This past year has been a big one for email. Arguably email even achieved notieriety and a spot in the top ten most newsworthy events of the year, with Hillary Clinton releasing 10’s of thousands of her emails in what became known as the #EmailGate scandal.
The industry itself has seen significant changes and interesting events from Linkedin facing a multi-million dollar compensation payouts effectively for spamming through to more than a Billion Dollars being offered to acquire Constant Contact. Message Systems having acquired Port25 the year before, officially launched SparkPost as a beta service . By the close of 2015, with SparkPost Elite for Marketers, it had undeniably grown to be a cloud based ESP in its own right. Points of differentiation center on claims of better deliverability, and cost savings.
On a individual level within the industry there have been a number of switches and changes. There were so many moves of significance in fact, that we had a hard time identify the best way to communicate the changing landscape, we finally settled on an interactive infographic, which can be found here: rbl.pw/emailshkrs (PDF)
What was confirmed as a result of the exercise, and quite clearly highlighted is the burgeoning size of the Deliverability, Email Intelligence & Analytics sector within the industry. The number of individuals moving to roles in that sector and some of the commercial deals being struck that reconfirm this.
Long running delivery and strategy business founded by Laura Atkins, WordToTheWise appears to be building on its success, stating in September that growth experienced was exciting and seeking yet another full time member of staff. Another example would be InboxPros, Chris Arrendale has seen significant growth bringing several individuals from outside the industry and training them in delivery process. Sometime in late 2015 much of the eDataSource library of knowledge was licensed for use by SEMrush powering their email analytics tool. Taking what was once of interest to a limited few, mainstream and making it available to the masses.
On a personal level I personally chose to stand down from my role at Campaign Monitor at the end of 2014 to enable me to pursue my own business; Deliverability Ltd. I have been privileged to work with a variety of business of all sizes and engaging directly with many of those customers on-premise, leading me to spend time on 3 continents.
Maropost has been absorbing some of the best talent that is available in the email space. Bob Frady left Zeta Media and to join Ross Andrews’ business, heading the marketing department. Bob Miller left InboxMarketer to take the Chief Operating Officer role and John Bollinger of intotheinbox also joined what was already an impressive deliverability department.
Briefed on the fact dotmailer was to experience rapid and significant growth and expansion, I oversaw an extensive audit and provisioned the blueprint for a new department and a fresh approach to Deliverability. Whoever took the leadership role would have their work cut out for them. James Koons left his role behind at Listrak to join the publicly listed British ESP, and can now be found in London as often as his hometown in Pennsylvania. James retains the title of Chief Privacy Officer, however the new Deliverability Department at dotmailer falls under his purview. James came with my highest recommendation.
The British division of Deliverability Ltd was incorporated whilst onsite with dotmailer and has its registered offices just a short stroll from dotmailers original corporate HQ. After my tenure, Tom Corbett the deliverability lead left dotmailer to pursue opportunities with Experian, I regret not being in a position to have offered him a role at Deliverability Ltd. Undoubtedly he is learning a lot under the influence of Spencer Kollas.
A number of senior individuals from MessageBus, as well as Oracle left email sender side to positions in the deliverability space, joining 250ok. With so many joining Greg Kraios, the team earned the moniker of #emailmafia. There were even biggers moves afoot however
Deliverability and email marketing thought leaders, the industry demi-gods leaving one esp and joining a once bitter rival is almost par for the course, however when we see one of the biggest names in the business Ryan Phelan walking away from Acxiom to take on a VP role at Adestra, we can be sure nothing is guaranteed in this sector.
Surely one of the biggest shockers of not just the past year but recent history was learning Russell Fletcher, more affectionately known as Fletch by many in the industry would be standing down from his role at Port25/Message Systems. A surprise not because he was leaving to work with a competitor but with 20 years in the email marketing industry and half that time with Port25, leaving to anywhere would come as a surprise to many. Fletch and the mild mannered, softly spoken giant of the industry Fred Tabsharani draw a huge amount of respect across the business, rightly so and thoroughly deserved. Together they were the face of PowerMTA. So leaving the Port25/MessageSystems/Sparkpost group to join a startup that few will have heard of, SendForensics will make it all the more surprising for some.
Whilst few heard the SendForensics name in 2015, that is sure to change this year. It was a natural move I would say. Fletch having seen great success in disruptive startup organisations working at the cutting edge of where technology empowers marketing choices, at companies with a reputation for classy down-to-earth approaches to internal marketing and branding, and a respectful client led sales process, SendForensics would be a perfect fit. The business is founded by Leo Hatton, based in Singapore, the amiable and quintessentially British, calm, low key ex-pat, diligently working towards an enterprise product for several years before taking on a high profile hire in Sales. My prediction is the small but highly experienced team that is SendForensics will experience exponential growth this year.
A growing number of service based companies in the delivery sector seem to be having growing success and I expect we’ll be seeing more from MailMonitor, SenderProof and others and no doubt we will see new entrants make a fresh play in the space in this coming year.
Combined with new issues such as authentication and DMARCs requirements for domain alignment, we are sure to see a busy 2016 in the deliverability space.
To see who moved where, download our interactive infographic (PDF).