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Earlier this month I had the pleasure of joining many of my fellow Influencers in Miami at the Email Evolution Conference. Hosted annually by the Direct Marketing Association’s Email Experience Council (eec), the event kicks off the email conference year by bringing brands, advocates, vendors and thought leaders together under the south Florida sun to discuss, debate and share innovations and pressing issues central to email marketing.

Here without further ado are key insights, wisdom and lessons learned (including my own) from this year’s event:

Lesson: All Things Old Are New Again

Email Evolution 2015 was a terrific conference – my first since re-entering the email industry last year.  In dozens of conversations as well as the day two keynote and our own breakout session, I was delighted to hear that the professionals in this industry have stayed true to why we leverage email for driving customer engagement: because it offers the highest value channel for treating different customers/subscribers/members/ stakeholders differently.  Personalization may be an old topic, but with today’s technology and access to data we have a chance to actually revolutionize how we talk to each other using email! 

 - Robin Green, VP Sales, PostUp

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I am 6 months into my new job and new role as Marketing Director at WorkCompass, A B2B SaaS firm selling Performance management and appraisal software. I am the first marketing hire coming fast on the heels of the first sales hire Colm.

So what’s the perfect pitch for our audience?  I had no idea!

The boss Denis had no idea. He had been selling the software to his extended network of contacts for the last year building up the business.

Colm? Nope, he had been hitting his rolodex (is that still a word?) for the last six months. 

Ok so we didn’t know the pitch.  What job role are we selling to? Mmm, ‘everyone’ is not the answer I was hoping for.

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“Words matter very much Ms. Barnes, you should care more about them given your profession.”- Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey of House of Cards)

In the profession of digital marketing, our words matter very much. Words are the pinnacle point of persuasion that drive our consumers to either take an action or ignore our advances. Therefore, our pitches, or messages, warrant much more attention and affection than currently rewarded to them.

As marketers, our typical approach to crafting the “perfect pitch” is a series of random attempts at driving customers to an intended action, endeavoring to tap into their intent and continue the relationship that has already been established. We experiment with a series of variables in our message testing practices to judge whether one word or phrase works better than the other, such as “50% off” instead of “half off,” or “shop today” instead of “sales ends today,” or “You’ll enjoy this” versus “Dear valued customer.” While testing is good, it doesn’t achieve perfection and here’s why:

The Randomness of Creativity

Human generated messages are created randomly… no offense. Let’s take the Mad Men for example… their greatest moments of creative brilliance are conceived in the late whiskey filled hours of a company rendez-vous. Understanding that not every digital campaign needs to be the next “Just Do It,” each is another opportunity for success, or for your next sale. These opportunities, although seemingly less impactful for a business, are the driving force for sustainable revenue. Due to the randomness by which your pitches are created, they begin with guesswork and are inherently limited.

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The best pitch I’ve ever seen had no design to it, whatsoever.

The potential partnership was with an ad agency well known for amazing designs and creative. The room we walked into was pristine. As a team, they looked crisp, and as individuals they looked like ninjas dressed in black Armani.  The Account Director, their “big guy” for the meeting, introduced his team in specific roles, and in glowing terms. And with each introduction, that member introduced his or her self with a polite thank you, followed with a very strategic statement of why they were in the room, how they would operate in the partnership and their researched approach on how they saw the road ahead. More, they turned to their most likely counterpart on our team, creative to creative, technician to technician, account person to account person, and made sure our team knew their role and best contact. They recited common projects they’d worked on in common roles, by researching my team’s work history and references. They knew more than we did.

It was precision.

During this whole time, there were no slides projected. There were no brochures or other collateral, save for one piece of paper. The Director held it face down on the table and alluded to the importance of what was on the printed side. They had boiled this rather important partnership down to one piece of paper! At every opportunity he teased the room with what was on the printed side, and he patted it like it was his baby.  Frankly, it was.  

By the time the introductions in the room finished its rotation, it was his turn. And, by the time he slid the paper across the long desk for us to see, he knew he’d already won. And so he did.

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Starting a new position is usually a challenge, and when that new position is in email marketing, it can be even tougher.

Email marketing is an industry that evolves almost overnight. On top of that, starting at a company means not only learning office dynamics, but how each team and person approaches that company’s email marketing program.

Everyone’s been new at some point, and it’s always a relief to know someone who can give you the inside scoop to help you get a running start in your new position.

An email marketer’s first week on the job isn’t about proving yourself, and it’s not about showing off how much you know.

Instead, the first week of an email marketer’s new position should be spent delving deep into what the industry is and how the company differentiates itself in the industry. Then in following weeks, you can take the email marketing program to the next level.

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Insights from Todays Leading Email Marketing Experts and Thoughtleaders