Episode #131 – Patrick Tripp on Powerful Email Marketing With Adobe Software (plus outrageous email statistics)

by John McIntyre

When you hear the name Adobe…

What do you think?

Video/image editing softwares and PDF stuff?

Did you know that Adobe has a powerful marketing cloud too?

Creative Cloud is awesome,

But wait til you hear about the Adobe Marketing Cloud,

And its powerful cross-channel marketing benefits.

Patrick Tripp is an email connoisseur over at Adobe,

He’s on the show today to tell us all about Adobe’s marketing cloud,

PLUS some in depth data…

Adobe has some mind blowing data gathered from their own research on cross channel marketing and email.

After this episode,

You’ll know about Adobe’s email marketing capabilities,

..how to better address millennials (because they check their email A LOT)

…the consumer AND the business side of email within the average American’s life.

..and MUCH, much more.

Email in the workplace is on the rise.

It’s pervasive,

And it’s not going anywhere, 

Adobe has joined the party in a big way.

Learn how you can use Adobe to create highly effective emails.

Whether a large company or a one-man show,

Listen in as Patrick Tripp provides some huge takeaways that will surely improve your email marketing.


In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • what businesses need to do differently to make the most of email in 2016
  • the awkward places that the U.S. masses check their email (52% read in bed upon waking!)
  • why less is more when it comes to your brand’s emails (learn how to avoid “batching & blasting”)
  • how to personalize customer emails and leverage the data your company has gathered up until now
  • why email creates a “fear of missing out” and how to make people fear they’re missing out on yours
  • how quality far surpasses quantity when it comes to email
  • the scary diminishing returns emails possess (learn how to avoid these within your email markeing)
  • that to be successful at email, you must understand the individual.. not just the “list”

Email Marketing Podcast Episode 1


Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO


Raw transcript:

Download PDF transcript here.

John McIntyre: It’s John McIntyre here, The Autoresponder Guy; I’m here with Patrick Tripp. Now Patrick’s from Adobe he works on the email team over there and I was surprised to get an email a few weeks ago that apparently he terribly wants to get into obviously start spreading the message about their email marketing projects which, you know, at the time all I thought they have was, you know, was PDFs, it was Adobe Photoshop, it was all the usual stuff that we’ve, you know, pretty much anyone online has probably heard of, but they actually have a suite of – yeah products that are helping people with communication especially email. And email is one of those main channels that they’re helping.

And what they’ve also done is a whole bunch of research which we’ll get into in a minute which, they’ve done the research themselves, so I bet there’s gonna be some interesting data here and, you know, even more important there’s some interesting takeaways that, you know, if you’re listening to this you’ll be able to, you know, walk away and implement in your business starting today so, we’ll get into that. Patrick how you doin mate?

Patrick Tripp: Good John. Thanks for having me.

John McIntyre: Mate it’s good to have you on. Before you get into some of the research that you mentioned you have, can you the listener a little bit more of a background on, you know, who you are, what you do at Adobe, and sort of just like a rough background on – like I had no idea – like I was saying I had no idea that Adobe even had an email marketing thing going on so yeah, give me the run down.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah absolutely! Thanks John, yeah I’m a part of the Product Marketing Organization at Adobe and as you kinda alluded to the Adobe solution is really evolved over the years. We started with the creative suite and things like Photoshop and Illustrator and we kinda moved out into the Cloud and there was the Adobe Creative Cloud and I’m a part of the business now that’s the Adobe Marketing Cloud and that’s really focused on businesses and helping marketing and enterprise organizations really address their consumers.

And so I, you know, I’m one of the product folks from the Adobe Marketing Cloud that works on a solution Adobe campaign and we focus on cross channel marketing, really delivering experiences from online to offline. And email is a massive part of that equation. As we’ve been delivering emails since 2001 as a part of this business. And we’re just – you just know – excited about it and we’ve done some recent research about this so, we’re excited about sharing that.

