Kitty Bates 0:41
Hello, everybody, I’m just gonna apologise in advance for my video quality. But anyway, Hello and welcome to leaders of the email channel, the future of email. And sorry for the glitching. I’m going to i, there’s not much I can do to fix it, I’m afraid. But anyway, that doesn’t matter. So I first of all like to introduce myself and then I’ll introduce the rest of the panel. My name is Kitty, I work, Mrs. Digital, we are based in England. It’s a We’re a full service digital marketing agency that works with a variety of clients to increase both sales and inquiries. And I’ve been working in email for about four years now. And I’m really passionate not only about increasing accessibility email, also accessibility for neurodiverse people and just improving email for everyone in general. And one of my guests tonight, I will call them guest but male experts is Lisa. For more than 16 years, Lisa has been a digital innovator and disruptive marketing communications. As the founder and chief AML Officer of IML, Inc, a multi patent pending communications company promised to improve the interpersonal connections in our global community through an engaging email experience where every email is an opportunity for IML consider Trailblazer willingdon technology, which side note I absolutely love. I think that’s fantastic. Lisa has been recognised for Stevie award for innovative and it’s Delta Airlines catalyst of the year, amazing titles. She is currently a board member of the Technology Association of Georgia diversity and inclusion and volunteers at the women and Technology Association. This is an MBA from Alabama and an executive degree from the top business school at Dartmouth, and is currently enrolled at Harvard Business Schools. And on top of all of those things was recently featured in the industry wide magazine, the 10 most influential women leaders to follow in 2021 Wow, that Lisa, wow.
Lisa Jones 2:48
Thank you for having me.
Kitty Bates 2:50
I feel honoured to be even on the call with you and have matching retina brands, red lipstick with you. So I think that’s brilliant. And next I’m gonna introduce Jordan. Jordan Cohen is CEO and founder of the foxhill Group, a growth marketing agency that works with tech startups from launch phase through three to IPO. So his clients include email marketing focus companies, such as what if media group were popular Campaign Monitor and deliver, he has over 20 years of email marketing experience that includes serving as the first ever Head of Marketing for real time, innovator moveable, Inc, cmo fluent, and he has served on the advisory board for rebel mail, which was recently acquired by Salesforce. Jordan, thank you also for joining us today. It’s fantastic to have you here.
Jordan Cohen 3:38
Thanks for having me.
Kitty Bates 3:40
Okay, and finally, we’ve got Casey Hill durable, vulnerable, I can’t I’m really sorry, I’ve been juro. I was like, I’ve got it written down. But I’ve only got bonde written down. I’m so sorry. Casey is Julia stay, and I spoke to one of your colleagues Ollie earlier. And he was absolutely brilliant. So it’s a lovely to have all of you here. This is panel is all about looking at the future of the email channel. We’re going to be looking at everything from some of the data issues that have been coming up, especially in Europe versus America. We’ve got some accessibility topics. And we’ve got some things about whether email has room to grow. And some fantastic topics. So I want to dive right in and look at the EC j ruling with Privacy Shield. And the questions that be thrown about up about the use of sort of privacy in email, looking specifically at people in Europe and the EIA using companies based in America like MailChimp, etc, etc, etc. And whether we think that this is going to pose a long term problem or whether It’s just something that everyone just needs to sort of wake up and move around. Obviously, there’s a load of privacy stuff coming up at the minute. Now it’s been three years since GDPR. So anyone want to sort of give us a bit of their thoughts on the privacy issue at the minute?
I’ve got I’ve got some hands pointing by Jordans point. And so if we think about something I know America’s sort of not controversial, but has different laws in different states. And in California, you’ve got all sorts of cameras let you read about California’s got the ccpa ccpa? No, that’s not the right one, the CC something or other? And then but more and more coming about? Has anyone been affected by those in their work, the change in laws across the different states? Or do you think there should be a federal level data protection brought in?
Lisa Jones 6:07
From my perspective, here at I mill, we haven’t had any issues in that accord. So that’s why I’m thinking through how to provide value in that on that particular question. But we haven’t had that particular challenge or to come across that.
