Against Empathy in Email

Kait Creamer

Presented by: ​Kait Creamer

Kait Creamer, CRM Marketing Manager, Framer In this talk sponsored by Iterable, the audience will learn… Why empathy as a gold standard—rather than diverse, accessible, inclusive marketing—is costing you product market fit How prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion over empathy improves both acquisition and retention in your email strategy How the data you collect helps you uncenter yourself, control for bias, and use your email marketing move the metrics that matter faster


Rickey White 0:00
We have our guest Kate Creamer. Her presentation today is sponsored by iterable. And we will be learning about against empathy and email and why empathy is the gold standard. So without further ado, Kate, welcome to the stage

Kait Creamer 0:23
Hi, friends. Here we go. I’ve heard myself loud for the first time in two years this is weird.

See if I can figure out a clicker again the labor market. There we go all right, y’all. Here we go. Last presentation. I think standing between you guys and lunch, I want to make sure it’s really, really good. And really controversial to surprise.

Today, I want to talk a little bit about why we shouldn’t be using empathy as the gold standard in email.

Hello, I’m Kait Creamer. Thank you, Nellie and Andrew for introducing me really appreciate you putting this together. So excited to be here with you all today. My pronouns are she and her. I work in CRM marketing at framer, which is an interactive design software company. So I imagined something like figma or InDesign. But instead of just designing static things, you can actually design buttons, you can click toggles that toggle, and real, actual websites that you can put on the web. So really, really fun tool. I love where I work. I will tell you all about it all day long. But today, I’m going to tell you a little bit of this story first. So when I was a little girl, I used to cook with my mom a lot. This is something that I am, I jumped right into from the time I was really, really small. Do any of you remember Easy Bake ovens? Quick, like show of hands is that something that calls back and memories amazing. So easy bake oven was like one of the first Christmas gifts that I really, really wanted. I got so excited about an Easy Bake Oven. Because this was my opportunity as a four year old little girl to bake just like my mom did. Unfortunately for my mom, she quickly got over my enthusiasm when she bought me an easy bake oven and it would take me a full 45 minutes of watching a brownie cook under a light bulb for it to cook all the way. That whole 45 minutes. I was just like, this is the best I love this. And she just very quickly was like you know what, you are too limited by this we need to get to in the kitchen. So from the time I was really little she had me first with the Easy Bake oven. And then in the kitchen with her cooking side by side sharing family recipes, chopping potatoes, making potato soup together, making crab cakes with my dad, I’m from Maryland originally. This was something that was a big part of my life from the start. Now fast forward to about seven years ago, eight years ago, something like that. I’m coming home from work. And my husband very generously says to me, he’s like, Hey, I would love to help you out. I know you had a hard day today. Let me cook dinner for you. No prerequisite for this, like responsibilities should be sort of shared in the house. But also, if you would have had my husband’s cooking about eight or nine years ago, you would understand why I did all of it at home. Bless his heart. He’s cooking was not his jam, and it wasn’t. And so this one day, he decided to be particularly generous and giving and he said you know what, I’m going to give it a go. So send me a recipe tell me what you want me to do and I’ll make whatever you want for dinner. So I send him this recipe for pizza dough. I was like you make the dough. I’ll make the pizza when we get home we’ll have something really nice together. Now the recipe called for one cup of cooked mashed potato. So I sent him this recipe he says well, we don’t have mashed potato and I’m like, You got this. You can. So I tell him I’m like look, chuck a couple potatoes in a pan of boiling water. I don’t know 10 minutes later take them out for the immersion blender in like the potatoes are not the star of the show here. We just want to make some pizza dough so he does exactly that. As I asked him to do, chucked a few potatoes and some boiling water, waited 10 minutes, took them out, took the immersion blender to them, and wondered why in the world, they weren’t mashed. As it turns out, I didn’t tell him to peel them to cut them to wait until they were done. So my poor sweet husband, who tried his very hardest, to make mashed potatoes to make something really, really nice for us to have for dinner, was trying to use the immersion blender on like whole raw potatoes, it did not turn out well. And bless him, he really followed that recipe to a tee, he skipped worrying about the raw potatoes and just put them straight into the dough. So he got home and I was like, Well, okay, you tried real nice effort. Which brings me to definition, empathy, the capacity to understand and feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. Now, in this particular story, I’m talking about someone who I love who I married, who I know, I would consider quite well. But I didn’t understand his frame of reference. Something as simple as making dinner together, became so hard, because it was hard for me to take myself out of my own perspective. And out of my childhood, growing up making potato soup and crab cakes with my parents. And to put myself in his shoes, this poor guy who, for some time struggled to make spaghetti in college with canned sauce. He’s a great cook. Now, by the way, that’s the only reason I’m allowed to tell this story.

