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Why I’m not an email marketing expert, guru, thought-leader, Jedi, blah, blah, blah… by Chris Donald @inboxgroup

Why I’m not an email marketing expert, guru, thought-leader, Jedi, blah, blah, blah… by Chris Donald @inboxgroup

Editor’s note: We’ve updated the post to add all the Jedi’s suggested by you!

First things first, no one gets to call themselves an email marketing expert.  In fact if you were to give a shout out to those who actually are far more experienced calling them an expert, they would on most occasions feel a little uncomfortable and say they have just been around longer than others or that they don’t consider themselves experts, they just happen to love what they do.

There are many people in the email marketing industry that are very good at what they do.  They are young, old, and in-between.   They are women and men.  They live in all corners of the globe.  They work for large ESPs and small ESPs.  They work for companies of all sizes.  Some even work for themselves as consultants.

Just working at an ESP doesn’t an email marketing expert make, my young Jedi friend.  Nor does running a campaign sending to a million email addresses.  Heck, spammers do that every day, would that make them experts?

A few days ago I got an email with a resume attached and the job seeker stated he had thirty (30) years of email marketing experience and was an expert in his field.  I was blown away; 30-years, holy crap Batman, I better hire this guy.  Seriously, Email for all intents and purposed was created by Ray Tomlinson in the early 70s and really didn’t have any significant impact until the early/mid 80s when the SMTP protocol was developed.  Even then, wide use still didn’t happen until the late 80s and early 90s.  And even then email marketing was only a gleam in the marketer’s eye.  Lying doesn’t make you an expert nor will it help you get a job.

I sent my first email campaign in 1996 promoting a travel destination web site I created. Which by the way; doesn’t make me an expert.  I know others came before me.  Saying you’re an expert, guru, thought-leader doesn’t make it true.  There seems to be a lot of Social Media experts around as well.  I’ll leave that to someone who knows what they’re talking about.

As email marketers we strive to do the best job we can.  We learn from mistakes (and I’ve made my share that’s for sure) and our successes.  We learn from others in our industry that we’ve come to rely on and who have shown us over the years that they get it.  They understand all facets of the email marketing life cycle.  They understand deliverability, content, reputation, segmentation, integration, targeting, the relationship, one-to-one communications, dynamic content, list management, testing and testing again, and to NEVER buy an email list just to name a few.  They are our friends, our competitors, our partners and our customers.

If you really want to learn about email marketing and maybe, just maybe someday get a shout out that someone thinks you’re on top of email marketing heap consider following these few names that IMHO warrant a follow on twitter and their blogs.  Are they experts?  In my eyes yes, in their eyes they just know some stuff, some really valuable stuff.  So watch, read, listen and ask questions, you’re sure to learn something, as I always do.

In no particular order:

John Caldwell @jacaldwell
Luke Glasner @Lukes_Tweets
Andrew Kordek @AndrewKordek
Stephanie Miller @StephanieSAM
Russ Fletcher @fletchster
Loren McDonald @LorenMcDonald
Scott Hardigree @indiescott
Fred Tabsharani @Tabsharani
Chip House @cehouse
Jeff Ginsberg & Jim Ducharme @theemailguide
Chris Wheeler @ChrisAWheeler
Janine Popick @janinepopick
Jordie van Rijn @jvanrijn
Remy Bergsma @remybergsma
Peter Roebuck @allwebemail
Mark Brownlow @MarkatEMR
DJ Waldow @djwaldow
J-P De Clerck @socialemail & @conversionation
Scott Cohen  @scottcohen13
Mick Griffin @mickgriffin
Anna Yeaman @stylecampaign
Wendy Croissant from Sierra Trading Post @email_queen & @Wendy_LouWho
Adam Holden-Bache @AdamHoldenBache
Seth Godin @thisissethsblog
Rory Carlyle @rorycarlyle
Chad White @RetailEmailBlog
Len Sheyder @LenShneyder
Campaign Monitor @CampaignMonitor
Udeme Ukutt @UUkutt
Tamara Gielen @tamaragielen
Dylan Boyd @dtboyd
Jay Chambers @mrJayChambers
Chris Donald @inboxgroup

Please follow, enjoy and I bet you’ll learn something.

If I’ve forgot anyone which is possible as my brain is full today, send me a DM @inboxgroup.  This is by NO means a complete list as I don’t know everyone and most don’t know me.  This is simply my list of people who I think are smarter than most and valuable to the community.

Who are your favorite email marketing minds to follow? Leave a comment you may teach me something.

Takeaway: Experts know a lot, but the last thing a true expert is sure of is their expertise. That’s why they keep learning everyday.

