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Thoughts After a Trust Fall: Email Marketing <3

(This is a little TL;DR, so, here are Cliff’s Notes if you simply can’t be bothered: I got a new job, moved to a new city, am madly in love with email marketing and if you live in Boston, I’d love to meet up. Yes, Boston readers, I’m shamelessly hitting on you.)

So, I made a bit of a move—a professional move, a personal move…well, I pretty much turned my entire life upside down.

Two months ago, I packed up my bags and moved from DC to Boston. With nothing in tow but a suitcase, a backpack and two small boxes, I moved to a city in which I had spent exactly three days ever and knew only a handful of folks. It was kind of like a trust fall.

The big draw was that I would be starting a new job managing email marketing at a company I was a huge fan of: Litmus. That part was easy; I’ve never met a team of people who care so deeply and passionately about helping the world send better emails, which is a goal that very much aligns with my own interests.

As my professional move is very much representative of me doubling down my bet on email marketing, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why I have chosen this particular path. If you had asked me a few years ago what I would be doing in 2014, it would probably have been working in theater somehow, somewhere.

Luckily, I somehow have now found myself in another industry that challenges me, makes me constantly consider new perspectives and never lets me forget how fascinating people can be. Sounds a little (read: a lot) like theater, yes? I assume that’s why email marketing and I have gotten along so well.

Email marketing is a bit of a perpetual underdog, which I admittedly find appealing. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we know that email is never going to be the hot new kid on the block (it’s not Donnie; not Joey; none of ‘em). However, it is the work-horse and revenue-driver for most companies who embace it. For subscriber-first email marketing programs, there are really no limits to what you can accomplish. Never bet against an email marketer who knows their stuff; they’ll be your biggest marketing channel before you know it.

Beyond the rewards of the work itself, email marketing is also filled with wildly intelligent, funny and caring folks. In my new position, I am fortunate enough to work not only with the Litmus team, who I already gushed enough about earlier, but also now get to interact daily with the wider world of email marketers. We chat on forums; we tweet sometimes at a ridiculous frequency; and my new favorite: other marketers respond to Litmus emails and then we email back and forth to debate choices I made in an email campaign.

As a group of underdogs, email marketers have a stronger unspoken bond than you find in other industries. You can drop an Outlook joke, and everyone gets it. You can complain about nested tables, and immediately hear ten other stories about rendering issues. You can forward an email to colleagues and say, “Can you believe this preheader text?” and know that people will get you.

Archaic coding techniques, quirky ISP issues and a general hatred for Lotus Notus have given our community a unique understanding. There’s just something about being an email marketer. We are scrappy and tenacious. We find ways to pull off crazy campaigns in the face of about every obstacle imaginable. If Gmail suddenly rendered internal stylesheets, deliverability stopped being a mystery and Outlook quit using MSWord as its rendering engine, would email still be as exciting?

All of that to say, I love my field and my peers, and I even have a little love for troubleshooting ridiculous HTML issues. All of the bumps and curves that comprise the daily life of an email marketer are exciting to me, and I hope they are to you as well.

Meanwhile, I’m going to play my new-in-town card and throw a shout-out to any Boston folks that happen to be reading this. I’d like to meet you! Tweet at me, LinkedIn me or shoot me an email. We can chat digital marketing, things in Boston I need to know about, or trashy reality television. Or Scandal. Always Scandal.

(I’m aware this was vaguely more personal than my usual fare. Don’t worry; I’m sure whatever I post next will again compare email marketing to some random, only-slightly-relevant pop culture topic. Perhaps you missed my digital marketing thoughts on Twitter from a recent Miley Cyrus concert?)

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