In this episode of Delivering, host Jason Rodriguez interviews Lauren Kremer—past Litmus Live speaker and our new Events Manager—about how we’re adapting Litmus Live in 2020, what it means to be Litmus Certified, The Email First Awards, and how email marketers around the world can learn at Litmus Live Everywhere.
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Jason Rodriguez: Welcome to Delivering, a podcast about the email industry from strategy to design, code to leadership, and everything in between. I’m your host, Jason Rodriguez. Delivering is brought to you by Litmus, the only platform trusted by professionals to help you send email with confidence every time. Over 600,000 marketing professionals use Litmus’ tools to build, test and analyze better email campaigns faster. Head over to litmus.com to start your free 7-day trial of Litmus and start sending better emails today.
Today I’m chatting with Lauren Kramer. You probably know Lauren from past Litmus Live conferences, where she’s graced the stage as both a keynote speaker and a workshop host. Earlier this year, Lauren joined the Litmus team as our events manager, bringing with her years of experience as an email marketer to help shape our events and create better experiences and learning opportunities for email geeks everywhere.
Unbeknownst to Lauren, and us at the time, 2020 would throw more than a few wrenches into the mix when it comes to live events. Like everyone else around the world, we had to quickly scrap all of our event plans and adapt to a world where in-person events weren’t feasible, and a large majority of marketers found themselves working from home whether they wanted to or not.
Lauren was quick to adapt, though, and help shape what we’re calling Litmus Live everywhere. Today, we’re going to discuss what Litmus Live Everywhere actually is and how we’re enabling email marketers to learn from industry experts, the Litmus team, and each other all while celebrating the amazing work we’re seeing throughout the industry.
So welcome to the podcast, Lauren.
Lauren Kremer: Hey there, Jason. Thanks for having me.
Jason Rodriguez: I’m really excited to have you here and kind of talk through all of this crazy stuff that we launched earlier this week with Litmus Live Everywhere. We’ve been getting a really good response to everything so far but still a lot of questions about what Litmus Live Everywhere actually is about and, you know, Litmus Live Day, Litmus Live Week, the workshops, and the awards that we just introduced.
So I’m excited to have you here and talking to us through Litmus Live Everywhere.
Lauren Kremer: Yeah, definitely. Same here.
Jason Rodriguez: So, yeah. Let’s get started by talking about your history and how you got started in the email industry and found your way to Litmus.
Lauren Kremer: Sure. Yeah, so I really got started, working as an email marketer anyway, way back in 2007, I believe it was.
I was the marketing assistant at a small association in Indiana, and part of my responsibilities was corresponding with our members about, you know, everything that they were receiving as being members of our association. So that certainly included building out my fair share of email newsletters, and using email as a way to market our networking events.
So I got my start there. It was a relatively small subscriber list that we had, but it did really fuel the fire of getting me interested in email marketing and since then it was just a part of my normal kind of job responsibility, whatever organization I was at. So I always found myself coming back to email.
And back in 2018 or 2017 I actually took to the stage at Litmus Live and presented on my company’s preference center rebuild. So that was really how I got involved with, not just Litmus, but Litmus Live as well. And, like you said in the intro, I’ve been a keynote speaker. I’ve led a workshop and have been an attendee for the last couple of years and I’m super, super excited and honored to be part of the team to help bring that experience and the magic of Litmus Live to the community for 2020 and beyond.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah. So I feel like a lot of people probably remember you from your keynote where he talked about email’s role in omnichannel marketing. And obviously that’s something we’ve been talking about more and more and just emails role across the industry in the marketing world. So that kinda leads us into this idea of Litmus Live Everywhere. So, just walk us through exactly what Litmus Live Everywhere is and how it’s different from previous years.
Lauren Kremer: Well, we have started to say that, you know, we have the ability with, you know, email being a very digital focused channel, to take advantage of what being a digital organization can provide and bringing Litmus Live Everywhere, everywhere. So we’re using this as a way to take all of the insights and learnings and tips and inspiration that attendees who joined us at an in person Litmus Live, we’re taking that to wherever people are, you know. Certainly one of the things that we have always tried and worked very hard to do at Litmus is provide a conference experience in a very inclusive, safe environment.
