TechBytes with Andrew Barrett, Director, Email Deliverability, Compliance, & ISP Relations, Braze (formerly Appboy)

Andrew Barrett, Director, Email Deliverability, Compliance, & ISP Relations at Braze

Andrew Barrett
Director, Email Deliverability, Compliance, & ISP Relations at Braze

The performance of Email Marketing campaigns can be measured in many ways. One of them is to  check if your emails are actually landing in the desired inbox. To understand the trends in Email Deliverability, we spoke to Andrew Barrett, Director – Email Deliverability at Braze (formerly Appboy).

Tell us about your role at Braze and the team/technology you handle.

At Braze (formerly Appboy), I provide consultative services to customers and internal teams on how to improve their ability to reach their e-mail recipients quickly and reliably, and to show them how the implementation of best practices can accomplish that. I use visualization tools to show how concomitant changes in their practice are improving their email ROI and other KPIs (or how their current practices are killing them).

What are your predictions on the State of Email Deliverability Trends in 2018-2020?

There are two key trends I’m looking out for. First is the complete death of the “batch-and-blast” mentality that many marketers still can’t seem to shake. Too many senders rely on bad math that fails to consider diminishing returns. More mail is not the same thing as more revenue. Sometimes the best thing senders can do for their e-mail practice is to not send an e-mail.

I’m also watching as marketing automation evolves into fully realized AI-based solutions. There’s no doubt that automation is still transforming e-mail marketing, but automation relies on fundamental, underlying assumptions made by senders around recipient behavior that is often unsupported by data, or that are just plain bad habits. AI has the potential to obviate the need for any of those assumptions altogether to achieve the best possible results.

How do you see trends in Artificial Intelligence driving improvements in Email Deliverability?

Deliverability often seems counter-intuitive when we approach it in an ad hoc or piecemeal manner, but it’s really quite elegant and internally consistent. Marketers don’t often have the time or opportunity to become deliverability experts. I get that, it’s just not their job, and the business imposes other commitments or constraints on their time and resources.

What they’ll find though, is that AI will obviate the need for deliverability expertise, because, over time, AI will learn what works best and what doesn’t. If you care to look under the hood, you’d find that machine learning will arrive independently and entirely programmatically at a set of behaviors that is almost perfectly aligned with deliverability best practices.

How do you prepare for the disruptions in the industry?

The best deliverability pros I know understand that, at its core, the relationship between stakeholders in the e-mail ecosystem—that is, e-mail senders and inbox providers—is one of symbiosis. It’s not one that must necessarily be combative or contentious. There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate with each other to protect the viability of the entire channel from new threats. When that happens, we not only get an early read on important shifts, but we occasionally have an opportunity to inform or influence them and how they impact us.

Which tools and technologies best serve email personalization campaigns?

Facebook, Apple, and Google have competing platforms to serve up responsive design and content based on the data they collect on individual recipient preferences and behaviors. Facebook and Apple have a head start, but in the end, I think Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is going to win out. Gmail now occupies the lion’s share of any sender’s target ISPs, and they’ve open-sourced the platform. Both mean less friction around broader and faster adoption.

Which features should B2B teams focus on while scouting for Email Marketing tools?

In my opinion, the distinction between B2C and B2B marketing is a complete fiction. Businesses don’t read e-mail; people read e-mail. In that sense, what works for one works for the other. There’s no real difference between the two, and I assure you that Google, Microsoft, and other providers of hosted e-mail infrastructure don’t care about any such distinction either.

What are the core tenets of your emails for customer engagement?
Test, measure, lather, rinse and repeat.

Thanks for chatting with us, Andrew.

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