Home » What I Want Marketers to Know: Kath Pay, CEO, Holistic Email Marketing

What I Want Marketers to Know: Kath Pay, CEO, Holistic Email Marketing

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Global Head of Content , Emarsys

Kath Pay is one of the Top 50 Email Marketing Influencers in the world (Vocus, 2014). She is widely regarded as the U.K.’s foremost email marketing expert, and frequently works with Econsultancy to lead teaching on personalization in email marketing.

She is CEO and Founder of Holistic Email Marketing where her team helps brands like Facebook, Mr. Porter, Barclays, and Hiscox develop marketing programs that achieve true 1:1 personalization.

Today, she joins us to share her journey, what she wants marketers to know about email marketing, and how to use email for personalization.


Location: London, UK

Current Role: CEO of and Head Consultant at Holistic Email Marketing

One word that best describes how you view the state of marketing today: Personal

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

Where to begin? In 1998 I had a web design agency in Australia and we developed the nucleus of an email marketing system, which we used for our clients.

Pretty soon, the demand for our system took over the web design agency and my journey in email marketing began!

What do you wish marketers knew (but you’re pretty sure they don’t)?

From all my years of training and consulting, the one thing I have anecdotally identified that is missing is the practice of focusing on the objective of the landing page/email/campaign/program before its creation.

It may seem such a minor detail or such an obvious thing to do, but surprisingly, it’s not a common practice. We’re more often than not too busy churning out campaigns that we don’t stop, think, write it down, and then focus on it.

“We’re often too busy churning out campaigns that we don’t stop and think ‘what’s the objective?'” says @kathpay #marketing #strategy                            CLICK TO TWEET

What happens when we set out to “create” a landing page/email/campaign/program without focusing on the objective is that we get caught up in the detail and what we think looks good, sounds good, etc.

We forget about our customers and our end objective. We deliver something that meets our needs — but not necessarily theirs — and risks being brand-centric in its approach.

What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by (email) marketers today?

Our biggest challenge is that we’re very channel oriented and are more often than not taught to think about marketing through channels like SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, and more. We’ve either forgotten or never learned the general “art of marketing” (e.g., understanding human nature and how to market to it) and therefore seek “silver bullets” applicable to the channel — which tend to be very tactical.

How can they overcome this challenge?

By getting back to basics and understanding humans and their desires.

Then, equipped with knowledge of the successful tactics for the selected channel, combine the two skills with a focus on the end consumer rather than the brand.

If you could tell all marketers just one thing, what would it be?

Be helpful. Use this as your mantra. Your customer has a reason for being on your website, or on your list — they have an objective. If you can help your customer to achieve the desired objective (like to buy from you), then you have achieved yours (to sell to them).

“Be helpful. Use this as your mantra. Your customer has a reason for being on your website or list – they have an objective. Help them achieve that objective'” says @kathpay                            CLICK TO TWEET

Technology has already transformed marketing in so many ways. How do you see tech continuing to revolutionize the marketer’s role?

AI and machine learning will continue to advance into different aspects of marketing and there’s no turning back. Marketers need to not fear it but embrace it and upskill themselves to doing the more fun, strategic side of marketing and less of the tactical.

What are you currently reading, or what would you recommend for marketers?

I’m re-reading “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decision” by Dan Ariely — and I totally recommend it!

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see __________ answer these same questions.

2017 Email Marketing Thought Leader of the Year, David Daniels, CEO and Founder, The Relevancy Group.

Special thanks to Kath Pay for her time, energy, and insight.

Know someone who would be a great fit for this series? Email Michael.Becker@Emarsys.com.

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Kath Pay is the Head Consultant at Holistic Email Marketing. Kath lives and breathes email marketing. She is not only a world-renowned speaker and trainer but also practises her art with her consultancy, Holistic Email Marketing, where she is Founder and CEO. Many years ago she coined the phrase Holistic Email Marketing, practising this approach within her consultancy and teaching it to her students and clients. She is one of the World’s Top 50 Email Marketing Influencers (Vocus, 2014).

Connect with Kath: WebsiteLinkedIn@kathpay