This is another really good example, my toddler was about to hit her head on a bar at the playground. So I told her to duck and she cracked at me, and then hit her head. This is a prime example of how often we miss understanding somebody else’s frame of reference, we can have all the good intent in the world, we can do our very, very best to help people to connect with other people. But with mothers and daughters, with husbands and wives, with partners, with siblings, the people that you’re closest to, it’s still really hard to get this right. And at the end of the day, as this poor woman’s toddler, probably experienced intent does not erase the impact, no matter how hard you’re trying, you’re still gonna miss some of the time. Jen mentioned this earlier, with a COVID pandemic, I’m sure some of your inboxes looked like this at the very start. So I did a search in my inbox for the phrase, these uncertain times between March 17, and may 6 of 2020. Now, I’m sure we were all feeling something very similar. We were feeling like the weight of the world was on our shoulders, and we didn’t know what was going to come next. And all of these people sending out emails, were trying to connect with us in that way. But what I found was missing in my own inbox was the understanding that brands telling me that the times were uncertain, didn’t make me feel better at all. That stressed me the belt, I hated it. And I want to talk about specifically why empathy falls short. I’ve mentioned that understanding each other from our different frames of reference is really difficult. But there’s some really cool brain science behind this. And like I said, I know we’re just before lunch, I’m not going to bore you. I think this is really cool. And I hope by the end of this talk, you will also think it’s very cool. So number one, empathy is a finite resource, you only have so much of it. The thing is, empathy happens in the decision making centers of the brain. And you you have this limited capacity. I’m sure you probably felt this during the beginning of the pandemic, right where the world is really heavy. You’re experiencing the stories of all the people around you who are struggling. They’re trying to make something new work in a way they haven’t had to make it work before. And what happens with empathy is it runs out. I don’t know if you all found this to but I really found myself at the beginning of the pandemic kind of turning into like a little hermit crab. I could only think about myself. I was trying to survive day to day it was really really difficult. And it wasn’t for lack of caring for the people around me. I was just out of resources. I had no more left to give. Anybody else experienced that

