Q&A: Greg Cangialosi, president and CEO, Blue Sky Factory

Greg Cangialosi, the president and CEO of Blue Sky Factory, discusses social data, security issues and split testing. Cangialosi has held senior level positions at Zerotoeighty and Missing Link Media Productions.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): What new trends are happening with data these days?

Greg Cangialosi (Blue Sky): One of the big trends is the incorporation of new data sources like social media. Marketers are trying to increase the reach of their messages and are looking at which social networks their recipients are using and how they are sharing emails within these networks.

A lot of the social networks are making it easier to share emails. Take LinkedIn for example. They made it a lot easier to share email messages and content in general, so a marketer can go in and see who is sharing what content in LinkedIn. It is as trackable as an email campaign. We can see specifically who shared it and who viewed it. And this social tracking applies to Twitter and Facebook, and any other social networks that consumers use.

DMN: How does social data sharing work?

Cangialosi: Sharing data is starting to get more sophisticated. This whole concept of social CRM is gaining a lot of traction, but there is still a big question mark in the industry as to what that is. We look at data that you have on a particular customer and we look at what is publicly available, like what they are tweeting, what blogs they are commenting on and so on –anything that they are putting out there– and then applying this data so that we can have more meaningful conversations with them. I think the use of public social data that people are generating everyday is a great opportunity to create more targeted messaging.

DMN: How are the recent data breaches affecting the email industry?

Cangialosi: It was very unfortunate. Epsilon is an extremely reputable company, so it is scary. This was a wakeup call. From the ESP perspective, everybody thinks security is paramount. Not that anyone was neglecting security but it highlighted that there is an ever-changing environment with hacking and malicious tactics. You have to be very careful and not take things for granted. It is important to have a security team in place, as much as you have a team together for marketing and operations.

Marketers got a little freaked out by this, and rightfully so. From a comfort standpoint, they may want to limit the amount of data they store. You don’t need sensitive information in your ESPs database. There is not need to store it there. We now require our clients to change their passwords every 90 days, just for basic security. Before we recommended it, but now we require it. We also recommend that marketers use antivirus software on their computers.

DMN: What email tactics do you think are gaining traction this year?

Cangialosi: We are seeing our customers taking advantage of the basic features available to them. There is this major push for getting back to the basics like A/B testing. We’ve been pushing with social and mobile stuff, but we are also seeing a back-to-basics approach this year. This includes taking advantage of features like basic segmentation, rendering tools, preview tools and reporting tools.

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