What's our product philosophy at Emma?

McKenzie Gregory

Get insight into Emma's product vision for this year and beyond 

At our Marketing United conference in April, the Emma product team lifted the curtain on what's happening with our platform both now and in the months to come. Here's a recap of what they shared, including Emma’s product philosophy, some of the most notable features we've launched over the past year, and a sneak peek into exciting 2018 releases. 

Cody Bender, SVP of Product at Emma, shares our product philosophy 

"Something we want to talk about today," said Cody, "Is the way that we do product at Emma. Not just what we're building, not just what we put on the roadmap, but how do we actually come up with the things we decide to build? What's the 'why' behind the things we take to market?"

Cody Bender, SVP of Product at Emma, shares our product vision at Marketing United 2018 

He went on to share some of the primary marketing challenges our product team thinks about when building new tools and features for our customers, including: 

1. Driving engagement. With the incredibly high volume of marketing messages being produced and distributed today, a subscriber's first instinct is often to ignore whatever it is you want to tell them. 

2. Scaling your efforts. If you have a successful campaign, chances are good that leadership will want you to repeat it ten-fold. The problem? Scaling is incredibly difficult, especially for marketers increasingly strapped for time and resources. 

3. Producing (and proving) ROI. For every campaign you invest time and resources into, how can you prove ROI? How do you connect all the right pieces in your tech stack to demonstrate the path to conversion?

4. "The Modern Inbox." Today, the inbox is really driven by ISP filtering algorithms: what gets into the inbox, which tab it goes to, etc. These filtering algorithms can be somewhat unpredictable, and at the end of the day, they determine whether or not your message will make it to the right people. 

Our key focuses in 2018 and beyond 

To serve these needs, he explained, there are a few tried-and-true marketing solutions we build into the product, including: 
1. Personalization. 

Great messaging isn't just relevant to an individual (though it definitely should be), it's personal. As we continue to see people further disengage from mass marketing, personalization is the best way to reach them. And it doesn't have to be 1-to-1... it can be 1-to-some. You just have to differentiate yourself from the rest of the noise out there. 

However, getting there isn't as easy as it might seem. You have to know who your customers are, and you have to know what they care about. You need tools to help uncover that data, and you need tools to help deliver meaningful, relevant content based on that data. 

2. Testing and clear goals. 

If you don't know where you're going, you're never going to get there. Similarly, you can't just know what you want to happen and just hope you achieve it. Instead, you need to begin with a plan that allows for structured iteration and testing. That's why we build features into the product that allow for planning, testing over time, and analysis of those results to help optimize for the future. 

3. Creativity. 

There's so much noise in the market and in the inbox that creativity and novelty are the only way to break through. We strongly believe as a product organization that collaboration across teams is the best way to provoke creativity, so one of our biggest goals is to provide tools that enable that sort of collaboration. 

David Wright, Principal Product Manager, walks us through the "how" 

After Cody shared a little bit of the thought that goes into our product decisions, David Wright (Principal Product Manager at Emma) dove into some of the specific features we've released in the past year to address our customers' challenges, plus a few hints at where we're headed. 

Recently, we introduced a completely new segmentation experience to the Emma platform. It allows you to see—in real-time—the number of people who are actually in the audience you're targeting. We'll be iterating on the Segment Builder again later this year and are actively working with our largest customers (mostly companies who use long, complex segments) to make the experience even better.

When we look at helping you do better planning, a big part of that is visibility. We believe that if you can get more of your team in the game earlier in the process, that's a way to help you scale at an organizational level. So we launched the Interactive Marketing Calendar. It's a great way to visualize what you have coming down the line, and it allows you to be more nimble with changes along the way. 

Another way we've been thinking about scale is with our largest clients, who work with hundreds or even thousands of teams across the country or world. That introduces even more challenges when it comes to collaboration: Namely, how do you keep your messaging and brand consistent while empowering and equipping end users to execute their own marketing?

So we introduced a whole new collaboration and approvals process, which includes the ability to limit individual users' permissions within the app and approve messaging at a corporate level before it sends. 

It's a part of the product experience that isn't as flashy as others, but when it comes account administration and user administration, the feedback we've heard from many of our customers is that they need to ensure that the right people on their team have the right access to the right features. We took that challenge and built a whole new Settings experience from the ground up. We wanted to provide easy access to see account details, your billing, exports, assets, and team and user management. 

The General Data Regulation and Protection Act (GDPR)

In case you're not familiar with the GDPR, here's our primer on what it is and what we're doing to address it. Getting ourselves and our customers prepared for the GDPR—and making sure the related product experience and interface were intuitive—has been a huge part of our product work in 2018. That includes the ability to administrate your subscribers with more flexibility (like turning tracking on and off with a toggle), updating our signup forms, and updating our sharing functionality. 

Interested in checking out the full product keynote?

You can view the full recording of our 2018 Product Keynote at Marketing United—including exclusive interviews with Emma customers Liberty Tax and Orangetheory Fitness—here


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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