Just An Online Minute... Getting Saucy at The Email Insider Summit

Email Insider Summit Welcome Cocktail Reception, Sunset Beach, Captiva Island, FL
May 21, 2008
While I'm enjoying the grey and rain of lovely Manhattan, once again I get to be jealous of the sun-soaked attendees of the Email Insider Summit. Enjoy guest writer David Goetzl's take on the welcome cocktail reception on beautiful Captiva Island, while I cry quietly in a corner with jealousy -- Kelly Samardak

When Warren Corpus hits the South Florida night spots, he's a bit coy about what he does for a living. "I'm in marketing," he says. "I leave it at that."

As an eligible bachelor, he's concerned that if he drops the words "email marketing," the women he meets will not only turn the other cheek, but blast him for the incessant offers they receive to purchase would-be miracles.

"They say you're a spammer. You're the one who fills my inbox with Viagra ads," Corpus says. "That's usually what the average girl in the bar thinks when you say, 'Email marketer.'"

A top exec at the Vayan Marketing Group in Boca Raton, Corpus had no such worries Wednesday night. At the Email Insider Summit's opening bash, he nursed a beverage and chatted amicably with TheUseful sales manager Danielle Raybuck -- with no threat of the dreaded "Spammer!" accusation.

Even so, such snarkiness would have drifted away in the delightful breeze that helped make the event so spectacular. As palm trees swayed, the Stoli flowed and the 100 or so revelers mingled on the sandy beach at the South Seas Island Resort.

Still, the insiders didn't stray too far from data integration, close-loop marketing and of course ROI! Enjoying a vodka tonic, one flip-flop-wearing exec enthused: "I wonder how that would work with our lead generation program!"

Taking it all in were three students (August Miller, Amanda Pollard and Brandon Prebynski) and a project manager, Michelle Prieb, representing Ball State's Center for Media Design. The four got a first look at the audience that would attend their keynote panel the next morning.

Many execs addressed what they believe is a Rodney Dangerfield ("No Respect") aspect of email marketing. Brand managers may fancy weaving their messages into MySpace, Facebook or online video, but email marketing can butter their bread, they said.

"It's not glitzy, it's not sexy, but it returns on investment," said Gerry Widmer of BlueHornet. "I'm struck by how large corporations don't understand the power of email."

Widmer and others said the tactic has become so much more sophisticated in the last year alone. No longer is it a "batch and blast" business -- that's so 1995. "No more spray and pray," said Andrew Osterday of Premiere Global Services.

It's now about segmentation and behavioral targeting and addressability and helping marketers hit the sweet spot when the appetite is ripe. "It's relevancy -- sending the right message to the right person at the right time," said Osterday's colleague Kara Trivunovic.

Oh and by the way, email can be a heckuva a lot more results-oriented than face time on Facebook. "The glitzy new stuff -- it's not all that measurable," said Matt Allen, director of sales at iContact, which sponsored Wednesday's shindig. (Allen attended with colleague Natasha Perry.)

In that vein, Raybuck said, "I can give you results within an hour."

Speaking of results, another Premiere Global exec, Chris Lovejoy, found himself having flashbacks as he watched the sun set on - wouldn't you know - Sunset Beach. Eleven years ago, the e-strategist worked at South Seas and planned weddings and other events on the same sandy stretch. "I'm kind of like the de facto tour guide and I love it," he said.

Just then, a colleague interrupted him asking for directions, and he gladly obliged.

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Check out the whole set of photos on Flickr !

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