Turning Email Data into Intelligent Insight: Interview with Louis Driving Hawk, Director of Product Management
Total Run Time: 15:10
2:40 – How SocketLabs is Using Technology to Simplify Email Data
4:48 – What Makes SocketLabs’ Reporting and Analytics Different from its Competitors?
7:12 – How is SocketLabs Using Data to Create More Successful Email Delivery for its End-Users?
9:36 – How is SocketLabs’ Guided Reporting helping End-Users Fix and Avoid Disruption in their Email Programs?
13:11 – SocketLabs’ New StreamLine Email Management Suite
(Keep scrolling for a full transcript of the conversation.)
Enabling Email Success with New Intelligent Email Products From SocketLabs
Today, we talk with Louis Driving Hawk, Director of Product Management, to learn about some exciting new SocketLabs products on the way that mix human intuition from email experts with deeply intelligent, user-specific functionality to create a completely new email experience for our senders.
Hi everybody, and thanks for joining us. My name is Lauren Meyer, EVP of Product Marketing and Brand Strategy for SocketLabs, and today I’m sitting down for a conversation with SocketLabs’ Director of Product Management, Louis Driving Hawk. Louis is our most recent hire at SocketLabs (so far anyway). And I’m incredibly excited for this interview because this guy is responsible for countless pages of notes and quotes in my own personal notebook, not to mention he’s actively working on evolving our products and services to better address the needs of our customers.
A little bit about Louis as we kick off here, he’s been working in the email industry ever since he got out of college, and he’s had some really cool email experiences, including running a loyalty program for MGM Resorts International and building out the email program for tripping.com before moving out of the marketer’s seat and into roles as a Deliverability Consultant and Team Lead for SendGrid. And later, as a Senior Business Analyst with SendGrid / Twilio, all with a goal of helping others improve their email performance. And now Louis is working for SocketLabs as our Director of Product Management, and he’s doing some seriously cool things with our data and with Guided Reporting and things like that.
So today Louis and I will be digging almost as deep into email strategy and our solutions as Louis digs into our data. We’ll talk about the future of email delivery infrastructure and how we are going about solving challenges that our customers are facing when they’re trying to manage email compliance and performance for all of their end user customers, while simultaneously protecting the company from bad actors who are trying to send spam or hack into legitimate accounts and send phish – all kinds of really gross stuff.
So, thanks so much for joining me today, Louis, I’m super excited. Should we kick this off?
Yeah, thank you for having me! Yeah, let’s kick it off.
How SocketLabs is Using Technology to Simplify Email Data?
Okay. So, I would say – and I think you’d probably agree – that one of the most beautiful things about email is all of the data. But the most challenging thing within email is knowing what to do with all of that data, right? A lot of companies have hired data scientists to try and crack that code. And what I love about you, Louis, is that you’re a mix between kind of like a data scientist and sort of like a super nerdy, evil-genius type of email geek (but for good, of course). One who knows what data points are relevant, how they can be combined and used to create actual context about an issue that someone is facing with their deliverability. Spotting those deliverability issues and quickly understanding why they’re likely happening, and how much lift you can get by actually fixing them. So when we’re thinking about email performance and ways to proactively detect and maybe prevent deliverability issues, what’s your perspective on the way email data should be used?
So with email data, I think the first thing is to realize that data’s very complicated. The data is always changing. So the key here is being very adaptive and how you do that is by definitely focusing in on more of the outcomes and providing context on why those outcomes are necessary.
How we’re doing this is we’re looking at analysis a little differently. So the first thing we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be looking at key patterns. What we’ve developed is something called StreamMonitor and StreamScore. And this is really great at detecting a shift in performance, deliverability and compliance.
So StreamMonitor utilizes the StreamScore and StreamScore is really great because what it does is it takes 25 to 30 different attributes out there from first-party data and third-party data, combines it all together to give you a score that’s going to really detect an overall shift in email performance and deliverability.
First-party data, think of that as data that’s directly related to the email send itself. So opens, clicks, bounces, and deferrals. And then the third-party data is going to bring in things like spam trap data, SNDS data, Google Postmaster data, and really getting that third-party perspective into this and providing that into the score as well.
And these are really driven by a human intuition that we’ve had here at SocketLabs with domain experts, deliverability experts, and marketing experts. So now we’re narrowing down the view of what’s actionable and the key and the biggest part of the equation is “what can you do to impact change?” So if we can do that last step, that is going to be the biggest step, that’s going to influence your relationship with the recipients, because at this point they’re receiving mail that they want to receive at the time they want to receive it, and it’s the type of mail they want to receive. And that’s really going to drive up brand love. And at the end of this relationship, they may become brand ambassadors because of their receiving the mail that they really want to have at the end of the day.