Kitty Bates 6:22
Okay, fantastic. That’s good. I was gonna say over hearing. And it seems to be changing by the day at the minute. And when we left the EU, yeah, when we left the EU, there was a question about what’s going to happen with GDPR. Because what that directive, how we know, like the EU, I know, there’s been a lot of questions about whether something will change something will, something new is gonna come in. And, and that’s been quite a interesting issue to navigate. And I know a lot of the European people have been also questioning about working in working with the EU, working with the UK in terms of data transfer. And, and the, the, the sort of ongoing forward because we left with a no deal Brexit, we no longer had, we didn’t have anything in place for specifically for data protection. And I think a lot of people in England and the sort of Scotland wet islands are trying to sort of work out at the minute and try and almost future prove ourselves, because while we know that GDPR is the baseline, we don’t know if anything else is going to be layered on top again, I’m going to pass on my camera glitching I have no idea what’s going on right now. And that’s
Casey Hill 7:33
totally okay. I mean, yeah, it’s certainly an interesting topic. You know, I I’ve worked with a lot of USBs, I will be currently I’ve been Jordan ESB. So we send mail, and obviously we’re across GDPR, and Privacy Shield and issues like that. So there are things that we definitely are presented with, I mean, companies invest a lot of money, and I think kind of trying to become compliant and stay with the standards, and then things adapt. So it’s a, it’s a tricky mix, especially if you’re in ESP specifically. But in terms of I guess where it’s going, I mean, my only thought processes, I think that these kind of privacy regulations are here to say, I don’t think that those are going to shift out I think companies probably intuitively are going to have to focus on keeping better and better records as they continue to grow. Because surely that’s going to be part of the equation. And you have lots of technology that’s kind of tangentially related to the kind of GDPR regulations, which is kind of another can of worms. So I likewise don’t have like, super deep, like regulatory insights on where I think it’s gonna go. But I do think that companies more and more are going to be pushed to try to have due diligence about how their information is collected and have records of that. And like happy to hear that on an ongoing basis. I think that’s kind of shifting from something that was like a good idea to something that’s probably going to become more of like a mandatory must have as this evolves over the years. Yeah, I
Kitty Bates 8:55
don’t know, it’s fun. I agree with him.
Jordan Cohen 8:58
Yeah, so so weighing in, you know, I’m not a privacy expert. There was a period in my life in my history as an email marketing guy where I was. So I started in this industry in 2003, I was up the Direct Marketing Association. We were actually lobbying for the can spam act. And of course, we got panned afterwards the can spam act was that you can spam act. And yeah, we were representing industry, we were trying to make it you know, kind of like the bare minimum standard, right? just slap knocked out, have your postal address on there and anything goes right. And then we also made sure that it was pre emptive in nature, because at the time, I mean, we’re going back 18 years now California had passed extremely restrictive law and we were able to push it through as a lobbying group, to make sure that there was a single national standard so that we wouldn’t create The entire channel because complying with that law at the time, I don’t remember the exact standards that we had in place, but it would have been, it would have been devastating because people with email addresses people didn’t have necessarily on five person is in California or could verify that the person was in California or have like state level information often email marketers would just have somebody whose email address not even have their first name right. In general, I’d say that, you know, on the I’ve worked on the acquisition side, right, so just top of funnel like helping companies grow their email lists, and those you know, that was like fluid where we ended up becoming the one of the largest players and going public. We just we just never expanded outside of the US. We just even Canada has, you know, restrictive stuff that you don’t want to touch, right. I was saying like, in my career, I ended up becoming I was one of like, the first like that title Director of ISP relations for a company called Bigfoot interactive that got bought by epsilon. And, and yeah, I mean, a bit a big, you know, the EU and just, slowly the EU in particular, just always pose problems, not just for us, but for big marketers in general. And the solution, we just wish it’s not market there. Yeah. Now we have in us this, like burgeoning, you know, crop of DTC companies that are doing awesome and growing really fast. And, you know, if, you know, privacy regulations across the world are, you know, this, this patchwork of complexity, and, you know, potential potential legal liability, what you’re going to see is just the stifling of business in terms of those companies expanding overseas, the US market itself is big enough to, you know, make a lot of people rich. So, I think in terms of like, you know, long term, if I have any value to add to this, you know, and I hope that we don’t talk about privacy legislation for much more than this first question. Technology, but yeah, for before, it’s worth, yeah, I mean, you know, restrictive policies, you know, they they sound on their face, pro consumer, whatever, the average American, like, isn’t thinking about this stuff, and like what’s going on with their data, you know, big picture, like we have so much horrible stuff going on in the country right now, that is going to be the focus of regulators that much more important than, you know, data. So I don’t see anything happening like in the US, like, Stafford kind of mind, relative to all the other things we just sorted out over here. So that’s my perspective, they’re
Kitty Bates 12:40
pretty much the next thing, I mean, going completely over to something more, slightly more exciting and interesting, and inbox extras. So obviously, you’ve got Gmail annotations that have become quite a big thing recently. And we had a question from john may of the RSC who did a talk earlier. And he said, Do you think things like this will become common across email providers? Or? Or do we think that email providers are each going to bring in their own sort of inbox extra as such, to add a bit more flair and excitement to the inbox itself? Or is that just going to stick with email, and then it might kilter out? So throwing that open? What do we think is going to happen with those inbox extras? There, perhaps, Jordan, I’ll pass the baton back to you. And see what you think.
