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Whenever I talk with marketers, the conversation often turns to how they can learn more about email, network with peers, build their resumes and further their careers.

Yeah, I have an organization for that. In fact, I have three for marketers in the US, Canada or the UK/European Union:

1. The Email Experience Council (EEC)

The EEC is the digital arm of the DMA (once the Direct Marketing Association, now the Data & Marketing Association). It’s the only organization in the US that’s specific to email and email marketers.

Members represent both vendors that support the industry and marketers who are the practitioners.

As you can imagine, you can learn from your peers and industry veterans. But, you also get a front-row seat for the innovations happening in the spectrum of verticals and skill sets whose members are part of the EEC.

Membership includes access to thought leadership, webinars and direct contact with the smartest people on the planet. When I’m talking about email, these are the people you want to listen to and learn from. They’re all invested in the industry, they’re experts, and they know what they’re talking about.

Every year, the EEC has a conference and trade show. It’s May 1-3 in New Orleans this year and you need to attend because it’s the only true email-focused conference in the country.  You can learn more about it here.

I’m not saying the EEC is great just because I used to lead it and devote many off-work hours to it. The EEC represents what we as marketers want to be.  If you’re an email marketer, it’s critical that you’re a part of the EEC and I would also say attending the annual conference in New Orleans.

2. Email Sender & Provider Coalition

This global organization focuses on deliverability issues and legislation surrounding email marketing and customer privacy.

Industry members represent key email companies and marketers who want to be involved in those discussions.

Marketers must follow a dizzying variety of global privacy guidelines and laws such as Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe, and Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) in the US. This organization helps members understand the global implications of privacy and get involved on the local and international level when these laws are being written, discussed and enacted.

Membership is free for marketers. Service providers pay a fee, but it supports the coalition’s goal to drive our involvement across the world when privacy or email issues come up in legislative houses.

Marketers must delve into the intricacies of privacy law and what’s going on around the world, especially when we talk about how customers expect us to behave when we’re holding all their data.

3. The DMA (UK)

Antony Humphries, key account manager for Adestra, had this to say about the DMA, which is the main marketing partner for more than 1,000 UK companies:

If your organization employs direct marketing (show me one that doesn’t) then membership of this body is a must. 

 The DMA in the UK is a membership organization whose sole purpose is providing direct marketers with the best of best practices, lobbying the government and Information Commissioner as well as representing the UK on the European and worldwide stages. 

 The DMA lobbied hard on the new General Data Protection Regulations to try to ensure that the resulting law helps UK business, not hinder it.    

 The DMA audits membership applicants to ensure practice is commensurate with its values. If not, the gap analysis will suggest remedial action. 

 Once membership is confirmed, members get reduced-cost conferences, training and online resources, but possibly the greatest benefits are access to the DMA’s legal team and the ability to gain trust from customers that you are responsible marketers.

Why take the time?

As marketers, we need to learn more every day and see the entire picture across verticals to grow our own programs. It helps to network with people who have done this before to get their support and ideas on what worked and what didn’t. Being involved in these organizations is vital to your long-term career as a digital marketer.

As much as we talk about being first-person marketers, looking at lists as individuals instead of addresses and using segmentation and third-party data to create 1:1 messages, it’s also crucial to be involved in your industry at the grassroots level.

Participating in and volunteering is part of the process. Your benefit is to learn from others and to grow your network. That makes you smarter and will help you when you look for your next opportunity.

I strongly encourage you to be part of these organizations. I have been for many years, and the rewards are unimaginable.