I was just exhausted. There was no more and I was feeling constantly like what am I even do with this? How did I I survive, how do I get to the next day, and I found myself feeling like a bad friend about a bad family member, because there was only so much is the next interesting thing. Empathy creates an us versus them mentality. This seems really counterintuitive at first. But there’s some interesting things, like I said, that happened in your brain with empathy. So I don’t know if you all heard about the Zenefits scandal in 2018. Does that ring a bell for anyone. So Zenefits is an HR company. And they were built on the premise of making HR more accessible and friendly for small startups. So the company built with really, really good intent. They wanted things to be easier and friendlier, and create a family within organizations. But what happened in 2018, is their startup had taken off, it grew so fast, they had to hire that they it’s like growth ninjas, and SEO wizards and stuff like you’ve heard this before, right? And then of course, on their job listings, they were saying stuff like, we’re all a family here. And spoiler, they were like a family. And what happened is at the end of 2018, their CEO had to send a letter to the entire company saying, Look, things have gotten out of hand here. I’m sorry that I have to say this, but you can’t drink and smoke, and have sex in the stairwells in our organization. Which sounds completely absurd. Who even does that? Why is that something that has to be set. It’s because they created this family, it was all about them, they were trying to take care of each other. Another place that we saw this in action was with, with the Catholic Church’s handling of the Pope speaking out against sexual abuse and how he first protected the Catholic church before the victims. This is a prime example of how often creating this in group where you feel empathy for the people who are most like you actually alienates the people on the outside. There was a really interesting study done about two groups of people who were asked, How do you interact with or punish someone who’s a part of a terrorist organization? Now, in the two different test groups, there was one group where individuals were asked to go in independently. And the person interviewing just said, Hey, how would you handle this person? And they asked about things like waterboarding, about electric shock, about really scary punishments. Now, the group of individuals who came in, they gave their best advice, they walked out and they went home. The people on the other test group, on the other hand, they were paired with friends, they were asked to go in with a friend of theirs, somebody with whom they felt a lot of empathy inherently, somebody who was in their in group. What’s really fascinating about this study, is the people who went in with a friend, and who made recommendations for how these individuals and terrorist organizations were treated, their punishments were exponentially higher. That happens, because like I said, empathy is a limited resource, you only have so much. So if you’re sitting next to someone with really good intent, someone who you love, and you’re trying to be just and thoughtful to someone who you perceive as bad, your empathy is going to go way down for that person. Third thing, you naturally feel less empathy for people facing challenges you’ve already overcome. I think the perfect example for this is imagining being back in middle school or high school, and feeling what it was like to have unrequited love. Do you remember your teenage sweetheart? And how much that hurt when it didn’t go? Well? Now think about how you interact with kids today. The youth when they’re looking at their phones and crying over things that they saw on Instagram, or Twitter, or I’m probably dating myself even saying that but tick tock. When they feel like their whole world is crumbling down around them, it’s so easy for us as adults to look at that and say, well, it’s no big deal. But if you remember how you felt during that time, it is a big deal. And the reason you think it’s not a big deal now is because you’re experiencing an empathy gap.

Oh, yeah, there are illustrations for it. If we look at this in email marketing, we have to ask ourselves, do you remember what it’s like to be a novice at anything new? So, perfect example when you start a new job, and you feel like oh, man, I’m all alone. And I don’t know what questions to ask or who to ask or which people in the company might be most instrumental here. Am I going to look silly if I speak up In this company meeting and ask the question that nobody else has to ask because they’re all experts. That’s a superpower. I think that’s something that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for. When you’re new, and you have 1000 questions, write that down. Same with email, a lot of us are here to learn about email, and build our communities and build our skill sets. And we forget what questions people are asking when they’re brand new. And that stuff can be particularly powerful when you’re trying to connect with your audience. So in my case, I worked for framer, and as an interactive design tool, for me, it’s quite intuitive now. It wasn’t two years ago. And it certainly isn’t for somebody who signed up for framer for the first time, yesterday. If I remember what was new and scary and hard for me back, then, it’s going to be much easier for me to connect with my audience. Let me show you how I screwed this up a couple of months ago, I sent a what’s new in framer email. So this is an email where we share features and news and updates and resources for new people. This copy this is a new feature, we released a variant editing to point out something that I found pretty straightforward, even as someone who’s not a power user within the company. So I wrote. Now you’re able to add, delete, duplicate sort and drag layers in any variant instead of only being able to make changes to the primary. This means smart components and framer are more flexible than ever see what else you can do. Does that mean anything to anyone in this room? I hear like maybe one yes. Joke’s on me, I’m sending this email to people who might be one week into framer, they have no idea what that means. It’s not helpful for them. And lucky for me, I had someone who was willing to share that feedback with me, they wrote, this email isn’t very noob friendly, it has a ton of jargon, I don’t understand. And it just gives me anxiety that I’ll never be able to learn how to use framer. That’s a scary feeling. And I didn’t do right by them, because I was having a hard time putting myself in their shoes. Empathy is also cognitively costly. So we end up using it only when it’s convenient. I touched on this earlier with an in group versus out group mentality. So empathy is a lot easier. Like I mentioned, when you’re trying to understand something from somebody else’s frame of reference, it’s easier, of course, when you can understand their frame of reference, that makes it much simpler. So if you can’t understand somebody else’s frame of reference, and you’re working with empathy, which is a limited resource, you tend to prioritize. Let me look at the people who are most like me who have most similar experiences, because I can do the most work to help them right now. Rather than taking a step back, and trying to understand how can I distance myself from my own perspective, to see how somebody else is approaching this and see how I can do this better. So a good example of how we see the show up in real life, is if you walk out of a train station, or you hear a knock on your door, you don’t know who it is, and it’s someone soliciting you for donations. What does that make you feel when you see somebody at the door and you’re like, Oh, God, I have to be a good person right now. It’s not that you don’t want to help them. But so often we avoid interactions like this, because you do want to help. But helping requires feeling and feeling is hard. This is a really an interesting example of how some organizations specifically nonprofits use this to their advantage. So it’s really, really hard to feel what people in large groups are feeling when you see like big numbers of people. So we say, I don’t know, 10,000 people across the world died from a natural disaster. 10,000 is a big number. But because we can’t put faces or names to those problems, we’re less likely to feel what they’re feeling. But if we can put a face and a name, and a frame of reference and a story behind individuals, it’s so much easier for us to relate. So this works out really well for nonprofits who are trying to raise money, and they say, Hey, meet Carl, will tell you about his story. Because if you know about his story, you’re more likely to relate and you’re more likely to help.

