Episode 174 Featuring Joseph Ianni

Greg Zakowicz - Omnisend, Transformative Power Of Email Marketing

Greg Zakowicz - Omnisend, Transformative Power Of Email Marketing

Greg Zakowicz from Omnisend, an email and sms marketing automation platform for e-commerce brands, has been working in the email industry for 15 years. He started of as a practitioner then became a marketing consultant. He switched to being a data and marketing analyst then finally joined Omnisend.

In this episode, Greg discussed how important email and sms marketing to drive traffic and boost sales especially for smaller companies. He talked about the three automations you should start with that drives the majority of all revenue.


His backstory and broadcasting background

Greg Zakowicz: So I'll make this quick about my background. I am a e-commerce expert for a company called Omnisend. We are email and SMS automate marketing automation provider that is specifically built for e-commerce brands. We're talking D2C brands. How I always like to say it. If we get a shopping cart on your side, probably a good fit for you.

So with the platform, our goal is to you know, really democratize sophisticated email marketing, SMS marketing, for the everyday brand. So whether you're a mom and pop using Shopify, we have a plug and play integration with Shopify, Shopify plus, big commerce, woo commerce. So if you're on one of these ecom platform, plug and play with us. You know, we make it affordable.

We can interchange all our SMS marketing into the same automation as email. You don't have to pay extra for services, things like that. So e-commerce brand, so obviously we're looking at that all day long, right? We've got D2C brands over 70,000 of them that are using Omnisend. So we're constantly talking to clients, we're keeping our hand on the pulse of what's happening in e-commerce and from a marketing standpoint and things like that. So that is what I'm up to.

My job is really to go on podcasts like this, to look at data, to produce stats, reports, to speak on webinars and really just stay on top of what's going on with D2C brands. And that's kind of where I fit into the roles. So that's kind of what I'm doing on Omnisend right now. 

Joseph: And it seems to be a continuation of previous part of your career, because we do know that you have a broadcast background. And then you also are hosting a podcast yourself. I type in Greg Zakowicz on YouTube. And I just go with like, whatever the first hits are. So, is the podcast still going these days? 

Greg Zakowicz: It is. We've taken a bit of a hiatus and this is more just a personal bandwidth. So we had probably Q3 of 2021, we put out our last episode, we'll probably be kicking it back up here sometime soon, holidays crept into it.

We had just pulled in other directions. We're still growing organization, nicely growing organization, just across 200 employees, which is awesome, but a brilliant lunch bandwidth. So you're right. You would never know. I have a radio background. I think my speaking has gotten lazy over the years, which is not good because you do a lot of public speaking or at least I do.

So it's there, but it's crazy to think about. You used to work in radio, we went to school for marketing, was killing my secondary career fallback, if you will, which I transitioned to pretty quickly, I've been in the email game for over 15 years, which if you think about that, like that seems like an attorney to go.

So I started off as a practitioner and then went to a marketing consultant with another email provider 10 plus years ago. So I've been in the email provider space for a long time and then switched to a data analyst role of marketing analyst role. And now I'm in over a, kind of in a similar scope with this provider now.

So I've been in the game for a long time. I do. Yeah, I do podcasts, which is cart insiders. So we've done three seasons before we'd done a holiday specific one. Generally the conversations there are speaking with D2C brands and just kind of digging into how they're finding some success with marketing.

So the last season we did in two, three last year was we did, I think it was maybe seven different brands on very specific topics. So if you want to know how one brand succeeded doing a welcome series or doing a cart abandonment series or browse abandonment series we just dug into how'd you come up with the content, what are you doing from a timing do incentivize in there.

And we have the brand walk us through how they did it, you know, executing with limited resources, things like that. And it just kind of spell out their game plan for us and here's the blueprint go do it. And my job is really just to facilitate those conversations which I'm sure you know.

Joseph: What I find admirable is the position that you're in right now seems to be a combination of a lot of the different areas that you've been working on. Obviously the broadcast comes through, but also your time in the most space and, and, and in the marketing space. And it all basically coalesced into a very distinctive and unique position on it. I think that's telling of not just, you know, e-commerce but really like the internet and digital age is I had to make a job up from scratch a few years ago.

I got fired from my last sales job. All right. That does it. I'm just gonna get into podcasting and, you know, little by little, it actually ended up being a rival, rather lucrative. So is this something that occurred to you as well? Like what point did you start to realize that everything that you were working on was really all kind of like meeting in the center here?

