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Email Evolved: Our 2019 Client Conference

Another year, another amazing client conference in the books.  This September we welcomed some of the greatest minds in email to the beautiful Rocky Mountains for our “Destination: Denver” email summit.  Our day started with a morning session of presentations and conversations, focusing on critical developments in the world of email optimization and deliverability, featuring some of the most established thought leaders in the email industry. 

Our CEO, GB Heidarsson kicked off the day with a presentation covering the past year of industry upheaval and the future of email optimization.  With billions of emails sent worldwide daily, breaking through the clutter has become an incredible challenge. Email marketers’ needs have long outpaced older industry measurement standards and with constant shifts in filtering and consumer privacy, engagement is everything.  With our pioneering technology, eDataSource stands as the only platform with insight into real customer behavior. GB’s forward-facing plans for eDataSource in 2020 include a continued commitment to platform R&D, best-in-class data accuracy and coverage, proactive and unparalleled client support, and dedication from a team of seasoned experts… oh and global domination might have been thrown in there as well (spoken like a true Icelandic viking).

Steve McElroy, our Senior Product Owner, then stepped up to give the audience a behind-the-scenes look at eDataSource’s AI-powered IntelliSeeds®.  This leading edge technology uses machine learning to create behavioral models based on the actual activity of over 1.2 MM real users in our consumer panel.  These virtual users simulate actual user behaviors in engaging with email, generating the most realistic, accurate, and detailed deliverability monitoring. IntelliSeed® users not only engage with email, they can even complete online surveys, share and annotate files, and trigger emails such as password resets.  No doubt, “AI” is a buzzword in the industry right now, and when used correctly it can be a wonderfully powerful tool, providing innumerable insights that otherwise would have gone left hidden and unseen. Watson, Siri, Wall-E, HAL… our IntelliSeeds® have joined the ranks!

dmarcian’s Technical Product Manager, Barry Jones, then took the stage to tell us how DMARC helped him save a company under attack from cyber criminals.  While working with an eBay-esque client within an expensive, niche market with a system that ran off SMTP, a platform rebuild with missing security tools left the company exposed and hackers capitalizing on the chaos.  DMARC works by helping mailbox providers determine if an email appearing to come from your brand aligns with what they know about you as a sender. If not, DMARC includes guidance on how to handle the messages. By providing domain alignment among authentication protocols (DKIM & SPF), DMARC essentially acts as a gatekeeper, helping prevent phishing and malware attacks from reaching the inbox.  Did you know that losses from BEC (business email compromise) scams in the last 5 years total 12.5 BILLION dollars? And 91% of those attacks begin with phishing? Authentication is serious business, people. 

The engaging Michelle Winsor from HotChalk walked us through the intersection between strategy and inbox placement.  It can be hard for many business owners to believe (especially given how inexpensive email is compared to other marketing channels!) but sending fewer emails can often lead to improved inbox rates and higher audience engagement.  With eDataSource’s Professional Services deliverability guidance, HotChalk tightened their audience segmentation, removed inactives, and dramatically improved their inbox placement which in turn lead to higher open rates (and better business!).  Take heed, over-mailers of the world, less is more. Bravo, Michelle.

Our very own head of strategy and analytics, John Landsman, segued nicely into explaining the symbiotic relationship between engagement and deliverability.  Improve your audience engagement, get into more inboxes. Get into more inboxes, see an uptick in consumer engagement (and so on).  By following engagement best practices, senders create relevance, trust, and purposeful interactions with their subscribers through messages they want to receive, open, and engage with. Smarter acquisition, engagement, purchase lifecycle management, retention, and reengagement programs should be the cornerstones of a best-in-class email business.  Seem daunting to plan and execute it all? Well that’s where eDataSource’s expert advisors come in, with strategic consulting to help you win the hearts, minds, and spend of your consumers.

Next up was our ESP Expert Panel featuring some of the most prominent leaders in the email industry including George Schlossnagle from Sparkpost, Kurt Diver from Twillio SendGrid, Dan Deneweth from Oracle, John Stephenson from Epsilon, and our very own VP of Deliverability and Privacy Compliance, Tony Patti.  Deliverability blunders were the topic of conversation (because let’s face it, we’ve all been there). In addition to some entertaining horror stories highlighting what not to do, our panel shared some proactive steps you can take to avoid these situations, what warning signs to monitor to quickly identify a deliverability issue, and finally when you do find yourself on the wrong side of a major deliverability blunder, how the right deliverability expert can help set your program back on track.  Hey, even the most renowned psychic in Europe couldn’t predict she’d be blacklisted after buying a list—sometimes we all need a little help from our friends. Stay tuned as we’ll be releasing video highlights from this engaging and entertaining panel of experts in the coming weeks.

Our anchor for the day was Chris Adams, the technical mastermind of eDataSource and our CTO.  Chris took us through the incredible enhancements and platform upgrades that have rolled out in the past year including IP Command Center, DMARC management and brand protection, email explorer visual search, and the centerpiece of it all, IntelliSeeds® and our IntelliX AI Network®.  He capped off the day with a big announcement: journey mapping, a first-of-its kind tool that uses machine learning to scan billions of messages, allowing you to view any brand’s email campaigns categorized by each type of customer journey (welcome, birthday, purchase, abandoned cart, and shipping).  Journey mapping can help senders understand what messaging landed in the inbox to drive conversion, how specific engagements impact the messaging that’s received, and how regionality and inactivity play a role in messaging content and frequency. All clients who attended the conference were given exclusive, pre-release access to journey mapping within our Competitive Tracker platform.  Journey mapping is slated to launch October 7th.

Our afternoon was filled with beautiful scenery, excellent weather, and engaging activities including golf, hiking, an escape/puzzle room, and local brewery tour.  We capped the night off with cocktails, dinner, and an intense game of email trivia. Reputations were at stake as we battled it out for bragging rights as the crowned email masters of the room.  You can test your own deliverability IQ by downloading our trivia here. No relying on Google, email experts.

We’re anxiously awaiting what 2020 has in store.  As email continues to evolve and the bar is raised to new heights, eDataSource will be at the forefront with leading-edge technology, accurate behavioral data, and a passionate team of problem solvers, allowing our clients to confidently prevail with every send.

 

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