Career Advice from Email Veterans

We effectively spend a third of our lives working so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of us find our identity intrinsically connected to our professional lives, and in some cases solely defined by the work we do. Like so many of my colleagues and friends, I too am a digital warrior constantly working to stay atop the latest trends that whiz past—here today, gone tomorrow. Technology has made it possible for us to work from anywhere—similarly it has grown new connective tissues between us and our customers. As brands and marketers we work around the clock because technology never sleeps, so that thing I said about working a third of our lives, that’s most likely a gross underestimation. With so much going on, and the constant need to delight and surprise our customers, questions of personal and professional growth often times go unanswered. Today’s corporate ladder isn’t the straight forward rung by rung ascent of the MadMen era—it’s a jungle gym that often requires us to move sideways, back, up, down, left, right all the while zig zagging to reach our goals.

Let’s face it, we love our careers – we love being on the cutting edge of technology, communications, and knowing we have the ability to direct our company’s data driven mission and contribute to the greater data-economy. My teenage sons will graduate next year. If they at all had any desire to follow my footsteps I wouldn’t have the foggiest of how to direct them—colleges don’t offer a BA in email marketing.

One of the highlights of the work we do is the ability to create new things—from new communication standards to novel uses of old reliable channels, we get to create the world in our image, and more importantly from the wellspring of our imagination.Where else in the world can you tell someone that your ROI is dependant sometimes on the success or your COI? Or how you are watching CTR’s come in because of the latest API social plug-in? Or that you saw a slew of 4XX bounces and were wondering if the MTA’s queues were backed up, or if you had properly configured the SPF, DKIM and DMARC on your domain’s DNS. So it should come as no surprise that our world even has its own highly specific language.

Marketing speak is not unlike the lingo at a Waffle House: “covered” is with cheese, “smothered” is with onions, “chunked” is with ham, “topped” is with chili, “diced” is with tomatoes, “peppered” is with peppers, “capped” is with mushrooms, “scattered” is spread on the grill, and “all the way” is something high schoolers traditionally talk a big game about ordering everything on the menu after prom. Email is just as specific, the language of marketing is just as descriptive and ‘inside baseball’ as a waffle house order. Understanding text to image ratios, above the fold, headers footers, all of these concepts require cooperation between the left and right brain.

Listen, I don’t want to make you anymore hungrier here by talking breakfast in the middle of the afternoon or late evening, but for most of us here today, life never really started off with us saying or taking a career aptitude test in hopes of becoming a company’s chief email marketer. Some of us, like me, fell (Thanks Dad) into email 25 years ago not knowing that I’d still be in email today. I’ve joked multiple times that once the next company I work for gets acquired, I’m probably moving to a new space, like SMS, that’s new, right? But I keep coming back to email. Why is that? Because 25 years later it is still challenging and interesting and has one of the highest ROIs ever at $38.00 per dollar of investment.

You’ve probably heard the saying “The devil is in the details” and never is it truer than in email marketing, where small changes or omissions can make big differences in response, revenue, or even which side of the law you’re on. In December, the Email Experience Council (EEC) will hold a coaching clinic titled “Career Advice from Email Veterans” where attendees will learn…

  • Tips on how to navigate a career into and throughout the email industry
  • Learnings and perspective from four unique email veterans on their personal journeys and how they advanced their careers
  • Coaching lessons on job search, anticipating your next move, or how to position yourself professionally when an opportunity arises
  • Best pieces of advice on elevating your personal brand and achieving your career development goals.

These 60-minute virtual coaching clinics offer Q&A sessions aimed to deliver email marketing advice and support from industry experts and practitioners, many of whom are active in the leadership of the eec and the industry in general. In these clinics, you are able to tap into a resource for getting your burning email questions answered, avoiding rookie mistakes, and enjoying free strategic advice.

In email marketing, you always have to be flexible, like at a Waffle House, if you want your hash browns scattered, smothered, and chunked, they have you covered . Similarly in digital marketing you not only have to keep up with your job’s frenetic pace, but the myriad of changes happening around you as you ponder the direction your career can and should take.

Dennis Dayman, Chairman Emeritus of eec
Chief Privacy & Security Officer (Return Path, Inc.)