Sep 19 2012

Email Intelligence and the new Return Path

Welcome to the new Return Path.

For a tech company to grow and thrive in the 21st century it must be in a state of constant adaptation. We have been the global market leaders in email deliverability since my co-founder George Bilbrey coined that term back in 2002. In fact, back in 2008 we announced a major corporate reorganization, divesting ourselves of some legacy businesses in order to focus on deliverability as our core business.  

 Since then Return Path has grown tremendously thanks to that focus, but we have grown to the point where it’s time for us to redefine ourselves once again.  Now we’re launching a new chapter in the company’s history to meet evolving needs in our marketplace. We’re establishing ourselves as the global market leaders in email intelligence. Read on and I’ll explain what that means and why it’s important.

What Return Path Released Today

We launched three new products today to improve inbox placement rate (the new Inbox Monitor,  now including subscriber-level data), identify phishing attacks (Email Brand Monitor), and make it easier to understand subscriber engagement and benchmark your program against your competition (Inbox Insight, a groundbreaking new solution). We’ve also released an important research study conducted by David Daniels at The Relevancy Group.

The report’s findings parallel what we’ve been hearing more and more recently. Email marketers are struggling with two core problems that complicate their decision making: They have access to so much data, they can’t possibly analyze it fast enough or thoroughly enough to benefit from it; and too often they don’t have access to the data they really need.

Meanwhile they face new challenges in addition to the ones email marketers have been battling for years. It’s still hard to get to the inbox, and even to monitor how much mail isn’t getting there. It’s still hard to protect brands and their customers from phishing and spoofing, and even to see when mail streams are under attack. And it’s still hard to see engagement measurements, even as they become more important to marketing performance.

Email Intelligence is the Answer

Our solution to these problems is Email Intelligence. Email intelligence is the combination of data from across the email ecosystem, analytics that make it accessible and manageable, and insight that makes it actionable. Marketers need all of these to understand their email performance beyond deliverability. They need it to benchmark themselves against competitors, to gain a complete understanding of their subscribers’ experience, and to accurately track and report the full impact of their email programs.  In fact, we have redefined our company’s mission statement to align with our shift from being the global leader in Email Deliverability to being the global leader in Email Intelligence:

We analyze email data and build solutions that generate insights for senders, mailbox providers, and users to ensure that inboxes contain only messages that users want

The products we are launching today, in combination with the rest of our Email Intelligence Solution for Marketers that’s been serving clients for a decade, will help meet these market needs, but we continue to look ahead to find solutions to bigger problems. I see our evolution into an Email Intelligence company as an opportunity to change the entire ecosystem, to make email better, more welcome, more effective, and more secure.

David’s researchoffers a unique view of marketers’ place in the ecosystem, where they want to get to, how much progress they’ve made, and how big a lead the top competitors have opened up against the rest. (It can also give you a sense of where your efforts stack up vs. the rest of the industry.) There are definitely some surprises, but for me the biggest takeaway was no surprise at all: The factors that separate the leaders are essentially the core components of what we define as Email Intelligence.