On the other side of the token, though, from a marketer’s perspective, if you’re not working for a nonprofit, if you’re trying to make big differences for big groups of people, looking at one individual often works against you. Because you get to know one individual story and you relate to that person so strongly and you feel what they’re feeling. You take the weight of their world on your shoulders, you’ll make changes for that. One person, potentially ignoring the hundreds of 1000s of other people on your list. So it’s really important to be cognizant of where you’re using empathy and where you’re spending it. Because like I said, at the end of the day, it’s a finite resource, we only have so much. And really, it can be an asset. But for your marketing strategy, it could be crippling. Finally, the last reason why empathy falls short, people can’t ever fully understand someone else’s experience. And that’s a prerequisite for empathy anyway. So like I said earlier about my mom and I, and about my husband and I, and about the mom and toddler, it’s really hard to understand someone else’s experience, even when you know, and love them deeply. Now, imagine trying to do that for hundreds of 1000s or millions of subscribers. How are you going to feel the weight of their world on your shoulders all day, every day, effectively enough to make that a part of your strategy? You won’t. There’s a really interesting story about a study that was done, where people wanted to understand what it was like to be blind, or how seeing people would interact with the world if they imagine themselves being blind. So very quickly, I promise I won’t play any tricks. I want you to close your eyes. Imagine your world just going dark. And I want you to imagine yourself taking a lap around this room? Imagine how difficult it would be? What would you think about navigating around, maybe backing out the chair and not tripping on the table legs? How difficult Do you think it would be to take a lap and then come back to me? Open your eyes again. This study was done asking people to imagine themselves being blind. Now what’s really cool is that when they asked sighted people to imagine themselves being blind, they said, You know what, no problem. I’ve got to read the room. I know how this could work, I can make my way around. They actually way overestimated their abilities to get around. But then they looked at another test group. People who were actually blindfolded first. So people who had spent some time being blindfolded, sighted people who are blindfolded, they weighed underestimated their ability to navigate the world if they were blind. Now, what’s really interesting about this is when they asked blind people, how they would get around the world, they were pretty spot on, which I think is a revealing exercise in teaching us that if you’re trying to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can only take take yourself so far out of what you already know. So you might wildly overestimate or underestimate the resources people need, the support people need or what’s actually helpful to them. This is an illustration of a guy I follow on Instagram, super would recommend ASF vision. This guy Anthony, skateboards, blind, he travels the world blind. He’s a way better skateboarder than I could ever imagine. And I guarantee you, he has a pretty good read on how he would get around the room. So the reason I bring this up is a good reminder that as good as our intent could be. If we’re trying to put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes, we still won’t always be able to imagine all the little intricacies the bits and pieces of what it’s like to be somebody else. But fortunately for us, we don’t have to imagine it. We can just ask them, guarantee you. Like I said, if we ask the Anthony, he’d give us a pretty good read on how he got around the room. So to recap why empathy falls short, you’re gonna run out of it, it causes loyalty to the wrong things. It makes you overestimate your abilities. It’s hard on your body and brain. It’s just cognitively costly. And finally, it fundamentally impairs your perception from the start. We’ve all got empathy hangovers. We’re exhausted. We’re trying to deal with everything all on our own. Our perception is completely manipulated. It’s incorrect. We’re trying our best. We’re approaching problems with good intent. And we continue to miss the mark with our audiences, because we just can’t understand 100,000 people at once. That’s hard.

