A Interview with Craig Swerdloff from LeadSpend.
Andrew Kordek | August 22, 2012
“I like cool people….and cool people like me” – Anonymous I have spent the last 12 or so years meeting people in this email industry and sometimes your run across a successful person with a great personality and the brains to back it all up with.  I met Craig a couple of years ago over email (where else) and immediately like the guy.  He is smart, gracious and most of all a guy I am honored to call a colleague of mine.  He is one of the founders of LeadSpend, a data insights company in NYC and I am really impressed with some of the stuff that they are doing. For those of you not familiar with LeadSpend, they are data insights company that uses proprietary technology to offer real time email validation.  Think about this brand side marketer, you spend a ton of money to get the person there, you will want to ensure that the email address capture on your site is one which is clean and ready to experience your awesome program.  Recently, Craig was in Chicago for an event and I had a chance to sit down over a cup of coffee and ask him a few questions.  Hope you enjoy the insights he has and would love your feedback: Why did you start LeadSpend? After I left Return Path I thought about taking some time off to hang with my kids.  After a day at home trying to help out, my wife told me to get back to work. The more professional answer is that in 2008 the email marketing landscape was quickly changing.  Email marketing performance was increasingly dependent on a sender’s reputation score.  I saw the need for data scoring and data validation tools. Real-Time email validation? C’mon..is it really real time and tell me more. By real-time we mean that a validation result is returned while the user’s session is still active, often within hundreds of  milliseconds.  When marketers deploy LeadSpend at the point of collection, they allow their customers to self-correct if they had entered an invalid email address.  Perhaps surprisingly, nearly 70% of the time they do. Why should companies consider real-time validation?  Real-time email validation provides a reliable way for marketers to safeguard against sending messages to invalid email addresses, a process that can significantly reduce hard bounce rates and improve email marketing performance. Some would say to just do captcha or DOI as opposed to real-time validation.  How would you respond? Real-time email validation is not a replacement strategy for higher levels of permission.  If a double opt-in strategy works best for you, then consider validation at the point of collection to allow people to self-correct, and reduce your bounce rate on confirmation emails. What makes LeadSpend better than all of the other vendors out there? We are lucky to have great competitors, some of which have paved the way for us.  LeadSpend was not the first, but we truly believe we have the fastest, most accurate email validation solution. What do you see is the typical match rate? We can conclusively determine if an email address is valid and deliverable nearly 97% of the time in the US consumer market.  We see slightly lower match rates with B2B and international data.  How do you see data insights evolving in the next 18 months and what should companies be thinking about now? There is somewhat of a renaissance occurring in email right now.  While the channel is relatively mature, the focus is on optimizing performance through better insights, segmentation, and optimization.  We intend to stay focused in these areas. Email has had its up and downs the last several years, what are your thoughts on the channel as a whole and what is LeadSpend doing about it? It seems to me that email is the backbone of all digital communication.  Pundits push headlines, marketers push email. On your site you have a tag cloud with your interests and running seems to be big in your life.  What has running marathons taught you about being an entrepreneur? Great question!  Running a business requires strength and perseverance, without knowing that you will eventually cross the finish line.  In both, you really need to enjoy the run.
Andrew Kordek
Andrew Kordek
Chief Strategist & Co-Founder
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