The Power of Community

Having been in the email business for almost 2 decades, I’ve been introduced to hundreds, maybe even thousands of marketers, technology, developers, and salespeople from all types of industries, all focused on a very small but important piece of their company’s business. I’ve worked closely with many of these individuals, sometimes as a vendor, partner or even competitor, but there has always been something that made this environment unique to any other I know: A collaborative effort to make email better for consumers, businesses, and marketers, while making it harder for people committing fraud and sending spam.

Think back to when you were in college and you were preparing for a big test or working on a group project. Being part of a group usually made the process much easier, as each individual participant has a set of skills that complement each other within the group. Being part of a supportive and collaborative working group for many email practitioners is not much different, especially where they may be the only individual in their company working in this specific area. Joining a like-minded community is a fantastic way to help develop your skills, find opportunities, stay up-to-date on industry news, and build friendships. Everyone needs a little support from time-to-time and being part of a group can really change your outlook on your career and your day-to-day productivity.

Email marketing has built several strong and overlapping communities within its own time, leading to groups like the Email Experience Council, Women of Email, Email Marketing Gurus, and the EmailGeeks on Slack, just to name a few. There are many more available, likely one in your immediate area. These communities are made for people to come together and combine brainpower to share ideas, things they’ve learned, tools they use, and occasionally pet pictures (because cats are cute).

For example, before I sat down to write this article I was thinking about various topics and things to consider as good topics for the EEC. I was reminded of a conversation I had with fellow email geek Paul Shriner about the kindness of the email industry and how people build each other up, not for profit but because it is the right thing to do. People helping similarly concentrated people… Isn’t that really the goal of having a good day, beyond completing all your to-dos at work, improving someone else’s day?

A few other examples come to mind, where the email community banded together to support a fellow marketer in a time of need:

  • One person anonymously sent a dinner delivery to another’s family after they dealt with some quite stressful personal issues.
  • Another almost lost their home after an accident left them unable to work for a time. Dozens of people stepped up to help purchase the supplies necessary to move and find new accommodations.
  • Helping fellow email geeks find jobs and get connected to mentors is a regular process for members of this community.

While these things may not be exclusive to the email community, the desire to help others by sharing experiences, knowledge, and mentorship is unique to the email industry. If you are not yet part of a community I would encourage you to join one of those I’ve listed above, especially the EEC. If there is a local community in your city, state, province, or country, look at joining them. Meetup.com shows more than 2,600 communities that match the keywords “Email Marketing,” and if there are no local communities, I challenge you to start one in your area that can become your local support structure and collaboration group.

Matthew Vernhout
Director, Privacy & Industry Relations | 250ok
Vice-Chair, eec Member Advisory Committee (MAC)