So are we all doomed to fail? You existential crisis, I spent a lot of 2020 feeling this way. How do I do right by people without calling, calling reminders to the fact that we’re all dealing with a pandemic and trying to survive as kind generous human beings the way out of this Is to trade empathy for curiosity and compassion instead. Now, that seems like a really, really boring, picky semantic thing to bring up. But this is we’re gonna, we’re gonna dive into the brain science behind this, and I think you’ll find it really cool. So high level, curiosity shows you where you can take action to make a difference. So this is maybe looking at stats figuring out where you could have the biggest impact. And then compassion is the thing that motivates you to actually do it. This is the thing where you’re like, you know what this is ultimately good, I can be helpful, I can be supportive, I can build an audience and relationships here. So we’re going to take a look at your, your cute little pink brain, this is my very non scientific illustration of it, we’ll take a look inside. So with empathy, so this is something that happens in the anterior cingulate cortex of your brain is a really important part of your brain. So this is where feelings and decision making happen. So those two things kind of seem like they’re at odds at first. But if you actually look at the science behind it, decisions are driven by feelings, and then backed up by logic, your brain connects the dots in between. So often, when you make a decision about something, it’s a gut feeling, you’re like, you know what this is it, I’m gonna go this direction, and then your brain will naturally fill in the blank spaces in between. Now, compassion happens in a totally different part of your brain. This happens in the reward centers. So the supramarginal gyrus, super sciency. Basically, the easiest way to explain this is if you have a look at a mother, and a daughter, or a father and son, et cetera, et cetera, endless permutations on a playground, and you see a child fall and bust their head or skin, their knee, and just have a total meltdown. You see, the parents step in to help, but you don’t see that parent experiencing the same set of feelings. Can you imagine if you’re on a playground, and you saw a parent, see their child fall, and then reacts the same way their child was reacting, if they had a full meltdown, you would be looking at that situation be like, You’re not helping. This doesn’t do anything. And so when we put the weight of empathy on our shoulders, something that’s limited that we run out of, and we try to feel what everybody else around us is feeling. We’re just feeling burnt out and sore and helpless. Whereas compassion works differently. Because this is in the reward center. It’s not limited in the way that empathy is you don’t just run out, you don’t have to go to sleep and regenerate some more for the next day. Compassion is this endless feedback loop. So you may have heard stories about people who recommend volunteering or helping other people to make yourself feel better. There’s scientific reasoning behind that. It’s because compassion regenerates you get dopamine hits from being helpful and thoughtful and kind to other people. Like Jen said earlier about Ted lasso. It’s contagious. It’s something that not only builds within you, but it builds in your network. So the more you make that part of your strategy, the more helpful you can ultimately be. A perfect example of this from bloomin wild. Do y’all remember this? This email campaign? Is this a thing that rings any bells? Okay, couple nodding heads. So bloomin wild ran a campaign a few years ago that we heard a lot about in the email industry, where it’s asking people if they wanted to opt out of Mother’s Day reminder emails. And we heard a lot about how this was like, peak empathy. This is a brand being so thoughtful and so human, that they connected with their audience. And they really did. This was getting the people to opt out of a time that was particularly painful. But I want to take a look at actually why this worked. And if we’re not aiming for empathy, why was this so successful? So I did a little research on how this campaign came about. As it turns out, it wasn’t somebody on the bloomin wild marketing team who decided, You know what, this would be particularly thoughtful to send to people, we want to save them the pain. This email came about, after dozens of customer support tickets from people saying, hey, this really hurts. I don’t want Mother’s Day emails. This is a painful reminder of having lost my mother or having a troubled relationship with my mother.

