Q&A: Janine Popick, founder and CEO, VerticalResponse

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Janine Popick, CEO and founder, Vertical-Response
Janine Popick, CEO and founder, Vertical-Response

Janine Popick, founder and CEO of VerticalResponse, discusses how small businesses are integrating email with social media and how small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are gearing up for the new year. Prior to founding VerticalResponse, Popick led direct and Internet marketing programs for brands including NBC Internet, Xoom Corp., Claris Corp. and Symantec Corp.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): What's new with email marketing for the SMB market?

Janine Popick (VerticalResponse): We always hear about how social media could be the next email killer, but we look at it in a different way. Small business people don't have a lot of time. So we see SMBs are using email as a platform to create content which also gets used in social media. Small businesses don't always have the time to change their website, but they have the ability to create an email campaign and use the hosted email page to populate their social media. It extends the value of the email.

DMN: How are SMBs integrating email with mobile?

Popick: We're noticing that a lot of people view their email on their mobile device but then save it for later to look at on their computers. Not a lot of our clients are dumbing down their email campaigns for mobile, though they are looking at things like header text, to make it more mobile optimized. But our users do want to go to one place for their marketing, so we've opened up an event marketing platform and we're seeing a nice adoption rate for that.

DMN: How are SMBs gearing up their marketing efforts for the holidays?

Popick: It's tough. They have to compete with the big guys. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are major events, but Small Business Saturday was big this year. We created templates for it and saw a lot of activity there. We are still waiting to hear from American Express Co. about sales for that day, but anecdotally we have talked to some of our clients, and some of them had their best days ever that day.

DMN: What trends do you expect to see among SMB marketers in 2012?

Popick: SMBs will always have email as part of what they do and how they communicate to customers, but more and more they are asking us how to get new customers and we are helping them navigate this through email and social media. I expect this to continue. I also think that any new social media site that comes out around local presence will be big. I think there is a really good market and more attention is being paid to the local level with the rise of daily deals and I think that this is a great opportunity for small businesses.


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