Greg Zakowicz: I think like most things in life, I think it's somewhat work, somewhat skill, somewhat luck, right? Luck is always, has to be a part of it, somewhat just doing a good job. So I think it just kind of morphs into it. And I'll try to, if your listeners have ever listened to me before they know my short answers are quite long, I'll go on tangents. So I'll try to. 

Joseph: So yeah, we're all about that, I guess, now that we're getting super meta about it, but like, I like the idea that, you know, giving people the opportunity to just, you know, think out loud and go through it. It gives me more things to pay attention to and see what I can extract from them.

Greg Zakowicz: Perfect. So really how it worked is I'd never set out to, I've always wanted it to be some sort of public speaker. Right. But it was never anything where I had experienced doing. It was never anything where I had opportunities to do. And that's a whole different ball game with, especially based on the niche and what you're speaking in.

So that was something that was always in the back of my mind, which I think propelled me and got me to take in the steps from step A, to step B, step C. Kind of get there or get close to there and everything else could just kind of fell in place. So when I switched from email practitioner went to work for an email provider, which was a startup at the time here in North Carolina, which is where I'm based. I was a marketing consultant. So I've really just consulting D2C brands on their marketing programs. Some huge companies, some mom and pops, right. I'm trying to get their programs, solidified, built, launched in place, growing. And with my role there, I was just one of these guys that would kind of look at those.


I could identify those trends, right? Cause you're working with say 20 different clients. You can see, hey, you know, something's shifting with this client here. And then you see, you know, two days later you see a different client in a different industry or different vertical, and you're seeing those same shifts. And it's a lot easier when you're digging into people's accounts and you're doing arguing for different verticals to see these trends kind of evolve.

And then you can sit there as a consultant, say, okay, how do I adapt these trends across the boards? All my clients. And I was really good at picking those trends up, but what that ultimately led to was our marketing department internally saying, hey, we need some advice here. Or we got this content piece or we need a panelist for this upcoming conference. You're good at this stuff. What'd you like to contribute to it?

And I just slowly got involved in that and then eventually that side of marketing and speaking became kind of a second addition to my job, which was not the goal going in, but it was like, hey, you're really good at speaking. You're really good at kind of controlling the audience on stage. Would you like to do more of it? And I was like, sure. And you always go through those bumps and you figure it out, right. It's practice makes perfect or practice makes progress. I guess it's maybe a different, different way to say it.

Joseph: It does seem more realistic.

Greg Zakowicz: You just kind of get better at it. Right. And you clean up certain things, but then you're still applying tools from one side. I'm a very holistic person. So I, in marketing, I don't think there's one single thing you do that does not touch anything else in the organization. These things all touch. Whether people want to admit and not every single thing you do touches something else.

I was just good at picking those things up.

And then eventually with the company, we had someone that was kind of serving the role that I fell into there. They were kind of that point content versus they were in fact they'll speaker who wasn't quite as pronounced, but he decided to leave for a different opportunity.

It was just getting burned out. And their instinctive thing was they approached me and they said, Hey, would you like to switch jobs and come over and do this full time? And I'm like, yeah. That'd be great. It's what I want to do. So a lot of it was timing. A lot of it was luck. A lot of it was piecing things together and just being able to apply those things.

You know, I did that for a couple of years over there. And then this opportunity at omnisend came up to kind of spearhead their content department. So I came over as director of content and part of that job was also what I'm doing now. So as the company grew, we kind of stabilize the content, the content department there.

And we had these internal conversations, like, are my skills better use kind of like managing a group of just kind of like facilitating things or using my skillset to go out and do what I was doing before and the way that we all made the decision that yeah. This is kind of what I'm doing. This is a lot more fun for me.

And I'm looking at data a lot more rather than looking at who to assign the next project to. So I made that transition a few months ago, but it says something I've been doing since I joined on the sat here. So it's been a really long kind of journey for it and it wasn't one I was going into and expecting, but it just kind of happened.

Right. And the podcast and was saying that way with the last company we're sitting there and we're just in a meeting, we're like, what can we do? And let's launch a podcast, let's talk about this. You know, we find value in public speaking on stage and getting that notoriety, why don't we just tend to control that narrative?

It was literally where I said this, and someone goes, you hosting. And I said, yes. And they go, okay, write up a plan. Right. And a few months later we get launched a podcast. And that thing through may, we had that thing going every other week for two and a half years, you know, there was, there was no control.

It was just me. And they're like, I had these initial concerns like, hey, do we have companies that are not using us that are using competitors? And they go we don't care. Right. So I had this full authority just kind of host a podcast that I thought would be entertaining and useful for audiences. We covered topics.

