Let's face it. Email marketing should be at least a semester-long class that covers everything from creative and copywriting considerations to deliverability -- and everything in between. But sadly, that is not the case. During the lecture, the overwhelming question from the students was, "How do we get to where you are?"
After pausing to think (yes, I've been in the email biz *that* long), I realized that my path is the same as many today, but also a bit different. So what was my answer? What advice did I give? And why should any of you care? (Especially since you are likely already in the space if you're perusing this.) Well, read on and find out.
My answer: Out of college, I tried my hand at agency life and got to try a number of positions while I was there, but I quickly fell in love with direct marketing strategy development and the measurement and analytics that went along with it. And that's where it started. First, direct mail; next, marketing program development; and then email marketing. Agency-side, client-side and finally provider-side.
My advice: The great thing about marketing as a career choice is that you are truly limitless in your options. The basic fundamentals follow you from channel to channel and discipline to discipline. Try them all, learn from each experience and apply the best of those learnings to wherever you land.
Why should you care? We all came from somewhere, and it seems that we can all forget (conveniently) what was learned along the way. That's why it's important to be reminded of our roots from time to time. Email marketing isn't so unlike direct mail that we should shun the strategies that are employed just because they were born in direct mail. These strategies include such email biggies as targeting, segmentation, measurement, incremental analysis and my favorite -- planning. Just because you can get to market quickly with email doesn't mean you should rush out the door. Email programs could use just a little more planning. And that's more easily recognized if you have a background in other disciplines.