Email's Place in the Emerging Entrepreneurial Economy

  |  September 20, 2012   |  Comments

For anyone still questioning email's longevity and greater influence in the economy, take a look at a list that provides real numbers and a real place among the digital elite.

Email as I have written about several times has certainly cemented its place as the digital marketing backbone. Sometimes many professionals living the email marketing "dream" aren't aware of the role their sector is playing in the larger economy. Too many email marketers get defensive in the "we are not spammers" mindset and forget to wake up and smell the ROI. The same goes for other marketers who largely ignore or take for granted email's role in acquiring, monetizing, and retaining customers.

With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at the companies recently recognized for their high growth and job creation, as cited by the prestigious Inc.500|5000 list.

The 5,000 companies on this year's list report having created over 400,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $299 billion. So I took a look at the email-related companies on this list, at least determined by me as their primary focus of business, which is very subjective and maybe not 100 percent accurate.

There are certainly other recognizable technology/marketing hybrids like Pardot (no. 172) and HubSpot (no. 314) that have email as an offering but again, I went with email as their primary line of business. I found six email-centric firms in the mix (including my own company, BrightWave Marketing).

The company and their Inc.500|5000 listing:

BrightWave Marketing - no. 1335

Emailvision - no. 1397

ExactTarget - no. 1576

ClickMail Marketing - no. 1992

EmailDirect - no. 2370

VerticalResponse - no. 2802

These six companies had approximately $332,100,000 in combined 2011 sales and created almost 1,300 jobs during the previous three years (according to Inc. statistics).

There are also several email-focused public companies that deserve significant recognition. Many may paint themselves as multi-channel and cloud computing firms but the ones I listed are most known for their email platforms. ExactTarget, like Facebook, finds itself on the Inc. list and a newly minted publicly traded company.

ExactTarget: Employs over 1,100 and is worth $1.42 billion.

Responsys: With almost 800 employees, the California company has a market cap of approximately $462,740,000.

Constant Contact: Has over 900 employees and a market cap of just over $600 million.

Lyris: Listed on the over the counter market (also known as "pink sheets"), the company has a market cap just under $26 million, which surely is much less substantial than many of its privately held peers in the email marketing world.

(Note: All market caps listed as of Sept. 4, 2012.)

So what is the takeaway here? Well, for any of the doubters still questioning email's longevity and greater influence in the economy, I hope this list provides real numbers and a real place among the digital elite for its job and wealth creation not to mention larger impact in the communities and businesses it serves.

If I missed any companies that should be listed, please include them in the comments below.

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Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of and, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at and

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