I had a five-year-old on one episode to kind of figure out like, what does a five-year-old know about marketing and what do they know about Alexa at the time? Right. Do they know what Amazon is? Right. And it was really interesting because the five-year-old who happened to be my son, but, you know, I don't really talk about e-commerce at home with, it was interesting to again, get his perspective, but like what the world in the environment, as rounded of a five-year-old knows, then we've gotta be thinking that a 20 or 30 or 40 year old person's got to know these things.

So we grew that audience really, really well. And then we came over to omnisend and we kind of, we had these great customers. We weren't really telling their stories well, but they had so much cool things to so many cool things to tell, but like, let's do the same thing here. Right. And we started doing that and, you know, we're kind of finding our way through it.

How important social proof is

Joseph: So one of the points that you made that I think is telling is all aspects of the business are interconnected. There's very little, if any compartmentalization. And so what I'm wondering with regards to the podcast is that how was that having an influence on all of those other areas and how was the podcast connected to it?

I would imagine as it did with it, you know, you hear the answers, you're getting research, you're learning skills and techniques that other people were using, which you can then apply. But from your point of view, how was it a part of the ecosystem? 

Greg Zakowicz: Yeah, it's interesting because part of it is self-serving for the company. And then part of it is self-serving for the customer that the guest, whoever comes on, right. The guests always has something they want you to know, like right now. 

Joseph: That's totally, totally agree with that. 

Greg Zakowicz: Go buy Omnisend. Right? That's my shameless plug. Right. But I try to deliver in practical knowledge and you know, things like that. And then there's all the other aspects.

So from a company standpoint, we want our customers to be our advocates for us. I think every company, whether you're a B2B company or a D2C company, you want social proof. You want everyone else to know him. Someone else is finding success with you.

If we can have our customers tell their own story. A D2C brand, listening to another D2C brand, talking about how they have very few resources. They don't have unlimited budgets, but they're able to do these great things and just accelerate their sales and provide a better customer journey. Just like an IRR 500 company or an enterprise company can. I think it's telling for companies.

So from a brand standpoint, we have our customers tell the value of our us customers get a little more publicity out of it, but they also, you know, all things connected. They get exposure on podcasts, they get experience, they build their own personal brand. They build their companies, the brand on there. So those things are connected.

But then from you know, it'd be the standpoint. We want customer success stories. So we foster those relationships. I was dropping an email with someone who was on the podcast last year. We've done a customer success story with them as well, which, I mean, these things tend to go side by side and we were just blessed an email back and forth, just chatting right now. We've got these personal relationships in there. They ever need something. If they're having issues with anything, they can just drop me an email. They know I'm going to respond to them. Right.

So it's like these bonds lasts a long time. So we talk about things internally being holistic, these things stretch all over the place. Right. And I'm still talking to people who were on my podcast four years ago. Right. And we're we're friends and, you know, they might not have a question just randomly about like, Hey. Like I don't use Omnisend, but hey, I got this question. Do you know someone who might be able to help me here? I'm not sure. Let me make an intro for you. So like, it's amazing how these things happen. I've become friends with old podcast guests now, which I never thought in the world would ever happen. But the connections go far. They extend very far as a small world, as they say. And it really is a small world. 

Joseph: You know, one of the previous guests that we had on the show, this was actually quite a few months ago. If not more than a year is a YouTuber and video game streamer. I didn't like, it's not like I went out of my way to talk to one of them. He was offered a guest spot. And since then we've become pretty good friends. I do his podcast on a week-to-week basis. We've been in frequent touch.

So getting into an e-commerce podcast, there's a lot of things. I didn't think I was going to get a chance to talk about video games. God, politics once in a while. I like all that stuff. I mean, it's not like the main focus or anything that comes up. So what were some of the things that some of the conversations that or some of the connections that surprised you that ended up being like maybe e-commerce adjacent or even just really, how far off has your journey taking you at that?

Things a small business can learn from a big business, and vice versa

Greg Zakowicz: So what's really interesting about this is the stuff we see now are the same things that were happening from a re from like a limitation standpoint and a kind of a tactical standpoint, the same thing for the most powerful, the last 10 plus years, right. It's like, how do we do more with less? And even like, I worked with you know, with omni-channel brands, they had a hundred plus location, brick and mortar stores. They were global. They had resources in their marketing department.

And what happened with ultimately with those brands are, there's like two people doing email, right? One's a graphic designer and the other, person's doing everything else. And they're also doing social or paid search on top of it. So a lot of big brands have more resources at their disposal, but not necessarily email marketing resources at their disposal, which are very comparable to smaller, you know, smaller midsize brands as well. So really the goal becomes how do we do more with less?

