Helping The E-mail Team That 'Can't Get No Respect'

At the recent Marketing Sherpa E-mail Summit, the E-mail Diva heard advice too good not to pass along. If you are unable to get the budget or cooperation you need to create a great e-mail program, this column is for you.

Kevin Doohan of ConAgra Foods did a fabulous presentation on e-mail newsletter marketing for CPG Companies, but what impressed me most were the clever political moves he described that brought the brand managers to him, clamoring to get involved in his company's e-mail program. Think Tom Sawyer and the fence. Here are three brilliant moves he made that brought respect and attention to his e-mail program.

1. DIY. Rather than get the brands to fund his newsletter, "Simple & Delicious," Kevin financed it with his department's budget dollars. This allowed him to focus on providing high value to consumers in the form of "simple recipes that make cooking easy and convenient" which also promote product usage and awareness. The result? Every time an e-mail newsletter is sent, top brand managers call Kevin to request/demand inclusion in the next newsletter.



2. Unsolicited Testimonials. Rather than tout his results to the brands, Kevin feeds his response to the ConAgra research group and lets them talk to the brands as they see fit. The research team's perspective and expertise make the facts that much more credible and impressive. Data from Hitwise on how brands stack up to the competition adds additional muscle.

3. Science vs. Art. Kevin's department is developing a questionnaire to quantify the brands' goals for an e-mail program, matching the desired outcome to a particular e-mail method. A desire to increase purchase occasions with current customers, for example, would call for a different method than a desire to increase penetration in the market. Besides being an intelligent way to begin with the end in mind, this approach makes the recommendation "seem less like my opinion," Kevin said.

The E-mail Diva was a total disaster at corporate politics, but that doesn't mean she can't recognize genius when she sees it. Here's hoping you can find a way to employ some of these strategies and get the respect our profession deserves.

Good luck! The E-mail Diva

Send your question to the E-mail Diva at All submissions may be published; please indicate if you would like your name or company name withheld.

The E-mail Diva is Melinda Krueger.

Would you like your e-mail program reviewed by the best minds in the business? Submit a sample e-mail to be considered for the E-mail Makeover Workshop at the E-mail Insider Summit. Send your submission to Melinda Krueger at Please put E-mail Makeover Submission in the title and provide contact information.

Next story loading loading..