What causes the job to be so thankless? It has a lot to do with the complex, tactical process of getting an email message out the door. Too many
email marketers are solely “in the weeds,” left to tend to the tasks that others can’t do or even understand.
For example, years ago in a client-side role, I was asked by a superior if I should be moved to IT because of the complex technical work I was doing. Luckily, I was able to make the case that removing me from the business side of the organization would bring undesired consequences to the email program.
So how can email marketers elevate their perceived role within the marketing roster to get ahead and potentially move to a leadership role?
Here are four approaches that have worked for me -- and that, if used collectively, should help ensure you are seen as more than just a tactical doer.
Educate. This is the single most effective way to get the attention of others around you. Do you work with others who find email metrics confusing and don’t know what the reports really mean? Or maybe you have colleagues that don’t understand how to write effective email copy.
Take the ignorance of others around you to create a Lunch and Learn curriculum to help others understand how email works and how to make it as effective as possible. This will give you speaking experience and make you the authority on the topic, beyond being a doer. It will open the door for your leadership team to see your skills in a better light while also providing something of value to others.
Advise. Once you’ve spent enough time educating your team, you should find yourself in the role of frequent advisor. I’ve had the privilege of being face to face with my former CEO and CMO on several occasions when a sensitive message would need to go out, and my opinion on the best approach was seen as valuable. No, I wasn’t on the PR team and I didn’t write content for marketing, but there I was, at the C-Suite table many times, because I was trusted enough to be seen as an advisor -- all because I'd built my credibility over time.
Strategize. Bigger-picture marketing strategy is often handed down to the email team, with brand or integrated marketers managing the strategy behind all the messaging that the various channels will be delivering.
When planning meetings are taking place, make the case to be a part of the conversation, even sharing metrics from various campaigns and lifecycle messages to shape the strategy. I’ve always stood by my statement that email marketers often know the customer better than anyone on the marketing roster. An email marketer understands first-party data, as well as what will resonate with customers. Use that skill set to make the case to be a part of strategic-level conversations.
Inspire. Lastly, a really good email marketer should share his/her knowledge in an inspiring way. Don’t be afraid to give formal team presentations internally and externally on lofty topics that go beyond email tactics. And learn to be a succinct and dynamic speaker.
There are many conferences and webinar opportunities on the client side available to you. In fact, as a client-side marketer, you have a better chance of being selected for panels and keynotes at conferences than experienced agency and ESP-side consultants who have been doing this for years.
Take the amazing stories you’ve created in your career -- I'm sure you have many -- and share them with others. It won’t be long until you’re seen as an industry expert who's known to inspire others in our industry.
Clearly, I am a huge advocate for email marketers. We are building valuable skills that can eventually lead to the CMO office someday, if evolution is a part of the plan.
What are some ways you're helping to elevate your role within your company beyond the tactical “button pusher” of deploying email messages? Let me know in the comments.