One often-overlooked opportunity in email marketing is the incredible value local meet-ups can offer.

Unlike national conferences, local meet-ups entail a minimum time-and-travel commitment, don’t involve submitting $2,500 expense reports to finance, and as such, don’t require justification to upper management.

Even if you come away from a local meet-up with nothing from a business improvement standpoint, you probably will have enjoyed being able to discuss your work with like-minded individuals in a way you can never discuss it outside the email-marketing community.

Have you ever tried to explain to one of your relatives what you do? Eyes: Meet Mr. Glaze and Mrs. Over.

At local email-marketing meet-ups, you’ll find people who a) understand what you’re talking about when you talk about your job and b) might actually be genuinely interested in what you have to say.

This is not to say that national email marketing conferences, such as the once-a-year, national DMA/email experience council’s Email Evolution Conference, are less valuable than local meet-ups. In fact, I would urge anyone reading this to attend the Email Evolution Conference. You’ll get access to industry leaders there you won’t find at local meet-ups.

I sit on the eec’s Member Advisory Council.

Because more than half of our business involves email-system integration-and-migration, our prospects are both vendors and the marketers who buy their services. Any gathering of email-marketing specialists has business opportunities across the board for me. As a result, I probably attend as many email events – both independent and vendor – as anyone in the industry.

I consider the national conferences such as the Email Evolution Conference must-go events

But I was reminded recently of the value of local meet-ups when I attended the Los Angeles eec Mixer sponsored by Edmunds, JibJab and Cordial. The event featured a series of discussion tracks on Personalization, Testing and Machine Learning, led by Alessandra Souers of JibJab and Adam Meshot of Cordial.

And it was right in my back yard! Though, granted, in L.A., even getting to your back yard can take hours.

I came away from that event impressed with just how much local talent and knowledge surrounds me. And you might be surprised just how much local talent and knowledge surrounds you.

At a local email meet-up, you are likely to find like-minded souls who face the exact same challenges you do. What is more, they may have already come up with a creative way to solve the very challenges you wrestle with.

After a local meet-up, you stand a very good chance of going back to work far more up-to-date and informed. You stand a good chance of coming away with productivity- and revenue-enhancing ideas you may not have had otherwise. Or maybe you’ll come away confident that what you’re already doing is pretty darned impressive.

Either way, you’ll have committed to nothing more bandwidth-and-resource consuming than an evening with a bunch of friendly, likeable professionals.

If you find there is no local email meet-up within a reasonable distance to you, start one! The eec can help. For information on how to host a local email meet-up, contact Alessandra Souers, eec Vice-Chair of Education & Events Subcommittee.