How to Win Friends and Influence Good Email Practices
"My job is to offer email and digital strategic solutions to clients that run the gamut of knowledge and experience between having zero clue what to do with email in their marketing program, those who need to initiate email into their marketing plan, through clients that simply need help optimizing their current email program. "
I remember heading into my first client presentation in which I felt like my bosses were throwing the newbie to the wolves and grabbing raincoats to protect themselves from the splash zone as they watched. Luckily, rather than a slaughter, and very much to my surprise, I discovered that I’m naturally not too shabby at presenting to both small and large groups. However, for those that are newer at client or educational presentations, a bit rusty, or they have some unique challenges ahead, this story’s for you! (The Bud comes later)
My job is to offer email and digital strategic solutions to clients that run the gamut of knowledge and experience between having zero clue what to do with email in their marketing program, those who need to initiate email into their marketing plan, through clients that simply need help optimizing their current email program. Often, my job also requires offering solutions to clients that think they know what to do, but all too often, they really don’t have any idea. This last one is the tricky one. This part of my work is akin to being a contortionist with Cirque du Soleil whilst walking a tight rope – it can indeed be that tricky!
Recently, I experienced the epitome of such a challenge with a client. It took some time to build a trusted relationship with this particular client, but now firmly established, that trust needed to be extended through internal business teams… which can be as challenging as climbing Mt. Everest… not that I’ve climbed Mt. Everest, but you get the point.
With my most recent experience, I was admittedly a bit nervous. I knew I was walking into a room of people that weren’t sure why I was there, because after all, they “knew” email marketing. Further, this wasn’t the only issue I had to contend with –I also needed to be sensitive to their primal inclination to feel threatened. After all, here I walk into the room, a senior consultant from a huge marketing services agency with teams that can do ALL of their jobs – YIKES! I’m being somewhat facetious, but the point is that I’ve worked the client side and I get that “old-timers” with a company can easily be threatened by the new kid on the block… and I’m not referring to any boy bands from the 80’s.
Flashing back to the present - the crowd comprised the usual suspects - a myriad of levels from across marketing teams including designers, copywriters, project managers, seasoned marketers, etc. The goal of the day – share and illustrate do’s and don’ts, understanding HTML while designing for email and a look at what the competition is doing. All in all, not an uncommon or unusual presentation… however, my usual approach to dig right in and rock-n-roll needed an added twist - sensitivity.
Typically, these meetings are intended to educate and those attending are open and ready to learn, which can make for a fun and collaborative experience. However, in the aforementioned scenario, when some attendees may feel they already know all there is to know about a topic, although the information presented is similar, the presentation must be considered. For example, I initiated the presentation with a bit more care and specifically stated something akin to, “some of you may know much of this information, but I’m sharing it today for those that do not as well as to preface some fresh industry trends that may be new to many”. Diffusing potential conflict from the onset paved the way for open discourse.
This tactic worked perfectly, I breathed a sigh of relief and moved forward. The questions were abundant, as expected. A few tough nuts remained; however, I think their shells are cracking a bit. All in all, the day served as a good reminder of a very simple fact - no matter how much someone really, truly knows, there’s always something to learn, even when you think you “know” everything.
And, this Bud’s for you: