Email Success by Design: Interview with Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year Justine Jordan

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When it comes to email marketing success, Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus, suggests you think like a designer.  It certainly worked for her.  During the Email Evolution Conference (EEC15), which takes place February 2-4, 2015 in Miami, Florida, she’ll be honored with the 2015 EEC Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year award.

We asked Jordan to share her insights on the best tools and opportunities available today to drive a successful email marketing career.

1. What do you feel are the key skills/mental models that successful marketing business partners will need in the next 12-24 months?

I come at email from a designer’s perspective.  There’s a concept called “design thinking,” which really encourages businesses and companies to approach things using a design process.  It involves digging deep into research and evaluating problems and understanding user stories — and a lot of other things that give you unique perspective into solving a problem.

Technology is very powerful, and we couldn’t have email marketing without it.  At the same time, we need to focus on things like design, content, strategy, and problem-solving and try to figure out how to bring together the technology, data, marketing, content, and analytics to be really relevant and build trust with users.

2. What are some of the best resources you have found for gaining new skills and getting up to speed and even ahead of the latest innovations in the field?

Twitter is actually an amazing resource.  I don’t know where email marketing would be without it.  The people who are into it are so active and share so freely.  And I’d say that probably 90% of the new things in our industry that I find out about came from Twitter.  It’s such a powerful curation platform these days.

Aside from Twitter – there are these people who are doing the hard work — I’m going to call them the “email hackers and developers” — that found themselves either stuck with or drawn to email.  They’re the ones who are doing a lot of exciting things with email.  So much of the work I’ve done at Litmus is giving those people a voice and a place where they can rally around what they’re doing and to feel that they are an accepted part of email marketing society.

3. Have you observed any changes in opportunities to bridge talent gaps in the marketing field over the last two years or so?  What improvements need to be made in educational opportunities for email professionals as we move into 2015?

For the longest time, it seems that email-focused roles saw lots of turnover and a lot of people in junior positions would come in, get promoted, and then move on.  In just the last couple of years, I feel that email design and email marketing have gained a new legitimacy in marketing in general. We’re finally seeing people stick with it longer and get really good at it, and we’re starting to move it forward.

So we need to continue celebrating email and legitimizing and celebrating those people who are coming in and getting their hands dirty.  We need to provide them with mentors, pay them a fair salary, respect the work they do, and educate the cross-functional teams that they work with on email best practices and eliminate that blast mentality.

4. What resources (reading material, online tools, courses, etc.) would you recommend to new marketers looking to establish a successful career in the field?

Marketing is so multidisciplinary now.  A marketer needs to be a technologist, designer, writer, developer — and to be so resourceful.  The challenge is how do you become a T-shaped person aiming for a breadth of knowledge across a variety of topics, and still achieve one thing to go really deep and specialize in.

As far as specific resources, I’ve found KISSmetrics puts on an amazing variety of free, relevant webinars.  Of course, Litmus has a ton of great resources — a blog, webinars, and the conference.

There’s a new breed of niche conferences that are more focused that are going to be really valuable. These smaller conferences are more intimate.  You’re more likely to meet like-minded peers in an environment like that.  The EEC conference is among these – it’s relevant and useful – and isn’t huge and intimidating.

5. What does winning the 2015 eec Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year award mean to you as you move forward in your career?  

I’m incredibly thankful and humbled. I was definitely surprised! I didn’t think that the work we’d been doing with email design would get as much visibility and be recognized in this way – and that’s incredibly exciting.

To see the people who are making email, which is what I try to represent, getting legitimacy and recognition and to be called thought leaders — is incredibly powerful.  To continue to advance the craft of email design — is amazing.  And for me personally, it empowers me to continue spreading that email love.

The Email Evolution Conference (EEC) is designed to help marketers gain the latest insights and how-to tips on email marketing. As an attendee, you will learn how to engage customers effectively and maximize ROI; meet with cutting-edge solutions providers who can help you grow your client base; and network with your peers in a unique setting.  EEC15 takes place February 2-4 in Miami, Florida.  For more information, and to register, please click here.

Interview by Susan Taplinger, Senior Director, Communications, DMA

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