Jordan Cohen 13:28
Oh, yeah. Okay, so if I start here, I think No, I think if they’re gonna see, you know, what adoption looks like and take it from there. There may be some, you know, copycats, you know, we’ve seen that in the past just with like, the promotions tab itself. And you know, what sticks sticks and what doesn’t get gets tossed aside if we remember, like Google Plus, a couple years ago. So no, Google, Google’s definitely a trendsetter. You know, if your Gmail is still, you know, critical, like it’s something that we all think about when it comes to deliverability. Top of Mind, like, we have an issues there, you’re, you’re having major, major issues. It really just became such a dominant player so rapidly. In terms of other other players. You know, yeah, jury’s out, if they’re gonna make it not make it, whether it’s gonna stay or not. A lot of stuff has been tested and then disappeared over the years as well. And then a lot of stuff stayed so be interested to hear what the other guys said probably would be more interesting and erudite
Kitty Bates 14:45
to say, Lisa, I know you’re quite a big proponent of like using video and email and stuff. Do you think that could be used in similar to gimana patients or what what do you think about that?
Lisa Jones 14:54
Well, I think about the aspects of video because when we go back to the The core purpose of email it’s to develop or to cultivate a relationship in the inbox. And video is so important to that. So when you mentioned the term, inbox extra, the extra is definitely going towards video now and for the future and looking at us that it said that 95% of us prefer to watch a video, as opposed to 10% you’ll retain a reading. So the idea that 95% of us would prefer to watch the video. And we’ll retain that more so than text messaging is so important to the messaging of that human connection. So what I see is in the future, regardless if it’s any webmail or outlook for that matter, is definitely the inclusion of an engaging experience in the email inbox. Okay, see
Kitty Bates 15:50
if you got any, I think,
Casey Hill 15:53
yeah, super interesting topic. And obviously, I work for a video email company as well. So echoing those sentiments from Lisa, like, that’s super important. You know, I think an interesting development is right now all the video players, the videos, like go from a thumbnail and link outwards, an interesting advancement, that will probably happen and the video will start to play more in line, it’ll actually have videos that are rendering inside the major inboxes, which doesn’t currently happen. So that’ll be interesting. Well, the concept of extras too, I think that like a smart inbox is absolutely going to continue to spread across the board. And so smart inbox means predictive reminders. So it’s going to tell someone, you know, hey, you need to respond to this person, right? Which which Gmail does right now, hey, you could have responded to person within two days, like when people have specific dates that are brought across, you’d probably get reminders to say, hey, let’s reminder, you have this meeting and X amount of days, you’ll see push notifications, I think starting to represent a lot of that functionality. So I think I’m on the topic of extras, it’s almost like I would, I would say it’s almost guaranteed that AI and kind of like smart intelligence is going to start to parse through the actual content of those messages, whether that’s parsing through text, and providing those insights or even video, like man notating that video and then parsing through it in the same way, I think we’re absolutely gonna see that.
Lisa Jones 17:09
And I also like to add to what Casey said, and I totally echo what he’s saying, with regards to the video playing in line and the future that actually exists today. Where we’re able to do that we’re able to play a 62nd or last video video, that will render in both outlook, Gmail, webmail, as well as mobile, but it has the ability to play that full content, and deliver at 15 kilobytes in size. So I definitely think the future is now with time and technology and where we are in the current climate of the world. Everything is totally evolving. And we’re just excited, we’re just totally excited about the future. Because again, it goes back to video content and that whole engaging experience for customers, we want our customers to be engaged, we want our members to be engaged. And so video is definitely the way the future is going to embrace it, which is now.
Jordan Cohen 18:08
So I said, I’ll be contrary and just say like, just to be contrarian. So that means a few
Lisa Jones 18:16
areas that we
Jordan Cohen 18:18
Lisa Jones 22:19
of the things that I think is well, in the midst of COVID, and going forward even before COVID, I would say that at the end of the day, the beginning of the day, why are we messaging people, we want to create that relationship in the midst of not having face to face meetings right? Now we’re looking for new ways. So that personalization is so key. And I agree with you, Jordan, from the let’s say, the it or the engineer perspective, versus the business of the enterprise, what we’ve been fortunate to be able to learn is in working with the enterprises, there’s an alignment with the early adopters, I agree that it has not come full circle as of yet where everyone is using video content or the integration. But with early adopters and some of the enterprise brands that we work with as well. They’re focused on how can we be first to market with a new technology what can we do as a split test? To get us higher engagement in the next videos we’ll get them 60% and open with the preview pane open or 38% and conversions. They’re listening.
