Tell us about your role and journey into omnichannel marketing.
We started as an Email Marketing tool, Soundest. As we were built around the e-commerce industry, we noticed that e-commerce marketers have very specific needs around automation. At the time, when we launched Soundest 5 years ago, automation wasn’t easy for online sellers. Email Marketing automation was a privilege for larger players such as Amazon. We wanted to bring data-driven automation to small and medium e-commerce companies.
As we grew and our customers grew, we noticed that Email Marketing wasn’t the scope our customers really needed. Our e-commerce marketers needed to add more channels to their automation to reach their customer in a larger variety of ways.
We saw the move towards omnichannel, and we made a decision that we were going to provide omnichannel Marketing Automation for our marketers. We then rebranded as Omnisend, which better reflected the direction we’re going in. I actually just did a podcast with eCommerce MasterPlan a few weeks ago on how we rebranded. You can give it a listen if you’d like more information on that journey.
Tell us about the evolving state of the consumer messaging landscape.
The consumer messaging landscape is an endlessly evolving industry that is moving faster than anyone really anticipated. Technology is barely moving fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Where consumer messaging was previously focused on email, but the customer of 2019 needs more. This is why we made the move to omnichannel marketing.
Customers are already expecting an omnichannel experience, and they’re using several channels to connect with brands daily across several devices. Brands need to keep up and respond to that omnichannel demand by being present on those channels and engaging back with customers.
Another aspect of the consumer messaging industry that’s interesting is the move towards AI. Chatbots, Email Marketing Automation, all of these things are getting smarter and using Machine Learning to tailor customer messaging for each individual person. We’re working on similar things for Omnisend too, as I believe it’s going to influence a lot about the digital world. It’s an exciting time for the industry.
Why is omnichannel the key to customer engagement?
At the end of the day, it all boils down to one simple concept: When you send a relevant message, you’re going to have better customer engagement. Omnichannel marketing allows you to send more personalized messages by adapting them to the customer as they move through their purchase journey. Brands need to be where their customers are, on the channels that their customers use.
What really reinforces this belief is the data that we collect from our own marketers using Omnisend. We found that when they used three or more channels in an automated workflow, their campaign engagement outperformed simple email campaigns by 250%. When our marketers take an omnichannel approach to their marketing strategies, they earn more and they have a better relationship with their customers. It’s that simple.
How is personalized messaging finally making a huge impact?
What we’ve been seeing is that generic messaging just doesn’t work anymore. Customers don’t respond to it, and worse, they actually have a distaste for general promotional messages. We’re lucky in that we live in a digital world where we can collect tons of data on our customers, like browsing, campaign, and purchase behavior.
This data allows us to better personalize our messages so they’re always relevant, no matter where a person is in the customer journey. As human beings, we naturally resist advertisement. We’re only engaged when the message is highly personal and relevant.
Technology-wise, where is your platform with Email Automation and why should brands be excited about it?
First, an important distinction should be made. We do omnichannel Marketing Automation. Our entire brand is centered around the fact that email just isn’t enough on its own, and that’s why we bring other channels into the mix.
Customers aren’t using just email — so why encourage brands to do that? We want to help marketers be present and engage with their customers where their customers are. This is why our brands take advantage of Omnisend’s channel integrations so they can add different channels in a single automation workflow. We’re about where Marketing Automation is clearly going, and that’s omnichannel.
Is SMS marketing dying? What is Omnisend doing to map SMS marketing with an omnichannel strategy?
On the contrary, we’re seeing that SMS marketing is experiencing a revival. It’s important to know that 94% of SMS messages are read in the first 5 minutes of receiving the message. Marketers are taking advantage of that urgency, as during this past holiday season, SMS messages were sent 33 times more on Black Friday than on a typical business day. Even just adding SMS to a campaign can have great results, we had some key customers telling us they were seeing a 2000% ROI over Black Friday Weekend. In fact, after email, SMS is likely our most popular channel added to automation. Our marketers are seeing great results from it, so I would say it’s far from dying.
As SMS grows in popularity again, we’re going to see free messenger apps add to that. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, etc are apps that are going to be playing a much larger role in marketing strategies over the next few years.
How much have Marketing Operations changed since the arrival of Automation and BI/Analytics tools? How do you leverage these tools at Omnisend?
As Marketing Automation has become more sophisticated, so has our tool and our methods of marketing to our own customers. The fact is that Marketing Automation saves a lot of time and makes a marketer’s life easier. We leverage that ourselves within Omnisend to eliminate the more tedious tasks and streamline our own marketing operations.
Which Marketing and Sales Automation tools and technologies does Omisend use at the moment?
Though it’s true that Omnisend is more built for e-commerce, we use Omnisend as much as possible to be our own brand evangelists. It also makes sense for each person who has any contact with our customers to know our tool inside and out. How better to do that than to use it for our own marketing operations. We love what we’ve built, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
For what we can’t achieve with Omnisend, we make up for with smaller tools here and there. But we mainly use our own.
What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?
I think Mixpanel is an interesting startup to watch. I would also say ChartMogul, ProfitWell, and BareMetrics. They’re interesting because they’re all trying to solve business analytics for SaaS startups, and while they’ve not solved it completely, they’re definitely players to watch in this field.
How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
I think it’s more important to be prepared as a team and as an organization. We have data scientists that work with AI, and I have no doubts that Omnisend will be AI assisted in the future. However, I don’t believe that the world will be AI-centric in the next 20-30 years. I think it will be AI assisted but driven by human beings.
How do you inspire your people to work with technology?
We’re already a tech-based company, technology is at the core of what we do, so we naturally attract tech-oriented people. Whether they’re developers, or marketers, or administrators, we’re tech people.
One word that best describes how you work?
Organized chaos (this is two words, but it’s on brand)
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Mixpanel for sure, LinkedIn, and G-Suite.
What are you currently reading?
I have a challenge for myself this year, I’m trying to read a book per week. Right now I’m reading a fiction novel, and then I’m also reading one more geared towards my industry. The last ones I read was “Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull and “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. The last fiction novel was “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott. Fitzgerald.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s actually a slogan — but it’s “Just do it.” Because I believe in constant learning, and the only way to really learn is to start doing things. It’s about making yourself, your organization, your processes better. You just gotta do it.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.
Charlie Casey of Loyalty Lion. We’ve collaborated with them recently, and I think he might have some interesting things to say.
Thank you, Rytis! Hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
Rytis Lauris, the Co-founder and CEO of Omnisend, the powerful omnichannel marketing automation platform that’s focused on moving ecommerce marketers beyond the generic email marketing tools. He believes that rich customer data and an omnichannel approach empowers ecommerce businesses to generate more sales by sending highly personalized messages via various channels, including email, SMS, Facebook ads, Google retargeting and others. Rytis is successful entrepreneur who has spent more than last 10 years building and driving a few startups which has brought him to ecommerce field. He has shared his knowledge and expertise in numerous ecommerce conferences, including Litmus Live and Meet Magento.
Omnisend provides sophisticated omnichannel marketing automation tools for sales-driven marketers that have outgrown generic email marketing platforms. The platform allows to engage your customers and boost your ecommerce sales with dynamic emails, text messages, Facebook Messenger, and retargeting ads on Facebook and Google – all from one platform. Omnisend is one of the top rated apps in Shopify Appstore and is also listed in G2Crowd’s selection of the Top 50 Products for Marketers 2019.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.