Interview with Vice President of Corporate Development, Return Path – Alex Rubin

Interview with Founder & CEO, Improvado - Daniel Kravtsov

“For the first time, marketing leaders have a chance to see the big picture impact of their marketing campaigns across the customer journey.”

1. Tell us about your role at Return Path?
a. I am the SVP of Business Development in charge of Mailbox Provider Relationships on the Data Services Team at Return Path. Return Path has one of the world’s most comprehensive sources of data from the email ecosystem which is dependent on having great relationships with mailbox providers.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Return Path will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. While we have seen many changes to our business over the years, the reason we entered this market still rings true today – to make email better and safer for everyone. For example, marketers feel a lot of uncertainty and confusion when it comes to delivering email and what email best practices to follow and become frustrated when their email campaigns aren’t performing or reaching their customers. Return Path provides the data, tools and services to help clarify the situation, promote best practices and improve email for everyone.

3. How do you think technology is changing the marketing sector?
Today, marketing is incredibly data centric, which is great because marketers today also have more data than they know what to do with. But thanks to marketing technology, however, marketers are able to get to answers more quickly, and deliver exceptional and relevant customer experiences that today’s consumer demands.

4. Can you explain the contribution of email marketing in the martech industry?
Email Marketing is often considered the most powerful, profitable and effective form of communicating with your customers. In fact, two out of three marketers say that email is one of the most, or the most important marketing channel. Currently, email plays a large role in martech with triggered emails based on customer interactions or events that occur in real time. It is truly all about sending the right message, to the right person, and at the right time. Today, we’re seeing this become even more streamlined and efficient with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

5. Can you explain how Return Path’s Partner Platform, a deliverability platform, will benefit various businesses?

The Partner Platform is the first and only platform developed exclusively for email service providers (ESPs) to proactively monitor and diagnose deliverability issues for their customers.

The partner platform combines all of Return Path’s unique data sources, so our partners can easily identify what’s important, surface deliverability issues with their clients, and holistically monitor their entire client base. The Return Path Partner Platform reduces the time and effort required to identify problems and allows ESP teams to be more proactive and focus on delivering best-in-class service to their customers.

6. How do you think email marketing managed to be the constant of the upgrading martech industry?
Email is the most mature digital channel and therefore it is the most accepted and advanced in the martech industry. And unlike other digital platforms such as search or social, no one company owns email. It is still a very reliable way to reach people. It’s also easier and less expensive to acquire email addresses organically and retain customers than it is to retain and engage, for example, someone on social. Email has also been the glue between the different digital channels, uniting everything from mobile to social. Other marketing channels have their places, but nothing beats email for direct communication with your key customers on a schedule and format that suits their needs.

7. What advice would you like to give to martech startups?

Avoid the mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make which is that they are focused on starting and building a business.

Instead, focus on solving a problem – the more painful the better – and something that someone needs to have versus a “nice to have”, and put everything you have into servicing and addressing your customers problems, and then building a business you’re passionate about will be easier.

8. What is the biggest digital innovation in Marketing that you believe 2019 will bring?
In email marketing and marketing in general, the biggest innovations are around machine learning and artificial intelligence. While this isn’t new to 2019, we’ll be seeing and hearing more about AI being used in martech for years to come. For example, with AI and machine learning, an email marketer using subscriber engagement data can refine their campaigns and messages to map to individual subscriber interests, create personalized content, as well as a personalized sending schedule – and at scale and quickly.

9. What is the vision on which you and Return Path are working on?
In 2018, we introduced the Return Path Platform to the market—our newly updated user interface. This has become a springboard for many of our new products and capabilities around data and email solutions. As we continue to drive innovation through Artificial Intelligence with improvements across our Deliverability Data, the growth within our platforms remains our focus to help email marketers become better senders with advantageous deliverability across the email ecosystem.

Helping email marketers take their programs to the next level remains at the center of everything we do. In fact, you could even say it is part of our DNA. Over the last 20 years we’ve built the world’s most comprehensive source of data across the email ecosystem. Leveraging data from multiple unique networks empowers our clients with a unique view of email that helps them make better data-based business decisions. Data from our unique networks make up EmailDNA – our mechanism for gathering, processing, analyzing, and making data available to power our email solutions.

10. What major developments is Return Path working on?
We are focused on delivering products that help marketers further segment and target their customers to deliver high value messages the customers want and are focused on three key areas: enhancing our data offerings, building additional offerings on top of our new platforms, and growing our Certification program.

11. Can you tell us about your team and how they support you?
The data services team has contacts throughout the mailbox provider world and works to gather data and information that can be synthesized for consumption by marketers.

12. What is the movie that inspires you the most?
Field of Dreams

13. We heard that you have a very joyful work culture, so can you share with us some fun pictures of your workplace?

14. Can you give us a glance of some of the applications you use on your phone?
My primary apps: Instagram, The Athletic (long format sports news), United Travel, iTunes Music, Gamechanger (real-time kids sports updates).

Alex is a highly skilled executive with a wide range of experience including inbound - product management - and outbound - customer acquisition. He is currently heading the Corporate Business Development team at ReturnPath. Prior to working with Return Path, he was working with Critical Path.

Return Path is the leader in email deliverability. Every day, tens of thousands of customers trust Return Path data and insights to help them optimize their email marketing. Partnered with best-in-class email service providers, we help marketers take their email programs to the next level by driving more response and increasing revenue.
Return Path was acquired by Validity in May 2019. The combination of Return Path and Validity provides organizations with the most comprehensive technology solutions to target, contact, engage, and retain customers effectively.
For more information please visit our Website.

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