Inside The Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability: Q&A with Jennifer Cannon
September 30, 2019 by Lauren Donovan
If you haven’t already heard, Marketing Land and MarTech Today, sister publications of The MarTech Conference, recently released the first-ever Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability.
Authored by Jennifer Cannon, MarTech Today senior editor, this guide provides a holistic understanding of the email marketing space as it exists in 2019 — and tells you everything you need to know about sending emails that your subscribers want to receive.
I had the chance to speak with Jen after the official unveiling of the Periodic Table of Email Optimization and Deliverability at last month’s MarTech Conference. Topics ranged from her extensive background in email marketing to the research that went into creating the asset, favorite elements, tactical advice, even spirit animals. Keep reading for the goods!
Lauren Donovan: Hi, hello, welcome, Jen! Let’s get this started with a brief look at your professional background with email marketing.
Jennifer Cannon: My experience with email started in 2010 when I was working for the New Jersey Devils and the Prudential Center as part of a three-person marketing team. While much of our focus was on experimenting with social media, I was also tasked with running our email marketing efforts. Since social was still the “shiny new toy”, few were paying attention to our email efforts — but all of that changed once we introduced segmentation strategies into our email program and started seeing serious results. A few years later, I was working for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, advising enterprise email customers on their strategies. It was there that I became more involved in the technical aspects of email marketing.
LD: Speaking of technical aspects, talk a bit about the research that went into creating this asset.
JC: Research for this Periodic Table consisted of dozens of conversations with email marketers, deliverability experts, industry consultants and vendors who provide all kinds of email services. We also conducted our own deliverability audit earlier this year, which provided valuable learnings that we incorporated into the Table. Lastly, we looked at numerous industry reports from consulting agencies, email and deliverability service providers to build this vendor-agnostic resource.
LD: Do the elements in this table carry different weight or significance from industry to industry?
JC: On an industry level, all of the elements should be incorporated or at least considered on some level. Weight and significance will vary depending on a specific use case basis. For example, some elements may be more applicable to B2B use cases than B2C, and vice versa, but it’s really about the message your organization is trying to convey.
LD: What element is most interesting to you?
JC: I find artificial intelligence fascinating in general, but the different ways it is being applied to email marketing are particularly interesting to me. One of the best applications of AI in email I’ve seen is where email vendors are leveraging AI to help marketers identify who they can — and who they can’t — email without violating an extensive list of restrictions imposed by different legal entities.
LD: Interesting indeed. And what element is most surprising to you?
JC: Diving into the different types of spam traps was actually most surprising to me. I had an understanding of how they work, but to learn about the different elements — gray spam traps, typo traps and pristine traps. The proactive steps that inbox providers are taking to “catch” marketers who aren’t properly maintaining their subscriber lists are certainly something I think we all need to be more aware of.
LD: Words of wisdom. On that note, what advice would you give someone completely new to email marketing as a business tactic?
JC: Maintain the integrity of your email program by always asking for permission and understanding what kind of content your audience actually wants to receive. Keep your list(s) clean, and don’t ask your audience for too much information upfront — get to know more about them so you can truly build a relationship with them that will drive engagement and trust.
LD: Crucial elements to any successful campaign. Now, on to the truly important stuff. Favorite food, favorite place to visit, and spirit animal – GO!
JC: I cannot overstate how much I love pizza. I would (and sometimes try) to eat it for every meal. One of my favorite places to visit is a small town in western Massachusetts, located in the Berkshires called Adams. I love going out there, visiting with family and hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail with my dog, Scout. My spirit animal is certainly the lion… but some days, it can be the sloth!
LD: … sorry, sorry. I was daydreaming about pizza. Okay, last but not least… may I present, Two Truths and One Lie, with Jen Cannon!
JC: (1) I walked with wild lions. (2) I swam with great white sharks. (3) I was chased by a hippo.
LD: Which are the truths, and which the lie? That’s for another time. Big thanks to Jen for spending some time with us today! Don’t forget to download the newest Periodic Table now to ensure your email marketing’s on the right track!