The four smartest projects from dotmailer’s Hack Week 2017

In the run up to Christmas, dotmailer's product team took time off from normal projects. Instead, we worked intensively on small conceptual hacks.

Our biggest hack week ever

Although our Hack Week is now in its fifth year, this was the biggest: 38 hackers, five locations, six days. The aim was to build – in the fastest way possible – something new, something left field, that could benefit marketers (or in some cases, us). Here are the top three (and my personal favourite).


The top three hacks

🥉 Third place: Logo subscriber

Our Minsk-based developer Darya Pesina hacked a mobile app that used AR to re-invent how email signups could work. Want to scan a logo to sign up? No problem. Want to see what brands are nearby and sign up to them? Go ahead.

This hack was also joint winner in our CEO Award; I was in the ‘judging room’ and Milan could see how this could legitimately create new ways to incentivize signups, with localized special offers creating new subscribers.


🥈 Second place: Live images

This team set out to see how images in emails could be more dynamic. They ended up with a method of streaming image content continuously, so images could look and behave differently for every recipient.

They showed a countdown timer that was always correct, no matter when the email was opened, along with a stock ticker that always used live information.

But they also showed examples of loading an image of a restaurant that’s nearby, and pictures of the weather local to the recspient.

Hacked by our Head of Development Andy Gretton and Development Manager Sergey Shchegrikovich, this was the second joint winner in the CEO Award.


🥇 First place: AR report viewer

Another AR app, but this time for our users: the hack opened up new possibilities for visualizing campaign statistics.

For example, it used virtual Winstons (lots of them!) to show open and click data; the pack of Winstons would begin forming two groups as a campaign was sent – one that represented openers and one non-openers. Then they would reform to create groups of clickers and non-clickers, and then show device breakdown, and so on.

Worked on by Croydon-based developers Darran Jugdoyal, Joseph Appleyard, Grant Lodge and Robert Turner (with the help of a Google Pixel phone).


My pick for standout hack

Is it a tad narcissistic to pick a hack that prominently featured my head? Probably, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

My pick goes to the team Disappointing Demoer (which was actually just our front-end developer Claire Chambers, based in Liverpool).

The hack saw Claire looking at ways of making email more interactive – and what’s more interactive than a game? The result got the recipient tapping flying heads (in this case, for reasons I don’t fully understand, mine) and avoiding Floyd the dog to increase their score – all without leaving the email. In another example, a quiz was built into the email. Imagine what that could do to your engagement rates.


Interested in being part of Hack Week 2018?

If you fancy a bit of marketing tech hacking in 2018, there may be a place for you in the dotmailer team. We’re looking for all sorts – check out the list and apply instantly online.

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