I’m pretty sure if I have an origin story, I’m officially part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Disney, have your people call my people). Would it be fair to say that I’ve been bitten by the email bug a decade ago, and now I’m an email super hero?
But in all honesty, I’ve been in so many crazy jobs, from working with the C-17 aircraft, pouring Nickelodeon slime on kids, to working for Apple for nearly a decade. I needed a career change once I got married and started building a family of my own—and I happened to know someone who was building an email marketing team. I took a chance on this thing called ExactTarget, and I really enjoyed learning all there was to learn. Now that it’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud, I have to keep learning all the time in order to not lose my place in the ever-changing world of email marketing!
In my current role, I have been able to bring in an absolutely incredible team. We get to work with colleges, universities, non-profits, and associations—where we get to help these teams make a difference in the world through what we do.
I love that the tools and the technology are always changing, but even as artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies are developed and implemented, the human nature of what we do hasn’t gone away—it’s only been enhanced.
We get to automate more messages than ever before, but really we’re just letting the computers do what they do best: the monotonous and routine. Through that, we get to leave the fun stuff to the humans.
We get to think about what more we can do: what’s possible. We get to push back on those who tell us that we can’t, and find a way to make it happen. We get to combine the best of humanity with creativity and technology. What’s not to love? And in the verticals where my team operates, we get to apply all of those things to help organizations who are trying to make a positive difference in the world.
My session was inspired by my last decade in the email marketing space, and watching organization after organization work their way through various custom email preference center projects. There are so many easy mistakes to make with a project of this type, and it’s a deceptively simple concept.
For those who haven’t worked on one before, it’s just a website with a bunch of checkboxes on it. Sounds quick and easy, right? But once you start to dig into the available options, best practices, design options, and architecture—you can quickly get lost down the proverbial rabbit hole, and it can become intimidating. We love partnering with our clients to utilize our existing code, allowing clients to personalize their sites not just to their brands, but also to the specific context of each subscriber arriving on their preference page. We can act as guardrails, and we can accelerate the progress through our code, experience, and accumulated best practices.
Fernando Rubino Pereira is the Global Email Marketing Manager at Canyon Bicycles. He’s a big proponent of welcome journeys in email, and will be covering best strategies in his session, “How to Get the Most Out of the Welcome Journey.”
What’s your email marketing origin story?
It’s actually funny how I got started. I was looking for a job for a while, and a friend of mine who worked for French ESP Splio asked if I wanted to work with him. I had no experience, and didn’t know anything about email marketing. He said “Don’t worry, we’ll teach you.” That was in 2013, when I lived in Brazil.
At Splio, I was an Account Manager for small businesses. I interacted with clients and showed them the platform. Splio taught me everything, starting with email marketing best practices to great strategies for email.
Then, I joined Validity (formerly Return Path), where I was also a Technical Account Manager. But this time, I was taking care of medium and large enterprises in Brazil and South America. This gave me way more learnings—and it’s where I developed a more technical background of email deliverability.
Because I was working with clients and colleagues from all over the globe, it made me realize I wanted to work abroad. Luckily in 2017, I got a job to join the brand side with Trivago. This was very nice because as an Email Marketing Specialist, I could apply everything I had learned in my previous roles and see the other side of email.
In 2018, I joined Canyon Bicycles, where I am today. While I do love email, I also love bikes—so I’m very happy I can combine both. Here I can do even more advanced stuff on the brand side and keep improving my email skills.
What do you love about email marketing?
What I love most is the data—and the results. You can see live results after sending an email campaign: this sparks my excitement because I can follow the data, and the data itself will show whether I’m doing the right thing (or not), how I can improve, A/B test—all these kinds of things.
But apart from the pure numbers and data, what I also love about email marketing is the community we have—and the people. I have met people from all over the globe that work in email. We have this Slack group Email Geeks, where email geeks from all over the world exchange ideas, ask questions, share events, and pretty much everything about email.
I’ve made a lot of friends in the Email Geeks community; the people are what make it so special. Everyone wants to help each other, share strategies, and overall create a nice community (and help dispel the image that email marketers are spammers).
What inspired your session, “How to Get the Most Out of the Welcome Journey”?
Before I joined Canyon Bicycles, I worked with other companies on creating their welcome journeys. Because of my previous experience, I could get really creative—so I thought it would be an awesome first project with them. I created a huge, robust welcome journey and it was very successful. Although I’m not taking care of it anymore, it’s still my baby. I’ll always have a look at how it’s doing and give recommendations.
With each welcome journey, I add a bit more spice: I always try to get more advanced with it, and more technology in it.
I want to inspire email marketers to launch a proper welcome journey—because most brands don’t really do one. Normally, they just send a simple welcome email. I want to encourage people from the community—and email marketers—to do a proper welcome journey because it only brings benefits to your brand, and of course, as an email marketing professional yourself.
Meet Jell Khongkraphan! Her session “How to Orchestrate and Influence Infrastructure as an Internal Communicator Marketer” will help marketers hone in on their data infrastructure for future success.
What’s your email marketing origin story?
As with most of us, we didn’t choose email. Email chose us. 😊 I went to school for web development and started my career in tech as a front-end web developer. Working at my second agency, our email marketer quit mid-day, and my manager asked if I could step into the role. “Jell, you can code. Can you code emails?”
At that time, I had no idea what all was involved in “email marketing”. I agreed (after hearing about the lovely title and pay bump). Soon after, I fell in love with email design, and coding became secondary. The rest came naturally. This was about seven years ago. I was a developer for a few years before that.
What do you love about email marketing?
I know this is going to sound so cliche but THE PEOPLE! The #emailgeeks community is unmatched in terms of support and friendship.
Of course, the channel itself is a reason to love the industry as well. With the constant development of new tools and technology, the possibility of learning is endless. I am obsessed with learning and researching, so being in a field where I can try out new tools, strategies, and technology frequently helps curb some of that craving for problem-solving that I love about web development.
What inspired your session, “How to Orchestrate and Influence Infrastructure as an Internal Communicator Marketer”?
Coming from a dev background, I have always been fact-driven, and I find the analytics of integrated marketing quite fascinating. You can learn so much about people from the data provided to you. Sure we all have a job to do, but I always keep in mind that I am speaking to Sally, Joe, Nadia, or Zach—they are individuals, not just “people.” Personalization matters.
I have also learned over the years that your tools and instrumentation will always change with each new role. One thing that will never change is the foundation that powers your tools—data. Building relationships with people is my main goal, and to gain trust and loyalty, you must establish a solid data infrastructure that will help you learn more about your users and how to tailor your communication based on their preferences.
My session covers the common pain points that we marketers face when inheriting a tech stack, how you can influence and own your tool instrumentation, and how you can drive the future success of your marketing programs using data infrastructure.
The countdown begins
The excitement is real: we’re thrilled to bring you the best email event of the year on October 25th-26th. See you there!