Meet the Influencers: Andrew Kordek
(Andrew Kordek is the Co-Founder and COO of Trendline Interactive)
How did you get started in email marketing?
It started by accident in 1999 when I was in software sales and looking for ways to increase my production. One day, I stumbled upon the power of mail merge in outlook and my obsession with email began. Every night I would take thousands of email address' (yes they were somewhat opt'd in) and merge them to send out over the course of the night. They had expressed interest in the past with the software, so I figured it was a great way to cross sell them on a similar product. Over the course of weeks and months, I did this every night and every morning I had the highest downloads and leads resulting in becoming the number one salesperson in the group. Other salespeople found out what I was doing and wanted to be trained on the content I wrote as well as how to send out email to their own patches. Eventually, the marketing department caught wind to what I was doing and asked if could help promote a local seminar. When the email went out, the seminar became oversold and they received record attendance and closed a ton of business. This success led me to do other emails for other cities and then email marketing was born. I quickly moved into a marketing role and within a year, I owned email marketing across the globe for this $500+ million company. We ran an instance of Lyris on premise and I quickly cut my teeth on segmentation given the breadth and depth of the product line.
Tell us about your role and what a typical day is like.
I have multiple roles which keep me very busy at Trendline. First and foremost, I act as an messaging and email optimization strategist across most of our clients. I work with our account managers, creative and technology teams to look for ways to maximize and optimize programs. It can range from analysis and reporting, test design and speaking with clients about upcoming projects and ensuring our teams are empowered to create and execute. I spend a fair amount of time customizing recommendations to each client because of the uniqueness and complexity of the programs.In addition to working with our clients, I typically spend between 5-15 hours a week inside and outside of normal working hours reading, writing and reflecting about current trends, new developments and general digital strategy. I am obsessed with learning things and have often thought of myself as a student of this craft. I am generally thinking about ways organizations can achieve incremental gain in all of their KPI's and love a good debate with passionate people.My second role within Trendline is that of being the COO. I am involved in resource planning, process optimization and HR (which includes leading all of our recruiting efforts as well constantly "taking the pulse" of our organization). Trendline is deeply rooted in the belief that culture is key to success and I want to ensure that the folks who work here are challenged, empowered and motivated all while feeling as if they have a voice at the table. Over the last 18 months we have had explosive growth (over 400%) in terms of staff and I make it a point to interview each and every candidate first to gauge the cultural and skills fit for Trendline.Each day is unique but one of the greatest joys I have in this role is the ability to share in the success of Trendline with those that work here. We do this in a variety of ways and since the beginning, Morgan and I have been committed to creating a culture where collaboration is key and the rewards reflect it.
What do you see as the future of email marketing?
I get asked this question a lot and I often wonder if what I say is equivalent to throwing darts at a wall with no bullseye. That said, I think email marketing has a bright future and am excited for how some organizations are starting to approach things. You can't talk about the future unless you learn from the past and my hope is that organizations look towards the future and limit the focus on distractions. I believe that the industry sometimes chases squirrels which distract companies away from the core of what makes email successful. I think email marketing will look the same in 24 months, but things like advanced testing, deep and meaningful insights to across all channels and the role email plays into those channels all while maintaining a vigilante approach to driving maximum revenue in a minimal state is the future of email marketing.
Why should anyone chose email marketing as a career?
My question is why would they not want to get into email marketing? Email is one of the highest revenue producing digital channel out there. It can be measured quickly and there are not too many other digital channels where you can raise your hand in a C-Level meeting and say "I contribute $XX in revenue" and then within reason give expectations on incremental increases with programmatic changes.The email channel is like the offensive line in football (hand egg for my friends around the world). The O-Line clears a path for the QB (social/mobile) to throw a pass or for the RB (search/DM) to score a touchdown and they sometimes never get credit for it. However, when recognized that success happens when you do things like a team, everyone wins. When a team wins the Super Bowl, you never see the O-Line up on the stage holding the Lombardi Trophy and that is ok. Get into email if you want to be a humble contributor to the success of any company but make sure you know what your contribution happens to be and let people know every once in awhile.