What actually happened is after dozens of support tickets, somebody on the CES team product to the marketing teams attention and was saying, we’re getting a lot of opt outs, is there something that we can do better here. So really, if you look at it, we build this empathy all the time. But it’s curiosity and it’s compassion. That person on the CES team didn’t have to feel something to know that they could take action and do better by their own And what’s really interesting too, is that when we started talking about how successful this was, other brands started doing it. They saw the data behind, they took a step back and realized that there was a huge opportunity to make an impact. So we saw this happen with uncommongoods, with a weigh in with Pandora who all said, You know what, you’re right. This is a really thoughtful, compassionate kind thing to do. And at the end of the day, it helps our numbers. So how do you actually get pragmatic about defining a compassionate email strategy? It’s not just the semantics between empathy and compassion. It’s it’s not just taking a step back and trying not to feel too much. There’s more to it than that. You can capitalize on your own inexperience. And this is what I mentioned earlier about, do you remember what it feels like to be new. So take notes on what’s difficult, be a user yourself, go through your own checkout flows or your subscription models.

A few brands who are doing this well, starting with Zapier, if you’ve used Zapier, before, you understand that there are probably 10s of 1000s of ways to use it, it’s a huge tool. And what they do really, really well with this particular email, is they congratulate you on creating your first app, and then they give you two options for what you might want to do next. So they’re keeping it really limited and small, they were able to execute on this because they realize that instead of overloading you with every possible option, or making sure that we give you every avenue for anything that you might feel is really important, we’re just gonna give you a couple that we think might be helpful. Headspace also did this really well. Again, limiting the ways in which you might be overwhelmed trying to take a step back and see, okay, what’s most impactful? How can we look at the data and see what’s the one action that somebody might take that might make them feel most successful? And then Y’all not to toot my own horn. But to toot my own horn. This is what we do at framer. Our first onboarding message belt with quite a lot of testing is three easy ways to get started on your first prototype. Now, the first option we give you is to follow a tutorial because that’s what we found, when we looked at the data was most helpful to the most people. Now, that doesn’t work for everybody all the time. But that’s where we saw we had an opportunity to make the biggest impact. Now, the three things that follow are different resources that might work for different people. But we didn’t try to cram everything all in at once. Now, if you can imagine doing interactive design is really difficult. People have a lot of different use cases for it. So instead of throwing every possible option at everyone, somebody might see this this email and say, You know what, I know exactly what I want to use primer for, I need x template, or I want to start here, whatever, those people, frankly, are probably going to disregard it. But based on what we’ve learned from our testing, we know that this is most helpful for most people. So this is what we stick with. Like I said, look at your data to find the most impactful opportunities for compassion. Starting with accessibility. So we talk a lot about accessibility is this thing that you add on at the end emails, right you want to do, make sure you declare your language and add alt attributes and check your ARIA roles, all that good stuff. So I would argue though, that it’s not something that you add on at the end, it’s something you bake in from the beginning. So if we take a look at the data, about 15% of people, this is actually way lower. My math is horrible when I drew about 15% of people have disabilities that impact their ability to interact with their digital environment. So people with dyslexia or with color blindness, they might really struggle to relate with something. And honestly, in most business contexts, 15% is a lot. So if you’re not treating that 15% From the very beginning, if you’re building your emails and then saying, Look, I’m going to add accessibility later, and we’ll get there, you’re missing out on a huge audience because you’re not thinking about them from the start. It’s a really easy opportunity to win. And frankly, speaking from personal experience, I moved to the Netherlands two years ago. I’m an English speaker, trying mightily to learn that. And when I first moved there, there are a lot of emails that I got that didn’t have language declared. And even though I could copy and paste the text into Google Translate, I quickly learned which brands in which organizations had language declared because I could just click a quick little button at the top for Google Translate. The interesting thing about accessibility, if you look for a CES stuff technology, you’ll see it everywhere around the world, if you see like curb cuts when you’re walking around New York City, stuff like that is built, and designed often by people with disabilities, but we all benefit from it. And so if you consider accessibility as something that you just add on at the end, you’re missing out on helping people who may not have disabilities, but who would really benefit from being able to interact with your marketing in a smooth, seamless way. You should also have real conversations with your colleagues and your customers. I know I’m talking a lot about looking at the data, taking a step back, try not to feel the individuals. But one thing that we miss when we’re looking at big data sets, is we miss the outliers that can actually be indicators of bigger problems.

