At its annual conference, MarketingSherpa never fails to deliver marketers with the right mix of strategic inspiration and tactical advice on day-to-day realities. There were many great speakers from around the industry and client side, but I was not able to attend any sessions for good reason: This year was the busiest I’ve experienced as one of the coaches leading email marketing coaching sessions at the conference.

Selligent Booth

What are coaching sessions, you ask? They’re conference facilitated one-on-one sessions to pair conference attendees with an industry expert.  In a nutshell, it’s free consulting for attendees, and I was elated to see so many marketers take advantage of this unique conference offering.  MarketingSherpa did a great job recapping the conference as a whole, so I’d like to share a summary of what I heard from the digital marketers I coached this year. 

Here are the top three themes that came up in my conversations at the conference:

  1. Marketers have difficulty moving and integrating data to create more personalized and automated communications.

    There was a lot of discussion about data and the challenges around getting it integrated properly into the marketing stack.  The key reasons for failure were due to IT resource limitations, integrations with an ESP that were done poorly in the past, and just an overall lack of data planning that has led to a messy data ecosystem that inhibits marketers from moving beyond batch and basic segmentation.

  2. Marketers are challenged by how to apply cross-channel to email programs.  

    Questions like, “What makes sense for SMS, push and display retargeting vs. email?  How do I fit new channels into what I am already doing?”  I spent a lot of time talking about mapping the customer journey and how to get started and how to think about each of the channels’ roles as part of that holistic mapping.

  3. Marketers are overwhelmed by the amount of work to do and an overall sense that marketing is getting harder and harder to execute well. 

    Allowing the attendees to vent about frustrations, how to get executive buy-in, and evangelizing the need for more program sophistication came up in nearly every session. No fewer than three coaching clinic attendees told me that the meeting felt like a therapy session.  Helping marketers work through their hurdles to navigate and accelerate their visions forward is what drives me every day, so this was a fulfilling to hear. 


If you're struggling with any of these issues, I recommend that you check out Selligent. Our technology and experts have helped over 700 brands worldwide execute overcome the challenges they face to embracing a consumer-first approach to marketing.

We understand the importance of creating a realistic and efficient approach to helping marketers operationalize their efforts into a sophisticated cross-channel program.  What can we help coach you on today

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