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Have you ever wondered about how your favorite newsletter ended up in your inbox? Who sent it? Why was that email scheduled for that particular time? What is being tracked when you click that open button? Most likely, those questions haven’t crossed your mind, but that doesn’t change the fact that the digital trail a simple email creates can have a lasting impact on your online persona. Welcome to the world of email marketing, specifically the Mailchimp universe, which includes an all-in one marketing platform that delivers more emails daily than the average consumer can fathom.

“We didn’t send two billion emails on Black Friday, we delivered two billion emails. What’s really interesting for Mailchimp as a platform is that delivery is hard and it’s a big part of it but that’s really where the story begins. At least when it comes to the email side of things, because delivering it starts it, and then they open it, which gets tracked. They click it. And then when they click it, and they go out to do a thing, they now land on a Mailchimp property. All of those activities the user is taking is going to drive their marketing properly.”

Eric Muntz is the CTO of Mailchimp, and on this episode of IT Visionaries, he dives into the ins-and-outs of how the email delivery giant has expanded its offerings in an effort to democratize marketing tools. Eric also touches on why email delivery is just the beginning of any marketing journey and how Mailchimp effectively scaled from a few thousand users to millions of users.

Main Takeaways

  • Just the Beginning: Email delivery is just the beginning when it comes to the world of email marketing. When you open up an email, that email collects various forms of data and multiple user touch points. From the link a user clicks on to determine if the email is secure, to the potential landing page where a person winds up, it all creates multiple responses within the Mailchimp platform, which will then trigger follow-up emails, promo codes, etc. 
  • Thundering Herd: Thundering Herd in technology circles refers to the amount of stress that is placed on servers that have traditionally been passive but are now being asked to carry high-traffic loads in a short amount of time. Think of ecommerce sites that get bombarded the second a highly anticipated product goes up for order. In order to avoid crashes and stresses on your infrastructure, you have to constantly be backing up and batching your servers.
  • Started From the Bottom Now We Here: When you’re rising through the ranks of your organization, one of the most important skills to learn is how you go from working on a product to understanding how you can give your team the tools to effectively do their jobs. Likewise, when hiring a staff, it’s important to really focus on the applicants that are just as excited about the project and product as you were when you joined the company.

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For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.


Have you ever wondered about how your favorite newsletter ended up in your inbox? Who sent it? Why was that email scheduled for that particular time? What is being tracked when you click that open button? Most likely, those questions haven’t crossed your mind, but that doesn’t change the fact that the digital trail a simple email creates can have a lasting impact on your online persona. Welcome to the world of email marketing, specifically the Mailchimp universe, which includes an all-in one marketing platform that delivers more emails daily than the average consumer can fathom.

“What’s really interesting for Mailchimp as a platform is that delivery is hard and it’s a big part of it but that’s really where the story begins. At least when it comes to the email side of things, because delivering it starts it, and then they open it, which gets tracked. They click it. And then when they click it, and they go out to do a thing. All of those activities the user is taking is going to drive their marketing properly.”

Eric Muntz is the CTO of Mailchimp, and on this episode of IT Visionaries, he dives into the ins-and-outs of how the email delivery giant has expanded its offerings in an effort to democratize marketing tools. Eric also touches on why email delivery is just the beginning of any marketing journey and how Mailchimp effectively scaled from a few thousand users to millions of users.

Today, Mailchimp is far removed from those early days when the company focused primarily on email delivery. The platform now serves as an all-in-one marketing hub, helping small businesses get more done by helping them reach customers in ways other than just email delivery.  

While email remains at the core of what the company prides itself on, everything it builds is constructed with a focus on democratizing tools that large enterprise marketing departments have at their disposal by making them available to smaller companies and individuals. In essence, Mailchimp believes its software can function as an entire marketing department for small businesses.

When Muntz first joined the Mailchimp family, he was employee No. 33. Now, the company employs more than 1,200 individuals in offices located in the U.S. and Canada. It’s been a steady climb for Muntz, who joined the company as a software engineer in 2010 and, nine years later, rose to the role of CTO. One of the biggest takeaways he learned along the way was how to give talented employees the tools they need to succeed in their roles.

“Some of the first skills were learning about people management, how to hire good teams, and how to recruit the right people,” Muntz said. “Really being able to hone your skills and figuring out who the right person to hire is took a minute. And once we did that, we built up a phenomenal team.”

That team has helped Mailchimp scale from pushing just over a million emails a day in 2010, to nearly two billion emails on Black Friday in 2020. And when you’re pushing out billions of emails a week, it means your client base is pretty vast. 

Mailchimp works with more than 12 million customers, all of which have unique wants and needs. So, how does the Mailchimp team talk with so many different customers in order to understand their pain points and what ways their service can be more helpful? According to Muntz, you can’t. Instead, what his team does is identify super users — who fit into a model that can represent other users — in order to gather a sample size or a persona of a particular client.

To meet the needs of all customers, regardless of persona, Mailchimp has to have a reliable network. While Mailchimp is a large company, Muntz stressed the technology behind its platform is rather simple, and that’s by design.

“We really believe that boring technology is the way to go,” he said. “Your technology should be the type of thing where you only use the technology that you know is trusted and you know is going to work.”

One of the reasons Muntz and his team follow this philosophy is because of the need to streamline all the follow-up work the platform performs for customers.  If a consumer opens up an email that comes from a brand using Mailchimp, and that consumer scrolls through that email, and sees something they like but ultimately chooses not to buy, it’s Mailchimp’s responsibility to then follow-up in order to complete the transaction. That follow-up action is a part of the equation that Muntz said can make or break a small business’s year or keep them in business.

But Muntz also stressed call-to-action emails, especially during high-traffic times, can create a thundering herd moment, when services go from working very little to suddenly being overloaded with traffic in a very short period of time.

“Thundering herd in technology is when your servers are basically doing nothing, and then all of a sudden they’re doing a ton of work,” he said. “You have to make sure that’s accounted for. You have to make sure that doesn’t actually bring down your infrastructure because it goes from nothing to way past capacity, and you can imagine that happened all day on Black Friday.”

While Mailchimp works efficiently and effectively today, Muntz said that was not always the case when he first joined the company more than a decade ago. To hear more about the changes Mailchimp has made during that time and Muntz’s rise through the ranks, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries.

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

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