All For A Cause

I'm still on a high from the recent E-mail Insider Event in lovely Scottsdale, Arizona. It could have been the warm, clean air of the desert that altered my perspective. Or was it the cumulative effect of the many event highlights? The event brought together some of the most prominent direct marketers, technology providers, service providers, privacy experts and deliverability experts in America. In essence, there wasn't an e-mail related question you couldn't get answered among the 100-plus attendees of this select event.

As someone who speaks on the e-mail circuit, I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm and professionalism, and by the exchanges that took place throughout this event. I can't decide if the seminars or the breakout networking sessions were more useful; it is interesting to get perspective from many different levels. This event touched on specific technical deliverability issues, privacy and CAN SPAM topics, and also on softer subjects like acquisition, building databases, segmentation and of course the infamous creative makeovers, which featured eight reviews of e-mail creative submitted by VIP attendees.



So we all had a great time, and I came away inspired by a few things. One of which I'll highlight in today's column:

Two weeks ago, Bill McCloskey wrote an article about the E-mail Experience Council. This council's Web site and groups were officially launched this week at the Insider event. The response has been amazing. But the effort that went into getting the site up in five to seven days, getting it optimized, putting in place the e-mail and opt-in process along with configuring the IP address was nothing short of amazing. Dylan Boyd of eROI, along with Jeanniey Mullen and Paul Beck of Ogilvy, should be applauded for their round-the-clock efforts to get this off the ground and into cyberspace ... all to prove how marketers can give back for a cause. After hearing the story of the RAKMF (Ryan Andrew Kaiser Memorial Foundation), I was inspired to contribute as well. ()

As they say, at the end of the day it isn't about who likes us or what's in our bank account, it's about our legacy. I believe this group will have a legacy that will far surpass its achievements. And the achievements are already proving this--over 430 subscribers to the E-mail Experience Council in less than a week, plus 50 new requests for membership. On top of this, they are receiving online donations for RAKMF as well as points donations from This will be a true multichannel effort featuring special pioneering online/offline efforts with ad placement on CBS Radio, "" that will help sponsor the big fundraising event called "Ryan's Run." The e-mail program is off the ground and delivering reach of more than 75 percent. All of this has been accomplished in a little over two weeks.

I gave a speech on ROI, Segmentation and Personalization. After hearing the kick-off story of the foundation, I stopped to reflect on what the ROI is on our life's work. There is no better return on investment in our business than efforts like this can deliver. The ROI on sweat and heart can be measured only in the passion of the people in pursuit. Based on initial response and the effort put in thus far, there is a tremendous return here.

As we work all hours of the night to accomplish our business objectives, we should also reflect on what's important, how we are developing ourselves as professionals and what are we giving back. So, I'll leave you with this thought: if you don't have a cause that keeps you up at night, maybe the E-mail Experience Council is something for you, combining learning, development and networking, all for a cause that is more meaningful than any profit margin we'll ever produce. RAKMF is just the first cause to be taken on by the Council. Kudos to the OgilvyOne team, eROI, Pivotal Veracity and all the other sponsors of this kick-off effort. You sent me home from the E-mail Insider event with a new perspective.

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