One thing I love about the email marketing industry is the comradery. I was reminded of this again last week while I was in New York on business. I was lucky enough to connect with fellow ClickZ columnist Stephanie Miller and a few other industry friends for dinner. I’ve had similar dinners in Atlanta, Kansas City, London, Washington, D.C., and many other places.
If you’re an email marketer and you aren’t linked into this community, you’re missing out. So I thought I would write today about two organizations that are near and dear to my heart – and which I highly encourage you to join if you’re looking to build a career in email marketing. They are the Email Experience Council (EEC) and Only Influencers (OI).
Their annual conference, usually held in Miami in January or February, is always a highlight of my year. The sessions are great – industry thought-leaders and brand-side marketers providing practical advice on what’s working now in email and online marketing. So is the networking – if you’re looking to make connections with key people in the space, this is the conference for you.
The EEC has also begun hosting local off-line meet-ups – this is a relatively new initiative but it seems very promising. They also sponsor annual awards for email marketing professionals; you don’t have to be a member to win but you do need to be a member to nominate someone. I was on the award committee last year and am currently serving on the nominations committee, which matches interested members with committee assignments and leadership roles within the organization.
In addition, the EEC provides webinars, resources, and information to help marketers improve their email programs – one thing that stands out about EEC members is their willingness to share their expertise and help elevate the industry as a whole. Check out their blog for free advice from industry thought-leaders and then consider joining. Individual memberships are less than $400 per year. And well worth the price.
Only Influencers was founded by industry friend Bill McCloskey. Bill is a natural born connector – after years of managing a free discussion list for email marketing professionals, he expanded the offerings and turned it into a paid membership organization.
Recent topics on the discussion list included a request for samples of B2B and B2C email welcome series creative, a discussion about the new CASL regulations (see my friend Matt Vernhout’s take here), and the value of an email marketing professional pursuing an MBA.
OI also offers local “meet-ups” – a chance for email marketers to gather offline and chat, usually over drinks and some food. Recent meet-ups have occurred in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Kansas City, London, and New York.
There’s also an OI blog where members (including myself) have the chance to share our experience, offer practical tips on improving email marketing programs, and sound-off on industry issues.
The connections I’ve made through OI have invaluable. It really is a community and there’s an instant comradery when you meet someone whose posts you’ve been reading for years. No matter what your email marketing issue, you’ll find others willing to provide their thoughts on the OI list. Some of the most valuable discussions are those where members are on opposite sides of an issue – while we don’t all always agree, Bill keeps the discussion cordial and constructive.
OI membership is $200 a year; a small price to pay for the connections you make and the guidance you’ll receive from the community. There’s also a monthly subscription, for $20, if you want to test drive before you commit for the longer term.
If you’re serious about email marketing, you should seriously considering joining one or both of these organizations. Hope to connect with you there!
Until next time,