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The best beans of Email Geeks @ Home Drinking Coffee

Covid-19 hits, and boom, business life is turned upside down. Many of us have had to adjust to work from home. Others have been laid off. Our email community is hurting. We decided to launch a low-key program directed to the email community.

“Email Geeks at Home Drinking Coffee” was born You can find the long story of the “origin of our Email Coffee” below. (and yes, the title is a deliberate homage to Jerry Seinfeld).

Episode: It’s the End of My Career as I Know it.

One of the first episodes needed to deal with a heavy load. People in the email marketing community had been fired, laid off, promoted to customers, or had their free time overly extended.

Ryan Phelan needed to be our guest, because people losing jobs will not necessarily be the “end of their career as they know it” And if it is, that might not be such a bad thing.

Ryan offered some great and timely advice for people reeling from layoffs they either conducted (yes they are hurting too) or were victims of .

  1. Talk it out with others. Layoffs tend to be “group experiences”.
  2. You have to deal with it, you have to process what happened to you, and don’t waste time wondering what you could have done to avoid it, because it’s not your fault.
  3. When you leave, leave gracefully. You might need a good reference.
  4. You need to have a plan. Your job after losing a job is finding a job. Treat it as seriously as you did your former job.

My favorite part of this episode is at 32.22 when Ryan reminds us to help people in our email family who have lost their job… Take a call from someone, and take the time to listen and understand what you can do ….

Episode: A Leader is Someone who Demonstrates What’s Possible

The next Episode features Kristen Bond, the amazing email marketing lead at Girl Scouts of America. Kristen shows what leadership looks like on the email marketer side when it feels like the sky is falling all around you.

For the Girl Scouts being adaptive means regrouping after realizing that the #1 fund raising effort—door to door cookie sales—wasn’t going to happen. She also had some great advice for email marketers right now.

  1. Be flexible, and willing to pivot quickly. Kristin’s email campaigns evolved quickly to focus on cookie sales by local Girl Scout councils rather than individual girls, and provided zip code look-ups to determine your local council.
  2. Where there’s a natural fit, be good by doing good. For the Girl Scouts that meant broadening their donation efforts with Cookie Care where people can purchase cookies and have them donated to a local hospital (for example).

Episode: If Serving is Below You, Mentoring is Beyond You

Our third episode has David Allen, President at Zeta Global. David has influenced a great number of people in our industry over the course of his career. We asked him to talk about the importance of reaching out to people above you (as a mentee) and below you (as a mentor).

Being a mentor is even more important at the moment with so much uncertainty and insecurity even among those who haven’t been laid off. Dave’s advice included:

  1. Understand there are mentoring moments that can occur outside of a more formal ongoing mentoring relationship.
  2. Don’t spare the hard truths. You are doing a person a favor by telling him or her uncomfortable truths so they can address issues head on.
  3. Recognize that the work place isn’t normal at the moment, and that your teams need your guidance more than ever.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for advice. Be proactive and seek out those who can provide perspective that you may lack.

Episode: This Office is too Big Without You

This past Monday our guest was Melissa Shaw from email creative agency Shaw/Scott. Melissa co-founded the agency in the middle of the last economic meltdown, so she knows what it’s like to go out on your own in times of great uncertainty.

From day 1, her company’s philosophy was to get the best people regardless of where they are located and work virtually. Few companies were as prepared as Shaw/Scott for the new world of working from home and Zoom conferencing.

Melissa has this advice for companies coming to grips with Remote working:

  1. Videoconferencing is better than conference calls because people pay more attention to what is being discussed when they’re on camera.  Less multi-tasking occurs.
  2. Recognize the struggles that new employees may have feeling part of your company yet working from home.  Shaw/Scott sends a welcome package for that tough first day.

Starting a business right now might be exactly the right thing to do. Clients are looking for new solutions and with internal layoffs, require more outside help.

Can I get a refill?

