Q&A: Nick Heys, founder and CEO, Emailvision

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Nick Heys
Nick Heys

Nick Heys, founder and CEO of UK-based email marketing software company Emailvision (which operates in 17 countries and has more than 3,000 clients worldwide) and a technology entrepreneur with more than 20 years' experience in direct marketing, talks about the company's recent expansion and the continued convergence of email and channels such as social media and mobile both in the US and abroad.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): Your company recently finalized the acquisition of smartFOCUS Group, the UK and US-based provider of multichannel marketing and customer-intelligence software. Talk if you could about how that bolsters Emailvision's business strategy?

Nick Heys (Emailvision): The primary reason Emailvision acquired SmartFOCUS was for their super-fast customer intelligence software and expertise. This customer intelligence technology takes email and social marketing to a whole new level. It enables marketers to quickly identify and execute more profitable email and social marketing campaigns. Emailvision is now the first ESP to offer customer intelligence in a SaaS (software as a service) model.

DMN: You seem to be harnessing the convergence of email with social media with the recent launch of an updated version of your premiere product, Campaign Commander, which features enhanced capabilities to help online marketers boost engagement from subscribers, followers and fans via the two platforms, and with the acquisition of ObjectiveMarketer, a social media marketing management company. This seems to reflect a broadening trend in which email is being integrated with other channels, such as what we're seeing in the US and, increasingly, Europe and the UK, right?

Heys: Over the last couple of years, we have watched our clients start to integrate social with their email campaigns. The most interesting trend is integrating authentic customer stories from social networks into email campaigns. Increasingly, we saw demand for social campaign management tools to handle complex social campaigns and measure results.

DMN: Talk a little about how email marketing in the US differs from that in the UK and Europe at the moment.

Heys: From a marketing perspective, the biggest differences are language, culture and list size. Response rates tend to be higher in smaller countries, but the volumes are lower. From a technical perspective, ISP's and social networks are different in each country. If you want to market across borders, you need to make sure your ESP can handle the long tail of global ISP's and the international social networks.

DMN: What are some trends you see on the horizon, particularly over the short term?

Heys: I watch marketers go through three different phases in the short term: Phase 1 is about building a subscriber, fan and follower list. Phase 2 is about getting the email and social campaigns delivered and measuring results. Phase 3 is about revenue optimization with advanced tactics such as split testing and triggered messaging. Long term, I see a trend in the use of storytelling, where online marketers become more community managers rather than just promoters. I see more and more email and social campaigns including great customer generated stories –leading to greater customer interaction and more profitable sales.

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