On this month’s episode of Uncommon Marketing Matters, Amber DeFabio, Uncommon Marketing Works’ Growth Marketing Manager, sat down with Christie McLeod. Like many marketers, Christie’s career path didn’t begin directly in marketing. With a degree in communications, she started in the news industry. While not directly related to marketing, Christie found she had a passion for selling news stories, from content creation to anchoring—all leading to her current position as the Communications and Marketing Manager for Shipfusion, a leading provider of retail fulfillment solutions for e-commerce companies throughout North America.
5 Expert Marketing Tips
Getting started in marketing can seem like a daunting and difficult task, especially for those who don’t take the more “traditional” route and get their formal degrees in marketing. However, professionals entering the marketing industry without formal training bring new perspectives and styles, which helps keep marketing tactics fresh and evolving. In fact, out of more than 4,000 marketing professionals surveyed, about only 25% of them had an undergraduate marketing degree.
Entering into her new role with a fresh perspective, Christie found she was able to build Shipfusion’s internal marketing and communications team and make a name for herself. She was able to grow her team’s marketing department as well as their tactics and strategies.
Throughout her experiences, she has learned five key items that are valuable for all marketers, and Amber asked Christie to share with us her tips for breaking into the marketing field.
1. Never be Scared to Try Something or Start Something New
If you are trying to land your first job in marketing, you may be thinking, “Where do I start?” Christie suggests volunteering, giving your time to co-ops, and diving into an internship. All of these methods are great ways to get your foot in the door when preparing for a career in marketing. For example, if you’re a graphic designer looking to expand your portfolio, you can volunteer your services to a non-profit that needs help with a new marketing campaign. Your portfolio will then have work that was used in a professional setting and you’ll be helping out a community organization. Taking advantage of these opportunities not only helps your resume stand out from others but also makes you more marketable since you will have worked with numerous types of agencies.
2. Take Advantage of Education and Opportunities
In her current role, Christie has the ability to continue her education with Shipfusion’s support. If there are classes she would like to take, Shipfusion will help cover the expenses. This is a wonderful benefit that many companies offer their employees. While this may not be the case at every company, Christie encourages taking advantage of any opportunities for further education. There are many platforms available that offer free marketing classes, such as HubSpot Academy, Semrush Academy, and Canva Design School.
3. Not All Learning is Done Behind a Desk
It is important to step out from behind your desk and immerse yourself into the marketing world. Christie suggests spending time checking out trade shows or just walking around town or the mall and seeing how other businesses are marketing and branding themselves. The best ideas for new, effective marketing campaigns are often inspired by things that initially have very little to do with your brand.
Then in order to successfully use your inspiration, you’ll have to have a true understanding of your company, its customers, and the operational process. By diving deep into customer research and talking to others within your company about their roles, responsibilities, and processes, you can create marketing campaigns and strategies that not only align with your brand but can help streamline internal processes as well.
4. When Opportunity Comes Knocking, Never Say No
When you have an opportunity, whether it is paid or unpaid, Christie believes it may be worth exploring. Her greatest opportunity came from when she applied for a job that was already filled. At the time that the director emailed her to let her know the position was no longer available, Christie replied back, expressing her eagerness to still learn about the brand and inquired about the possibility of job shadowing within the company instead. This ended up leading to a full-time position where she worked for five years. Employers like to see people take initiative and have a passion for their brand. If you find you are truly passionate about a specific role or company, reach out to the hiring manager and offer your expertise and services anyway.
5. Networking, Networking, Networking
Lastly, Christie’s greatest piece of advice is to soak up all the knowledge you can from the experts you come into contact with during your career. Be open to having coffee with your mom’s friend who knows someone who is hiring, because you never know where it may lead. When your local professional community gets together for mixers, don’t be afraid to go. Creating connections in your field turns into large results and lasting professional relationships in the future.
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Uncommon Marketing Matters or #uncommonmarketingmatters is an interview series hosted through Uncommon Marketing Works that highlights the accomplishments and learned-from failures of experts in the marketing world and how they achieved success through unique and creative tactics. Many marketers face the myth that “anyone can do marketing.” However, results-driven marketing is more complex than some may think. Uncommon Marketing Matters highlights these complexities and gives an inside look into what it takes to be an effective, successful, and innovative marketer.
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