Email on Tap, Episode 13: Alyssa Nahatis, Director of Deliverability Americas and Global Services, Adobe Campaign

Have you ever wondered what one of the largest campaign marketing platform thinks about the value of email? As hardcore email geeks, we sure have.

That’s why Anthony Chiulli, 250ok director of product marketing, met with Alyssa Nahatis, director of deliverability Americas and global services at Adobe, for an episode of Email on Tap. Her perspective is unique, qualified, and enlightening, and we’re eager to share their conversation with you.

Jump right on in:

Total Run Time: 9 minutes
00:22 – Overview of Alyssa’s role and the Adobe Campaign deliverability practice
00:46 – Common deliverability projects and challenges senders face
1:28 – Importance of optimizing deliverability for an email marketer
2:09 – How marketers adjusted to the evolution of deliverability over the years
2:55 – What separates great email marketers and brands from the rest of the pack
3:38 – Important deliverability metrics marketers should pay attention to and why
5:16 – Why Gmail is such a challenging and unique mailbox provider for marketers
6:28 – How important data acquisition and list hygiene is in optimizing deliverability
7:20 – How has being active in email organizations and communities have influenced Alyssa’s career

Listen and subscribe on your favorite platform:



Anthony Chiulli
Hi everyone and welcome to another episode of Email on Tap. I’m your host Anthony Chiulli, and today my guest is Alyssa Nahatis. She’s the director of Deliverability and Global Services here at Adobe Campaign. Alyssa, thanks so much for sitting down with me today.

Alyssa Nahatis
Hey, Anthony. Thank you for having me here.

How are you?

I’m doing well, thanks.

That’s great to hear. So tell me a little bit about your role and kind of what your team does here at Adobe Campaign.

Sure. So I lead the deliverability practice, and what that means is that we provide deliverability operation support – the backend and the technical – as well as deliverability consulting. Strategic engagements to work with our clients to optimize their inbox delivery.

And what are some of the common deliverability challenges that your team works with customers on behalf of?

So at a high level, what we do is we help our clients get to the inbox. And some of the challenges and the ways that we engage, I would say that it’s at multiple stages. First of all, when they’re coming on to our platform, we work with them through IP warming. Just getting up and ramped up. Other challenges, once they’re actually sending email on our form, we work with them at a more strategic level. Maybe we work with them through the welcome series or optimizing their preference center, or even doing reactivation campaigns.

So why do you feel like deliverability’s a principle or discipline that senders really should be invested in in their overall digital marketing strategy?

I’d say it’s because email is such an effective channel. For every dollar invested, email can actually generate up to $40 ROI. And so it’s important that the emails make it to the inbox. If you’re doing e-commerce or you’re a retailer, it’s important because there’s revenue associated with it. But even if you’re a sender, just sending newsletters or what have you, if the emails aren’t making it to the inbox, then it’s a missed opportunity to engage with your customers or your subscribers.

Right. I would agree. Speaking of, deliverability’s evolved quite a bit over the past decade. How are you seeing customers and marketers adjust to the dynamic atmosphere of deliverability?

Sure. So the past decade, I’ve actually been doing it two decades, and back in the year 2000 we would basically upload a list and send. Things have really evolved because that’s no longer the approach we can take. Back then I think we looked at everyone as a consumer. Now, as marketers, we need to be more targeted. We need to make sure that we’re providing value and being relevant as we send to our customers. There’s a lot of technologies out there to help do it. But at the end of the day, it’s all about providing that personalized experience.

Right. In your opinion, what are the unique elements that separate out great email marketing programs from the rest of the pack?

So if I put on a consumer hat, a great email is one that I want to open. It’s going to have the engaging subject line, but I’m going to– I go back to the brands that provide good offers, that they’re interesting. Now, when I put on my marketing hat, things that I appreciate are brands that actually use creative preheader text and alt text, so that at least there’s something interesting if something’s going wrong in the email. But I’d say, all in all, a great email is one that you want to go back to.

Yeah. Well said. What about metrics and KPIs? What do you think are some important deliverability metrics that marketers and brands should be paying attention to, and why?

I mean, obviously, because we’re talking deliverability, you want to look at your bounces. If things are not being accepted at the gateway, then that’s important. But it doesn’t stop there. I think it’s really important to look at the customer engagement. Are they opening the emails? Are they clicking? But I don’t like to put generalizations. What I typically tell my customers is that when you’re analyzing the metrics, it’s important to first understand what your own benchmarks are. What’s important to you? A click rate that you may be tracking for may not be the same as another type of company or vertical.

Yeah. I would agree. I get that question a lot about, “What is the benchmark for inbox placement?” Or, “What’s the industry benchmark for bounces?” And I always reply, “It depends.” It depends on you and your industry and what line of business you are. Because every company is different, and so giving them a blanketed benchmark oftentimes is misleading because it’s not unique and specific to what they’re doing.

Right. And it’s not just those internal metrics that you get from your own platform or your own ESP. It’s also those third-party tools. You need to be looking at everything out there. I mean, obviously, we use 250ok to monitor inbox. But it’s important to look at that, as well as spam traps. I think the important metrics to monitor are taking all of them and then making a single assessment. Each one’s a component.

Agreed. Let’s talk about Gmail for a minute. Just surpassed 1.5 billion active users worldwide, the most popular webmail client on the planet. But many senders struggle with delivering and inboxing at Gmail. What makes them so challenging, in your opinion, and unique as a mailbox provider?

So it’s not always popular with my clients, but I think Gmail gets it right. When you see a sender struggling at Gmail, it means there’s part of their program that needs to be addressed. Whether it’s data acquisition, or maybe working on engagement and list hygiene, Gmail gets it right. And so because Gmail does have such a large market share, when we see a problem there, they tend to be quicker to react than some of the other ISPs. I think that’s a great opportunity to take a step back and do an audit. It may be that you need to implement some real-time validation at the point of collection. It may be that you’re not targeting your list well enough, or that you need to do better engagement. So Gmail may be a struggle, but I think they get it right.

There’s a saying often in deliverability space that most deliverability problems start with poor data. In your opinion and experience, how important is list acquisition, list management, list hygiene, to improve and optimize delivering engagement and deliverability?

Well, the reason it’s a saying is because it’s true. When it comes to acquisition, I think the very first step, the most important, is permission. I mean, that’s the foundation for any successful email program. Once you get the permission, then you need to make sure that it’s a valid email address. So it’s important to implement validation at the point of collection. Make sure that you’re not bringing in undeliverable addresses into your email program.

So you’re involved in a lot of numerous industry organizations and activities, including Women of Email, the Email Experience Council, and M3AAWG. Reflect back on how those activities and organizations have influenced you in your career.

So I think they’ve given me opportunities, whether to learn or contribute within the industry. And sometimes even to get new jobs and career opportunities. I’ve taken a lot from these industry organizations, and now I’m at the point in my career when I can actually give back. I participate in these organizations to help mentor the new people coming up. And I think the biggest benefit of the industry organizations is really the connections, the friendships, and then the ability to help others.

Yeah, I would agree. I think this is one of the very few industries that I’ve been lucky enough to have a career in where everyone is so genuine and nice and collaborative within the industry, regardless of who you work for or what side of the fence you’re on, so.


Alyssa, thank you so much for sitting down with me today. It was a pleasure speaking with you.

Thank you, Anthony.

And thanks to everyone for tuning in. We hope to see you on another episode of Email on Tap.

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