After mastering table-based HTML in college, Justine fell in love with the unruly art of email design, helping some of the world’s biggest brands build and manage their email campaigns. Justine is currently VP of Marketing at Litmus, where she and her team are obsessed with helping marketers create, test, and send better email. Named “Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year” in 2015, Justine is also informally known as Judge Jordan for her candid, relatable, and actionable advice. She's strangely passionate about this email marketing thing, hates being called a spammer, and still gets nervous when it's time to hit the send button.
THE LONG VERSION
you REALLY love Email?
After earning my BFA in Visual Communication (also known as graphic design), I spent my first year out of college at a 4-person design consultancy doing primarily print work. Before long I was burnt out, frustrated, and negative on self esteem—I was convinced that I was a terrible designer. The inability to understand how our work impacted clients’ business was frustrating, and I longed for some sort of evidence that my creations were meaningful. Recognizing a desire to use the analytical bits of my brain, I started looking for a new career path.
My email affair
ExactTarget was a familiar name. They were a client of the design consultancy, and I worked on a brand audit and logo redesign for the then-local startup. After coming onboard as an Email Campaign Manager I quickly embraced the data-centered rationale behind email design. On a small team, I had the opportunity to work with small businesses all the way up through Fortune 500 companies—pushing pixels in Photoshop, writing HTML, managing customer lists, and contributing to post-send analyses. After nearly 4 years and twice as many title changes, I found myself managing more than a dozen email designers, deployment consultants, and technical producers alongside an amazing team.
MAKING IT OFFICIAL
Litmus’ tools had become a critical part of our email creation, quality assurance, and strategic services at ExactTarget. Consequently, I’d also become one of Litmus’ biggest advocates (and most annoying clients), constantly emailing CEO/founder Paul Farnell to pick his brain and make industry introductions. In October 2010, he asked me to join the team as marketing director.
At Litmus, I joke that my job is to do “whatever needs to get done that day,” leading initiatives for variety of marketing-related projects: content, research, education, social, events, product, and yes—our own email program. I’m also lucky enough to work with some amazingly talented people. Once a year, we gather some of the smartest people in email and put them onstage to share their ideas at The Email Design Conference. With increasing frequency, I’m onstage myself—spreading the email love while teaching people how to make their emails look and perform better.
In a thousand years, I never thought I’d make a career out of email marketing (and yes, I often get accused of being a spammer), but I can’t imagine it any other way. Dare I say it’s “been a blast”?