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Email Snob Interview: Andrew Kordek

For this next installment of the Email Snob Interview Series, I talk email (via email) with Andrew Kordek, Co-Founder and Chief Strategist for Trendline Interactive.

Andrew_Kordek-300x225ScottWritesEverything: Andrew, thanks for joining me. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell me how you got started in email marketing.

Andrew Kordek: I was in sales for Quest Software and thought it would be a good idea to send out a massive email to all my prospects to get them to download the new piece of software. I was able to figure out how to do mail-merge in Outlook and one night I set it up to run all night long and send individual emails to over 5,000 prospects. The results were amazing and it got me on the map to create a lot of noise in the products we were selling.

I was then asked to do what I learned to fill up a seminar that the company was having and, lo and behold, they had the highest registration rate and turnout in the company’s history. I quickly moved out of sales and into a marketing role.

SWE: For as long as I’ve been a part of the email marketing community, you’ve been heavily involved in the “conversations” around email marketing. How did you develop your passion for email? And what would your recommendations be for those who want to get involved in the email marketing community?

AK: I think it boils down to knowing that you are good at one thing and getting involved. I love the way this industry is evolving and the people are super passionate about what they do. There is only one way to get started in the email circle, and that is to participate in all the forums and discussions that are going on. Have an opinion, stick to it, but be open to learning from others.

SWE: Who is your biggest influence in the email marketing community?

AK: There really is no single person I can point to. I love them all for many different reasons.

SWE: What are your top three books you feel every email marketer should read? (They don’t need to be email-specific)

AK: My three:

  1. The Little Engine That Could. Sometimes you have to just keep pushing and pushing to accomplish things.
  2. The Last Lecture. Makes you appreciate all that life has to offer.
  3. Email Marketing By the Numbers. One of my first email books and still one of my favorites.

SWE: Let’s stay in that vein and talk blogs. What are your top five blogs for email marketers?

AK: There are so many that are good. I consume a ton of information in short bursts, but I would have to say some of my favorites are:

SWE: Having made the “switch” from client to agency side in the past year, what do you think are the biggest things that vendors and agencies forget about on the client side? What can vendors and agencies do better for clients?

AK: Three things:

  1. It’s easy to talk about things and changes, but difficult to implement.
  2. Go to your client and learn about their program from the inside out. It might surprise you.
  3. Ask questions. Lots of questions.

SWE: In the next 9-18 months, do you see any paradigm shifts coming for email marketing? What should email marketers be focused on?

AK: Email marketers should be focused on driving repeatable business and establishing long-term relationships with email. Wait.. no. That’s barfy and sounds like everyone else.

Email marketers should be focused on getting better everyday. That “getting better” is different in every company and should not be labeled as only a few things.

SWE: For email marketing campaigns, what are the top three questions you believe marketers should be asking themselves before they hit send?

AK: Is this targeted? Does the call-to-action clearly tell them what I want them to do? How does this email look on mobile or any email client?

SWE: Now some fun questions. How has your work in email marketing affected your personal use of email?

AK: My inbox is the craziest ass place you will ever see. Well over 300,000 messages and searchable, too. I am obsessed with signing up for programs but I have to find a desktop email client that can handle the load. Seriously, I have tried them all.

SWE: What is your favorite thing about email marketing? What gets you revved up (in a good way)?

AK: Making it better for companies and showcasing successes rather than point out failures (unless they are epic).

SWE: On the flip side, what’s your least favorite thing about email?

AK: People who claim to be experts or strategists and charge money for advice only to find out they have never done email marketing on the client side. Poseurs…

SWE: Let’s say you were giving a keynote speech to the industry as a whole and it was your personal soapbox. What’s your message?

AK: When you follow best practices, you’re merely redefining mediocrity.

SWE: Last question. If you were stuck in an elevator with the CEO of a company that doesn’t utilize email, what is your “elevator speech” for email marketing?

AK: I have no elevator speech. I would simply ask the CEO why they are not utilizing email. To me, it’s about asking questions and not selling them on why they should be doing it.


About Andrew Kordek

Andrew Kordek is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategist for Trendline Interactive.  He has over 19 years of sales and marketing experience, but his passion with email and interactive marketing began 11 years ago.

During those 11 years Andrew has

  • Managed all aspects of the email marketing program which included deliverability, retention, activation, lifecycle and testing at Groupon Inc, the fastest growing company of all time
  • Responsible for the strategy, execution and analysis of the transactional and trigger based email for Sears Holdings, the nations fourth largest broad line retailer.
  • Created and managed all of the email and interactive marketing globally for Quest Software, a $700 million software company.

Andrew is a subscriber advocate, concerned more with the right thing than the easy thing in email marketing.  His passion and boundless energy has been called infectious and contagious by many.

When Andrew is not spending time with his family, watching football and finding cool new apps on his iPhone he is thinking, writing, speaking, blogging, dreaming and generally obsessed with email marketing.

Find Andrew on Twitter:  @andrewkordek

Find Trendline Interactive on Twitter:  @trendlinei

Email:  andrew@trendlineinteractive.com

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