So this is something that we do in framer, emails that I find particularly helpful. We have this tiny little footer, I’m trying to trip as I step up here. So this little line at the bottom that says was this email helpful? Thumbs up, thumbs down. It’s really simple little thing. And honestly, I don’t really learn that much from how people respond to the thumbs up or the thumbs down. But what I do learn a lot from is the form that people go to after they click on that. So if they click thumbs up, we say, thanks. What do you like, specifically? And this usually gives us good feedback on what particularly in the email, someone really resonated with what was helpful. But then my favorite part of this, and this is a question that we ask for people who do thumbs up or thumbs down? What’s the one thing we could do to make framer emails more useful for you? So there are two parts to this that I think are particularly interesting. When we ask what’s the one thing we’re asking people to prioritize? What is the most helpful thing for you right now. And interestingly, we hear the same thing over and over and over again, from people in all sorts of different cohorts. And this has been one of our most instrumental pieces in learning from our users, what are we not doing yet that we should be doing that would be helpful for you? For me, curiosity, a part of your strategy and prioritize relentlessly. So bosses are always going to be asking for TPS reports, for the next new campaign for you to optimize the email for whatever random Lotus Notes murmur of something or other that’s in their inbox. They want their emails that you’re creating, to land beautifully for them specifically. But I would encourage you to ask, is this actually helpful? is the thing that you’re asking for helping the most people? Is this going to make the biggest impact for our strategy? So this is something that I think is really challenging and email generally, is that we’re tasked with so much, that often we feel like we have to say yes to everything. And if we say yes to everything, we burn ourselves out, we don’t see results. And we’re not making a difference for our audience. But the more you can see know, the more you can back it out and figure out what actually makes a difference. And how can I move the metrics that matter? The more you’ll be able to increase email visibility within your organization, which is really, really powerful for being able to say yes to the things you know, will make a difference. Some of the practical ways I like to do this at work, I maintain an evergreen email doc. So when I say evergreen, I mean emails that are just running constantly. So onboarding, emails, resurrection, emails, retention, emails, subscriber welcomes things like this. So these are the emails that go out all the time, I think we forget, because we’re so often in this because this is part of our day to day that other people in our organization don’t have the same visibility or the insight or understanding into that. So it’s particularly helpful for me to maintain a doc that actually just highlights hey, here’s everything. If you want to have a look, see how things interact with each other, see what the content is. Now, maybe you can lend some opinions, this is a great resource for new hires, who don’t know what our email program looks like, I can just point them here. And we can have really open conversations about everything that’s going out how our brand is perceived in inboxes, looking at the whole holistic vision, not just one campaign at a time. I also really like to explore individual use user journeys. So like I said earlier, if you click into one particular person’s experience, and you can have a look at the last five emails that maybe they received, or what they didn’t receive that you sent out recently and have a look at the data and figure out okay, why is this not landing? Or why is something new landing that that maybe isn’t landing at the right time or for the right poor person or this doesn’t really fit in the cohort that we thought it did? Jump on customer calls. join in with your product team, your sales team, different people in the organization because you’ll always get different perspectives there, it makes it a lot easier to understand what’s happening in different parts of the company. Take yourself out of your own shoes for a little bit. Check out social media, have a look and see what people are saying about your organization jump in and have conversations with them. I really love getting feedback that an email landed particularly well, but honestly, the feedback that’s most helpful is when people say, What the hell okay? Why did you send this to me, this is not helpful at all. It helps me take a step back and pivot and realize maybe what I can do better next time. And be a user yourself. So go through your ecommerce flows, go through subscription models, figure out where the pain points are, what’s broken, and then take a step back and look at the data and figure out okay, can we scale this is there an opportunity here