And clearly safety is a big thing for everybody right now. So, instead of worrying about making sure that people could travel to the venue safely, certainly that the, you know, keeping the health of all of our attendees and our team members in mind… We’re going full digital this year, and we are using every channel that we have and every piece of learning that we can help provide to the community in a really broad, really exciting, very fun way where we’re still keeping things interactive and still letting people network and meet their fellow email geeks, and get some of those ideas and inspiration in a nice, kind of comfortable, safe environment for 2020. So we’re still keeping all of that magic about Litmus Live. we’re just doing it, in front of screens instead of a bigger conference room this year.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah, that sounds cool. So there’s kind of these three pillars of Litmus Live Everywhere. There’s day, week, and workshops, but let’s start by talking through the difference between Litmus Live Day and Litmus Live Week.
Lauren Kremer: Sure. So, you know, one of the things that we really like when we get together for Litmus Live is we have, you know, two and a half or three kind of full days worth of sessions and learning.
But since we have, you know, this setup now where we’re doing everything digital, we didn’t have to stay to that two and a half or three days schedule. So we said we’re going all out this year. So Litmus Live Day is actually happening every month. It’s the third Tuesday of the month and that’s going to feature a couple of sessions designed for both email practitioners as well as general marketers, marketing leadership, tied to some broader themes in the industry.
And that, like I said, is happening every month on the third Tuesday. So you’ll always know that that’s Litmus Live Day. And, we’re going to just say, you know, we’re doing that, like I said, every month, but then September rolls around and then you’re going to find Litmus Live Week, and that’s a full five days with continuing those live content sessions, having members of the email community be those presenters just like you’ve come to know and love with Litmus Live in a full five day experience. So we’ll have some slightly longer timeframes for people, a few different tracks and themes that we can tie back to. You’ll hear from the Litmus team and see what we’re doing and some cool ways that we’re helping to keep email first and, and provide some of those insights for our community.
And then we’ve got a few really fun surprises planned for the end of Litmus Live Week as well. And of course, we’re continuing Live Optimization. I wanted to make sure that people knew that was still happening.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah, definitely. Live Optimization is key and I know we’ve been getting a lot of questions and we’ll continue to get ’em about whether or not Live Optimization is happening . Rest assured, Live Optimization will be happening during Litmus Live Week. So you mentioned themes. Walk us through what people can expect on a monthly basis from Litmus Live Everywhere.
Lauren Kremer: Sure. So I mean, we really want to start strong with May and you know, we have this, global pandemic that’s still very top of mind for everybody, whether you’re an email marketer or not. And so we really wanted to say, let’s get some ideas out about how you can, as much as you can, future proof your marketing strategies. So, we’ve got a lot of really cool content about planning and how to, kind of work as far as you can into things where you don’t know what’s going to happen. So it gives you the ability to make sure that your marketing strategy, is still being relevant for your subscribers. So we’re really kicking off with a very topical theme.
And you’re going to see that come through those, those very high level, very relevant themes throughout the rest of the year. Everything from technology to budgeting. Email attribution is a ver y hot thing in the industry, but how can we make sure that we’re proving the value of email? And so we’re going to have that come through as a session and a theme as well.
So it really runs the gamut of blending some of those developmental pieces of email, into some of those bigger marketing strategies that you can leverage throughout the rest of the mix. So. Yeah, I would say it’s something like six or seven months worth of those Litmus Live Day themes and then in September, for Litmus Live Week, we’re going to really lean in to kind of those three pillars with the pre, post and perform that we’ve been talking about lately, for some, some kind of broader thematic content as well.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah. That’s awesome. So a lot of people have been talking about the workshops. Those have been a huge thing for the past, you know, five, six years that we’ve hosted them. Well, how are we handling workshops online and what does it mean to become Litmus Certified with the new workshop format in Litmus Live Everywhere.