What Makes SocketLabs’ Reporting and Analytics Different from its Competitors?
So we’ve got some reporting. That’s great. But every email service provider out there has reporting. So I guess how, how does SocketLabs’ reporting differ from every other analytics or deliverability monitoring platform that’s out there?
The best way to think about this is looking at it from the investigative flow. So the first thing in this flow, you’re going to want to detect if something is going wrong or in the correct direction.
The best way to think about this is a smoke detector. The smoke detector is going to pick up if something’s not going right. There’s smoke that’s starting to build up in the room, and that’s essentially what we want to do here through what we have built, called StreamScore. So StreamScore is really good at figuring out this very quickly and providing with that proactive detection.
So we want to prevent that initial shock of landing into an analysis tool. Now, a lot of times what happens is end users will log in, they see a bunch of charts, they don’t know what a lot of this data means. And it’s just being thrown at you. We want to prevent all of that and really start from this high-level approach. And then as you kind of go along and start to learn more about email and how & what drives a brand loyalty, brand love. You can then start second-clicking, third-clicking into the data and become, start becoming more of a champion of the data. And what’s great about it is by understanding the three levers you can pull and the common trends that are often associated with deliverability issues, you’ll start to become, it will just become second nature.
And we’re really taking that approach to enabling as many different businesses and as much different types of personas as we can. So really enabling the developers and the ITs to stand up something and to really become data champions, and passing on information as soon as that smoke detector is going off. And then we also want to enable marketing teams to really make changes without having to focus too much time on the investigative flow and land on what levers to pull.
And lastly, for those email specialists and deliverability folks, we also want to enable them to drill down and data to click into and really get into the raw data to see why something’s happening and then to pull fine levers here. So it’s providing the best of all worlds here in regards to our reporting platform. And we’re doing that through StreamScore, StreamMonitor and then Guided Reporting.
Wow, yeah. That is really exciting stuff.
How is SocketLabs Using Data to Create More Successful Email Delivery for its End-Users?
We’re going through three phases here. So the first thing is the detect. We will detect if there is a shift in performance behavior. And by doing that and kicking off the investigative flow in a much more proactive way and much sooner, it will drive a whole lot of brand trust of end-users using our platform. So, by doing that, we are quickly escalating issues in which we think there will be a future issue or an issue that’s already happened. And by doing this, it’s really a much more intelligent platform because at this point, you’re at, you’re at the beginning of the investigative flow.
But first, I really wanted to mention StreamMonitor, which is another tool that we’re building, that’s really going to enable service providers. So, think of service providers as companies that are sending email on behalf of their customers. And there’s a ton of tenants under this one sender. And really what we want to do is provide that one view of that universe to really give you an insight to 100% of your customers. Because commonly what happens here is when you’re that compliance person or you’re that deliverability person or performance person, and you’re looking at this program from that scale, it’s hard to look at everything. And what we really want to enable with StreamMonitor is to give you that view into everything, and really give you the opportunity to look at 100% of your customers to say, all right, how can we make them better through email education, pointing them in the right direction and really letting them know what’s wrong. So that’s the first layer of first of this analysis equation is detecting when something’s off and going in the wrong direction.
Wow, I love that, yeah. It’s so interesting. Because I’ve worked for email service providers, I’ve worked with agencies who could definitely take advantage of this. But it’s that idea of, you’re kind of almost only putting out the fire that is like really, really burning the brightest and you don’t get to all those other customers that are kind of sitting right behind who could really do with some optimization, but they don’t really know what they’re focusing on. So I love that we’re kind of raising that stuff to the surface. So very cool.
How is SocketLabs’ Guided Reporting helping End-Users Fix and Avoid Disruption in their Email Programs?
Okay. So I do want to get into this, this next thing that I know you’ve been talking about, which is kind of called Guided Reporting. Feels like this is a very different approach to deliverability monitoring. Kind of different than, you know, the Validities or the DataSources of the world. Really helping you get to that information faster, going a level deeper providing, you know, some real time indicators. But how are we doing all this? Like, what does this look like? Cause this, this feels very new to me.
Yeah, So the first step of this is to be proactive and really how we’re going to enable that proactive approach is through StreamScore and StreamMonitor. And what that does is it really alerts you and detects you to your data’s going in the wrong direction, or it has gone in the wrong direction. And this is really the starting point of that investigative trail, that analysis process that many deliverability, performance and compliance folks really start to do. And this is where it takes a lot of hours. So we want to remove all of that time and effort behind it and land you right on the effecting change and outcome on behalf of the data set that you’re looking at.
