18 People in Marketing You May Not Know...but Should

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Not all influencers are well-known; that doesn't make their impact any less potent.

Rethinking the Inbox

When Josh Rosenwald and Jojo Hedaya met on a study abroad trip in Israel, the two discovered that they had more in common than their Blackberrys and birthdates: They shared a passion for startups. Both started their first ventures in high school: Hedaya collected email addresses for a highly targeted community newsletter, while Rosenwald created an online raffle community. The duo teamed up for Rosenwald's latest startup, Sportce Inc.—a sports content company; however, it folded due to a lack of technological knowledge.

Not ones to be defeated, the entrepreneurs turned their ignorance into ingenuity and began tinkering with new startup ideas. But there was a problem: While emailing ideas back and forth, Rosenwald and Hedaya would lose each other's messages among their inbox clutter. So, they started building a platform that would address the overload and Unroll.Me, their “accidental startup,” as Rosenwald put it, was born in late 2011.

Unroll.Me is a free email management service that enables people to “mass unsubscribe” from emails they no longer wish to receive, Hedaya says. After users input their email addresses and grant access to their messages, Unroll.Me scans their inboxes and provides a list of their subscriptions. Users can then easily mass unsubscribe, keep preferred subscriptions in their inbox, or add them to Unroll.Me's Rollup: a digest that compacts subscriptions into one email. “[Consumers] are getting rid of the ones that they don't want—that's great for marketers,” Hedaya says. “These people, you're wasting money on them.... They're only [opening] up to 20 emails, and they're only the emails that they like getting.”

The company has grown rapidly, including going from 150,000 to 700,000 users between December 2013 and March 2014. But its biggest impact has been changing the inbox from being marketer-centric to consumer-centric. Consumers now have control—forcing marketers to reevaluate their content on “judgment day,” Rosenwald says.

To make email more personal, Rosenwald and Hedaya are building a platform that not only separates marketing messages from personal messages, but also contextualizes and unifies emails from similar experiences—such as by grouping travel information like flights and itineraries, or purchase messages such as receipts and delivery notifications—into their own categories. The initial stages of this rollout will take place within the next six months through an app.

“A newspaper has 1,000 different sources. If every single source had its own format, it would look [chaotic]. That's what your inbox looks like,” Rosenwald says. “We're trying to be the newspaper publisher and say, ‘We'll take all of this data that you want from all of the different sources and create some sort of uniformity for you.'”

–Elyse Dupré

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