ScottWritesEverything.com: Thanks for joining me, Jordan.
Jordan Cohen: Thanks for inviting me to participate here. I have really enjoyed getting to know you and the other high quality #emailgeeks who have been contributing to the discussion on Twitter over the past year.
SWE: It’s definitely been a fun year. Let’s start at the beginning. How did you get your start in email marketing?
JC: I’d say that, “the stars they all aligned.”
My first job out of college was as media coordinator for a large financial services company in New York, and after about two years of honest-to-god whipper-snapper dedication, I was downsized. It was 2003 and the nation was experiencing a tremor that was prelude to the economic earthquake we’ve seen over the past 2 years. I’m talking about the days of Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco–lots of people were affected.
But losing my job ended up being the best thing that ever happened. I ended up landing a job as Manager of Public Policy for the DMA, where, among other issues, I got to work on media relations and industry communications in support of the association’s anti-spam platform.
Back then, we were lobbying to enact the CAN-SPAM Act, and eventually it was passed through Congress and was signed into law by good old G-Dubya. We also worked to educate the membership about email authentication and eventually made implementing proposed standards like Sender IT and DKIM a member guideline.
Needless to say, my experience at the DMA was incredibly educational, and taught me a ton about email technology and policy issues. It also helped me begin building some great relationships in the email marketing industry. Eventually, a member company recruited me to head up their ISP relations and privacy program, and the rest is history.
SWE: Given your deep involvement in the industry, what would be your recommendations for someone who’s looking to get involved in the “conversations” of the industry?
JC: Three things immediately come to mind:
1. Read everything you can get your hands on. And read every day. The world is moving a million miles a minute; the only way to keep up and be part of the conversation is to read. And don’t just read about email either, read about everything.
2. Think before you speak. Every word you say and write counts. Being thoughtful spurs conversations. Being flippant spurs fluff.
3. Join associations and go to the conferences. We can tweet, twit and twirp all day long. But at the end of the day, meeting people face to face always makes for the deepest and most meaningful conversations.