Winning Ways: Interview with Email Marketer of the Year Alessandra Souers on Essential Email Marketing Tools


Want email marketing success? Be an ace reporter – and use power tools.

This is the advice of Alessandra Souers, Senior Brand Manager, JibJab Media Inc.  And she should know.  The email marketing world will honor her with the 2015 Stefan Pollard Email Marketer of the Year Award, during the Email Evolution Conference (EEC15), which takes place February 2-4, 2015 in Miami, Florida.

Email is a potent channel.  It’s expected to grow to $12 billion by 2016, and it’s predicted that 192 billion emails will be sent per day by 2016.  DMA sat down with Souers to get her take on tools and strategies email marketers can leverage to achieve career success in this powerful field.

1. What do you feel are the key skills that successful marketers will need in the next 12-24 months?

First of all, know how to report on and segment your data. Today, if you’re not a power user of a tool like Excel, you’re going to fall behind – so being a strong reporter is just as important as being a strong coder or designer. In the past, you maybe didn’t need to make as many data-driven decisions, or maybe you just sent to your whole list or very easy segments, but now you need to be more granular about who you’re sending to.

2. What are some of the best resources you have found for gaining new skills and getting up to speed and ahead of the latest innovations in the field?

The best resource for knowing what’s going on in the field and how you can compete is just by observing, by subscribing to as many emails as you can, looking through them, looking at the source code of those emails. And then also, keeping up to date with all the new tools that are coming out and how they can help your business.

Another best practice?  Use Power tools.

It may sound clichéd, but YouTube can teach you anything. It’s still a resource that I go to when I have questions for any marketing channel to learn something. If you want to learn how to do anything from cooking to cross stitching – which I did recently – to coding emails, that’s the place to go.

Also, a lot of people are contributing educationally to the industry, and that’s where Twitter comes in as a kind of aggregator for learning about email and making sure you’re keeping up to date on all the new tools and tricks.

In terms of secondary education, I think a general class in email marketing, or a section of a class, could be really helpful in teaching future marketers what email marketing is and familiarizing themselves with it.  As soon as I learned what it was, I was just naturally drawn to it. If I had known that in college I think I could have steered my career towards email a little earlier.

3. What resources would you recommend to somebody who’s starting out in the field?

First, create that dedicated account for email marketing, and just subscribe to as many lists as you can, look at code, see what people are doing, notice any trends and personalization that retailers may be doing, (like recommending products and those kind of things), and learn what tools they are using.

I also think it’s important to be as self-sufficient as possible as an email marketer, and learning Photoshop is a big step toward achieving that.

Lastly, get to know people who do what you do. Follow email marketers on Twitter, attend some of the key email conferences [like the EEC Conference] throughout the year.

4. What does winning the Stefan Pollard award mean to you as you move forward in your career?

It’s a huge honor, something I’ve been inspired to work toward in my career thus far – but I never expected to receive it so early, if ever.  I hope my passion for email still shines, and I don’t think that will ever go away.

The Stefan Pollard Award was created to honor Stefan Pollard of the email-marketing industry after his passing in 2010.  Pollard was a leader in email marketing and he challenged marketers to improve email in order to strengthen marketing and communication channels.

The Email Evolution Conference (EEC) is designed to help marketers gain the latest insights and how-to tips on email marketing. As an attendee, you will learn how to engage customers effectively and maximize ROI; meet with cutting-edge solutions providers who can help you grow your client base; and network with your peers in a unique setting.  EEC takes place February 2-4 in Miami, Florida.  For more information, and to register, please click here.

Interview by Susan Taplinger, Senior Director, Communications, DMA