How do we make progress on things and try to really automate sales as much as possible. And I think automation's been around for, you know, at least 15 years, you know, you could do a cart abandonment 15 years ago. Just it's a lot easier now. And I think that's where smaller companies that are looking to either get ahead of larger companies.

Get it, close that gap a little bit. This is where that opportunity comes in the hand because it can take you five minutes to set up a piece of marketing automation right now takes you what, 15 minutes to build an email. The content that I would tell you is as a consultant, the content that you should put in your messages, you probably have that content on your site and in your previous emails already, it's really just a matter of taking it and aggregating and putting it in there.

The automation is really the key for smaller companies who want to increase her sales and do a from the background. Now that automation is not all created equal. So the challenge with all companies of all size is you get email marketers. Or email marketers there and they say, okay, I've got all these automations, there's 20 different things to do.

How am I going to do all these things? And they start going through this list of like, all right, let me get a birthday automation. They're like, well, I got to get birthdays. And I caught that. So now I need a manage preference. You know, campaign. The fact is not all automation is created equal or are they messages?

You might get better open rates. You might get maybe better click rates, but not necessarily a better conversion rates. And you're sending a lot fewer of them than you are on say a cart abandonment. There's really three automations that are driving the majority of all revenue. So this is where I would start welcome series one message at a time cart, abandonment, really close to cash.

As my friend Lucas Walker would say fellow Toronto person as well, close to cash, but, and then browse and product abandonment and browse on product abandonment. It's increasing in usage. It's still under utilized my opinion. It's driving less revenue than say those other two, but the really important part here is that.

Welcome is at the beginning of the life cycle, that engagement card abandonments pretty close to conversion, right? And they've got this gap in the middle. And that gap is traditionally where you find the social media ads, search ads, batch and blast promotional campaigns. The browse abandonment kind of fits in the middle.

There someone's browse and they're not carting stuff. And you kind of keep that relevant message again. And so those three things, if you implement those three messages, most brands are going to be fine. And I think the thing with larger companies where they might have more resources, they might have more dollars behind them.

They might have more graphic design departments that a lot of times those marketers are kind of a handcuff because they have higher level reporting metrics. They need to hit. They've got bigger fish to fry, right? Increasing your email marketing sells a half a percent or 1% on a welcome series. Is not earth shattering.

So that email marketer is trying to hit certain goals. So if I'm spending X amount of time doing like a second welcome message for, I'm just going to choose Walmart's bad example, but for Walmart, they're reporting up and like, hey, I create a second welcome message and the boss has gone well, what does that mean for it takes a while to grow those things.

So I think that's where they kind of get stuck in the mud a little bit is we need bigger projects with bigger results quicker. Let's leave the fundamental stuff that ultimately, if you wait three months, you're going to see some of those bigger results. Smaller companies realize is they don't have as many resources to execute, but they know, hey, there's a certain plan here and it's easy to execute.

I just need some an hour a week or two hours a week doing these things.

And in three months, I'll have all this stuff done right now. I'm rocking a roll. And I think, I don't know if that answers the question, but I try to frame it in the best way possible. The automation is the key for all of it, but I think smaller companies have an advantage over the larger companies to be able to execute these things because it's easier for them to move on these things.

The changes in consumer behavior

Joseph: Let's make sure that we use some time to talk about the product. So initially, when you described that to me, I drew an association, which upon reflection is false, but I'll say it anyways, which is somebody isn't in a retail store. And that's that middle point between they've been welcomed into the store and they've decided whether or not they're going to buy or not.

And you have salespeople who are speaking with them in the interim and helping them make up their mind, sell them on the company, sell them on the features of the product. Now, the reason why this is actually not all that accurate is because we're discussing what happens when they leave. And so salespeople, you know, they don't exactly like leave the store and be like, Hey, wait a second.

You prefer to have a look at this one. So that doesn't work. However, I am interested in hearing about this because this is the first time that I've had really chance to talk about this, this middle point. And it sounds like it's still rather, frontier's territory for your company. So what's the project here? What's the goal? 

Greg Zakowicz: Yeah. So I always liked the frame and was like online window shoppers. Right? You're checking out something, maybe something more specific, but you're not really, you're not putting into your shopping cart or you're not, you know, physical shopping card. You're carrying it around. You're right.

