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JD Engelbrecht, Managing Director, Everlytic

JD Engelbrecht: Offering You Well-Suited Strategies

When you are in the field of marketing and technology, you bring ideas to life. The field requires a creative mindset to deliver the best. Very few people out there that can execute this creativity successfully. Today we have got someone who is an expert in the context of digital product development, commercialization, and distribution – JD Engelbrecht a commercial technologist who serves as a Managing Director at Everlytic.
JD has a solid grasp of business fundamentals that add value to the company. Through this knowledge, he directs challenges into opportunities for the team company and the people. In our venture of The 10 Best Performing Tech Leaders in Africa, we interviewed JD Engelbrecht who takes us through his journey across the media, ecommerce, advertising, data science, agriculture industries and finally working with Everlytic.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Briefly describe your journey as a business leader until your current position at Everlytic.
I have had an interesting career journey. It’s included:

  • Being a corporate journalist,
  • Dynamically digitising the IP of agricultural economists and agronomists,
  • Doing integrated and sustainability reporting,
  • Running digital platforms and applications,
  • Leading big data and data science programmes,
  • Dabbling in some bleeding edge technology…

…and then I joined Everlytic, where great tech and people come together to do something incredible.
I’m generally someone who is pointed at a new challenge and then I figure it out before moving onto the next thing. Being too good at your job is a silent killer of careers, but I have been fortunate to have had people who cared about my development, who was selfless enough to let me go when it was time.
It is also tough to move on from places where you’ve invested so much of your time and energy. Knowing when to move on is important. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and when it comes around, you need to be ready to take the opportunity.
Tell us something more about Everlytic.
Everlytic is the all-in-one software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for data-charged, automated, multi-channel messaging. It empowers marketers and communicators to create and send an email, SMS, web push, and automated voice messages at scale using our bulk distribution platform, transactional messaging services, and automation journey manager.
Enterprise businesses choose Everlytic for the globally competitive technology we offer, as well as unmatched, engaged customer service and strategic consultation.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Competition in our space is high, with thousands of competitors around the globe. Staying in touch and ahead means we must consistently evolve the way we work and solve challenges.
We invest heavily in research and development to, among other things:

  • Build the capacity for cost-effective infrastructure scaling
  • Remain price competitive while sending billions of messages
  • Enhance profit margins
  • Use data analytics tools and techniques to create actionable insight, like our new interest-based segmentation feature which we’ll launch in the next month or so.

If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the digital communication industry?
There is a significant need and opportunity for email service providers (ESPs) of scale to create solutions that will support everyone in the industry. For instance, as a platform, our customers have access to a lot of personal data that is processed through our network. A person on one of our clients’ lists will likely be on more than one of our clients’ lists. This means Everlytic could, in theory, and with the required approval from regulators and clients. get a much more detailed view of each individual’s needs and interests and behaviour, based on the variety of data they’ve shared with multiple companies.
This kind of insight could help improve the industry overall – creating a win-win-win scenario for us, our customers, and their contacts. For example, the time data subjects receive their emails could be customised to what works best for them, across the board. And their communication preferences could be centrally managed, so they apply to all marketing messages they receive.
As it stands, however, ESPs like us are positioned as data operators with limited rights for additional processing of our clients’ personal information – we take this very seriously. I’d like to petition regulators to allow identified cases where there are win-win-win opportunities for us to process this information too for improvement of the industry.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the digital communication industry? How is Everlytic preparing to be a part of that change?
We are already seeing large-scale vertical integration in the industry by multinational players. They’re buying up customer data platforms, website monitoring tools, customer relationship management solutions, and analytics businesses.
The purpose and underlying trend link two historical shortcomings of many businesses:

  1. The so-what of data analytics, i.e. the activation of insights by means of content distribution via digital messaging services; and
  2. Over-contacting customers due to a lack of context.

Where do you envision yourself in the long run and what are your future goals for Everlytic?
Everlytic is a great place to work: the business is solid, the platform is globally competitive, the people are exceptional, and our parent group, Vox (a leading ISP), is incredible. I’m having fun. My team and I have grown Everlytic by roughly 60% since I joined 2.5 years ago. I want to triple the business within the next 5 years and my plan is to stay at least this long.
We are rejigging the business to support scaled internationalisation, infinitely scaling the infrastructure, and we are creating a world-class sales organisation to complement an excellent services competency. I will see this through.
In the long run, I want to invest more time into bleeding-edge technologies with global shifting potential that programmes ethics into the fabric of the technology of the future. This interest generally relates to creating a new digital identity and data management framework that I believe will stand up to the cryptographic challenges that quantum computing will present in the future.