The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated many technology trends that were already in place. The growing reliance on digital communication is one of many examples of technologies whose value we may have taken for granted and are once again re-appreciating. This is especially true for businesses that have not kept up with innovations in digital communications that now find themselves, due to the COVID-19 crisis, furiously trying to get their digital communications game up to speed.
For companies leveraging email as their communications channel of choice – out of preference or necessity – ensuring that their message is welcome, received, and engaged is key to making the email channel worthwhile and effective.
SparkPost, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of the launch of its cloud-based solution earlier this month, is one of the companies innovating in the email delivery and analytics space. Facilitator of more than a third of all B2C and B2B email, and featuring partners like SoFi and Salary.com, SparkPost offers a platform that leverages more than a trillion, worldwide data signals to increase email engagement and inbox placement.
And as the company recently recognized, the ability of institutions and organizations to rely on the effectiveness of their communications strategies is all the more important in times of crisis. SparkPost’s John Landsman, Manager of Research Analytics, discussed the challenge in a blog post last month.
“During this dire global health emergency, organizations in virtually every industry have been communicating with their stakeholders via email and have done so with urgency and precision,” Landsman wrote. He highlighted email’s unique feature-set as a channel: the ability to quickly target specific audiences with customized content – including multi-media content – and to be able to accurately and immediately measure engagement. “In all, the email channel is perfectly suited to the rapidly evolving communication needs of a public crisis,” he noted.
Landsman referenced the surge in traffic on its own platform as an example of the explosion in email activity in recent months. Weekly volumes climbed from 3,600 campaigns in mid-February to 40,000+ campaigns a month later. The activity review also showed differences in read rates by sector (Transportation at the top; Financial institutions somewhere in the middle; Credit cards at the bottom). In a companion post, the SparkPost VP of Customer Success shared a set of best practices for companies looking to optimize their email communication strategy during a crisis. “While crisis communications are stressful to produce,” she wrote, “you can make a huge difference in how your company is perceived by sending valuable and relevant information during a tough time.”
The COVID crisis comes as SparkPost looks back on the work the company has done since launching its cloud solution and emerging from its previous incarnation as on-premises, enterprise-grade email server, Message Systems. Today the company has 6,000 customers and facilitates almost 40% of the world’s commercial email to the tune of 6+ trillion emails a year. And perhaps most critically, SparkPost’s platform gives them access to a robust collection of email intelligence data. This is what enabled the company to combine email delivery and email analytics in a new offering, Signals. This product leverages email intelligence data and machine learning models to anticipate potential recipient engagement issues before the emails are sent.
The anniversary also marks a significant shift at the top as SparkPost founder George Schlossnagle transitions from Chief Technical Officer to Chief Evangelist to make way for CPO Charlie Reverte’s promotion to CTO. “This amazing team has given me time to reflect on both what I enjoy and where I can add the most value,” Schlossnagle wrote at the company blog earlier this month. “I’m very excited to announce Charlie as our new CTO.”
SparkPost has raised more than $93 million in equity funding from investors including NewSpring Capital, LLR Partners, and Hercules Capital. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the company demonstrated the Signals feature of its platform at FinovateSpring (this year, FinovateWest) last May.