Meet the Influencers: Gretchen Scheiman

Gretchen Scheiman Headshot square lowrezHow did you get started in Email Marketing?
I was working for American Express and I had been eyeing the digital side of the business for a few years, but it was still really tiny. Finally, in early 2000 they started to grow the digital team and I jumped at the chance to work on email marketing. It was a great place to start: American Express had all the rigor and experience of direct marketing to apply to the new channel, and in my role I was constantly challenged to figure out how to drive the best results out of a channel that no one really knew how to use. In a way, it was my first consulting gig. I still believe that the best way to get into email marketing is through a strong direct marketing program.

Tell us about your current role and what a typical day is like.
I run my own marketing consulting firm, L5 Direct Consulting Inc., where I focus on overall marketing strategy and direct marketing - which of course means a lot of email marketing. In a given day I might be talking to current clients about their business challenges, educating them on what the email channel can help them achieve, identifying the right next step or program to help move their business forward, pricing out what that program will cost to put in place, building analyses and case studies to prove a point, or even pitching a new client who I've been referred to. This is the second company I've started, and although the first was 20 years ago and completely unrelated (film production is as unlike email marketing as you can possibly get), a lot of the same principles apply. Consulting is a referral business, so it's still about who you know, how you present yourself, and how well you helped your client on your last gig. I don't meet as many famous movie stars as I used to, but the working conditions and hours are much better!

What do you see as the future of email marketing?
Email marketing is becoming more and more integrated with other channels, which means the strategy and process for email marketing will change as it becomes the driving force behind fully integrated marketing efforts. That is going to drive subtle but significant upheaval in programs as marketers adapt, but fortunately it's going to happen over time. In the short term, there is already some change happening on the creative side, as the line between desktop and mobile client blurs a bit more and people's habits - how they interact with email across all their devices - settle down a bit and are reflected in email design.

Why should anyone choose email marketing as a career?
Email marketing is a great choice for someone who wants to build their career on mastery of a craft. Choosing email marketing allows you to focus on expertise and skills that are the cornerstone of CRM and direct marketing efforts, skills that are always in demand. And because email marketing drives measurable results, you can learn a lot about how to look at numbers, which will be a huge help no matter where you decide to take your career.