Engaging Conversations with… Ros Hodgekiss

November 22, 2014

In keeping with the topic of this month’s special edition newsletter (the Email About Email), our Engaging Conversation for November turns the spotlight on the hilarious and amazing Ros Hodgekiss from email marketing powerhouse Campaign Monitor. Read on to discover Ros’ predictions for the future of email marketing, the importance of dynamic content, and which chihuahua-dachshund mix is her favorite Instagram celebrity.

Name: Ros Hodgekiss
Employer: Campaign Monitor
Location: San Francisco, CA
Twitter: @yarrcat


What is your job title?
I’m the Community Manager at Campaign Monitor – or my alter-ego “Champagne Monitor,” when I’m helping out with events we sponsor!

What do you really do?
My responsibilities as Community Manager are a pretty mixed bag. Any given day, I’ll be answering customer questions via social media, writing for our blog, contributing to our library of email marketing resources or coming up with interesting concepts for our Giving Back Program, which is Campaign Monitor’s sponsorship fund for the web community. I also enjoy doing the odd talk on HTML email design and strategy – it’s a funny niche, I know!

How do you overcome creative blocks?
I love going on urban hikes – or long walks around the neighborhood, at least. It’s well-known how effective even a quick walk away from your desk can be!

The other option is talking to my husband, who is an engineer and tends to think about things in a very different way than I do. I’m very lucky to have him as inspiration.

What was your most successful failure?
Oh goodness, I’ve had failures aplenty, but my favorite (and therefore, most successful) one was when I invited a whole group of people to a meetup. Our team had a private section in a nice bar, lots of food, a bar tab and we were all dressed up… and only three of our RSVPs showed up. Later, I realized that I’d accidentally gotten time zones wrong in Eventbrite and some people had showed up an hour before we did! It was pretty embarrassing on my part.

On the upside, the people who had overlooked the time-zone omission and did come over were amazing – as was the venue and our photographer. One of the ladies on our team turned out to be quite the whiskey connoisseur (from Ireland, I should have guessed it) and we came away with lots of photos and good memories of us having an amazing evening together.

What trends are you seeing in your industry right now?
Marketers are getting incredibly savvy about using customer events and data to send more personalized and more relevant messages. It used to be considered pretty significant to have a monthly email newsletter – but now, we’re seeing more and more people ask really spot-on questions around the use of dynamic content, or how to send follow-up emails to respond to things like subscribes and purchases. I know we’ve always been very keen to explore clever ways to automate our customers’ email marketing, while ensuring their messages remain valuable to their subscribers.

In the next few years, what’s going to change the most in your industry?
Oh goodness, there’s a lot going on. The recent announcement that Google was releasing a new email client, Inbox, was an important reminder that email marketing’s future will be guided as much by consumers as the intermediary companies that handle email. While I think we’ll be always sending longer-form messages to each other, I think that Apple, Gmail and others are going to be working hard to create email experiences that are increasingly disconnected from sitting in an office chair and spending from 9am onwards cleaning out our inbox.

Five years ago, I would have never imagined that I’d be reading my email while in bed, on my phone, at 7:30am. In five years time, I’ll likely be just as possessed by my Watch, or retina implant. Marketers are going to be putting a lot of energy into observing and planning new ways to remain relevant to customers, as the ways in which they consume email changes.

Where do you or did you get your best business advice?
This is an easy one – my mom and dad. They taught me that the long and slow road can be just as satisfying – if not more so – than playing for quick wins incessantly.

What business advice would you pass on?
Work hard, travel often and smile a lot!

Who do you follow on Twitter?
Hah, also a mixed bag! I follow a combination of web designers, email marketers, Australian journalists and brands. But at the end of the day, there are two folks that I’m thankful for. First, there’s Denise Jacobs on Twitter, who has to be the hardest working and most inspirational lady I’ve met. Then, there’s Tuna the dog on Instagram. Because, I can’t resist the whole “celebrity” pet thing.

What’s on your daily must-read list?
Naturally, I read the Campaign Monitor blog! Outside of that, I get my dose of current affairs via the Next Draft email newsletter.

If you had a Pinterest-style motivational quote on your wall, what would it say?
Actually, I do have a Pinterest-style poster above me now! It’s a print ad that our design team whipped up earlier this year that reads, “Designing emails is hard.” So hard, that I’ve been at it for what, 9 years already?  

Fill in the blanks…
1. I should have drank more water yesterday.
2. I wish that I could teleport.
3. The first thing I do when I get to work is say good morning to everyone – I’m truly fortunate to work for such an awesome team.

Last one… what question would you most like to ask our readers?
This sounds like fun! So, my inbox is totally overflowing right now and I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to treat myself when I finally reach Inbox Zero. Personally, I’m going to go to a new soul food restaurant and have a great night of it. So, here’s the question – what have they got planned for their #InboxZeroMoment?

We hope you enjoyed this month’s Engaging Conversation with Ros. Tweet your answer to her question @yarrcat, or just let us know in the comments!