Know-How, Not Tech, Is Needed By Email Marketers, Agency Co-Founder Says

Social channels come and go. But email remains a constant, says Dan Rutberg, co-founder and COO of MuteSix, a digital agency that spends $250 million a year online for its clients. 

“Customers require multiple touchpoints,” Rutberg says. “Email converts users into purchasers," and is the leading conversion channel. "

"Email is quite effective at engaging them with the brand without you're having to pay them any money," he ads. "With other channels, you'd likely have to increase marketing spend." 

But he cautions “there’s quite a lag in what’s been available and what’s being implemented by companies.”

So MuteSix sees an opening, and is hoping to help clients across the entire digital ecosystem. 

Do companies need to spend on technology? Not necessarily. 

“I don’t think growth of email is pushed by technological innovation,” Rutberg comments. “The general structure hasn’t changed as much as it has with other channels.” 



He adds that this “hasn’t limited its importance. People still want to open emails.”

It there’s any lag in growth, it’s because companies don’t know how to set up an email: “which text to show, which imagery works bet, how many to send each week, what’s the cadence, the right way to offer discounts,”  Rutberg argues. 

Nor are they always skilled at integrating email with all other touchpoints, a must in today’s digital marketing ecosystem.

Take video. “Video is growing exponentially,” Rutberg says. “Two years ago, most ads were static. Today, 80% are video.” But the dialog and imagery must be consistent throughout all channels, he cautions.

Rutberg makes the competitive observation that “creative agencies are coming in” to solve these problems for companies, many of which are rapidly growing and are not yet up to speed on best practices. 

Why would a company hire an agency to handle something that has often been done in-house?

“The number-one reason is that with the pace of technology moving quickly is that  the pace of technology is moving quickly, and most internal teams aren’t up to speed with the latest best practices,” Rutberg answers.

MuteSix started five years ago as a Facebook-first agency, but quickly moved into email -- and now is helping 30% to 40% of its clients use the channel. That number is growing as small and medium-sized companies come into the space.

The Los Angeles-based agency now has over 110 people, 20 or so devoted to email. That team has doubled in the past year, and will probably double again in 2019. 

Email is one of four or so channels — “elephants in the room” —  that MuteSix audits for clients, whether they employ it to handle that channel or not.  These “elephants in the room” also include Facebook, Instagram, Google and YouTube.

What’s next? MuteSix plans to invest in machine-learning-driven data analysis. “That’s going to be a mainstay very soon,” Rutberg says.

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