Cheers, Chris
I’m not an expert but I play one on The eMail Guide ;-)

  • Profile:  Christopher Donald is currently a Partner and VP of Sales and Marketing at Inbox Group, LLC based in Dallas, where he oversees U.S. and International sales of the Inbox Group email marketing service (SaaS). Chris has worked on the front lines of internet sales and marketing since 1995 and directly in email marketing since 2000.
  • Website:  http://www.inboxgroup.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/inboxgroup
  • LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/inboxgroup
Other post by this Author
Your thoughts here
  1. You guys forgot about Matt Vernhout , he’s a Canadian Deliverability Jedi Master.

    Kent McGovern
  2. Hey Chris…

    Here is another Ninja, Jedi, Geek from the other side of the pond.

    Mick Griffin really knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to write about it :)

    # Website: http://www.getresponse.com
    # Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mickgriffin

  3. Great post. I’ve just followed every email marketer listed in this post and/or the comments section that I was not previously following on Twitter. I look forward to learning from and conversing with all of you.



    Noah Fournier
    • Thanks Noah! Much appreciated and they are a great group of tweeple to follow. I’ve been following you for a while and enjoy what you share. Keep digging.

      Cheers, Chris

  4. Too much honour to be listed, but thanks Chris! I’m just doing my part to advance the world of email marketing just that bit towards (hopefully) the right and bright future :)

  5. Hi Guys,

    Honored to be on this list, but I am not an expert, I just use the force. : )


    • These ARE the droids you are looking for… Luke, if you had just ponied-up more that the $50 JaCaldwell gave me you could have been number 1 ;-)

      Just kidding John.

      Cheers, Chris

      • John paid $50 to be #1 on the list. Dang, I would have given $51.50!!!

        Ohhhh wait a minute, Jim, lets edit the post and put us and #1 :)

        Then we can auction of to the highest bidder and split the profits with Chris.

        Now were thinking!!!

  6. Wow…thanks for the shout-out and honored. I learn something every day.

    Anna Yeaman (@stylecampaign) forgot to mention herself in her comment. She’s clearly a leader in gif animation, mobile email marketing and retail email design.

    Wendy Croissant from Sierra Trading Post (@email_queen & @Wendy_LouWho) is another email innovator. She gets me to buy stuff all the time because she send highly relevant and timely content.

    Adam Holden-Bache (@AdamHoldenBache) CEO of Email Transmit is another innovator, prolific writer, musician and new friend that I follow very closely.

    I’ll stop for now, but these three rolled off my tongue to easily! There are many more. I think you’ll need a follow up post to this Chris.

    Thanks again!

    • You’re welcome Peter and well deserved. I’ll be doing a follow-up or update this post very soon. Lots of great names here in the comments.

      THis is funny, my captcha words for this comment are: gushes expertu. How strange.

      Cheers, Chris

  7. Hmmmmm!!!!

    Announcing another email marketing….

    Seth Godin.

    Please Seth, come out and say hello.


  8. Hey Rory!!!

    Ninja, expert, guru, geek, bla bla bla???

    Which one do you want to be?

    Website: http://www.carlyleinc.com
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rorycarlyle
    LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/carlyleinc

  9. Chad White @RetailEmailBlog @LenShneyder of Pivotal Veracity and the guys @CampaignMonitor I’ll stop there as too many come to mind!

  10. I did make a few unintended ommisions to the list and Udeme Ukutt @UUkutt is one of those as well as the others mentions here in the comments. Please keep the comments coming they are much appreciated.

    My humble apologies to all I missed.

    Cheers, Chris

  11. Thanks Chris, I really appreciate this and same to the Email Guide brothers. I wouldn’t call myself an email expert but I leave it up to you ;) I’m a cross-channel strategy guy and in my small country there is one true email marketing hands-on + strategy person that’s maybe not as long in the industry as me but has really specialized in email marketing while I still wrote silly papers about email marketing ;)

    Ladies and gentlemen: Belgium’s finest (and by definition also unknown in her own country): Tamara Gielen @tamaragielen

  12. I want to add

    Dylan Boyd I think he’s an expert.

    # Website: http://TheEmailWars.com
    # Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dtboyd
    # LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dtboyd

  13. Jedi’s. All of you. Thank you for being excellent resources for email marketing knowledge. I’ve learned from all of yous guys.


  14. Nice one Chris! BTW thanks for the include.

  15. Great to see Mark and Scott in there – nice list Chris!

  16. I could add one or two or a hundred more.

    Have a look at this page there are tonsof smart email marketing people there including you Chris!!!


    • Jeff, I completely agree with you. This community maybe over all others have some of the great email marketing minds in the industry. What I like best is that any one of them would reach out and help others with questions. A great group indeed.

      Cheers, Chris

  17. Obviously Chris is far too modest to include himself in this list, but he should have.

    Let’s take care of this right now:

    Chris Donald: @inboxgroup


    Jim Ducharme
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