John McIntyre: Fantastic! So can you tell me a little bit about the sort of person or the sort of company that would be, you know, that Adobe – that the suite, you know, the suite of email products and – that you have. Who is it really a fit for? What sort of company…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah this is really focused on enterprise marketing organizations – that large scale companies that are really trying to handle really complex issues. Whether it’s understanding, you know, website visitors to creating the right content on their websites, to creating those email campaigns that need to be, you know, delivered scale and that personalization, but we do look at that some of the more complex, large scale organizations across industries whether its retail financial services, travel, hospitality, things like that.

John McIntyre: Okay so based on that the competitors are people who are sort of, you know, serving a similar market.  Cause they’re gonna be people, you know, like Salesforce Pardot, ExactTarget…

Patrick Tripp: Yes! Absolutely, Salesforce, we see quite often. Oracle is out there doing their marketing cloud thing. We hear about IBM here and there… They’re dated.

There’s a number, but as you go into the email world of course it’s sort of a unique set of prospects out there, but yeah we’re in that mix completely.

John McIntyre: Cool, cool okay. Well let’s get into it. Tell me about this research. How did, you know, what did you, you know, how did it all start happening and what was the – yeah what was the result?

Patrick Tripp: Yeah so in July this year we actually put together a study we work with a third party to kinda conduct the study of 400 workers in North America around there. The use of personal and work email. And so found some interesting data so, we want to share that.

And then we combined that data with research house that we have internally. Here at Adobe Digital Index and they analyze, you know, billions of transactions and interactions on digital properties on behalf of our consumers and customers and we were looking at 17 billion visits coming from email over to around 3,000 websites leveraging our tools.

So bringing sort of the – the study we did in North America together with this Adobe Digital Index data we found some really interesting results. Yeah and I’m happy to get into some of those and talk to those at a high level.

Yeah the one thing I’ll say, John, at the top is really a – you know Americans are addicted to email. This is around the clock; this is an obsession, a potentially unhealthy obsession.

John McIntyre: Yep.

Patrick Tripp: And we’ll talk about the numbers and average time spent and things like that in the most awkward location you can imagine. People are, you know, at a high pace looking at their emails in the bathroom, while they’re driving, while they’re watching movies, in the most awkward situations which, you know, we can all relate to at some level.

And a big part of this story as well as we get into the data is millennials. And those folks that are kinda between the ages of 18 and 34. They’re activity run email is actually pretty interesting. We know there’s a lot of channels out there things like, you know, mobile apps and social and mobile devices, but email still does kinda float to the top for the millenials. And so I think there’s some learning’s, as email marketers, we can think about how to better address these millenials out there.

John McIntyre: Right so, I mean the interesting thing here is that people have been saying for years that email marketing or just email – email is dead. Email marketing is dead.

No one checks their email anymore or at the very least they may be checking their email, but they don’t respond to any sort of promotions via email, but you know study after study is always, you know, floating around that’s saying email’s they lose like a 4,000% ROI so I’d say two and a half thousand percent. And it’s pretty much always above social and above any other channel which I find fascinating.

So where do you think – and the interesting would probably be… Where do you think the trend’s going? I mean we’ll get into the recent – the sort of the specific data in a second, but just based on your sort of exposure to this stuff, a lot of people think email, even if it’s still effective, it’s just getting worse and worse and worse and worse. What do you think?

Patrick Tripp: Yeah, I mean, I think that the volumes of email are still there and brands, I think , have a lot to learn in terms of how they deliver emails effectively at scale and with personalization. Consumers are agitated. They’re annoyed by this, I mean, they’re checking it, but there’s definitely this love hate relationship going on. And we’ll talk about that in the data. There’s specific areas for improvement that consumers, as we all, kind of experience that really can be improved around email, but I think, you know, one of the mantras I think about for brands is less is more.

And I know some folks might not agree with that, but that’s my take on it, less emails more even from the brand stand point. Let’s think of a way to better, more calculated, more efficiently, more personalize the – to personalize the effect and use that word.

