Email marketers—we’re an interesting lot. Seasoned professionals. Tech. Agency. Contractor. Speaker. Journalist. Die-hard marketer. All focused on 3 days of networking with the who’s-who of email marketing at the Email Evolution Conference.
… not to mention the oysters, shrimp, jambalaya or po’boys that New Orleans is famous for…
The Grand Salons of EEC18 hummed with break-out sessions and attendees alike—one event followed another, and so did lots of people. There were conversations between old friends and new, handshakes and hugs—and, of course, plenty of swag.
I ran from one session to another with all the enthusiasm of a kid in a country candy store. Keynote sessions from start to finish. And while quietly breakfasting on beignets and coffee, I scheduled sessions for my next three days.
Let’s recap my three days of events with the email marketing experts in NOLA:
My first pre-conference session was a workshop prepared by the perfect pair: Karen Talavera and Jen Capstraw. Comprehensive Framework for Next-level Email Programs inspired us to assess our email marketing strategies, brainstorm new programs for revenue, sales and the customer journey. The session included a hands-on practical workshop as well.
After a break for lunch, I was off to my second pre-conference workshop: The Global Compliance Bootcamp. This session navigated attendees from Europe to Canada to Asia with guidelines, updates and tips for international marketers. This primer session detailed EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), ePrivacy Directive, Privacy Shield, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Panel experts included Matthew Vernhout, James Koons, Rick Buck, Chris Brown, Julie Turner, Dennis Dayman, Lisa Brown Shosteck and Wayne Miller.
The First Evening
At 5:30 pm, there was Speed Networking, but I headed back to my room to ready myself for evening plans that started with a cocktail party kickoff at the Hilton Riverside’s Mark Twain Courtyard and ended with dinner at The Palace Café on Canal Street with the Women of Email.
I had a pleasant stroll back to the hotel that evening, chatting mindlessly with Adobe’s Allysa Nahatis. Once I returned, I collapsed in bed without further ado. Information overload! And, that was just Wednesday.
Conference Day 1
The conference officially began Thursday with the opening keynote by Bob Garfield. The audience listened expectantly as Garfield discussed marketing from a journalist’s point-of-view. From trust to transparency to the Facebook and Google duopoly, Garfield’s no-holds-barred keynote reminded marketers that “to some people, all advertising is spam.”
The break-out sessions began with quality content including A Live Critique of Email Capture Forms, Email Workflows and Deliverability – Ask Me Anything. During and in between these sessions, I managed to meet up with industry superstars—the likes of Tink Taylor and Skip Fidura, Ryan Phelan and Skip O’Neill, Dela Quist, Kath Pay, Jeanne Jennings, John Caldwell, Jaymin Bhuptani, and Jason Rodriguez.
Thursday ended with a literal splash. At 6:30, a traditional New Orleans’ brass band lead attendees in a second-line parade over to the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen for a cruise along the mighty Mississippi. The opportunity gave us all a time to unwind onboard the riverboat and before long, I found myself chatting comfortably, sharing my favorite Seinfeld episodes, pet stories, and even a few family secrets. Turns out, most email marketing geeks lead pretty normal lives.
Conference Day 2
On Friday morning, I took my breakfast to the Grand Ballroom for David Sax’s keynote. Author of The Revenge of Analog, Sax suggested that it’s the physical and analog connections that bring people together. “In the end, the only world that matters is the world that we live in.” From record players to digital distraction and back to vinyl, what’s old is new again.
The final keynote was a panel discussion led by the mother and daughter team of Lea-Ann Berst and Ashley Maria, and Avis Yates Rivers. They presented the audience with a journey in film revealing the obstacles women face as they pioneer their career paths. How better than to end one set of events by introducing the beginning of another. Look for the premier of the film documentary, Pioneers in Skirts, later this year.
As EEC 2018 was winding down, Wrestlemania had come to town. It was a curious combination of email marketer and purple spandex, yet the hotel staff barely blinked an eye. Warm and friendly to one and all.
The best things in life keep going.