically. It’s usually tied to a Dmarc vendor because they know what they’re doing with those types of things. But that’s where my argument comes in all the time around managed Subdomains. There is no limitation to the number of subdomains that you can have just your imagination for the most part. So really there is no limitation on Subdomains. And when clients come to me and say, “I wanna buy a cousin domain and use like client hyphen mail.com” my argument always is, “why aren’t you using mail.client.com or another Subdomain? You don’t have to maintain another domain. You don’t have to maintain anything else. No new infrastructure. It’s just another Subdomain that gets managed under your existing domain infrastructure.”


Nate Brink (31:00):

So from your seat, – Sorry, I- that always looks spoofy to me, the hyphenated domain as opposed to using a sub-domain. Absolutely. Do you see it that way?


Matthew Vernhout (31:12):

I absolutely do. It works for some brands that have been doing it for a long time. There’s a, very large hotel chain that uses a hyphenated domain for sending mail. But they’ve been doing that for 18 years, so their consumers are used to it. But absolutely, there was a document written by an organization called mog, (the messaging malware mobile anti-abuse working group) that talks about things like domain management, SubD domain management, and don’t buy cousin domains, which is what they would refer to them as. You know, unless…


Nate Brink (31:48):

That’s the hyphenated domain, right? Cousin domains.


Matthew Vernhout (31:51):

Yeah. Or even the typo domain or you know, like a variation of your domain for purposes of sending an email because it looks like you said it spoofed or phishing?


Nate Brink (32:05):

Totally, Yeah. I’m not clicking on a link that looks like it’s not what I think it’s supposed to be. Right.


Matthew Vernhout (32:12):

I recently got a phishing message through, a text message that was like Uber hyphen evxk.ca.


Nate Brink (32:21):

Right. I don’t wanna ride from your domain, go away. Clearly


Matthew Vernhout (32:24):

Clearly, it wasn’t a legitimate message but it was somebody spoofing Uber.


Nate Brink (32:31):

So to keep the song title theme, did it say, “Do you wanna ride? And my Mercedes boy?”


Matthew Vernhout (32:37):

Oh, it did not. But it did say something about my account being compromised and I needed to log in right away


Nate Brink (32:42):



Matthew Vernhout (32:44):

Right. It reminds me of the song “Stop sending that crap to me.” It talks about email, it talks all about spam email. He’s like, “Stop sending me” that – so, you know, it certainly made its way into pop culture. From, that point of view, if you haven’t heard the song, definitely go to YouTube that song, from weirdo. Yeah. You know, I think I, that’s a great question actually. So as a brand yourself, a brand that you represent, how important is it for you to ensure that you’re doing things like SPF DCAMP, DMARC maybe, I don’t know if you’re doing BIMI, I forgot to look at we are how important is that for your brand to make sure that you get these things right and maintained?


Nate Brink (33:29):

Yeah, very. And I, to me, when we look at it from email marketers, right, who are, embedded on a client-side team it’s critical that we bring that value, right? That we’re being those voices of reason to, you know, even with BIMI, that’s a perfect example. You know, we recently went through a rebrand as a company, and we’re currently in the midst of updating the icon imagery and ensuring that the DNS is up to date because, you know, when you make a move on the ESP, all these kinds of things, right? We wanna make sure everybody’s tight. So that’s definitely front of mind for myself and my team and to ensure that the way our program represents ourselves is both aligned to a well – you know – well-configured program and well-branded but we’re also trying to follow best practice, right? And so we’re always gonna try to push to ensure that’s the case.


Matthew Vernhout (34:33):

And things like, you know, the importance of display name from the name, from the email you know, there are some platforms that control the sender domain, so you, as a brand, don’t have any control over that. So they’re managing SPF, they’re using their own brand name and they maybe let you set up a custom DECAMP, but they don’t allow you to do custom SPF. Is that something that brands need to have better conversations with their providers about to ensure that they can get full domain alignment within their messaging?


Nate Brink (35:05):

I mean – I would, if it were my brand, and that was something I got from my provider  – like I, I’m gonna go back, right? Like – I, I’d have to look at like, what’s the budget? Cuz on the client side you have a little bit of a different constraint, you know, conversation. What’s our budget? Is this feasible? Is it in our contract? And so there are those kinds of considerations that come into play, whereas, you know, when you’re on the provider side or you’re an agency, you’re kind of doling out advice, right? And, you’re kind of saying, go and do without necessarily the same type of constraint considerations. And so yeah, on the client side, you know what’s right, you know, what’s what in terms of best practice but you first have to triage, like, can we do this or should we do this? Does it fit into our MarTech stack budget? Or things like that. Is it in our SLA with the provider? And so then we can move forward. Cuz you know, some clients’ contracts are aligned since they have shared IP addresses instead of static, right? And so to your point, like now that gets, you have such a diluted conversation, you’re, unable to really traverse that very well. Whereas when, you know, when you have static and you have to start to have more control, you can have, a more direct conversation with your provider.


Matthew Vernhout (36:28):

That’s great, that’s a great point. I think, you know, programs grow and build and evolve, and starting small in a shared pool makes a lot of sense. But there is that point when you reach a certain volume, whether it’s a monthly volume or a daily volume, that moving to a dedicated IP or, or multiple dedicated IPs, depending on the size of your volume absolutely makes sense. Right? when it comes to things around authentication, specifically DMARC for example I know it’s important for marketing to be involved and understand that, but when you’re working with other teams – like are you working with your security team? your privacy team, how are you managing those conversations for teams that aren’t involved in email, but are clearly invested in protecting the brand?


