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Email Snob Interview: Rory Carlyle

To continue the Email Snob interview series, I interviewed by email Rory Carlyle, an Email Marketing Manager and interactive marketing consultant.

RoryCarlyleScottWritesEverything: Rory, thanks for joining me. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get your start in email marketing? Tell me a bit about your background.

Rory Carlyle: I started out in email marketing as a side job to my consulting business. I was developing websites for small businesses and fell into doing their emails as well. The more I focused on email, the further I fell in love with the channel. There’s so much to email that people don’t realize or pay attention to. It’s an extremely successful vehicle that I’ve been blessed to be marketer with for six years now.

I’m also a geek for analytics and data trending, so email has continued to fulfill my passion for intelligent interactive marketing. Viva la email!

SWE: Knowing what you know now, if you could say one thing to someone who wants to get into the email marketing industry, what would it be?

RC: Stay open-minded and work hard to learn by testing. There are no absolutes; every job and every company will be different.

SWE: You may have touched on this already, but what is your favorite thing about email marketing?

RC: Yeah, I did. I love to see the results. A great email marketer is always optimizing different aspects of their email functionality. It’s awesome to put all that work in and watch the success of that hard work.

SWE: Couldn’t agree with you more. Let’s change gears a bit. How has your work in the email marketing industry affected your personal use of email?

RC: I’m very sensitive to email marketing now: the processes, best practices, architecture/rendering, ad placements, overall synergy of the marketing campaign and how it ties back to the interest of the consumers. Email marketing has really morphed into more of an engagement tool, not just a way to market to consumers. It’s imperative that marketers see the value in engagement and not just marketing. That’s what I look for in my personal inbox.

SWE: Who is your biggest influence in the industry? Why?

RC: Wow, hard question. There are so many brilliant email marketers out there; the email space has a great group of people. I’ve only been able to personally meet a handful or so.

I would say the person that’s really helped mold my perspectives about email has been John Caldwell. We’ve met in person and talked on the phone about everything email. His knowledge is ridiculous. It’s a true privilege to have a friendship with someone who’s walked the walk for many years in this arena.

SWE: How do you think the iPad will affect email marketing?

RC: I’m not sure it will make a huge dent as far as changing things short term. The internet is going mobile–it has been for a while. In saying that, I believe that the iPad is another step in that transformation from laptops/PCs to handheld devices. More and more handhelds are taking the form of true HTML rendering browsers, so I think that email won’t feel a drastic pain from it.

SWE: You mentioned mobile. What effect do you think mobile technologies will have on email marketing?

RC: Very much like the iPad. The gap between mobile and online marketing will continue to shrink and become more synergistic within the interactive marketing space. Mobile will be considered “online” quite soon.

SWE: If there was one thing you could tell either clients or ESPs–whether it’s a frustration, some words of advice, or praise–what would it be?

RC: I love the way ESPs and the email marketing realm have embraced social media. The voice of the industry is becoming louder and heard from many different areas. Our value within marketing is become more apparent because people are seeing email become more and more successful. It’s a great time to be an email marketer.

My deepest concern is with the newcomers–specifically with these newcomers listening to the wrong people. While the voices in our industry as a whole are doing great, as the industry grows it’s imperative that we continue to educate newcomers and veterans properly.

SWE: I would agree with that. Speaking of voices in the industry, let me ask you this: If you could name one book that you feel every email marketer should read, what would it be? Why?

RC: I’ve read a ton of books; most of them have been good. A book that sticks out to me would be a book that I would tell every beginner in the space to read: “Sign Me Up!” It’s a great way to garner some basic understanding of why we use email and how to get it started. There are tons of others to list, but are more advanced. This is a good read for anyone.

SWE: What about a blog?

RC: Definitely too many to list. Twitter will ruin your blog tastes. I’ll scroll through my feeds and find a new blog daily. It’s a must these days to use something to aggregate news and blog posts. I truly have no favorites.

SWE: Okay, a fun question. What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try with email but have not done to this point?

RC: Use email to make me famous.

SWE: Who knows, maybe this interview can help you do just that! Last question: If you were stuck in a elevator with the CEO of a company that isn’t utilizing email, what is your “elevator speech” for email marketing?

RC: Low cost. High ROI. Start-to-finish measurement for future optimization.

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About Rory Carlyle

Rory Carlyle is an Email-Geek, frequent twitter hound, web-analytics nut and an all around dweeb. With experience in consulting, agency work and as an Email Marketing Manager; Rory has seen issues regarding email from many perspectives. Continuing on a 6+ year march through all things interactive marketing with a strong affinity for email, Rory hopes to make the web a better place one inbox at a time. Outside of his email passion he fills his time with beer/food/books and the occasional flight to somewhere random.

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