From an online stamp. I go to your website, I'm checking out, you know, coffee mugs or whatever, you know, whatever it could be. I don't care what the product, but then I leave your site. So we can now trigger messages to that consumer to say, hey, checking out. And we could either do category or products.

They're both options available for you. So product is, Greg is checking out free hugs coffee mug, right? And you can send me a message like, Hey, you know, free hugs caught your eye. Everyone loves free hugs. I say that because my son got me free hugs, coffee mug for Christmas. It's my new team mug now.

So, you know, it's very specific to the product I was looking at, but we know something there. I didn't put it into my cart. So something, there was an obstacle there. Right? I clicked the wrong link, not using your YouTube example, wrong product, not interested. Don't like the price. Didn't like the design.

There's a million reasons power went out. The other way it is category specific, right? So I'm checking coffee mugs versus, you know, versus coffee makers or shoes instead of dresses. Right? So it's very, as higher level, we can do the same thing and just send you a more general message around like, hey, top rated coffee mugs, right.

And it kind of encompasses all coffee mugs, not necessarily the one I'm viewing. So really what this is feeding into is, you know, hey, we know there's some level of interest there by the, by the consumer, something in their life, took them to your website. At that time, something in their life made them check out certain products or certain categories of products.

They just weren't ready to buy right there. And that could be a slew of reasons, right. They could be price shopping. They could have seen a social ad, right. That drove him over there, but I'm interested. So this kind of fills that gap and how I always relate it to people because one of the biggest concerns that companies will tell you is that these questions I used to get was I don't want to annoy my customers.

You know, by sending them a message and I will say, well, you're going to send to them anyways. Like, are you going to schedule a message to them next week? And then we'll go, yes. And I'm like, is it segmented to their interests? No. Like wouldn't you rather send them a relevant message based on something they're actively doing, or it's a behavior based message, right. It's timely to them.

Then a batch and blast message that may or may not be relevant to them. Right. And they're like, well, yeah, There's your answer. Alright. Send them the automated message and guide them down. And part of the strategy with these messages is overcome whatever objections you think there might be, right?

So you social proof talk about, show star ratings and customer testimonials on there, remind them about your value. Your company value adds. They may have been a customer of yours. They may not be a customer of yours. They may be a loyal customer of yours. So like tout those value adds, make them feel comfortable in purchasing you know, a ton of those return policies are free shipping, but you know, if it's something where it's a little more specific, like a sofa or something more complex, talk about the product quality or, you know, all these different attributes of the product or category of products themselves. And those are things you want to get them back to the cart.

You're back to the website to check it out again, and maybe they won't buy and that's okay. Right. Maybe they'll put it in their cart and not check out, but then you have your cart abandonment to kind of fill that gap and, and things there. So, you know, it's increasingly being utilized by brands, Omnisend clients and not on Omnisend clients.

Five years ago, slowly increasing, totally underutilized. I would say right now, you know, if I had to guess, pure guess, right? To take this for whatever it is. Right. And just all brands, not honestly saying clients, I'd probably say 20% of brands are probably using these 80% are not, but daily, I seem to be getting new ones where people are adding them to their messages.

So on sign up for like 500 email programs, I've got my own Gmail account just for this. And I just monitor stuff and I'll look on emails and bounce around and I want to see who's got 'em and I increasingly see more and more people sending me. Browse abandonment messages. So I'm still under utilized, but still super important.

And it's behavior based and it fills that gap. And this is why I think more brands are catching onto the value of these things. And they are one of the higher performing messages that you're going to send from an automated standpoint. 

Joseph: Is there any way to determine which of the messages are sent based off time? Like if somebody is just looking at it for a couple of seconds, it could be an accident, but if they're there for. It's 20 seconds to 30 seconds, or it might be a little bit more interest versus a minute versus two minutes. 

Greg Zakowicz: It's not easily right now. So you can set parameters to say, don't send it if they've only checked at one time. Right. So if you want to see if they've gone back to us a second time, or even timing over a period of span, right. You could say, hey, if they check out this category or this product two times in the last three months, like you could do things like that, a little more complex to do. 

Importance of automation and segmentation

Joseph: Yeah. Okay. That's fair. So, one thing that stuck out to me, you know, you're describing that 20% we were using it, 80% are not, and that trend is moving towards the using it. I think part of the reason why this is important is to help with some of that email fatigue, where I think a lot of online consumers grown accustomed to the welcome messages.

And they've probably had their fair share of abandoned cart messages, which has an issue in of itself. But I think one of the ways to resolve that is to find unique ways to have a dialogue with that customer that they're not used to. And it shows that a businesses keeping more, or is this they're looking for more ways to connect with their consumer?

