How Two Email Gods and a Goddess Could Create a Golden Age for Email

In life, we get called many things; some of them are good and some are not so good. However, it’s safe to say that being referred to as a “god” or “goddess” isn’t something that’s going to happen very often. When it does, I think that’s cause for celebration.

Two recent postings by Fred Tabsharani on the Deliverability.com blog discussed what might happen if we created mythological creatures for the world of email, similar to the gods and goddesses of Greek mythology who live on Mt. Olympus and use their powers to affect the lives of mere mortals. He profiled a few of the gods and goddesses of the deliverability community who are charged with “keeping watch over the inboxes of the world, ensuring that legitimate email can be delivered.”

I can safely say that this is the first—and probably only—time I’ve ever been called a goddess, so thank you Fred. In addition, he listed two of my colleagues at Return Path: Tom Sather and John Pollard. The three of us are part of Return Path’s Professional Services team, and I was thrilled to see them included on the list.

After a lot of good-humoured teasing from our co-workers, you can imagine the exchange of emails that went around between the three of us as we made plans to wear togas to the office, require offerings and/or sacrifices from our clients and harness our super powers for world domination. When we came back down to earth, we were left wondering if we really could have super powers to make the email universe a better place, what would those be and how would we use them? Below is what we came up with. The gods (and goddess) have spoken!

  • Tom (better known as Hermes with an upgrade): The powers of choice for this god of email deliverability include telepathy and super-human speed. He would use telepathy to read the minds of email subscribers the world over so that he could understand what they wanted from their email messages and when they wanted to receive them. He would generously pass this knowledge onto email marketers everywhere so that relevancy would reign supreme. He would then harness his power of speed to ensure that all of these messages were delivered properly, every time. I can’t think of a single email marketer that wouldn’t want Tom watching over their email program.
  • John (better known as Perses the Destroyer): This fearsome—but benevolent— god would use his powers to immediately seek out and destroy any spam, phished or spoofed messages existing in the email ecosystem. His awe-inspiring abilities would protect an email marketer’s brand name and reputation and would also ensure that subscribers don’t get defrauded of their hard-earned money and personal details or infected with malicious viruses and malware. This god would be worshipped by both senders and receivers everywhere.
  • Margaret (better known as Athena the Wise):  As a goddess of email, I would use my beatific powers to create a customized strategic plan for every email marketer to work from, thereby ensuring that segmentation, targeting and testing were forever incorporated into email programs the world over. My words of wisdom (better known as best practice commandments) would empower marketers to reap the rich rewards that the email channel has to offer, while ensuring that email subscribers were rewarded with valuable communications. For marketers that want to realize revenue and ROI from their email programs, I’d be the goddess of choice.

Unfortunately, while gods and goddesses do not walk among us in the email industry, there is something to be said for using whatever powers we do have at our disposal to make a positive impact on email marketing. As a marketers, this may involve taking the time to proactively protect your brand and your subscribers from phished and spoofed messages; reviewing your sending practices to make sure they don’t resemble those of a spammer’s; creating a preference center so your subscribers can manage the messages they have signed up for; or simply asking your subscribers what they really want to receive from you.

I think the moral of this Greek myth is that it will take more than a few lightning bolts from Mt. Olympus to make the world of email a better place, but the power resides within all of us in the industry—whether sender or receiver—to do so.

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Margaret Farmakis

About Margaret Farmakis

As the senior director for Return Path’s Response Consulting group, Margaret helps clients improve the response, revenue and ROI of their email marketing programs. She uses her knowledge of content, design, segmentation and email campaign strategy and branding to help her clients build their files with active and engaged subscribers, increase the lifetime value of their subscriber base, improve program relevancy and generate sales.
Before Return Path, she spent 10 years producing and managing multi-channel integrated direct marketing programs for Fortune 100 companies, focusing on the financial services and technology sectors.
She most recently held a senior-level marketing position with Strategic Communications, Inc., a marketing/communications agency in Boston, where she spent five years. Previous experience also includes project management and editorial roles at SchoolSports, Inc., publisher of RISE Magazine, the nation’s leading sports and active lifestyle magazine for teens (formerly SchoolSports Magazine), and SchoolSports.com.

Margaret is currently based out of Return Path’s London office.