Email Deliverability Experts Reveal Top Concerns, Challenges for ESPs & Brands

Every year we interview top email deliverability experts so that we might publish our findings for the benefit of the email marketing community and, perhaps selfishly, to improve our existing email compliance product, or new email verification product as well as email deliverability consulting services.

The Participants

This year, we talked with 25 deliverability experts, listed here in alphabetical order, from a wide variety of companies who graciously shared their time and expertise with us. 

How is email deliverability perceived at your organization?

The professionals we interviewed work in the following self-identified roles throughout the community:

  • 36% – Managers or Leaders
  • 28% – Senior Devs
  • 20% – Founders
  • 12% – Consultants
  • 4% – Junior Devs

For those working at an ESP or CRM, we asked how they were perceived by their company’s corporate team historically and currently. 

“Deliverability isn’t a thing until you need it—then it’s everything.”

– Matthew Vernhout, EmailKarma

Exactly 30% said that they felt deliverability was seen as a cost center and 50% said they felt that the cost-center image had shifted to being seen as a valuable tool once revenue-impacting examples and positive data sets were provided. The last 20% said that they feel like deliverability services are consistently undervalued within their company. 

Overall, deliverability perception sounds like it’s getting better, but from what we heard in our interviews teams are still largely under sourced and underfunded. We felt like one respondent, Matthew Vernhout, summed up the responses we heard by saying “Deliverability isn’t a thing until you need it—then it’s everything.’

What are your biggest deliverability challenges right now? 

Bad data and bad data management practices were some of the top deliverability challenges we heard from our respondents during the interview series. 

Notably, we heard many of the same, or similar, grievances throughout our interviews, leading us to believe that bad data can affect multiple levels of a company’s structure. About 80% of our respondents mentioned that bad data negatively affects their day to day work, but it can take on various forms. Here’s the specific breakdown:

  • 40% – Third-party, purchased, scraped and/or unengaged email addresses and lists
  • 20% – Top-down pressure from upper management
  • 16% – Over-mailing
  • 12% – Lack of segmentation

What tools are currently in your deliverability stack? 

Of the 25 professionals we spoke to, 60% use more than one tool to monitor deliverability. Our overall findings for deliverability tool usage is as follows: 

What should the delivery community be working on? 

Working toward a future with more DMARC and BIMI authentication was one of the biggest responses we heard in the interviews. We have a lot more content coming on this, soon.

There were also specific requests that would help the community as a whole, such as a call for standardization of terms industry-wide to help facilitate more efficient conversations across different deliverability groups.

Other requests that were voiced included mentorship programs for new deliverability professionals and, overall, more education across the spectrum of email users. This includes SMBs, marketers, c-suites and even ESPs who need a little extra help understanding deliverability.

What’s next in this series?

We’ve committed ourselves to developing this five-part series to bring these insights and suggestions to the community based on the data we gathered in our interviews. We have some fun and surprising content planned and we hope to bring exponential value to our users. 

We encourage you subscribe to our newsletter, and once again, we thank all our participants who contributed their expertise to this, the first article in our annual email deliverability experts interview series.

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