Email Peeps #1: April Mullen
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get to where you are today?
I started my career on the brand side doing work for an e-commerce company and then in financial services. I then decided to go to an agency for a couple of years to work as a relationship marketing strategist because I wanted the variety of working with many clients. I’ve spent nearly the last decade in tech, specifically martech focusing on email and cross-channel solutions. I’ve had a lot of different roles in martech–everything from content marketing, customer marketing, evangelism, and strategic consulting. Today, I am the Senior Director of Content Strategy at Braze.
You could say I know our digital niche like the back of my hand having worked in the trenches of the brand side, to agency and then martech. Time and time again, I have been served well by understanding customers’ needs, because I was one in the early years of my career. I’ve always operated with the empathy of knowing what customers are going through. It’s how I turned my email and cross-channel career into a content marketing one over time.
What’s your favorite email marketing tool, and why?
It’s exciting to see so much innovation happening in the customer engagement platform space. I am super into Braze right now. (Yes, I work there to be transparent.) When I was managing a global email program many moons ago, it was super challenging to move data from one place to another to make it usable in email, SMS, and other channels and was often latent via 24-hour batch processes. That challenge has largely been resolved today with a solution like Braze that allows for data streaming in real-time helping marketers keep up with customers that are digitally connected. With Braze, you can do AI-powered experimentation, live segmentation, curate the next best customer experience across channels on a one-to-one basis, and even convert your anonymous users to known ones. Braze makes complex campaign orchestration easier than ever. I wish a platform like this existed when I was on the brand side hitting the send button. I could have done so much more in less time.
Home office set up
- MacBook Pro
- Bluetooth enabled Apple keyboard
- Second Monitor
- Old-school Apple earphones with a cord because they sound the best
- Ring light
- My desk is currently an Elfa system from the Container Store, but I am moving soon and plan to get a standing desk. I share my office with my two dogs, Josie and Auggie. You can see their crates behind my desk.
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
- Google Slides
- Google Analytics
How do you stay creative, and where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration through working with smart people. I am lucky to have such a great team at Braze that keeps me on my toes and challenges me every day. I also love a good podcast, audiobook or even a good skim on social media of my favorite marketing influencers. I also love watching what other marketers create–everything from emails, SMS messages, to anticipating what ads will be like on the streaming platforms. I absorb it all.
Unrelated to work, I love art and try to visit museums and galleries when I can. I also travel periodically and almost always come away from the experience with a new take or angle on life and my work.
How do you manage work-life balance?
After having an epic episode of burnout in 2018 where I nearly collapsed in a foreign country, I understand the very real and humiliating experiences that can come from not taking care of yourself and having an extreme imbalance toward work. I was able to recover and now live by a code that certain things aren’t negotiable. I try not to work weekends. I get 3-4 workouts each week. I eat dinner with my husband. I take walks when the weather is nice. I drink a lot of water. I get enough sleep. I make sure to proactively reach out to friends and family to make social plans. I volunteer as a board member at a local no-kill animal shelter. All of these things ensure I am getting what I need from life. It has made me a better employee because when I am working, I am focused, happy and fulfilled.
What are you excited about for 2023?
I have to admit that I am a bit anxious about 2023. The economy and war in Ukraine are topics I think about often. I do have a lot to be grateful for, though. I am moving to a new home soon. That will be exciting. I also have a couple of trips planned this year. I’m excited about being the healthiest I’ve been in my adult life and have maintained that for a couple of years now. I’m also very excited about my work at Braze. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the coming year. I’m fulfilled by my work and that is so critical, given how much of our lives we spend at work.
Keep up-to-date with April’s adventure on Twitter → @Aprilmullen