It’s time for another edition of the partner spotlight series we call The Rising Tide. We’re particularly excited about this edition because it’s all about Cordial, an eCRM platform that rejects outdated and redundant martech practices to drive best-in-class customer experiences.
This week, we had the opportunity to chat with Justin Soni, the Head of Sales Engineering at Cordial. He told us a bit about his background in email development as well as the inbox innovations he’s looking forward to in the future like Google AMP for email and a new area of interest he calls “micro-experiences.”
How and when did you get involved in the email industry? Had you always known you wanted to be in the email world?
Marketing automation and designing and executing multi-channel campaigns became a part of my day-to-day tasks and I’ve had an amazing experience in the space ever since. The experience I gained as a user of the systems I now support has been invaluable. I know the impact we can have on our clients because I sat in their seat.
Whose email program do you like landing in your inbox? What about it grabs your attention?
Two Cordial client emails that are definitely worth an open and click are Revolve and Ancient Nutrition – Edible Arrangements, a shared BrightWave and Cordial client, is also working on some impactful programs. I’m fortunate to have insight into the behind the scenes efforts and strategies of these great brands and I can tell you that their approach to their data, their campaigns and the content is always thought through and planned in such amazing detail. They are great marketers that provide great value to their customers at each touchpoint.
What are you and your clients looking for in a strategic email partner?
It’s critical that marketers are constantly improving and optimizing their campaigns and efforts, but resources within in-house digital teams are often scarce. Having a great partner to align with on approach, strategy and campaign execution is what our clients rightly expect of us. We’re also incredibly hands on with all of that and the aspects of email ramp that you don’t see – deliverability, reputation, data consolidation, email best practices and so on.
Where do you see the industry heading in the next 5 years? 10 years?
I’m very visual, I love great design. I’m excited that email is slowly becoming more visually engaging, and content is way more personalized. Google Amp for email offers some exciting possibilities with animation which I’m looking forward to seeing more of. The data shows that brands have to get really serious about personalization – and I don’t mean Hi [First,Name] – I mean extensive, data driven personalization that impacts every aspect of the campaign and that we as consumers actually find useful and that we’re driven to respond. You’d be really surprised how nascent this idea is within some really big brands. Often they are using first generation marketing technology platforms which are really holding them back and limiting what they can do and how much they can personalize their outreach.
What makes BrightWave a critical partner for you and your team?
Cordial and BrightWave work really well together. I think at the heart of it, it’s because we are both maniacally focused on our customer’s success above all else. When it comes to strategy, implementation and execution our joint customers feel confident that they have the A Team on it. They have the right technology and the right partner in BrightWave to win.
How do you stay up to date on email industry trends, innovations, products, best practices, etc.?
I spend a lot of my working day with the people who are creating these waves or trends. I’m lucky to work with brands like TOMS, Lucky Brands, FTD, Edible Arrangements who are redefining what great B2C marketing programs look like.
These marketers are connecting with one another in Slack Channels, at MeetUps, in LinkedIn groups – that’s where I learn a lot. If I want to know more about macro trends in very large enterprise companies, I read industry analyst reports, things like that.
What in the email world have you been the most excited about lately?
One trend I’m exploring more and more with clients is what I call ‘micro experiences’. An example would be the seemingly insignificant details of an experience on a channel (web, mobile, etc.) where data can be passed from that channel to email to create a continuous experience that not only doesn’t feel broken but feels absolutely fluid. Micro experiences can be as small as a link clicked or time on page, or recency and frequency and how that affects design, deployment and even things like tone of content. Our clients are definitely thinking at an increasingly granular level. They’re leveraging all the possibilities that the modern platforms are offering. Creating micro experiences without access to a full range of data in real time would be impossible.
What is the value of companies investing in their email programs?
This is a simple one. Email is without doubt the dominant interactive channel for marketers. It consistently delivers the highest ROI per message of any channel. It also continues to progress in terms of experiences delivered as we’ll see with Google Amp for email. We did some research with the top 500 retailers earlier in the year – the majority are investing more in email this year than in prior years because it’s so effective.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
To be better than the rest. There are lots of talented people out there but the key differentiator for me has been old fashioned hard work and my dedication to my craft. With everything I do, I try to find a way to do it better.
What is your favorite email industry event?
Shameless plug here, but it has to be our own event Bespoke. We had our inaugural event in March and while we aimed to be different from the typical ‘low ceiling ballroom’ style tech event we’ve all been to, we did not expect the reaction we received from our clients, prospects and partners. It was such a positive culture and energy paired with great information (and great San Diego weather), our guests hadn’t seen or experienced an event like it before in email or marketing. You can check out the event wrap up here and get a view of how amazing the event was. You could say we did it better than the rest!