Dotmailer founder: Email is the key to unlocking consumers digitally

Founder of email marketing automation vendor talks to CMO following the launch of its Australian operations on best-of-breed technology versus marketing cloud stacks

Email has become the digital key to unlocking consumers online, the founder of dotmailer, Tink Taylor, claims.

“Being without an email address is equivalent to being homeless online,” he told CMO during a visit to Australia to launch the email marketing automation vendor’s local operations.

“Look at anything that’s multi-channel… The bit that’s ubiquitous is email. At the DMA UK, we did multi-channel case studies with at least three channels, and every single one had email. You can’t not have it.”

Even with the rise of smartphones, the number one activity is looking at your email, Taylor said.

“So many things have come along saying they’ll get rid of email – Slack, Google Wave – but email is the only channel where the consumer is in control,” he said. “They can turn it off, or unsubscribe. What we’re seeing now is everyone embracing email more than ever, and marketing automation has become the new term for sending out email intelligently.”

Dotmailer, a UK-based email marketing automation vendor, opened its inaugural office in Australia this week, bringing its technology offering to local B2C and B2B organisations in the mid-market.

The company was founded in 1999 as a Web design and development agency, before building out a range of technology solutions such as content management, ecommerce and email marketing capabilities. Over recent years, it’s chosen to focus solely on its email marketing platform, building strong integration links into other established ecommerce, CRM and marketing platforms.

One of these key relationships is with Magento as the ecommerce vendor’s first and only Platinum Technology Partner. There are also deep integrations with Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Dynamics.

Dotmailer has relocated 10-year veteran and Australian employee, Rohan Lock, to Melbourne as regional director for Asia-Pacific. His initial focus is on building a local technical support team as well as an A/NZ partner network. The company has already confirmed nine local integration and agency partners including Engage Digital, Acid Green and Balance Internet.

Taylor described dotmailer’s offering as “NASA technology with a Fisher Price interface”. While a number of enterprise-grade Marketing Cloud providers, such as Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and IBM, have acquired in order to build out complete stacks for marketers, he saw an opportunity for a best-of-breed offering that was more intuitive to use and could integrate with other technologies already being used by marketing teams.

In fact, Taylor claimed marketers are sick of enterprise-level technology vendors not fulfilling their promises of an easier way to do marketing, and are better off with a best-of-breed solution they can actually use.

“A number of other players have come into the Australian market and brainwashed everyone on how we as marketers must do things in a much more sophisticated way,” he claimed, also noting how big vendors have acquired email marketing platforms, such as ExactTarget, SilverPop and Eloqua, along the way.

“They turned up, told everyone how to do things properly, then really paid lip service because the product they left behind wasn’t as easy to use and didn’t deliver on the promises they had made. The support didn’t back that up either.”

As these email marketing platforms have been swallowed up into larger technology giants, the culture and focus has also shifted into an enterprise-level play, Taylor said, leaving a vaccum in the mid-market.

According to Taylor, it’s a good time for best-of-breed players like dotmailer to come into the local market as larger companies work to integrate their suites of marketing technology.

“We have built a platform that’s the automation piece for email marketing, which we think is the best and easiest to use out there. Then we have an extension suite that enables you to plug in any third-party application,” he said. “You can achieve a marketing cloud with the tools you have today and you don’t have to rip out everything and replace it. That doesn’t come without significant cost, risk and distraction for the business.”

In addition, Taylor pointed out the number of users only using a very small percentage of capabilities available in marketing automation and cloud platforms today.

“We’ve done research and essentially people spend most of their time doing things – for example, just doing things like creative is particularly painful. That’s where the ease-of-use interface comes into play,” he said. “You can build quickly and that affords you more marketing time. That could mean you’re then using more features, or you’re looking at your strategy, or adjusting your testing plans.”

The rise in local ecommerce competition was another factor in dotmailer’s decision to set up shop in Australia, Taylor said.

“When we started looking at Australia two years ago, a lot of ecommerce sites people were buying were direct to the US. As the exchange rates changed, it’s made etailers in Australia start thinking about setting up now as more people will purchase locally,” he said. “That’s a significant change in the market.”

For Taylor, marketing automation is ultimately about doing email well.

“Marketing automation in the modern sense is about doing email with intelligence,” he added. “For example, it allows segmentation, automation, and sending more emails in aggregate, which in turn should see your aggregate ROI also go up.

“The problem with sending more email previously was that you had to send to everything to everyone. With modern tools, you can now send more email but to smaller batches of your groups, and importantly, more frequently.”

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