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Email Insider Summit: Things I learned from 3 days of email nerdiness

I’m just getting back from a pretty amazing conference: MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit, held this week at the [ridiculously gorgeous] Stein Erickson Lodge in Park City, Utah. It was a great chance to get to know some of the most innovative thinkers in the email marketing world, and truly nerd out over all things email. The fabulous mountain views and plentiful skiing opportunities didn’t hurt either.

From hearing how a 100+ year old organization completely transformed its digital presence to understanding how exactly to market bacon cheeseburgers via email, there were a number of experts in the email space sharing insights to learn from, and lots to take away. I wanted to share the top three things I took home with me from Utah (minus a few snowboarding-induced bruises):

Altitude sickness is a thing. Park City is 7,000 feet above sea level. While I’d heard in passing that high elevations can mess with those from low lying areas, I didn’t buy in. “I’m tough.” “I have a high pain tolerance.” “That just sounds made up.” Imagine my confusion just 24 hours in when a dull, aching headache became my constant Utah companion. Altitude sickness struck, and hard. Pro tip: drink water. Lots of it. Then drink more. And more.

Email is not dead. While an often repeated refrain and the “edgy” thing to say in the email blogosphere, I’d bet the 150ish EIS attendees might take issue with that idea. Email is not dead. In fact, it is a key way that customers interact with brands (even email newsletters are becoming sexy again). What is dead to email marketers? Bad, batch-and-blast, untargeted messaging.

It all comes down to your audience. There were a lot of great insights at EIS, covering all sorts of tried and true techniques, as well as some very innovative strategies for email marketing. But even with such diverse content, I saw presenter after presenter come back to the same theme- it’s all about your audience. Knowing your audience, properly segmenting and making sure the right people are in your database were pointed to as the not-so-secret sauce for successful campaigns. Email marketing can’t succeed if your audience data is poor.

Were you at EIS this week? What were some of the things you enjoyed learned? Tell me in the comments below!