Lauren Kremer: Yeah, I mean, that’s one of the big things when we started talking about some new pieces that we could add in for Litmus Live this year, and we collectively worked through this certification program, I was super excited to help build that. And I’m really happy to see that the industry is responding. So yeah, workshops are still happening.
We know that they are a really great piece of, you know, the Litmus Live experience and being able to get that really hands-on, practical knowledge, with some of those bigger, you know, things that we, that we see in the email world in terms of, of AMP and responsive design and accessibility. And we wanted to make sure that we’re giving our attendees a way to keep their learning going with some of those pieces. So the workshops are happening. They’re actually happening the Monday before all of the Litmus Live Day content. So we’re still keeping that kind of traditional element that you would see at an in person Litmus Live with the workshops happening the day before the sessions.
So we have two tracks for each set of workshops. We have that email designer, developer track, and then something that’s a little more, maybe, focused towards general email marketers, campaign managers, that still ties back to that month kind of larger theme. So those are happening May through July, and then we’ll pick them back up again after Litmus Live Week.
But the really cool part when we talk about that certification, to become Litmus Certified, you’re going to register for those three workshops, May, June and July., then take August and really dig into a practical, hands-on project using all of those pieces that you’ve learned in the three workshops before then, and that is what will get you Litmus Certified.
There’s a lot of really cool things that we’re rolling out for that as well, but we recognize that the industry, you know, we’re, we’re very well positioned as a way to help kind of boost skill sets and give our email marketing, you know, kind of community members a way to prove that they really know what they’re doing and if being Litmus Certified as a part of that, we’re very happy to help.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah, definitely. I feel like certifications are one of those things that, you know, it’s, it’s a perennial question whether or not Litmus is going to offer some sort of certification. So I’m really excited that we’re doing it this year and that we’re, you know, able to help people grow their careers, grow their skills, and all that good stuff.
So one of the things I’m super excited about, and I know you, you kind of spearheaded, this is our new awards. The Email First awards. I’m excited because it’s an opportunity for us to celebrate everything and all the amazing work that people are doing in the industry, regardless of, you know, where they work or what industry they’re in or what vertical they happen to be in.
So describe to us a little bit about The Email First Awards and what people can expect from those during Litmus Live Everywhere this year.
Lauren Kremer: And, and you said it perfectly. I mean, we love to see and help celebrate the successes of an email campaign and being that we are all consumers of email, I think, you know, kind of mentally, we have those brands that we, we stay on their list because they give us, as subscribers, great content.
And so, you know, Litmus said we want to help celebrate that and we want to help bring some recognition to the very hardworking teams that are getting that to their subscribers and out to their customers. So, yeah. Plus I love a really good, award show, and so we figured, let’s just put one on for ourselves and, and help to recognize the industry.
So that’s where The Email First Awards are coming in and, yeah, so we settled on eight categories that span everything from a workflow award. that just, you know, lets our email teams tell us about ways that they’ve been able to make their overall email campaign creation and execution experience a little more efficient and tell a story of how they’ve become a more, kind of nimble group within their organization to help keep those, those campaigns running smoothly.
We also have things like the Innovator Award, which we are really gearing towards our development community, kind of the, you know, without them, who knows what an email would look like? So we want to make sure that we’re recognizing the people that are spending a lot of time at a screen trying to make the email look as great as it can.
We’re also keeping in mind that there’s more than just the person hitting the send button as part of that email experience. So, recognizing everything from people that are creating really cool visual experiences in their email to marketers that are taking the data points and the metrics from their campaigns and telling a broader story in their organization. We want to make sure that, that those members of the teams are being recognized as well.
And then there’s three really cool, really great ones that I’m super excited about. This is a community with a ton of love for email and a ton of spirit for the channel and for the industry. And so this is where the Email Spirit Award comes in and we want people to get crazy creative with this and show off their love of email.
I know for a fact that we have people with numerous tattoos that talk about, you know, their love of email and they are literally wearing it and living it. Every day. So we want to make sure that we can reward that creative spirit.