Greg Zakowicz: There are so many different things you can do here as well. So you're right. It's a touchpoint kind of in that middle where, like I mentioned earlier, this is normally where your batch and blast promotional messages come in, right? This is where you communicate with that customer email is between the welcome the cart or the welcome the purchase, right? That's and that's not why segmentation is doable. Some brands use it, some brands use it sparingly. It's really hard for one or o email marketers is scale segmented emails, full time. Because if you segment four different ways, you need four image creatives, you need four different things.

You get it's time consuming and people will do it for awhile and they fall off because it's just not, it's not scalable for like one person. I would automation as a new segmentation because they're nationally segmented they're behavior based. So, you know, they're timely, the relevant, it doesn't replace segmentation, but it gets you a lot closer to where you want to be.

And these browse betterment messages kind of fit that middle ground. So yeah, if I'm sending four times a week and I'm worried about emails. Do I need to send four times, can I make as much revenue sending three times a week, knowing these browsers abandonment messages will really drive the remainder of the sales of that fourth message because only people probably purchasing on that fourth message are probably the ones who are on my website, you know, this week browse against stuff.

So that's part of the idea is that we use automation to kind of lessen our reliance as, oh, the term I use with what customers can. We lessen our reliance on promotional messages and still not sacrifice revenue. And in fact, we want to grow revenue at the same time. Right? Can we do that?

And I think that helps offset that fatigue and it helps offset, you know, especially if you're paying for email, right? If you're paying to send every thousand emails. Well, if I could send 20,000 less emails, how much am I saving here? And my cells being cannibalized. And the answer is no, you're actually coming out ahead.

Web push notifications

Joseph: Okay, fantastic. So if anything, I guess I can base it off my hunger. So one of the things that you mentioned, was web push notifications. And I just wanted to get a little bit of clarity on that because I don't actually know what to picture when I think of web push. I know what I think of when an email SMS, but for some reason, I don't think we've I've I've had anybody talk to me about it.

Greg Zakowicz: Yeah. So you probably get these all the time. So you go to a website and it's like, Hey, would you like to receive notifications from allow block? Right? Those are really your web push notifications. So you click allow, they're able to it's opt in. But they're able to then send you messages.

So, I think he used a good example before where, you know, whether you're on the site or not on the site, they can send you these messages, but you talked about, hey, if I walk into a store I'm kind of there and the sales associate might want to help me out online, you've got live chat. You might have a chat bot, but you don't really have that interaction. This is a use case where this could serve as like part of your sales rep type stuff. Right? You could have a notification pop up if you visit a certain page or category, or if you're in the checkout process, right. And maybe you're scared they're going to leave.

You can have something come up there to say, Hey, you know, complete your purchase. Now here's 10% off. Like you can use these in these cases as well, but they're the ones that are going to show up on, say your laptop screen, right? Pop it up. They don't necessarily have to be on your site. So here is part of the beauty of Omnisend is, and this is just how far automation has come over the years in general is that used to have automation for email.

And then I mean, years ago with my previous company as well, we were able to put SMS to the same thing. It's a lot more, it's a lot better now than it was, but our automations, you can put web push notifications, intermixed with all these sites, all your channels into one automation workflow. 

So yeah. If their email on the subscriber, they just get the email series that for email and SMS, we can toggle back and forth. We can tweak it out how we want, if their email, SMS and web push notifications, we can then trigger web push notifications whenever we want, you know, in whatever, flowing to intermix these things.

So, you know, the thing about web push notifications, they're growing rapidly, the usage in 2020, over 2019 exploded this year exploded even more. And part of that is one it's still inexpensive. It's still kind of a newer, if you will. So people are playing around with it, but they're getting a lot more intrigued by it because they're trying to find ways to stand out.

I made 54 million web push. You asked me two years ago, we just sent 50, more and more 54 million web push in a year. And I'm going to go no way, not in the next two years. And we hit that mark, but we're seeing a lot more messages be used. This is email SMS last year, specifically, web push specifically inside of automation. So they're growing on just like promotional sense, your scheduled sends. But they're growing a lot more rapidly in the automation side of things, which is interesting.

And this is where people are figuring out the automated series are doing really well, but I'm gonna put other channels in there too. And even if it is to drive people to your email, Hey, check out our email for X, Y, Z, but you automate that to make it timely, different touch points. That's where companies are finding the value.

