Salesforce.com added new features to its ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Journey Builder tool. Among the new tools are maps that enable brands to plan customer interactions, triggers that enable brands to respond in real time to things like abandoned carts and affinity changes, and metrics that allow brands to test and optimize interactions.

I sat down with Matt Rausenberger, Senior Director of Channel Sales at Return Path, an email marketing intelligence company, to discuss the ways in which Journey Builder helps his business and his clients. Also joining Matt and me were Kent Ragen, VP of Channels at Return Path and Scott Roth, VP of Global Marketing at Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud.

TechRadar Pro: How long have you been working with SalesForce and ExactTarget?

Matt: We’ve been working together about six years, and more heavily the last 3.5 years. We’ve got our product integrated into their platform so that the customer can experience the product within the solution.

TRP: How does ExactTarget's Marketing Cloud help you provide better email intelligence to your clients?

Matt: After the email is delivered ExactTarget helps to provide the insight and the intelligence on how the consumer interacts with the message. We can then help our clients optimize the next sends to make them more effective to produce more traffic and more revenue.

TRP: Is it more about optimizing the immediate experience or providing data after the fact to make the next experience better?

Matt: We have data on the back-end more about the delivery of the message. We have our insight product that can be used as a strategy and planning tool to look at competitor programs and best practices for sending email. After the fact we can get more into deliverability. Did the message make it to the inbox or spam folder? We’re tied in with both for ExactTarget.

TRP: How will the new Salesforce announcements help Return Path?

Matt: Journey Builder will be beneficial. We can be part of the journey and the back end. We will create apps that we will plug in for certain cases for specific journeys to acquire new customers, whose emails are typically wrought with deliverability issues. We can help them set goals and measure those goals over time. We’re going to plug in really nicely and pick and choose what those goals are going to be.

Kent: Historically we’ve been active at the campaign or program level. With Journey Builder we’re looking at one-to-one interactions to look at engagement on the one-to-one level.

TRP: Will this change how mobile email is sent?

Matt: We measure what device people read email on the most. We’ve found that more than 50% of emails are read on mobile. That data helps with the planning. [As a marketer],how will I optimize? How can I target email based on what they’re reading?

TRP: How will wearable devices change the email marketing industry, and as a result, your business?

Matt: We’ve heard email is obsolete for years now but it’s the center of the universe. Everything starts with email. It will continue to be important. Even journeys on wearables will start with email.

Kent: Our business is a data business. It’s a question of protocols. Until SMS or some other new communication mechanism proves to be dominant over email our intention is to continue to build expertise [in email].

Matt: The inbox has your whole life in it. It’s a big part where you get notices, shipping notices, purchases, transactions. We’re monitoring all that now and providing that data back to marketers to be more effective.

Scott: In the past it’s been all about execution. Looking great, rendering properly, getting into the inbox. Now we can help with strategy. Return Path’s ability to have amazing data about the best and worst brands to help our clients build that email strategy is a game-changer.