Help Wanted!  A Parody to Email Marketing 2015

In 2008, I wrote a column entitled “Help Wanted:  Email Marketing Manager”,     a tongue in cheek parody addressing key challenges and perceptions we faced in the industry through a help wanted ad.  An important point in time reference when email marketing was seen as an important customer channel, but it still struggled to get share of voice in the executive halls as Mobile, Social and Display channels were getting all the love.  People still didn’t write home and tell their parents they did email marketing for a living, for fear they’d be called a spammer.

According to Forrester in 2007-2008’s  US Interactive Marketing Spend report,  email marketing was projected to grow 11% to just over $2Billion by 2014.   We are here today and while I normally place little value in these stats for anything directional for a marketer, the  rate was incredibly accurate.  What should get most of us excited is the projected growth rate over the next five years.  While the growth rate is lower than previously predicted 8% from 11%, it is still a $1B in growth for email over the next years and in an industry with little real innovation or a Facebook to invigorate this channel, this is a really optimistic view of the channel and as a career choice.

The skills required to be successful today as an email marketer are amazingly similar to that of 6 years ago

If I wrote a help wanted ad for today, I’d add abit of context to it like,

  • Must have strong work ethic and thick skin, as you will be overworked and under-appreciated. –
  • Should have ability to negotiate the lowest prices imaginable with email vendor. Must be able to work alone, as you’ll be a one-person team.
  • Should be able to work on-demand, as we’ll ask for things at the last minute. We offer below-market compensation program and no bonus, since we can’t prove the value of email to the company.”  and I’d ammend it with .
  • “Must have experience firing a vendor and knowing how to do it without impacting the business, cuz you’ll switch your email vendor in the next two years. Must hate Powerpoint presentations and be bold enough to  cut off people that try to use PowerPoint to show you how they’ll improve your business.  
  • Must rationale everything through use cases and case examples, its very rare that you are the first to do anything.  
  • Must appreciate email, mobile and social, but realize that the channel means nothing to the consumer, it’s the experience that matters and its likely that no one in the organization will be able to explain this.
  • Must be a quant geek, have abit of Attention Deficit Disorder as content, testing and optimization will require shifting priorities. Must be able to collaborate with remote teams, since its rare that the best contributors will be in your town or your office all the time. 

I wonder how many resumes I’d get this time?    I said email marketing is a fantastic breeding ground for new marketers and I still believe it. Email is the perfect discipline to round out some very important skills.      If I were interviewing an email marketing manager today, I’d do four simple things and likely not even look at their resume:

  • I’d send them this graphic (Chief Marketer 2014 Marketing Technology Landscape) and challenge them to explain this chart in 100 words or less.
  • I’d have them bring in copies of their favorite email marketing campaigns from their favorite brands and explain why
  • I’d have them explain to me how they justify their college education expense in terms of ROI. (If anyone can tell that in a convincing way, they have potential to explain email’s attribution to a business executive)
  • I’d also cut them off every two sentences just to see if they can keep their focus in the midst of interruptions.

If you pass this, I can work with the rest!   The next gen marketers and rock stars in email will come from a new generation or collaborators that operate different and at the speed of the consumer today.

“The largest room in the world is the room for improvement” (anonymous)

David Baker, Cordial

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