And just as importantly, you know, we have what we’re calling the Coach Award, and that’s for a team to nominate their manager or their VP or their CFO, somebody in their organization that really champions email as an impactful channel, as something that should be top of mind in a marketing mix. It’s a way to, to just kind of give back to a leader that is supporting the team and, and kind of keeps that front of mind with everything else that they have to do, you know, within their organization. So that cohort is really cool.
And then we have what we’re calling the Email First Master Award, which is the big, you know, it’s the big Best Picture Oscar equivalent. You know, we really want to see those stories come through from teams who keep email first, but also have, you know, take that learning from an email program and leverage it into other channels and their larger marketing strategy. So we really want to see how you’re using email to really be at the core of those kinds of omnichannel campaigns that we’re seeing out there.
So, yeah, there’s eight categories. Like I said, it spans everything. There’s going to be something for everyone. We have a few that are exclusive to Litmus customers, but a majority of them are open for everyone, and we’re just super, super excited to see what comes in and helps us celebrate the email industry for sure.
Jason Rodriguez: That’s awesome. Speaking of entries coming in, when and how can people start submitting their emails for the awards?
Lauren Kremer: Yes. So entries will be open on June 1st. That’ll be June 1st through July 30th.
And, we are kind of putting the, the dots on the I’s and crossing the T’s in terms of the submission form, and all of those finer points, to make sure that we have everything buttoned up. But yes, you can count on that happening June 1st and we will be sending out more information and the link to submit to that in the next few weeks.
Jason Rodriguez: Now, one of the things that we’ve traditionally done is source a lot of the speakers for Litmus Live from the community. We like getting people, you know, the practitioners, the people that are in the weeds day in and day out, facing those challenges that the attendees are facing and coming up with creative solutions for those problems. We love to get them up on stage. So what’s, what’s the speaker selection process look like this year now that we’ve gone online and what are some of the topics and themes that we’d love to see represented during Litmus Live Everywhere?
Lauren Kremer: Yeah, definitely. So, you know, it’s, we’re kind of calling it that you’re, you know, we still want people to take to the virtual stage, for Litmus Live Week. So that is absolutely still happening. And, you know, that is, has been one of my favorite parts as, as just being attendee of, of Litmus Live in the past is seeing all of my fellow email geeks on stage and welcoming new voices and new thought leaders to, you know, to talk about their experience and, and teach us all a little something.
So I am super, super happy that that’s still a part of what we’re doing for Litmus Live Everywhere and certainly, you know, really leading the content and the strategy for what we’ll see during Litmus Live Week. So, the process is going to be relatively the same. We have our call for proposals open now through the end of June.
And the link to do that is all over the conference website so people can find that easily. But, you know, obviously we have, you know, some things that people are interested in learning about. And that is everything from audience segmentation and targeting some, you know, new ways that you’ve kind of cut your data together to come up with an audience that’s really going to be receptive for your messages. People always love to hear about how they can use data in new ways.
Everything from, you know, AB testing is always a popular topic. I think that’s one of those things that everybody’s going to approach and AB test a little bit differently. But there are some bigger things that we can all learn from each other regardless of what kind of company you’re at. So things like AB testing, campaign reporting, and how you tell a story with what happens from your email. Those are always very, very kind of cool topics that are some really good case studies from companies that we’ve seen in the past and would love to have a few more of those this year and, and, you know, we, you know, one of our three-pieces, that last pillar is, is perform.
Data and data silos are nobody’s friend, but we’ve all experienced that. Some of those broader topics that talk about how you use data that you have from your email campaigns, how that influences what else happens from your marketing mix. How you’ve taken pieces that you’ve learned from email to maybe argue for some budget and look at what technology that you’re using and how that plays a role in creating an email campaign and how it works in that broader landscape.
So, you know, just like we always have done, you know, for past Litmus Lives, everything is fair game. If you’re passionate about your topic, if you have that, know-how for what you’ve done and a few tips that people should know about or some things that they can be inspired by in your experience, we want to hear about it, and there’s still a place for that at Litmus Live Week, even though we’ll be, you know, all over the world to make it happen.
