5 Questions with an Email Expert: Roxana Shershin of Digital Additive

In our series, 5 Questions with an Email Expert, we chat with leaders in the email marketing space about their background, favorite email campaigns and more.

In this edition of 5 Questions with an Email Expert, we spoke with Roxana Shershin, President of Digital Additive.

What was your path to email?

I guess you would call me an accidental tourist to email. I started out in traditional advertising and moved to direct response. I enjoyed the geeky side of advertising and ultimately fell into email.

When you think of responsiveness and trackability, there’s nothing more tractable than email. You get insight into so many aspects of the customer’s behavior. It’s so immediate.

Back in the day, I cut my teeth on direct mail. You could finally do your initial read at 30 days, and you’d consider it final at 90 days. With email, it’s all so compressed. Not only is it trackable, as it’s evolved, email has become so personalizable.

Can you tell me about Digital Additive?

We founded Digital Additive five years ago around the idea of making data actionable and personalizable within the email experience. We tend to be more data-heavy than other shops.

So many of our brands collect tons of data but it comes to a screeching halt when it’s time to bring that data to life. Everyone is so busy and it’s so manual. We work with our clients to try to automate that as much as possible so we can make something that the customer is excited about from a content perspective.

Why do you believe in email?

It’s not going anywhere. There is no other medium out there that can be as 1:1. It was always intended to be a 1:1 dialogue. I use it every day at work, I use it with family. I think it makes sense now that brands think of it in that light. It’s not just pushing out promotion after promotion, but really providing content that’s relevant, and also engaging the customer in a back and forth conversation – something that can truly build a relationship with depth behind it.

What’s the most innovative thing happening in email right now?

It’s about making that data actionable. And making it actionable without adding a ton of manual effort to do so. That’s one of the reasons why we partner with Movable Ink. We are allowing brands to craft that personalized content without making it a huge and heavy lift.

A lot of times, that discussion comes to a halt when a brand says, ‘We’re only going to talk to five people.’ But if you can automate it and make it seamless, it is worth your while. That means those five customers are going to engage deeper within the brand.

At Digital Additive, what are the most common email challenges you’ve seen recently?

Getting folks excited about the data side of things. It’s natural for everyone to get excited about visual pieces of creative in an email. To make data come to life, it doesn’t run in conflict but it can be somewhat limited. If you’re going to automate your content, you’re restricted to the JPEGs of that product.

Perhaps one of our greatest challenges right now is how to make it visual, but also data-driven. That’s one thing we’re always working on – how to marry the two and deliver that on-brand, visually exciting, automated email.