7 Habits of Highly Effective E-mail Marketing Leaders

  |  April 8, 2010   |  Comments

Step into the world of a great e-mail marketer and what it takes to become one.

The second quarter of the year has begun and hopefully your 2010 e-mail program has made serious progress. How do real e-mail marketing leaders avoid complacency? What makes up a great e-mail marketing maestro? Let's evaluate:

  1. Constantly update your executive team: What I don't mean here is sending 24 slide reviews on each campaign or a spreadsheet with nine tabs. The best e-mail leaders can demonstrate their effectiveness (and challenges) in a few bullets or in their 30 second update during a meeting. Think big picture impact, and as I have said many times, your CMO doesn't care about opens - tell them about conversations, conversions, and revenue.

  2. Reinforce goals: I have walked into many meetings with clients, prospects, and e-mail managers and the first question I often ask is "What is your e-mail program trying to accomplish?" If there is a pause or not a clear consensus, then the team is not clear and this is a problem. Too often, the person responsible for the day-to-day has a goal of getting campaign X out the door rather than the broader goal.

  3. Provide clarity on subscriber value: We all know what e-mail programs we love and ignore. The best ones, we already have a connection to the brand, so a big chunk of the hard work is already done. Now, you have to deliver consistent and clear value to the subscribers. An e-mail leader with a big picture view can accurately sum up why someone should sign up for their e-mails and what they will get.

  4. Hire and monitor the right team: This could be the most crucial item, and means internal and external hires. Should you really hand the keys to an inexperienced internal person? Do you hire a generalist marketing agency (digital or traditional) that treats e-mail like an afterthought and has the track record to match? Do you solely rely on a technology platform that doesn't provide the ROI (define) you need without the right services and hands-on expertise? You must be able to answer these questions or success will likely be unattainable. Don't forget, it's your job to challenge them and don't let the program run on autopilot even when assembling the right team.

  5. Challenge conventional thinking and best practices: An e-mail marketing pro with a bright future is going to push the envelope, test what works (and what doesn't), and not accept the answer "it is a best practice and that is why we are doing it."

  6. Coordinate and integrate: The right e-mail marketing leaders really are digital experts and they just happen to be a subject matter expert. Anyone who knows e-mail and e-mail only has a one-way ticket to eternal middle management. The true e-mail visionaries are plotting their moves to enhance social, mobile, offline, and any other channel that touches your customer. Don't get caught in the e-mail off-ramp without having the digital road map.

  7. Be passionate and articulate: I have seen plenty of talented digital practitioners get left behind because of being swallowed by organizational inertia, not fighting the "e-mail is cheap and easy" syndrome, or lacking the ability to defend why e-mail is a channel that commands the appropriate resources and attention. Stand up, state your case, and watch your career soar alongside your e-mail ROI.

If you believe these to be accurate attributes of strong e-mail leaders, what are some other must-have habits and who are some deserving leaders that fall into this category? Thanks in advance for highlighting your choice of e-mail hero.


Simms Jenkins

Simms Jenkins is CEO of BrightWave Marketing, North America's leading email marketing-focused digital agency. The award-winning firm specializes in elevating email marketing and digital messaging programs that drive revenue, cut costs, and build relationships. Jenkins has led BrightWave Marketing in establishing a world-class client list including Affiliated Computer Service (A Xerox Company), Chick-fil-A, Cox Business, Phillips66, Porsche, and Southern Company. The agency was recently ranked among the fastest growing private companies by Inc. Magazine.

Jenkins was awarded the prestigious AMY 2010 Marketer of the Year from the American Marketing Association for being the top agency marketer and the Email Marketer of the Year at the Tech Marketing Awards held by the Technology Association of Georgia. Jenkins is regarded as one of the leading experts in the email marketing industry and is regularly cited by the media as such and called upon by the financial community to provide market insight and consulting.

Jenkins is the author of two definitive and highly regarded books on email marketing; The New Inbox (published in April 2013 by ClickZ/Incisive Media) and The Truth About Email Marketing (published by Pearson's Financial Times Press in 2008). Jenkins is currently the Email Marketing Best Practices Columnist for ClickZ, the largest resource of interactive marketing news and commentary in the world, online or off. His industry articles have been called one of the top 21 information sources for email marketers.

He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Bloomberg TV, Wired Magazine, and scores of other leading publications and media outlets. Jenkins is a regular speaker at major digital industry and general business conferences.

Additionally, Jenkins is the creator of EmailStatCenter.com and SocialStatCenter.com, the leading authorities on email and social media metrics. Prior to founding BrightWave Marketing, Jenkins headed the CRM group at Cox Interactive Media.

Jenkins serves on the eMarketing Association's Board of Advisors among other civic and professional boards. He is also a mentor at Flashpoint, a Georgia Tech-based startup accelerator program. Jenkins is a graduate of Denison University in Granville, Ohio and resides in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Follow and connect with Simms on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, The BrightWave Blog, and his book websites at NewInboxBook.com and SimmsJenkins.com.

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