Casey Hill 23:24
Yeah, it’s a it’s a super interesting topic. And I mean, I think so first off, you’re right that I don’t think there’ll be consensus across the inboxes and that’s one of the reasons why it’s been so challenging right? And frankly, it’s probably one of the reasons why the majority of the major video players in the market Have you look at loom you look at drip you look at bom bom you look you know we’re on camera here have all kind of gone that similar avenue of creating the thumbnail and then linking out but I would push back a little bit on the notion that it hasn’t changed from 10 years ago. I think that the thing is it’s such a huge industry. There’s trillions of emails coming across, I actually think the footprint of email has changed dramatically. And HubSpot, and a lot of other organisations have actually published a lot of data around this, the amount of video usage is like been surging up over the last 10 years. So I think it’s just when you’re dealing with this large market, I first I don’t think that all communications are going to turn to video. I think that voice voice to text is going to be huge. I think there’s gonna be a lot of different channels. But I do think that footprint has been increasing a lot. And I will say I did an article with Forbes about this. I do think that the advent of new technology like 5g and accessibility that makes it so that anyone from anywhere can easily use their phone to actually deliver video is also going to be a game changer because you can imagine right now one of the challenges is like uploads if you’re like going to record a quick video and you don’t have good perception, right, upload and transfer that video, that’s that’s a blockage. Whereas if you now have ubiquitous 5g access, suddenly people are gonna be able to use that as a medium a lot more seamlessly. So I do think technology will continue to be involved in that transition as well.
Kitty Bates 24:54
I’d like to sort of pose almost a similar counterpoint there is that do does everything Cannell need to do all the same things. Because if social media is doing video, if you have like sites like YouTube or doing video, and they’re getting so many views and so many hits, there’s every single channel need to pose those same things or as email, like it’s been for, like, literally, what not 40 years now, since the first day for over 40 years sources, the first email was sent, does email get ever going to change from largely text base? Because that’s what people know. And love, like you have people who’ve been using email since the IBM computers? Are we ever going to? Are we ever sort of going to change from that very core of people are using it to communicate mainly between one to another? Or is are we going to see sort of that just stick? Or are we gonna layer on that of making it similar to other marketing channels like social media like websites? And like, I’d be interested to see what you guys think about whether it’s just going to stay mainly tech space, or whether we’re going to see it become more like other media and other marketing channels?
Casey Hill 26:04
Yeah, I mean, my quick thoughts on this is I think that what’s one of the major like blockages or downsides of video, in my opinion, is that if you think about using emails and archived access information, if you try to search some specific thought, or some specific data point, obviously, if it’s a video right now, you can’t do that. But that’s obviously something that’s going to change very quickly. Like the technology is already there to very easily provide transcripts or video. So once you have that, that removes one of the major barriers now, it can just become this like universal form of communication, where you can search for any of those terms, it’s just gonna find that inside of a video and throw it up. I don’t think that technology is actually that far away. Will there be people that continue to want to use text? Absolutely. And that’s where I think you’re going to see, like I was saying earlier, voice to text is going to become huge. We already see that with text messaging, you know, my wife’s driving in the car, she’ll like be speaking to her car, and it’s texting people, right. Um, so I think that is already in the works. But I do think that that change with being able to annotate the videos will be a game changer, for
Lisa Jones 27:02
sure. Katie, I would also say in looking at the future, with email, and the growth, it’s also about inclusiveness and accessibility. And as such, when we think about the market of the visually impaired and the hearing impaired, so just for a stat globally, 285 million people are visually impaired, right? And 466 million have a hearing loss issue. The Enterprise corporations, organisations, we as a global community, are all about the inclusiveness of how do we ensure that we’re generating a consistent experience across all of these channels, and that should and will include email, as such, we as an organisation are including closed captioning on I mail campaigns in particular, so that our customer base when they ask, how can we include this community, this global community, because we’re all growing in numbers, right? So it’s a way to include and so for the future, I definitely see closed captioning, in email in the video of the email and the content being generated, so that we have a more inclusive society.
