I wrote, "What about the people who aren't reaching out? These are the people that we most desperately need to reach -- because they are likely doing the most harm to email's reputation." I ended my column by asking, "What can we do as an industry to reach out to people who aren't reading the trade press, industry blogs and latest email marketing research?"
A dozen people commented, including Mike Wacht of Global-5, who suggested creating "a speakers bureau or standard presentation and speakers' notes to these groups -- a good half-hour multi-media educational presentation on email marketing 101."
Another commenter, Karen Talavera of Synchronicity Marketing, seconded the speakers bureau idea and pointed out that "the premium (and premium-priced) DMA seminars typically attract only the biggest brands, the largest emailers, or the companies with the biggest marketing budgets. While this is all well and good, there are vast underserved segments of sales and marketing professionals out there who either will never hear of the DMA, or can't afford the seminars (and/or the travel to them)."
At the time I commented that "The speakers bureau idea is particularly interesting..." Well, I'm happy to announce here that the Speakers Bureau is now a reality, thanks to the hard work of the Email Experience Council's Communications Roundtable. Over the past several months we've refined the mission of the Bureau, developed a list of events and organizations to target, and scoped out a "curriculum," which will initially include: Email in the Marketing Mix, CAN-SPAM and Other Laws, Permission Practices, Deliverability, List Growth Tactics, and What to Send.
By focusing on the fundamentals, we avoid competing with the Direct Marketing Association and others' more sophisticated offerings. And by using the distributed membership base of the EEC and webinars, we can cost-effectively and proactively reach out into the darker corners of the marketing community and help novices reap the full benefits of permission-based email marketing and stay clear of pitfalls.
So, first, thanks for providing the inspiration for this initiative. The MediaPost community is certainly a vital part of keeping the email marketing industry healthy and growing. Second, after helping come up with the idea for the Speakers Bureau, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask for your input on the next phase of the launch. Here's how you can help:
1. You can join the Speakers Bureau and make yourself available to speak at events that currently have little or no programming about email marketing. 2. You can let us know about an event that would be an ideal platform for reaching lots of people who may not be entirely familiar with email marketing best practices and laws. 3. You can suggest articles, whitepapers and other free resources related to the topics above that we could distribute to support and extend our presentations. 4. You can share any other ideas you might have for reaching out and bringing new people into the email marketing community.
Please share your ideas and comments below.