Deliver these experiences to individuals, right? And so it’s not about batching and blasting. It’s not about getting your email everyday from the same brand. It’s really about how can we, you know; follow this concept of less is more.

John McIntyre: Okay, okay. So tell me about the data.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: Let’s get into it.

Patrick Trip: Yeah let’s get into the data. So you know we – I first got kinda teed it up where it’s an obsession, at least for Americans, and I would say, to back that up, I would say on average for a weekday Americans spends 6.3 hours per day on email. That’s insane, right? And that breaks down by 3.2 hours in the work place and about 3.1 personal spaces and, you know, it’s just out of control. It’s a part of our lives; it’s a part of our device too, right? So I think this is – this all trails from that mobile device concept as well while we’re all certainly – it’s pervasive content.

9 and 10 of the respondents in the study admitted to checking personal email while at work, and 87% of their findings said they checked work email outside of normal hours which is, again, that think that’s transforming – the sort of mobile devices are transforming in a way we think about the workplace and the workday and email is sort of around the clock. So at the top level, I think, this obsession is pretty intense.

John McIntyre: Crazy isn’t it? I mean I – like I, you know, we all tend to judge everything, you know, by our own personal experience and I know, for me, coz I work online and I’m pretty much on the computer from – oh today it was probably 6:30 or 7 I’ll be working till probably 9 tonight…

Patrick Tripp: Right.

John McIntyre: …obviously with breaks during the day.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: But one thing I’ve had to learn over the last few years is to be really strict about my email and even went so far as to outsource my email just about a month or two ago. So I’m generally not even – I’m not really responding to business emails, but even there I still log in every day. My friend – one of my friend’s laughs at me because you know here I’ve got this someone else taking care of my email. I’m still logging in just to get the buzz of that dopamine kick of emails.

So it’s fascinating how hard it is to not check it.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah! Yeah absolutely and in some of the data we’ve found plays right off of that where this counts of the fear of missing out. Really is why we’re sort of obsessed and constantly checking.

Nearly a third of the respondents in the study admit to checking email while still in bed. And we all know that – I’m guilty of this personally. And then it gets even higher with the millenials. So we’ll kinda start to carve this out by millenials, but about half of the – all the millenials about 45% of the 18 to 34 year old bracket check their email instantly upon waking up. So this need to just make sure that you’re checking and ensuring you’re not missing, you know, some major world event or something happening through email then that’s a part of it.

Another interesting aspect that we didn’t ask in the study, “Have you ever imposed a detox program for email?” and actually 40% have. 4 out of 10 indicated that and with a pretty high success rate actually 87% noted that they had some success with that. And the average sort of detox program listed across the 400 respondents was 5 days so…

John McIntyre: You mean they don’t check…

Patrick Tripp: I email…

John McIntyre: … email for 5 days at once?

Patrick Tripp: Right, right, right. And then that seems a little high to me, but I haven’t tried it, but it might be good for me. We’ll see.

John McIntyre: Yeah I find – you know me I’d probably have, right now, I’ve started – I mean a lot of it applies to social as well, but I’ll – I used to charge my phone beside my bed and I find that whenever I do that the first thing I do in the morning is pick up the phone.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah, right.

John McIntyre: And I don’t usually check email. It’s a real bad habit relative under control, but now what I’ve done I, you know, I check Facebook and things like that. So now what I’m doing is I’ll leave it outside of the living room where my desk is and now it means when I wake up it’s, you know, there’s nothing to pick up. So I go and have a shower and just relax for half an hour – an hour…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … before I even check anything and usually the phone’s on flight mode too. So for me that’s what I do and then at – in the evening I probably – then I can have – there’s no way I’m gonna check email after say 6 or 7 pm. 95% of the time I’d say coz occasionally I slip up. Quick help too. Right one – well it works for me.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah, yeah and it’s interesting you started to mention the different like locations and things you do throughout the day and that – that’s a good angle on the story as well in terms of where folks checking email. And as I kind of allude to in the beginning it’s in some of the most awkward locations you could imagine where, you know, 70% of them are checking email while they’re watching a movie. 52% while in bed, overall, 50% while on vacation. Now I don’t know the breakdown, by the work or personal, but I can tell you I turn mine off, for work, while I’m vacation for sure.

