Welcome To The Beginning Of Email Marketing Conference Season

by , Jan 19, 2012, 9:47 AM
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Ahh, it’s that time of year again. The time when we look at our travel schedules and realize that it is Email Marketing Conference Season! The season kicks off with MarketingSherpa and wraps with Media Post's Email Insider Summit  -- four months of immersing yourself in learning and innovating the email industry, one conference at a time!

Each of the conferences has a slightly different approach and value, but regardless of whether you plan to attend one, all, or some combination thereof, one thing is for sure -- you need to be prepared to learn! Now, the lovely destinations of these events can sometimes make it difficult to get approval to attend (Vegas, Captiva Island, Hollywood, Fla. and so on); however, if you prepare a serious list of goals and objectives that you hope to attain while in attendance, it should make your life just a little bit easier (though selling Key Largo to my husband to attend MediaPost's Social Media Insider Summit took some doing…).

Top Four Email Conference Take-away Goals for 2012

Given the industry topicality to date, I have prepared a start: the "Top Four Email Conference Take-away Goals for 2012." What information should you really want to walk away with? Well, here ya go!

Measuring Attribution for the Email Channel
The conversations in 2012 are likely to drive directly toward multichannel marketing and channel integration, as they should. Email has lived in a silo for far too long -- and asking questions about, and planning for, multichannel customer experiences is where we should be. That being said, in order to do this effectively you need to be able to properly attribute revenue to the various channels being leveraged. So while you are attending these conferences, be sure to ask: How are you measuring or attributing revenue to the email channel versus other channels in the marketing mix?

Channel Integration with the Email Channel
Coming this season to the Email Marketing Event Channel: "Integrated Marketing Communications." How do you do this effectively? You will likely see a number of case studies about brands successfully integrating mobile, social and others with their email programs. The question of the hour here is “why?” Why did you integrate those specific channels with the email program, AND what is your definition of integrated? As you uncover the answers to these questions, you are better prepared to answer the various use case opportunities that will present internally -- and you should have the necessary fodder to directionally advise the effort.

The Valuation of Email to the Organization
One of my favorite questions to ask at conference time is “What is the value of an email address to your organization?” It is an asset to your business; there is often a direct correlation between incremental bottom-line revenue contribution for a subscriber versus a non-subscriber.  Find out who is measuring or monitoring this information and how they made the calculations. Though I am sure there are very few who will give away the actual formula, you should be able to get some directional guidance. This will either help to validate your approach, or help you craft one if none is in place.

Quality versus Quantity
Please, please, please: ask the "quality vs. quantity" question if Dela Quist is on a panel (love ya, Dela!) You will be glad you did, for more reasons than just his response. As an industry, we talk so much about the quality of email communications or email addresses versus the quantity of them -- and sometimes we can shoot ourselves in the foot with over-qualifying an offer or recipient. Look, I am not saying to completely remove all filters, but if you are running really tight segmentation, you may find that it is doing more harm than good. Ask this question of speakers and attendees: "How do you know if you are over-segmenting or targeting your email programs?”  You may find that some don’t even think it is possible – but it is.

What other goals and objectives -- nuggets and sound bites -- do you hope to walk away with this Email Season? Enquiring minds want to know -- wait, is that phrase under copyright? Did I just get the Email Insider blog shut down…doh!...ooops. I did it again!

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