E-mail Marketing Expert Stefan Pollard Dies

  |  May 24, 2010   |  Comments

An expert in deliverability is remembered as a champion of best practices and someone who selflessly gave of his time to others.

The e-mail marketing community is mourning the loss of Stefan Pollard, an e-mail marketing expert and ClickZ columnist, who died this month.

Senior strategic consultant at Responsys, Stefan worked in e-mail marketing since 1999, then the industry's early days.

At ClickZ, Stefan wrote a biweekly column, "E-Mail Delivery," sharing practical tips on how to improve e-mail delivery rates, build lists of e-mail subscribers, and avoid getting flagged as a spammer.

As news of Stefan's death spread through the e-mail marketing community, ClickZ asked marketers to share their memorable stories and impressions for a tribute, "In Memoriam: Stefan Pollard."

Stefan consistently took the high road, advising e-mail marketing practitioners that slow and steady work will bring better results than quick fixes.

"Many marketers are trying risky acquisition tactics to grow e-mail lists quickly. Quality still outweighs quantity in the long run," he wrote in a column earlier this year. "If you engage in poor list-building techniques, you might lose the privilege to market to all your subscribers, not just the ones you added quickly."


And that's how Stefan saw his role in e-mail marketing - a privilege.

"Never a self-promoter, Stefan always had a way of cutting through the hype, misguided proclamations, 'the sky is fallingisms' and offered up stellar guidance that balanced the realities of challenges faced by marketers and the needs and wishes of their customers and subscribers," said Loren T. McDonald, VP industry relations at Silverpop, in an e-mail message, paying tribute to his friend and former colleague. They worked together at EmailLabs, now known as Lyris, from 2006 through 2008.

"Stefan cared. He really, really cared about helping marketers to become good e-mail marketers," said Rebecca Lieb, a vice president at Econsultancy; she was ClickZ editor-in-chief when Stefan started writing his column. "He also knew not only the marketing side of the e-mail equation, but understood the technology behind it - a rare combination. Rarer still was Stefan's talent for explaining e-mail technology in straightforward terms that remain clear and actionable and digestable."

E-mail marketers, including those who worked with Stefan or got to know him through industry events, remember him as an inspiration and confidant. "Stefan was like a mentor to me. I remember spending an afternoon with him at EIS [Email Insider Summit] in 2007. I was considering leaving eBay to become an email marketing consultant but had no clue what being a consultant would be like. He sat down with me and he gave me tons of tips and advice and by the end of the afternoon I'd taken the decision to just go ahead and do it," Tamara Gielen, an e-mail marketing consultant, said in an e-mail tribute she shared with ClickZ. "That's how I remember Stefan: a kind, warm, loving, funny and incredibly smart person that would go out of his way to help other people."

Stefan got his start in online marketing in 1999 when he was hired as e-mail program producer at Cybergold, a direct marketing and loyalty program. Within a year, he was promoted to senior campaign manager and then, director of e-mail services. After Cybergold, he held positions at E-Loan and Habeas.

"I was first impressed by Stefan when he was at E-Loan and I was a Board member there," commented Responsys CEO Dan Springer. "It took some years but I finally convinced him to join Responsys where he made significant contributions as a Senior Strategic Consultant, and was a joy to work with for me and others on our team. His impact was equally significant on a broader stage as a guiding light in the e-mail marketing world."

Stefan, a resident of Antioch, CA, was a graduate of California State University, Hayward, receiving a B.S. in business administration and marketing in 1990 and an MBA, computer information systems, in 1999.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, and two children, Nicholas and Lauren.

Responsys has set up a fund to benefit Stefan's children; those interested can make contributions to the Pollard Memorial Fund by logging in to their personal Paypal account and clicking on the "Send Money" tab. Donations should be sent to pollardmemorial@responsys.com e-mail address.

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Anna Maria Virzi

Anna Maria Virzi, ClickZ's executive editor from 2007 until 2012, covered Internet business and technology since 1996. She was on the launch team for Ziff Davis Media's Baseline and also worked at Forbes.com, Web Week, Internet World, and the Connecticut Post.

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