For Paul and I (and our producer David Inman), the podcast is  a labor of love and a much-needed diversion. We’re not saving the world here. But if each episode can help just one person cope with what he or she might be going through right now, or even take his or her mind off things for a few minutes, then it’s absolutely worth it. Trying to help others has proved a great way for us to help ourselves!

Grab another cup of Email Coffee

So hang in there! In the meantime, if you want to view new episodes of the podcast,
please visit our YouTube channel.

The origin of Coffee (extended dark-roast)

In coffee, the origin means “the place it came from”. Arabica comes for instance from…  Arabia? So where did our PODcast originate from?

Covid-19 hits, and boom, everyone is stuck at home. Business life is turned upside down. Many of us have had to become adjusted to working from home instead of being in the office with our co-workers. And these are the lucky ones, as many others have been laid off from their jobs as their companies’ revenues have collapsed.

Personally, I have been working from home for the last several years, so that wasn’t new to me. But my business (which focuses on helping brands navigate the email RFP process) has slowed down dramatically. So, like many of you, I found myself with a lot more time on my hands, and the question for me was, what to do with it? There were many potential answers to that question, but if I was going to feel at all good about how I used my newfound time, I needed what I would do to matter.

Enter virtuetising, don’t waste it all on Netflix.

What does virtuetising mean? Virtuetising is “a shift in marketing efforts to meet a need or accomplish a good.” Covid-19 created the opportunity for many companies to practice virtuetising.

Some are doing it well, others not so much. I am in the business of getting customers the very best deal on the Email Service Provider imaginable and that business is still very relevant. But my opinion doesn’t matter. Many companies have put RFPs on hold, some going as far as to renegotiate deals with existing ESPs to cut costs. Those renegotiated deals have often come with a price tag, and that usually is a contract extension.

So, here I am. As a human, my instinct is to pull back on every expense and effort. I want to circle the wagons and go into defensive mode. As a marketer, there are times when we have to play defense. For me, Covid-19 meant offense. How do I use the available time that I have to both promote my business and accomplish the goal of virtuetising?

Paul Shriner said: “The some point has arrived”

Many of you know Paul. For those who don’t, he’s the Chief Evangelist, Co-Founder at AudiencePoint. We’ve known each other for years, and always look forward to catching up at the various email conferences.

Over the course of a number of conferences we talked about launching a podcast together. But like so many of the things we all talk about doing at some point, the “some point” never arrived. Until March of this year. Paul reached out to me and said: “Now is the time to launch our podcast!”

Neither of us are medical experts, nor are we economists. But we CAN talk! (some would say we talk too much!). We saw that our email community was hurting and people were looking for answers. So maybe we had finally arrived at a “some point”.

And with that, we decided to launch a low-key program directed to the email community. At the minimum, it would provide a weekly diversion. At best, might offer folks some advice and insight into how they can personally navigate these times.

“Email Geeks at Home Drinking Coffee” was born (and yes, it’s a deliberate homage to Jerry Seinfeld).

How do you even start a Podcast / Vodcast?

Right off the bat, Paul and I realized that we couldn’t do the podcast on our own. We needed someone who knew how to edit video, and post both video and audio to places like YouTube and the various podcast libraries.

We brought on Producer Dave (David Inman). Next we made the decision that we would do at least 8 episodes over 8 weeks.

That begged the questions:
What topics are most important to cover?
Which guests are best suited to provide both great advice as well as humanity?

And that’s where you all, the email marketing community, stepped up offer your help! To be honest, one of the hardest decisions Paul and I had to make was who to include in the first 8 episodes, because there are enough people on this list alone to create 100 quality podcasts.

What’s Next for you?

So how have you been spending any extra time on your hands these past few weeks? Clearly options are limited since most of us can’t leave our homes. I think one of the lasting changes from this time will be an even greater recognition of the power of the internet and digital tools for both business and for everyday consumer activities. 

We can endlessly debate the right tone and the wrong tone to take in email campaigns being sent at the moment. But I think we can all agree that email marketing is going to come out of these times as a more important marketing channel than ever before-and it was important before. 

Chris Marriott
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