Nate Brink (37:19):

So yeah, I think it’s an interesting dialogue because usually the way that drives it is, okay, one, we’re cross-functionally gonna carry this forward even if we’re the ones driving it. Two, we have to appeal to what it is that those different teams are considering for their objectives and so on. So if I’m gonna go to the marketing heads and talk about, what means the most to them, I’m gonna appeal to their sense of delivery, right? So that we can talk about revenue generation and so forth because we want to hit the inbox. We want to be a trusted sender. If I’m talking to the network team, I wanna appeal to their rationale around security. I wanna make sure that we’re talking about reverse DNS lookups or, you know, various points that really, technically, land on their radar because then it resonates and they’re willing to, you know, carry the work forward. So if I need approval from a VP of marketing, we need to talk about revenue. If I want to talk to a security guy, then we need to talk about, what kind of lookups are happening against, our records, and so forth. So, it really does change based on who it is that you’re talking to and then orchestrating those conversations accordingly.


Matthew Vernhout (38:46):

That’s great. Compartmentalizing the conversations and having that cross-departmental function, I think is really important when it comes to protecting your brand and the security of your brand, but also then understanding, you know, I know this is the IT guy I need to go talk to when I need to update SGF records. I know this is the marketing person I need to go talk to when it comes to whether I need a new vendor, or I need to grow my existing vendor relationships, so I need more budget. But then also understand those two people all need to work together as well, for brand protection, right? Yeah. It’s not just a single focus. You have to move collectively as a group. When you, went and implemented BIMI, were you, were you there when that happened? The implementation of BIMI. 


Nate Brink (39:35):

No. In our current situation, it was actually implemented. And so we had the – like I said, we went through a rebrand and so the, you know, our prior icon is what was showing up. So yeah, going through that rebrand, important to get that refreshed.


Matthew Vernhout (39:52):

Absolutely. I was just gonna ask if you saw any performance improvement. And I’m just curious. So I’m always looking for data points if it was – like before and after we saw performance increase. But you know, I’ve heard anecdotally from brands that yes, performance does increase post icons, but it’s very hard to actually get numbers from people when you start talking on them. Oh yeah. It’s great. It worked. It’s fantastic. Everything went much.


Nate Brink (40:19):

I wish much. I wish I could give you something to work with. I don’t, Yeah, unfortunately, I don’t have anything for you there.


Matthew Vernhout (40:25):

Would you recommend other brands look at BIMI in regards to outing it to their stack?


Nate Brink (40:32):

I would, absolutely. I think it’s the way to go. I mean, as far as you know the trusted sender piece in and of itself, is enough to make it make sense. You know, to ensure that like folks are seeing, you know, your brand’s icon – that it’s a legally, you know, an embedded piece of your email that you alone can send with this, you know, all those components are huge factors to having. Like, if we got back to the whole Nirvana conversation, right? Like, how do you know that you’re a VIP


Matthew Vernhout (41:08):

Right? Your logo shows up, right? That’s a great example. That’s the stamp on your hand to get in the door pass, whatever it is I get. Well, you know what, I want to thank you for joining me on the show today. I love talking about email. I love the winding path, the long and winding road we took to get here down the path of an email. Any final thoughts for our guests or audience today?


Nate Brink (41:38):

No, I really appreciate you having me on. It’s been a brilliant discussion and yeah, man, it’s great to meet you.


Matthew Vernhout (41:45):

Thank you very much. I love talking via email. I love talking music and I love nerding out when you can do both at the same time


Nate Brink (41:53):

So it’s a fun tapestry.


Matthew Vernhout (41:55):

Absolutely. Great conversation. If anyone out there wants to reach you if you’re open to it, what’s the best way for people to reach you?


Nate Brink (42:03):

Yeah, easy. Just first name, last name at Yahoo. So it’s Nate Brink at yahoo.com. Just [email protected]


Matthew Vernhout (42:13):

Awesome. Well, thank you very much for joining us today. I, you know, as I said, I love talking via email. I love talking to music, and now always makes my day great when I get to do both things at once.


Matthew Vernhout (42:26):

Happy to. So in, closing Netcore, we are thrilled to share that our customer, Myntra India’s largest fashion and lifestyle e-commerce brand, recently won a 2022 email insider award for the best interactive email using the Netcore powered and for email campaign tools, we extend our warmest congratulations to the Myra team for their well-deserved win. And it is a matter of fraud (or pride?) for the Netcore cloud team that we helped build this campaign and bring it to fruition for them to ensure that they were able to meet the needs of their customers in a very new, very exciting way with a highly interactive email campaign. It was a great competition, with lots of really good brands that we’re deserving and we are very excited that our client,  was chosen as the winner. Once again, thank you for joining me in the Love of Email podcast. I’m your host, Matthew Vernhout. We are going to be putting a bunch of social media links for many of the items we discussed today in the show notes. So if you have anything that you’re looking for, if you wanna watch out for our “No Redirects November” piece, definitely follow Netcore on our social media platforms. Nate, thanks once again. Great talking with you.


Nate Brink (43:53):

Likewise. Thanks.


Outro (43:55):

Been listening to “For The Love of Emails” podcast, powered by Netcore, hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player to make sure you never miss an episode. To learn more about effective email communications and engagement through AI-powered email solutions, visit netcore.com, the only global email engagement leader delivering marketing ROI and value to 20-plus global unicorns and 5,000-plus brands for over two decades.

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