But while on the phone 43%, 42% while in the bathroom and 18% while driving which is this the whole another issue that – yeah that yeah is causing some problems.

John McIntyre: Yeah, yeah.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah so, so these channels are just a really interesting and it’s really a big part of our lives. And so that’s the consumer side of things and I can go a little bit on the business side as well.

John McIntyre: Sure.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah. So email in the work place – let’s say 47% of folks in the study note that in the next 2 years their use of email for work will actually increase so, it’s not going away it’s gonna continue and they’re kinda embracing that. .

And 20% say this will actually increase substantially so, you know, and that really number of other channels now available whether it’s social collaboration class forms and text messaging or instant messaging, but really email is pervasive in the work place as well.

Let’s see millenials have even more of an email preference in the work place. 45% prefer emails as their top channel in the workplace. And the email popular in the workplace its efficient, right? Its efficient, it’s sort of the workplace norm still and in many cases you have to operate on this channel.

John McIntyre: It’s interesting. You know what’s interesting here is I’ve been noticing Facebook here. You watch their – how their message system evolves which I’ve been – you know looking at it its much – becoming much more like email which is really interesting. You go in there – like I’m using Facebook at least for my personal stuff.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: Like I’d be getting anything here. Some days it’s only 1 or 2 messages, other days it might be 10 or 20 throughout the course of the day where I’m spending…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: I mean the same – it’s basically the same thing as email. The same concepts where I’m sending – I’m messaging back and forth. It’s probably a little bit more instant on Facebook the way it’s all setup.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: And it’s kind of – yeah I mean part of this – either part of a lot of the fascinating things about this is sort of the trend of culture and – you know and the way life is evolving and changing with technology. To the point where, you know, we’re always online.

Patrick Tripp: Right.

John McIntyre: No matter where – look when we’re in the bathroom, when we’re in bed, when we’re driving so…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: It’s a fascinating sort of cultural shift as well as you know just you know interesting from a business standpoint as well.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: So what else…

Patrick Tripp: Absolutely.

John McIntyre: … what other – what other steps do you have or is that all of it?

Patrick Tripp: Yeah so that was interesting on the workplace. Not necessarily surprising, but when you look at millennials it gets interesting as well. We’ve looked at that group of folks in between the ages of 18 and 34, younger folks kinda next generation of influences out there. 88% of them report regularly using a Smartphone for email, 76% of them are leveraging email at a desktop or a laptop, 29% on a tablet, and 7% using a smart watch.

John McIntyre: Wow.

Patrick Tripp: Now you know despite some of the mixed results of the apple watch, it feel you know every millennial that I worked in and around at least at Adobe I’ve seen a lot of these devices on people’s wrists. They’re checking their email, they’re getting notifications so, and the smart watch is something to keep an eye on as well.

John McIntyre: 7% I mean that’s still…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … that’s impressive. That’s 1 in – more in 1 in 20 people who’s checking their…

Patrick Tripp: Right.

John McIntyre: … email from their watch.

Patrick Tripp: Right, right and that can be quite a distraction as it kinda pops up and you’re constantly looking down as you’re trying to multitask and things.

John McIntyre: Imagine you can’t reply to it either like…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: …. you know you got a watch, you can probably check it and read it and then your mind just – like this is why I hate it. You know a couple of nights ago I was out with a girl…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … went to the movies and you know it’s nice relaxing evening. Got some food, got a you know…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … got some drinks for the movies, sat down…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … and then I was like, “Hang on let me just check my email for a second.” I check my email, I had an email from a client that needed a response and then all of a sudden the brain just fires up. The engine just goes ring. Broom. I couldn’t stop.

Patrick Tripp: Right.

