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George Bilbrey

Member since June 2005Contact George

  • VP & GM Return Path, Inc.
  • 100 Superior Plaza way
  • Superior Colorado
  • 80026 USA

Articles by George All articles by George

  • 4 Product Management Tools To Help You Become A Better Email Marketer in Email Marketing Daily on 09/19/2017

    In the early 2000s, the kinds of problems faced by email marketers and the kinds of problems faced by software product teams seemed very far apart. However, over the last few years, I have started to see a shift in the problems faced by email marketers. Building email programs is becoming more and more like building software. So what are some of the tools that product managers use to build software that could be useful to marketers? A few come to mind - some of which are already in use by many marketers.

  • What Looking At Billions Of Emails Has Taught Me in Email Marketing Daily on 08/22/2017

    Every Friday, I look at a few billion emails. More specifically, I run some standard reports on an anonymized database of a few million active consumer mailboxes every Friday. The ability to look at aggregate data across millions of mailboxes gives unique insights into what are the important levers that drive email marketing performance. The really interesting thing about this data is that it offers a view into the entirety of the messages that are sent to panelists' mailboxes. This data makes it clear what kind of messaging works and doesn't work for the same subscriber. Here are a few of the things that I've learned through analysis of this data-only some of which were obvious:

  • ESP Analytics Need A Makeover in Email Marketing Daily on 07/26/2017

    I've found that companies in many different fields - finance, dating, travel, e-commerce, etc. - all have one thing in common: they really dislike the reporting they get from their email service provider (ESP). It's a dislike that borders on loathing. Let me give you a couple of scenarios where ESP reporting falls short.

  • 5 Killer Apps For AI In Email Marketing in Email Marketing Daily on 07/07/2017

    The promise for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in email marketing is exciting. Unfortunately, a lot of the conversations about the uses of AI are in the abstract or focused on a very few use cases. I'd like to open the aperture a little and take a look at a few more specific ways that machine learning and AI can be used to improve the efficacy of email marketing.

  • Is How You Send More Important Than What You Send? in Email Marketing Daily on 06/08/2017

    Email marketers spend a lot of time, effort, and creative energy building new email programs and perfecting creative. Email marketing teams spend over half their time building, testing, and optimizing HTML emails. Are there other things to focus on? After some research, I can confidently say that once the basic campaign types are covered, there is frequently more leverage in optimizing send practices than building new email programs.

  • Is How You Send More Important Than What You Send? in Email Insider on 06/07/2017

    Email marketers spend a lot of time, effort, and creative energy building new email programs and perfecting creative. Email marketing teams spend over half their time building, testing, and optimizing HTML emails. Are there other things to focus on? After some research, I can confidently say that once the basic campaign types are covered, there is frequently more leverage in optimizing send practices than building new email programs.

  • Gmail Deliverability Is Weirder Than You Think in Email Insider on 04/28/2017

    Getting into the inbox has become more challenging than ever at Gmail. Many email marketers have seen their inbox placement rates fall over the last few quarters at this important mailbox provider. The general consensus about how Gmail makes inbox placement decisions is "engagement," in addition to more traditional reputation.

  • Three 'Missing' Email Metrics That Could Change Your Priorities in Email Insider on 03/31/2017

    Common email metrics drive focus on creative optimization and program strategy. The metrics commonly provided metrics by email service providers (ESPs) focus on campaign-level (and sometime program-level) open, click, and other performance data. This invariably leads to a focus on improving open and click rates by changes to subject lines, offers, calls to action, etc. Let me present three alternative metrics that could (and in many cases would) drive focus on different "levers" for performance:

  • What Job Is Your Subscriber Hiring Your Email To Do? in Email Insider on 03/02/2017

    One of the tools that has become more popular with product management teams over the last few years is the Jobs to be Done framework (JTBD). Leading companies ask themselves what job the client is hiring their product or service to do. For example, I am hiring Google Docs as a platform on which to write this column, while my younger son hires a skateboard to get him to school in the mornings. By mapping the JTBD into a series of discrete steps (called "job mapping"), a company can determine opportunities to improve on current products or services used by clients to get their jobs done.

  • Five Ways Email Marketing Will Change In 2017, 2018 in Email Insider on 02/03/2017

    I spend a lot of time looking at new marketing technologies. Over the last 16 years, I've seen new technologies reach rapid adoption because they work within the real-world constraints of email marketing teams. In other cases, I've seen email marketing teams change to take advantage of the potential of new technologies. I would expect the following trends that I'm seeing in a few email marketing platforms to become more widespread over the next year or two:

Comments by George All comments by George

  • Gmail Tabs: Don't Panic Or Cheat, Just Focus On Engaged User Base by George Bilbrey (Email Insider on 08/28/2013)

    I think the jury is still out. There are a few paths one could go down: 1) I think we'll see a lot more focus on "winback" campaigns to move more of the "middle of the curve" to the right hand side of the distriubtion. We've seen some success with this. Best approach is to copy the approaches that are already working in your subscriber base. 2) It *might* be the the counter-intuitive strategy - simply sending more to the less engaged - might make sense. I think this probably depends on your business model. There is a lot of data that would indicate that > 50% of the value from email comes from purchase that occur through other channels. Simply having someone read the email drives value (e.g., customer reads their newsletter and passing by your store, remembers the special you just sent in the newsletters, and stops in to make a purchase). Read rates tend to decrease with frequency. However in most cases sending more mail drives more reads. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone - it depends a lot on how close they are to the line from a deliverability perspective (e.g. are they hitting spam traps, close to the thresholds on trusted complaint metrics, etc.) 3) Potentially the answer is don't worry about the unengaged. It's sad that most people don't interact with your stellar email content - however, focus your efforts on driving conversion from those that interact with your content will drive an economic return. I think that like (2) is dependent on your business model.

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