Now, web push is still new. I still think we're a ways from really this being fully adopted by brands and consumers. To be honest with you, like there's a couple that I click allow to most of them, I click block. I just don't think from a consumer I'm there yet. Except for some brands, those ones that maybe I really liked those brands.

So now they've got a different channel and to me, but I think this is where we've seen over the last year and a half brands experimenting where to use them in and how to use them successfully abandoned cart workflows. We're finding brands use a more, we're finding brands have a lot of success with them, you know, with other like a birthday workflow, we're finding less success with them, right?

So I think these are going to be a little more use case specific than say email and SMS. Well, it's going to be a little more targeted. It's going to be a little more specific. And I think that's where companies are going to find the success, but they're still playing with that. Right. And we're still trying to figure out how users will adopt it. I don't think it's going to be like SMS where SMS is in a, you know, they're just ways people communicate now.

SMS marketing is not going anywhere. Brands. If you're listening to this and you're not doing it, you should do it because you're going to find yourself trailing and falling further behind. It's no longer, super expensive, which is the beauty of it. But it is here. It's ubiquitous form of conversation by, so I was in Buffalo for a football game.

It was like 70, 80 mile an hour winds about a month ago. It's a good time of year to go up there. Apparently I made this decision, regretted it for a little while, but later on visiting my parents, cause my parents are still living up there and you know, we're just lounge around and my mother's phone's beeping and she's, you know, I always tease her for being old. She's not that old, but only because I'm creeping up there in age, but she's like reading the texts out loud and she they're all from brands that she's opting into. And so she's a baby boomer and she's getting SMS marketing messages and she's responding to them right away and reading them.

Everyone's using them like everyone texts. And that's the thing. Push notifications. I don't think we'll ever really be there with them, but I think there are going to have a place not going to serve a really good purpose, but I don't think it's ever, it's just my opinion will ever be like SMS, where it's going to be ubiquitous form of conversation, but they're useful. And the companies can find a little leg up there. They want to play around with. 

Joseph: I guess my interpretation of it is the difference between when a person is receiving chemo or SMS, it is on their, on their own time. It is on their own terms and it's on their own turf. Whereas a web push seems to be more on the leaning, more towards the business's side, it's more likely that you're going to be within the controlled environment experience of the business. And so there are notifications, there might be more cultured and curated to message they want to convey within that experience. 

Greg Zakowicz: I think it's fair way to look at it. Yeah, very much so. And you know, I will say that it is an opt-in channel, which is really important. I think that is a place where social media, it's a push channel, right? People don't go there looking for ads. If you sign up for email, you're asking for ads now on social, right. People respond to ads there now. Right? It's just part of the experience.

So with push, email, SMS, the concerns, I would say it's opt in and people don't want them. They don't have to opt into them. They don't have to get those messages if they opt into. They do, like, it's a way to communicate with them and they can always opt out and leave them at any time.

So I think your assessment of it, a hundred percent spot on push is going to be a little more on the company's terms than the individual term, but they are that doesn't make it a bad thing because people are opting in to receive those messages. If they're clicking block, they're not getting them. So you've got a little bit of a foot in the door in that. 

Goals of Omnisend for the next 5 years

Joseph: So we're gonna start wrapping this bad boy up first. This is more of like I think I predictive question, you know, looking into the future kind of question, you know, with empathy, a name like omnisend. I get the impression that as time goes on and new platform and new messaging platforms emerge, like what we just talked about, you want to be adaptive to it.

So, is there anything, beyond web push notifications that you're keeping your eye on, anything down the line that you think might be relevant, maybe upstate, like give it two to three years, give it five years?

Greg Zakowicz: So from a marketing perspective, I think we're going to be relatively, I won't say stagnant as a company. We're not saying we're working on tons of stuff as a company from integrating, you know, Amazon sellers into pulling that data and, and connecting those things with your, your e-commerce store. For what you do, you know, with Omnisend as well, always expanding our capability with any comp platform.

So those things aren't going anywhere, we're always going to continue accelerating there. I think from a general marketing sense, right? If you look from the whole pie what's going to change in the next five years, honestly, I don't think you're going to see dramatic shifts any one way to the, from one way to the other, I think maybe the biggest opportunity or you might have a dramatic shift and we'll see, kind of see how it plays out is, I did a TV interview on this topic last week.

I wrote about this about four years ago. So I'm like, I'm glad to see some things are coming true. And I think it might've been my 10 year prediction, so maybe 25. So I might be right on pace with that. I think what e-commerce has the ability to do from a VR standpoint, like VR shopping, I think that is going to be. I would say huge, but I think that's going to be a thing.And it's going to be a big thing and I would not be surprised 10 years from now, if someone's job, just like they designed a brick and mortar store, you will have people who sold jobs to design a VR stores.

