Marketing Heroes: A q&a with Dela Quist

This week we spoke to one of the UK’s founding members of the ‘Email Glitterati’, an original email geek and all round champion of email marketing, Dela Quist.  We find out why Dela thinks the role of the marketer is to help keep the company they work for alive, how email is one of the most powerful channels at any marketers fingertips and take a trip to his desert island.

Please introduce yourself

I am Dela Quist, founder and CEO of Alchemy Worx, the UK’s and arguably the world’s first marketing agency with an exclusive focus on email. I am also founder of a SaaS business with two products Touchstone Tests a subject line testing and optimisation tool and Touchstone Analytics a very handy reporting tool for email marketers.

Before becoming involved in the digital world my background was in publishing and advertising, in other words using content to provide marketers with an opportunity to showcase their products and services to our readers. As I see it the content on the pages of the magazine or newspaper acted as the interface between the readers and the advertisers.

The main driver of success in the world of publishing was and still is the size and quality of the readership or subscriber base. And that is predominantly determined by the quality of the content – sounds like email marketing, right? Which is why, when I first became involved in a digital project, involving email I immediately understand how powerful a channel it is, especially the value of permission and opt-in. But my lightbulb moment came when I realised that if you had a permission email database, you had the right to send your content or offer to your customers directly and cost effectively rather than pay Google or Facebook to send them to you. Eureka!

Please tell us more about your business

Alchemy Worx is 20 this year. And we help brands B2B and B2C brands do better email marketing. We provide strategy, creative, segmentation and targeting and design, basically everything to do with building and sustaining long term relationships with customers and prospects using the email channel. We are an agency dedicated to achieving client revenue growth by utilising analytics, and testing solutions to help define and evolve client email campaigns. We reconcile client brand, marketing objectives, and production realities every day.

As an email agency, we are often asked things like:

  • How do I improve my open rates?
  • How do I stop people from unsubscribing?
  • What call to action is most effective?
  • How do I get into the inbox instead of the spam folder?

To help clients answer these questions we ended up developing Touchstone Tests and Touchstone Analytics, in order to give anybody, the ability to answer these questions themselves.

What have been the main challenges facing marketers in 2020?

In a word Coronavirus

What should marketers be focussing on in 2020?

I believe the main focus of EVERY marketer in 2020 should be to do everything in their power to Keep the company(s) they work for alive. It seems to me that we are so wrapped up in the disease itself and (not unreasonably) the pain it is causing in the form of illness and loss of life, we are forgetting the looming existential threat in the form of business bankruptcies, job losses and the devastation this will cause to whole communities and the economy. The idea that we should tiptoe around the reality of what we do, which is use the email channel to sell products and services is to run the risk of harming the organisation we work for. Every sale we fail to make has the potential to put your colleague’s jobs or indeed the entire company at risk.

Whether you live in the UK, US or indeed anywhere else the whole point of the Government stimulus packages, job retention schemes, etc. are to keep the economy going.

To stimulate!

In other words, the only way to safeguard the economy is to keep people buying WHATEVER it is you sell, not just face masks, food and hand sanitiser. Even if your products or services would seem to be non-essential to most people, the jobs and families that are supported by what you do ARE essential. Rather than agonise about whether to send a brand email rather than a buy now email, send both!

If you could give a tip to aspiring marketers what would that be?

Always focus on actual numbers rather than percentages. To paraphrase a golfing term, Percentages are for the show, but Numbers are for the dough, so always be suspicious when someone claims to improve anything by a large percentage

You are sent to a desert island for 12 months – You can take 3 business books, 3 records and 1 luxury item – what would you take?

I find behavioural Economics books more valuable in marketing than business book and here are three of my favourites:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

3 Records 

  • Elton John – it’s very close between Tumbleweed Connection and the one I will select Madman Across the Water
  • The Jackie Brown movie soundtrack
  • Valence Street by the Neville Brothers

Luxury Item

My favourite Knife  an 8” Victorinox  Chef’s knife with Rosewood handle

You can follow Dela here:-

Twitter : Linkedin

Meet the author

Komal Helyer

VP Marketing