SIPA Member Profile: Pines Manages His Business and His Lists

Editor’s Note… We’ve tweaked the Member Profile – now in its 3rd year – to better reflect the business priorities of SIPA members. You’ll see a more focused and targeted list of questions as we move forward. If you are interested in taking part, please email us here.

Tom Pines, CEO, Real Magnet, Bethesda, Md.

How did you get into this field?
Mitch [Eisen, the CTO,] and I met on our first jobs after college. Then about 6 or 7 years later in 1999 we were both between things and he called me to see if we wanted to do something together around the Internet. Our first product was not email-centric; it was an online contest using a TV station’s programming. It was called The Prediction Machine. (We may be dusting it off now.)…After a while, it was hard selling it though—kind of a one off. So in about 2000-2001, we had a 2-day meeting to find something else. We had been sending emails out twice a week for this and decided to try to expand on that.

What’s taking up most of your time?
I spend a lot of time working with our biggest customers and in personnel and hiring issues. We have 50 employees now and they say that things change when you hit that level. You need more managers. We divided responsibilities early on and Mitch took technology. We have a large base of customers at premium level. So I spend time serving existing customers; that’s a change from previous years when it was more about bringing on new customers.

What are you most excited about for Real Magnet?
For the last couple months, I’ve been excited about social integration. You can now access Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from our single platform, and post on all of them. Then we can capture the analytics from each one. So you know who is responding. You can also compare channels to see what’s working best. We’ll take the time to show our customers this. It’s a bit more of a beaten path for B2C customers, but B2B companies can be a bit of deer-in-the-headlights on this. They know they have to do something, but are at a loss over what to do. We can help formalize your presence.

What keeps you up at night?
Scores of little things. At first we thought, will social be the email killer? It was eating into our email. But then we discovered that social media would be complementary. Use them together. I stopped worrying about a year and a half ago when I was scuba diving in Belize and met a guy who had an online site for children’s clothing in Denver. He said that 90% of his sales comes from email. It’s still the real workhorse.

What one thing could people do to get better results on their email marketing?
SIPA members are pretty meticulous at list management, but I still can’t stress enough how important that is because I see so many other companies that are not good. You have to take care of your lists. Manage bounces, segment out your customers based on the information you have and success you’ve had with them. You have to treat people differently. Identify your good prospects and target them with proper offers and proper information.

Real Magnet is a leading Email Services Provider (ESP) with more than 1,000 clients across a range of industries.


Tom referenced a meeting he had with
his eventual partner that led to the
forming of Real Magnet. Amazing things
can be accomplished in closed-off,
theme-focused dialogues, one of which
will take place this Thursday in New York.

SIPA’s Winter Publishers Conference
Thursday, March 15, 2012
McGraw Hill Conference Center
New York City

Solve your most vexing problems in real time
with some movers and shakers of our industry!
Sign up today or call for more info.

Download a FREE copy of 7 Ways to Monetize your Portal Audience, and discover how today's top publishers are generating revenue through memberships, events, clubs, sponsorships, and more.


Leave a Reply