You think about natural traffic flows through a store and how they're going to pick up products and view products. I think there's going to be an opportunity there for brands. And we're seeing luxury brands start to do this already. You know, this isn't anything new, but I think as VR headsets become more adopted and I think they will, I got one for Christmas this year, my wife, for whatever reason was obsessed with it.

And we're like, okay, we're doing it. I think this is where we're going to see a pretty big play. I think it'll be big on the entertainment side of things, but I think we're going to have some e-commerce capabilities there. Something's always going to merge the, probably going to be maybe a new niche social site.

I don't think we're going to see really big social sites pop up like Tiktok anymore. I think we're kind of beyond those days, to be honest with you, there might be one, but. You know, it's really hard to project, but I don't think we're going to see a dramatic shift, any one place than the other. I think we're going to see email, continue to accelerate and continue to be adopted as a thing.

I think SMS will continue to grow two years from now. We'll see how it can have a plays out from a plateau level. I think automation from email is going to keep being up push notifications. We'll see what happens with them. I think they'll have its place. Like I mentioned, probably not ubiquitous. The interesting thing to me to watch is really social media targeting, right?

Because we're seeing a lot of pushback on companies now, especially these large companies, Microsoft, Activision, you know, that acquisition we're seeing kind of these larger conglomerates, you know, antitrust is pushing back at them now how the advertising dollars with that data collection is really going to data collection. And usage of that to me is the interesting thing to watch, right?

And I think this is where opt-in channels really come in. There has been a real big push this last year from D2C brands realizing that can I aggregate as much stuff into one platform as possible? So I don't have data here. I don't have data. You produce those data silos. We are on top of this. We have, for years now have email SMS push in the one platform, right? We can segment off that data. We can look at out interact. We can also push out and sync, not hourly, but you know, every 15 minutes to Facebook audiences with those three pieces of data, we can also sync out to Google ad properties, right?

So we've got Facebook, Instagram, Google properties, YouTube and all that stuff on top of email, SMS, and push all into one platform. Right. For whoever. And I think having that data in one place is really important for reducing costs, but also as we start getting into more acquisitions on all these platforms that are collecting and aggregating user data, how that is going to impact your ad spend on these different channels.

And to me, that's the biggest, like that's the area I'm looking at to see what happens with that stuff, because I think that's going to have a trickle down effect on companies like us or companies that do any sort of like other sort of marketing, not on those different platforms. 

Joseph: Just real quick. You know, you brought up the Microsoft acquisition of Activision who had previously, you know, acquired a blizzard, which I grew up playing a lot of their blizzard games, not so much anymore.

The gaming ecosystem that Microsoft is trying to create here is going to be an interesting thing to watch for. With Nintendo unattended does their own thing. But with Microsoft and Sony, a lot of the this be relevant, I promise a lot of the games that come out are available on both systems.

So it's been difficult for both of them to really distinguish themselves as much as an intended has been able to, you know, on the one hand, Microsoft, I guess they at the X-Box is distinguished by halo and mountain Dew and so many by, you know, uncharted. So it's going to be interesting seeing that challenge for both companies now to figure out how do they actually distinguish their identities further. And I think that's going to, they're going to need that in order to market properly. 

Greg Zakowicz: It's interesting. I just don't have an answer for this stuff. Like, I don't know where it's going. I can project some of this stuff and it comes into fruition. I, they make moves and like, what are they doing here?

And then that really works out well for them. And I'm like, I don't see that comment. Right. I was way off the board on that way. So I don't know what's going to happen with it. I'm not a huge gamer anymore. Like I was never really a huge gamer, but I go back to my youth. I was big in the video games. I'm less into now.

I just kind of follow. I still play the Nintendo from time to time, which is crazy. Most Superbowl men. It's fun. It's interesting to see how this stuff is shaping up. Like this is a business in itself, right? It is a huge, huge billion, multi billion dollar business at some fashion as these acquisitions happen, they are going to start bleeding into each other.

I think we're going to see some sort of, some sort of ad spend, like I can, I can imagine, I would say like makeup or cosmetics or something like there's some sort of gaming system. Or some game that audience is wearing that stuff. And they're going to find a way to advertise in there. Same with like, I dunno, tactical gear or whatever it might be on, you know, halo or something like there's, there's going to be some there's going to be some permeation there when that happens, how it happens. I have no idea. Right? 

Joseph Ianni
Joseph Ianni

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