How Agencies Can Share Their 'Emilk and Cookies

Lana McGilvray provided a great case study last week that supports the use of email. This week I would like to talk about the huge strides that we as marketers have made-- not only in driving results using email, but at being able to share our collective learning for the better good of the industry.

One of the most inspirational ways I have seen us come together to support email is through the participation in the EEC's Deliverability Roundtable Survey. The survey has only been open for one week and closes this weekend, but has received over 250 respondents. (If you haven't taken it yet, please do so!)

I just recently attended "Agency Day" for one of Ogilvy's key email marketing clients. More than ten top agencies got together in one room, all day, to speak about email marketing for a shared client. We had different skill sets and different points of view. I was honored to have been chosen as a lead agency presenter, and at one point the energy in the room literally crackled when I suggested a vision of a joint-agency- knowledge-sharing effort for the coming year.

Despite our different agendas and roles, none of us wanted to wait a full year before getting back together to compare notes on email marketing. The discipline moves faster than that, for sure, and so will the agencies and marketers that embrace email as the backbone of their digital strategies. The idea of breaking down the traditional boundaries across one client's multiple-agency network to compile email marketing pilots, case studies, and articles of note instantly appeals to anyone who has marveled at the swiftness of change and development in today's digital dialogue frontiers.

I thought I'd kick it off today! Here are a few initial tips on structuring knowledge-sharing networks. They may apply to some of your agency or company teams and the way they share insights into email marketing:

· Pick a core team representative from each agency or company group. Consider a rotation of this position, to distribute the work over the course of a year.

· Choose champions from a variety of backgrounds. Having someone who is looking out for email strategy, media, creative, and other specific categories can only expand the general knowledge base.

· Be prepared to share your team's insight with a larger group. Socialize with your clients and your agency co-workers, as they may have even more thoughts to contribute.

In addition to forming a "core team," it's important to consider the ways in which you can share information:

· Lunch 'n Learns, either face-to-face or via conference call, monthly or bimonthly. Pick a common topic or case study chosen by the core team representative for that session.

· Open forum sites like gather.com or Myspace offer a place where team members can post white papers or article links of interest they've found.

· Online chats are another way to hook up without taking up too much time.

· Newsletters might take a little more legwork to produce, but even a simple text formatted email with links to editorial content can have a lasting impression on knowledge-sharing efforts.

· Podcasts are a great way to share conference call content online, too!

By combining our passion and coverage of the swiftly moving world of email marketing, we can best consolidate our findings and work to standardize the methods and motives of using email for our present and future client partners. As direct digital channels continue to develop, we are equipped to expose our teams to the widest net of information possible, and use our stations in the industry as marketers, artists, planners, and consultants to fuse the raw material into meaningful, lasting knowledge bases.

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