Jason Rodriguez: Yeah. That’s traditionally, that’s like one of my favorite parts of the year is going through all those submissions and just seeing the problems people are having and how they’re tackling those problems. I’m really, really excited to do that again this year.
Lauren Kremer: Definitely.
Jason Rodriguez: So anything else attendees can expect from Litmus Live Everywhere? Are there any surprises? Are we going to try to keep them surprises or anything that we haven’t touched on already?
Lauren Kremer: Well, I mean, you did say any, any surprises? We’re going to kind of keep those a little close to the vest for the next, you know, little bit of time. Like I said, I do, I do love a big party. I do love a theme, so I think you’ll see some of that start to come out here soon. You know, but, but just kind of getting back to the broader Litmus Live Everywhere mentality. It’s not just that we’re providing this content to email marketers all over the world. It’s that you’re going to find Litmus Live content all over the place as well.
So, just today we published our first Litmus Live interview with a former speaker. So you’ll start to see some of that content come through on the blog. And these, you know, kind of recorded fireside chats, for lack of a better word, that you’ll see on the website. So we’re, we’re revisiting topics from past Litmus Lives to see what’s changed i n that same topic in 2020. So we’re going to connect with people that we’ve seen on stage in the past on the blog and on the website.
Our social channels are going to be really filled with Litmus Live stuff this year. We’ve got a lot of really cool ideas for some kind of like, you know, Instagram Live GIF vs. JIF Battles and, you know, those, those not arguments, but discussions that come up without fail at every Litmus Live. We want to keep that happening, and we still want to have some fun with everything. So you’ll see that, like I said, on social.
People that register for Litmus Live Everywhere and attend those Litmus Live Day and Week sessions, we’re building out a Slack channel for people to keep networking and meeting other members of the email community, and getting their questions answered and contributing.
So, so it’s really going to be Litmus Live Everywhere. Like I said, that just, where we’re delivering the content to, but certainly how we’re putting that information out there. So, so we’re taking it big time this year.
Jason Rodriguez: That’s fantastic. So I’m sure people are going to have a lot of questions about Litmus Live Everywhere. So where can we point them to, to find out more about the conference and more importantly, get signed up for Litmus Live Day and Litmus Live Week?
Lauren Kremer: Yeah, definitely. And before, I mentioned that ,of course, I forgot to mention the fact that, probably the biggest change that we’re seeing for Litmus Live Everywhere this year is that it’s a free event.
You register once and it’s nothing to you. Obviously, and, and you know, kind of keeping in line with the past, the workshops and the certification program do have a minor cost attached to it. But you can register for Litmus Live Day and Litmus Live Week and it is nothing out of your pocket. So, I did want to make sure that I mentioned that before we go, but.
To get that started and registered, all you’re going to do is go to litmus.com/conference and that will give you everything from our monthly agendas to when we’ll be releasing information about our speakers. You can certainly register there. We have information also about the workshops, The Email First Awards, and then we’ll start to just kind of build out that content with related pieces every month as well.
So litmus.com/conference is the place to go.
Jason Rodriguez: Perfect. Well, thanks so much, Lauren. You know, especially for taking control of all this stuff. You know, we hired you in as our events manager thinking that we would have in-person events. And you know, you’ve done a fantastic job of rolling with the punches and making sure that we still have an awesome event this year, or a whole bunch of events this year! So thanks so much.
Lauren Kremer: Absolutely. And when we’re done, I’m going to go back to helping create some of that awesome content that people can start to see here in the next couple of weeks.
Jason Rodriguez: Perfect. Sounds good.
That does it for this week’s Delivering. Delivering is brought to you by Litmus, the only platform trusted by professionals to help you send email with confidence. every single time. Over 600,000 marketing professionals use Litmus’ tools to build, test, and analyze better email campaigns faster. Be sure to head over to litmus.com to start your free 7-day trial and start sending better emails today. And check out Litmus Live Everywhere by visiting litmus.com/conference.