John McIntyre: Thinking about it for the next, you know, the whole time we’re at the movies. And so for me…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … if I had a watch like that I’d be like, “No way would I be checking email on it.”

Patrick Tripp: Yeah, yeah there’s definitely an early adapter culture there, but I wish we had a sort of been able to measure blood pressure and other things because I kind of completely could feel for you there in terms when you’re inundated with work stuff and emails and you start to get engaged in that and that can raise your tension levels and imagine having at your wrist kinda popping in your face constantly. Like …

John McIntyre: Yeah.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah pretty great – intense.

John McIntyre: Yeah.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah so, and you know, some of the overall takeaways in the study and you know we can make that available to folks if they’re interested, but you know the email is the ways preferred method of communication with brands and I think that aligns pretty well to what we all expect in the business side of course as you’re pointing around the return in investment in the thousands of percentages.

We see that as well. We see a number that’s $39.00 for every dollar spent is the return that we see. It’s the staff and the direct marketing association.

John McIntyre: Yeah.

Patrick Tripp: And so still a preferred channel, still the kinda tried and assured in the workforce so to speak particularly the commercial side of things of how we communicate sort of the norm, but I kind of alluded to earlier about consumers and their preferences around email. Well actually 28% are annoyed by having to scroll too much to read an entire email. That’s something we can probably all relate to.

Next biggest annoyance was that 24% noted that the layout is not optimized for mobile devices so, this concept of responsive design and being able to adapt to the different form factors can be sort of a distraction and an annoyance to consumers. And another one that pops is 21% of folks noted that their annoyed with having to wait for images to load or download while you’re looking at an email.

We’ve all been in that experience where you have these brackets and they’re sort of meant to be images and offers and things that are just haven’t loaded yet. And that can be a – have an impact on individuals. So you know little annoyances here and there about the consumer experience. 39% of the consumers in the study noted that they wanted to see fewer emails and few repetitive emails and info brands and like less intrusive 32% noted they want it to be less intrusive so, that’s interesting. That gets to kind of what I mentioned earlier on around this wanting to kind of move towards a less is more philosophy. And I know there are email marketer is out there you know stomping their feet saying, “Listen this is a numbers game. This is a volume based business where you’re just playing the numbers, ” but what I think folks tend to forget is that there’s a long tail, right?

There’s a diminishing return that happens quite quickly actually where upfront, yeah, you might be able to build to get some extra conversions by – as a marketer, as an email marketer, you know, delivering more volume, but you start to fatigue. You start to wear down your consumer. You start to annoy them in a lot of different ways so, we see that sentiment kind of you know bearing its ugly head in some of this data and so, I think you know that’s a big opportunity, right? And some other data we actually collected, not too long ago, of email marketers which kinda takes a different angle of this, it says you know, “What are your struggles?” We did a study about 220 email marketers not long ago. And we’re putting together some benchmark information on that right now trying to categorize them in different levels of maturity, but in terms of personalization they struggle.

I would say 37% of them sort of strongly believe that they don’t have the ability to deeply personalize their email content and leverage customer data. So it’s very superficial, right? It’s very sort of hello name, hello I know some real basic things about you. I’m not able to pull in purchase history, you’re not employing contextual information that might be more helpful than sort of blatant, you know, selling to too broad audiences. So when you look at it from the email marketer standpoint you think it’s also an interesting rub.

John McIntyre: Okay.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah, yeah.

John McIntyre: So let’s flip the table then. So I looked at the research, what do you I mean what do you guys doing differently? How do you – what suggestions do you have for businesses, you know, small and large so we – you know from you know from small time entrepreneurs all the way up to the enterprise level? What do people – what do businesses need to do differently to, you know, to make the most of email in 2015 and, you know, moving forwards?

Patrick Tripp: Yeah really and I think there’s a lot there and I think it does revolve quite a bit around data and how you kinda manage the data and the profile of your customer and not just sort of cutting lists. By cutting lists and sort of cranking those out and so, we all know that – well most of us only have one email for work, but in the personal side of things, I know I have multiple different emails personally and so how do we maintain that sort of individual view? Yeah I might have 3 emails, but I don’t want to receive 3 strands of communications from the same brand or from various similar efforts.