So it’s really a three-click / four-click sort of, “Let’s go fix this problem” and removing many, many hours of analysis. And going back to enabling you to look at a whole lot more customers, this is how it’s done, because right now you’re gonna enable deliverability consultants and compliance consultants on really getting down and figuring out what the problem is, and then working with a whole lot more customers. And that’s the fun part is really working on that strategy with, with your customer base.
Wow. I love that. Yeah. And it’s so interesting because I feel like a lot of times the most time-consuming part of solving a deliverability issue is just getting your client or your boss or whoever on board with the fact that you have a problem and what you should do about it, what’s causing that problem. So I love that it’s like we’re taking away all that investigation that means you’re like, “Is there a problem? I don’t really want to dig into this unless I really know I’m going to fix something.” Like, “Is it worth my time? We’re not doing away with deliverability people’s jobs. We’re just making them much more effective, much more proactive, much more able to focus on the things that matter instead of just putting out all those fires that they’re becoming aware of. So I really love that.
And really what that summarized view is it’s enabling that top line view into this and that’s what’s needed. With a lot of email analytics things they’re landing on what the problem is, but you don’t really know why that problem started happening. What are the underlying mechanisms? What are the underlying segmentations or the sending mechanisms that cause those issues? And why are those problems in that segment of data? With Guided Reporting, it’s really telling you why those things are happening and it’s narrowing it down to a subset of data.
And that’s where I believe the deliverability consultants and the email specialists are going to really love to be able to dig down into see what campaign caused issues, what IPs were associated with it, and really get down into the data to really become that champion of your company. Because at that point you’re now supporting 20 more customers, 30 more customers and making them better. And really what this is doing is they’re going more of a, from a reactive approach to a proactive approach.
And I can tell you now when that happens and, and if you can really make your customers happier at the end of the day, they’re going to be with you a lot longer because they’re serving their end customers and making them way happier.
Right. Wow. Yeah, that makes sense. And I feel like it’s just, you know, like when we’re talking about these customers of ours who are just trying to manage this for so many different senders, I can imagine it really is just one of those. Like you catch the top three worst senders and that’s pretty much it. You don’t get a chance to go into that kind of second tier of people that really do have a lot of room for optimization, but they’re not being contacted because the person that’s managing that doesn’t have time. So, I love that we’re kind of just freeing those people up to do more, to help more people, to make those end-user customers, the recipients, ultimately really, really happy with what’s coming to their inbox.
Introducing: StreamLine Email Management Suite by SocketLabs
Okay. Great. And this brings me to our newest offering, StreamLine. And I know we’ve got some services that are attached to this as well. So can you tell me a little bit about what we’re working on and what kind of impact do you expect StreamLine to have for the future of email?
Yeah, this is really exciting because it’s really focusing in on that service provider segment, and it’s really about evolving the future of email infrastructure. So at the highest level here, it’s combining the tools that we just mentioned, industry-leading experts, and then really collaborating with those with the most complex architectures with many tenants. And I mean this from huge one-to-many senders, huge enterprises with different brands or different products, and then even agencies. So really working with this wide spread of service providers, and by doing this, we’re creating a solution that enables these service providers to create best-in-class programs.
And this is particularly interesting because there’s not been a whole lot of innovation here and through this collaboration with these service providers and in this Beta that we’re calling StreamLine, we know that we’re building the future of email that’s going to be very intelligent, adaptable, and it’s not drive happiness for everyone involved all the way from the end recipients to the service providers and then everyone involved: that’s from compliance, deliverability, marketers, and IT admins.
Very cool. Wow. Yeah, this, this just feels like it’s going to relieve a lot of, kind of the stress and anxiety around: “I don’t really know how to help them. Like, I know there’s a problem. Well, what do I do with that?” Really just enabling those people to be better at making their customers better at email. So this definitely feels like a win-win.
I know we are definitely looking for more partners for our beta offering.
So if anybody is interested in, in what we’re working on, even if you just want to collaborate, we are literally email geeks who are building tools for other email geeks. So if you want to be a part of that, part of the future of email, please join us because we’re really excited about what we’re working on.
All right. Email geeks. We’ve made it to the end of yet another episode. Thanks to you, Louis for sharing your insights. I’m sure you’re itching to go dive right back into some email data, just like Scrooge McDuck in his vault. So I’ll let you get back to it. Thanks to all of you for tuning in. See you next time.