Kitty Bates 28:19
That’s a great
Jordan Cohen 28:22
point. I don’t want to take away from that, that message. But going back to your original question, which was kind of about, you know, does it kind of have its place? Is it going to change? You know, does email have its role relative to to other channels? I think I think email has a really big problem for marketers. I think that, you know, when I started in this industry, I haven’t heard this term in a while email was the killer app. Right? We used to say that emails the killer app that was back in the day before Facebook, even like we didn’t even know it was gonna pop up, let alone tik tok and Snapchat and all this other stuff that’s out there right now. And I think that email marketers need to be really introspective. Need to get really real with themselves. No, I love video when it’s deployed in a smart, creative way. I think that there’s been a complete lack of imagination around email. There has been a lack of discussion or thought around what its role is in the marketing mix. In a world where Facebook targeting is so damn awesome. The ability to I mean, the ads that I get on Facebook these days, and I’m in, I’m saying Facebook ads, and I’m not old, like I’m just not on Instagram. Like they’re so perfectly targeted to me. They are doing 32nd video minute long video. The targeting is perfect. It’s products that I’ve never heard of before from DTC advertisers that are super interesting, and I’m clicking by Facebook’s gotten better at this, like I’m responding more to their ads today than I was like three, four years ago. Meantime, inbox clutter is worse than it’s ever been. I’ve signed up for so much sh IIT over the years, just like and maybe it’s because I’m in email marketing. So it’s my responsibility to sign up and see what people are doing. But I have a feeling that a lot of people over the years have signed up for more and more stuff. It’s so easy to tune it out just like a standard IB ad unit. Those things are, you know, down the tubes, nobody’s spending money on them anymore. They are but they are they don’t know why. But it’s so easy for email to get completely drowned out. There’s so much cool stuff and innovation that’s happening and social. Unless email marketers reconceptualize what they’re doing from a creative perspective, I think if there’s so much just kind of button pushing going on. So little creative thought about how can we integrate email with our influencer campaigns with our social campaigns? You know, how is this email that I’m going to send going to get more than at? The open rate sucks or what like, 15%? You know, like the highest and 20% We’re like, praying, Oh, please. 20% I want to see that my coat they do. And then what we do, and then we do i do it myself, like in b2b, right? I’m b2b, corporate email marketer. And we get 20% open rate, we take that back to management and say, Oh, look at look, it’s better than the benchmark for our industry and MailChimp writer. If we’re in a bigger play HubSpot, like Oh, look, we beat them, we beat the click through rate, you know, we, you know, usually it’s point 2%, we got point seven, grey, and all these numbers are freaking terrible, right. And that’s why I always like, I’m such a big fan as a b2b marketer of LinkedIn, because I say, LinkedIn is awesome. It’s like a opt in email list with like, 100% open rate, like you’re guaranteed to, like, get that content, some of these newsfeed like email, marketers need to be thinking beyond that, like, hey, let’s just hit the 20%, they need to be thinking about how do I create sunsational on interesting content from the subject line through to the content like the my fellow speakers here have been talking about with video, as long as it’s relevant and integrated in a bigger way and more imaginative ways, more creative ways. Otherwise, email is just going to be this transactional like, Hey, we’re sending you a receipt and trying to upsell you some stuff.
Casey Hill 32:27
And I think just to make a quick comment on that, I think segmentation is so critical, right? Like everyone talks about segmentation, we hear about segmentation. But I still see so many large prominent brands that fail dismally here, right? And the reason they fail Disney is they’re not collecting key pieces of information that they need to segment. So another thing that, you know, I’d love for everyone listening here to walk away with is ask those key questions get beyond just, you know, the options that ask for only name and email and leave you without any context. Because, you know, Jordan’s totally right, like Facebook succeeds, because they have so much big data to play with. And so they can create a better experience. So I think with email, you need to do the same thing, create those very tight groups, your messaging, whatever way you message, whether it’s video, text, voice, whatever, make sure that you’re doing it in a way that’s very targeted to their key interests.
Kitty Bates 33:12
I think it’s pretty I can see we’ve only got a very short amount of time left. So I’m going to quickly wrap up and say thank you for all, thank you to all of you. coming on and for talking about things. I feel like there’s so much we could have talked about. But I hope we’ve covered some topics that everyone found relevant and found interesting. I think there’s a load of challenges for email marketers, and like Jordans pointed out coming up. And I think there’s charts of technology to pop through. But it’s going to be whether those are successful or not. And I think that’s going to be one of the biggest challenges. So thank you all for joining me. The time has gone to zero. And on that note, thank you, Casey. Thank you, Jordan. Thank you, Lisa. It’s been a pleasure to join this panel with you. And I hope that you will have a rest good rest of your day and for anyone in Europe, England a good rest of your evening.
Lisa Jones 34:03
Thank you so much.
Jordan Cohen 34:04
Thank you, Jenny. Thank you, the other guys bye