So how can we, as marketers, think about ways to kinda bring those different email identities together? The different sort of touch points and kinda look at that as a single person, as a single profile and so that’s a good opportunity for us, as marketers, and it’s not as hard as it seems.

There’s a lot of automation that you can do there with bits of technology and you know that allows you to kinda say, “Hey here’s what we’re doing for email, but let’s make sure that that’s coordinated with what we’re doing with direct mail or what we’re doing with – what we’re sending out on mobile pushes or for looking at social.”

There’s a way to kinda insure that you know you’re not doing – you know everything that everybody all the time and they – you’re only sending messages in channels that matters so, you know that kind of brings you, you know, the data concept to understanding the individual and not the list and not just the email address, but the person and again less is more. It’s really about a more effective, more targeted communication and not about matching and blasting in our opinion.

John McIntyre: Yeah I mean it – I definitely agree with that there. There’s so much – you know like a classic – the classic you know marketing is just blast out emails all the time whether you’re you know – no matter what you’re selling. It’s just you know get people onto a list and then just send these you know big broadcasts which just go to everyone. But the – I think why  businesses – a lot of businesses don’t understand now is that there’s all sorts of software solutions, you know, up and you know all the way up and down the you know price spectrum which can help you do all sorts of behavioral targeting.

And you know just to get extremely targeted about you know what you’re sending out since other people just getting these big blasts they’re getting you know promotions and contents that’s specifically tailored to you know what they’re interested in, how they’ve interacted with the website, with the app, however you want to do it. And then you know you could just do that with the website and the email, but I think we get so – by the way you talked about I’ve seen people doing this too is get this you know all in one platforms where, like you mentioned, you can start doing this segmenting with you know all across the boards so based on direct mail and based on their apps their using and based – just everything. And it can get quite complex, but it’s also, I think, extremely valuable too for the people who get on board with it.

Patrick Tripp: Yeah we completely agree in you know a lot of the email providers out there. We’re talking about cross channel and from the Adobe standpoint we know we’ve been crossed channel since our inception. We were kneeling back in 2001 as a French company that was very focused in on digital like email, text messaging, social and so, you know cross channel has always been a thing for us and for us it’s just saying let’s think of email as the centerpiece for the glue to this cross channel construct and you know what email can also be a good mechanism to collect more preferences and information about individuals.

So it’s not about the selling, but it’s about, “Hey we like to learn more about you John and we like to kind of understand you better as a like a person and your preferences. And then if you can provide those things to us we can take those into the system and ensure that like all the content that we deliver to you is extremely relevant.”

John McIntyre: Yeah absolutely cool. All right well we’re just coming off on time now so, before we go though can you give – you know give me the – give me and the listener a bit of more of a background on – or give me an idea of what you guys – exactly what you guys do? What the solution’s like and…

Patrick Tripp: Yeah.

John McIntyre: … where people can go to learn more information about the solution you know you guys offer and also probably just to get more information about it if you guys have a blog or resources that you have on offer?

Patrick Tripp: Yeah sure. You know you can go to adobe.com/campaign and that is really the story of our cross channel marketing solution including email. And we call it Contextual Email coz we really care about being more than just a – again a static badge and blast type tool and more about, “Hey what’s the weather? Where are you located? How can we use these types of data points to better engage,” but yeah adobe.com/campaign.

You’ll learn there more about the solution as well as the Adobe Marketing Cloud which a lot of aspects there including web and social and analytics and stuff like that and so, yeah we’re really excited about that. You can also go to blogs.adobe.com and you’ll see there an opportunity to look at an email blog section that we write a lot about this stuff so…

John McIntyre: Perfect cool. I’ll leave links to that in the show note at themcmethod.com. Patrick thanks for comin on the show man.

Patrick Trip: Thanks John, take care.

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