5-Minutes with Simon O’Day, VP of Global at myemma.com

What is the process to selecting the right Email Marketing software? From Co-Founding Australia’s largest most successful email marketing firm (eServices) to the Global VP of myemma.com. There aren’t many people in Australia who know the email marketing landscape like Simon O’Day. With over 14 years in permission marketing, Simon shares insights on how to choose the right provider and how digital leadership is in a lot of ways swallowing up Australian businesses.

Simon O'Day

Q: Tell me a bit more about starting Australia’s largest and most successful email services firm eServices, and how you’ve come to being with My Emma today.

I’ve spent the last 14 years working in permission email marketing technology, software, and services in Australia and have been lucky enough to be a part of companies like Responses, Oracle, and My Emma.

I’m now launching Emma in Asia Pacific officially. We’ve got an office in Melbourne. Emma is actually over 10 years old.

In fact, when you said new, I think you’re right. While we’re very well known in America as being a really good SME Email Marketing company, in some ways we are a scrappy global startup. And we’re really kinda new down here because we’re admitting to everyone that while we have customers down here (we have 300 customers in Asia Pac). Really for the first time, we’re treating them like we treat people in America which is with local support, great customer care, and being in the country.

I think that’s important. So in a lot of ways, we are new and that’s kind of exciting.

Q: There are a lot of email software providers out there and one of the questions that I get asked all the time when I’m delivering workshops or when I’m speaking with new potential clients is, “what is the best email marketing solution? There’s always plenty of answers and every expert has a different one. But I just really want everybody that’s reading this interview and listening to us today to understand what the difference is about the My Emma platform.

I’ll answer the question agnostically and then we can talk about My Emma.

I think the key for me is that when you’re choosing a platform, you should really be looking at what you’re doing over the next 12 to 24 months. I’m thinking about what features you need and what you’re trying to achieve as goals. Too many platforms, whether it’s an enterprise platform or small medium platform, are sold on too much aspiration or long-term vision and you end up getting locked into platforms that you’re not gonna use things like dynamic content or conditional information. You’re not gonna use things that are around the edges of what you should be doing.

I think what I aspire to do is to try to make people aligned to what they’re really trying to do as a business for growth, revenue, and customer retention… first. That’s diagnostically.

The ‘Why’ behind My Emma view is that we believe there’s a better way to be a modern marketer today. We know there’s a lot of competition out there but we’ve stayed true to this. And what this means is that we believe that you should be thinking about your customer lifecycle journey, you should be thinking about what it means to be a customer in your business, and you should be thinking about what automation and other key components of an email platform really mean for your business.

And that for the small business sector is surely around ease of use, bypassing steps that you don’t need to take around automation to make your day easier, and really about doing style. And I think that’s really important.

Q: You’ve been a leader of a lot of companies and businesses, what is it about digital leadership that sets businesses apart?

In a lot of ways, digital is kind of swallowing businesses and all these digital leaders and technology businesses are really in some ways becoming the leaders of total businesses because of how digital has gone.

The digital business, especially with email, is so connected to customers and is so data driven. The sad truth is that if you don’t understand data in any business today, you’re in big trouble. And the great thing about digital is that it is transparent, data-driven, and it’s almost real-time… and so you have this powerful effect on a business. I think if you look back at businesses that relied on too much gut or if you think about agencies that drive business based on “Gee! That really looked great. That was a really good idea”, that’s just not good enough anymore.

We live in a world of data and results, and so we know what’s gonna work and what’s not gonna work.

What I love about My Emma is that we started with this word “Emma” and it really came from this idea of “Email Marketing” as a word. It really didn’t start necessarily as this idea of who is Emma as a person. Now, when you look at that logo, you look at that brand and you see this intelligent woman… this person that you can see has style and creativity but also has the intelligence. And that’s the backbone of what Digital Marketing is. It all makes sense and it’s a great persona.

Q: If you could give three tips to the modern day marketer to help them lead themselves into digital sophistication; if they’re feeling confused with email marketing, what should they start off with?

The first tip I’d give you is Acquisition. How you acquire a customer through permission and through understanding profile of customers is so critical to that retention. Being able to get permission across, not only email but mobile and other areas; being able to get profile information and understand who they are’ looking at things like permission centers and other ways to get more and more information… that’s a beginning of a good business because you know that customer. And I don’t think that’s hard, and you can do that quite easily. It doesn’t require more money and technology, you just need to think about how people come in into your business.

If Jamie Nordstrom says that in retail, if you’re not using automation-based customer lifecycle … if you’re not doing that by 2020, you’re dead!

That’s crazy in a way, but if you’re a small-medium business, you’re gonna go, “What does that mean for me?” I think what that means for me is…

  • Are you doing a welcome series program?
  • Are you doing a reactivation series? Not a one-off trigger, but a well-thought customer lifecycle event?

Pick one and start it. Start it now. I can do it on My Emma in 15 minutes, and I’m not that good in Email Marketing, believe it or not because I haven’t done enough of it recently. I’m a business guy now. But you can do it today in 15 minutes in the platform. Do it. Get it live. Start using it. Learn from it.

The third tip would be to take a page out of every enterprise business you can see and don’t think you can’t do it. If you’re big on what Qantas does with their loyalty program and you love how they use their customer emails to drive retention and value, think about how to do that at scale.

If you love how Telstra have build out their semi-loyalty program around giving back value, or if love whatever brand it is at an enterprise level do whatever they do… write it down, think about it, and then try to put that into your business. Because now you have the technology at hand to do it, because it’s there. It’s affordable, you don’t have to spend millions of dollars, you don’t have a team of 20 people, you can do it.

Don’t think you can’t, because that’s what we do at My Emma everyday.

Q: If there’s any book that you can suggest for businesses to read, what would that book be?

I can’t recommend any book right now because I can’t think of one on top of my head, but I do have a quote. As Mike Tyson says, everybody’s got a plan until you get punched in the face. I think that’s an important part of business and life.

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