and stop fighting your tech stack your email as hard as it is, you shouldn’t be using tools that limit you any more than you need to be limited. So if you can look at the strengths of the tools that you’re using, and use those to your advantage, rather than trying to force them to be something that they’re not, it’ll give you a whole lot of peace of mind. Now, one of the ways we use iterable, to do this at framer are few of the ways we use iterable. To do this at framer. We build workflows with flexible test groups. So test out different things different ways all at once. So instead of saying, Okay, we’re gonna test this for six weeks, and then we’re gonna come back pivot a little bit later test something else. And then maybe in a year and a half, we’ll have some concrete results. That doesn’t really help anybody with any speed. So we like to test at the same time multivariate tests. We also pass hidden fields in surveys with handlebars and personalization. That’s the footer feedback form that I mentioned earlier, we pass what campaign someone clicked from, what their email addresses if we want to follow up with them later, and what the sentiment was. So instead of having to build 10 different surveys, where I have to pop in at any given time and try to parse Okay, where did somebody come from? What does this mean? What’s the context for this, I pass everything behind the scenes with handlebars makes my life a lot easier. I also like to create segments based on different personas. So this is like when we talk about personalization. This seems like a Yeah, done moment. But segments are particularly helpful for measuring your data. So instead of just creating segments within your workflows, I like to create segments just outside generally. So at any given point, I can see which segments are growing, which ones are shrinking, I can take a holistic view of my data, and then pop back into individual customer journeys within that. And that gives me a much more pointed picture of what’s working and for who. And finally, I like to trigger messages and segment data with custom events. So whenever someone interacts with us on the on the website, I’m able to see, okay, where are they coming from what’s particularly helpful, can I send something at a at a given time, that might be a good resource for them right now, rather than sending all the things to all the people and hoping for the best. It’s also really important to find your community. I think a few people have mentioned this already. Karen, you highlighted this beautifully. But the email geeks community is so special. And I think because email is so difficult, we’ve created this reputation for being really good about helping each other out and showing up for one another. These are three of the communities that I found most helpful. So I’m a part of iterables marketing masters with folks from these brands, where I get to PowerShell every couple of months over what I might do to make my marketing program a little more successful, specifically within the context of iterable, our ESP, I’m also a member of women of email. Bless you, Jen. This is just one of the best resources for my career, wonderful human beings who come together to support one another. And of course, the email geek slack if you’re not a member of one of these would absolutely recommend. And stay curious. So like I said, I geeked out on the brain science behind this talk a whole awful lot. And there’s a lot more to learn. It’s not nearly as dry as I think the top of the general topic brain science is. So I would encourage you to check out some of these resources and learn a little bit more. I made these slides available offline. So online. I’m not going to hand out paper. They’re available on wandering Expo dash 21. I’ll send you the link. But these are a few of the articles that I found particularly helpful in understanding why empathy can be harmful specifically in the context of a marketing strategy and just on the whole as a human being. There’s one in particular that I find really interesting. So this implicit association, association tests from heart Words Project Implicit is really, really cool in highlighting where you might have implicit bias that you don’t know about. So there are a whole bunch of different tests around race around gender around ability. And they’re they’re built out by Harvard. But you can dive in and take these really quick tests to maybe reveal something about yourself that you didn’t know before, and help you shine a light on the spots where you can be a little more compassionate. So big thanks to iterable and the inbox Expo team for making this happen today, it’s been an absolute delight to join you all. And I would welcome any questions. If you want to hit me up in networking later or at lunch. I would love to chat with you and nerd out a little bit more.

Finally, if you’re interested in keeping it going, please join me at activate 2022 is a conference hosted by iterable there are a few dates online and in person, but have a look for yourself if you want to be thank you all very much

Rickey White 46:08
for another amazing presentation. So now we’re actually going to prepare to go to lunch but before we do so, I like to make will give a huge thanks and shout out to Nash and Kieran from SparkPost our title sponsors so if we could give them a round of applause for their support and before we before we actually enjoy the lunch downstairs we’re going to meet here on the staircase right on