15 Aug 2016
Who to follow: Samantha Iodice
Who to follow: Samantha Iodice (@)
This “Email Maven” currently makes her living as a freelance email marketing strategist and consultant.
Now in her 9th year as an email marketing specialist, Samantha got her start in the field with Discover Financial Services (a US-based credit card company). Samantha says that it was during her time with Discover that she made the connection between analysing email marketing data and improved email marketing strategy, a connection that continues to drive her approach to the platform to this day.
A charter member of the Women of Email (#WEmail) community, Samantha is active on several social media platforms, which she uses to keep abreast of new developments in the email marketing world, as well as finding and developing freelance employment leads.
Asked the librarian for a book about Pavlov’s dog & Schroedinger’s cat. She said it rang a bell, but wasn’t sure if it was there or not.
— Samantha Iodice (@e_Maven) July 19, 2016
Playful and irreverent in her twitter activities, Samantha is known to re-tweet Bill Murray regularly, claims to be a full-fledged sci-fi nerd (though she admits she has yet to see Star Trek: Beyond), actively networks across the email marketing spectrum, and posts interesting content whenever she finds it. Also she’ll often pull a witty and obscure nugget (like the one above) from her brainpan, just because she can.
Let’s see what else she has to say…
An interview with Samantha Iodice
What kinds of companies do you typically work with?
My clients run the gamut from ESPs to nonprofits to eCommerce. They all have different problems and challenges, some of which are unique to their business and others which are common in email. I like to say that my specialty is identifying problems and finding opportunities. Sure, a problem can be fixed, but transforming it into an opportunity is even better.
How do you use your social media presence to market yourself?
Well, I’ve slacked for a spell and have been preparing my site to get back into the swing. I plan to blog more regularly, tweet and use LinkedIn etc. Although I removed my Facebook page as it wasn’t really a good source for me. I try to share content that isn’t just mine. Things that are useful such as information on the industry and tech.
What is an “influencer”?
An influencer, in the business world, as I believe you mean in this sense, is an individual who’s advice, thoughts, commentary and vision are helpful to others in pursuing their career, challenging leadership, and helping people to grow and break out of standard thinking.
How do you think social media marketing has changed over the past 2-3 years?
It’s become more sophisticated. Better targeting opportunities, more options, better tracking capabilities, and perhaps not a marketing change, but an attitudinal change. Avid social users are savvier to ads. They call out poor placement, or bad advertising period. I think this is a great thing for marketers as it forces us to continually be better, think more nimbly and always remember that we are marketing to real, live people. People will tell us off if we f*ck it up :).
What about email marketing. How has that changed?
It’s not as much about what has changed in email marketing, it may be more about what email marketers designers, developers and technology have pushed further. Mobile and the rapid succession of upgrades and the one-upping of the competitive landscape provide the perfect recipe for adaption and growth. For example, when live content hit the scene, I nearly lost my sauce! I was crazed with the possibilities and how it would grow. Then, responsive design started to weave into the mix. A concept tried and true in web design, but not widely adaptable – at the time – for email. It changed quickly and responsive has now become the go-to method for email development.
With that, different ways to tweak code, add animations, dynamic content capabilities, and just some really smart creativity from bright people began to drive a less rigid “best practice” methodology to a let’s kick the sh*t out of this email and make it sing – sometimes literally! That’s when it happens. Change. And I don’t say “innovation” quite purposely. It’s not that things are wildly new in email, it’s that people are trying things that weren’t acceptable in email for years, and it’s working.
What is “Women of Email”?
Women of Email, or WE, and our hashtag #WEmail, the official spiel is Women of Email is a new association aimed at driving positive change within the email marketing niche and professional growth for women at all stages of their digital marketing career.
I’m a charter member, I think #8 officially (NOTE: we checked, she’s number 6!), now were about 400 strong internationally since our launch in June. Yes, since June! It’s a wonderful organisation that has already helped women find speaking roles at conferences, new work, and provided countless support at every stage of career. It’s a place to share experiences, learn how to tackle common problems for professional women, and also, we’re pretty darn funny!
We’re filling a niche where we didn’t realise how much one was needed. It was born through our founding members from frustration, from seeing tech panels filled with only men, even when there are female members of senior leadership who could fill that role. From attending conferences where few women were represented as speakers, when the attendee population, as well as an industry as whole, is at minimum a 50/50 split women.
Based on experience as an email marketer who analyses data on how people interact with marketing emails, what have been some of the biggest takeaways?
What I’ve learned in my 8+ years in email is that people are fickle. Sometimes a tactic will work, sometimes it won’t. Sometimes they blow your test scenario by suddenly behaving differently. So what? It doesn’t matter because tactics are just that – tricks. Devices. One-trick ponies. Email marketers tend to over-value the little things and forget big picture items like overall engagement and behaviour over time, not simply in one email deployment.
In general, people complain about how much email they get. The reality, outside of professional email usage, is likely most people are fine with it. They look for what is important to them in their inbox. Sometimes even filter it. Your brand needs to be on that list. You do that depending on several things, but predominantly it comes down to relevancy. And to be relevant, you have to know who your subscribers are. Many brands think they know, but they really are throwing darts at a donkey’s arse hoping they hit the tail.
Who is your favourite superhero?
Easy; Wonder Woman