Native and programmatic is the future. That can be within any platform and even offline but customizing content to be relevant is critical.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Rachel Schulties.
As Marketsmith’s first-ever Chief Operating Officer, Rachel plays a dual leadership role, supporting both the company’s long-term client relationships and operational success.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting and what lesson you learned from that?
I have actually shared this with so many over the past few weeks. When I was 23, fresh out of college I was a Jr. Account Executive working on the Panasonic account at my agency. I was responsible for mostly administrative stuff, but one of my jobs included reviewing creative routes to ensure accuracy in spelling, brand guidelines, etc. I released a print ad with the wrong phone number! I learned that day and forever will tell every person I train, never release an ad without dialing the phone number yourself! It doesn’t matter what your job is or who is responsible for it, dial it yourself. Take accountability.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
I think one of the most pivotal moments in my career was when the company I worked at, Sparkroom, was acquired by Digital Media Solution. This was a very scary time and one in which most were unsure how much longer they would be needed. I saw it as an opportunity to learn from someone new and also teach them something about a business they had recently gained. I didn’t let fear paralyze me, it propelled me. In a very short time, I was recognized by the newly hired President and started to gain more responsibility and leadership duties. He let me shine and also fail in certain cases, the greatest lesson I learned during this time was how to recover and grow from those challenges. I try to take this approach with my team members as well, I would always rather someone jump and fail than be paralyzed by fear to grow.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
Native and programmatic is the future. That can be within any platform and even offline but customizing content to be relevant is critical. This means — you can just send a single message to everyone — it needs to be variable and specific to a person, their needs, and their desires. This can be done within the platforms we have today but the complexity and design of these campaigns will continue to evolve.
What 5 things do you wish someone told you before you started? This can potentially inspire some of our fellow marketers or those who are new to the field.
- Your coworkers don’t need to be your best friends. When I first started to work, I found myself within a group of friends that did everything together. We ate lunch together and spent our weekends together. As I had a desire to grow into leadership roles and was promoted within that organization managing my friends became very difficult. I approached all future jobs differently and knew that if I had clear goals and accomplishments I wanted to see through I needed to stay focused on that.
- Being assertive does not make you a bitch. As I mentioned above early in my career I faced challenges where people would say I was bitchy or bossy. Be true to yourself and stand your ground BUT also learn to empathize and see the humanity in all that you do. You need to be a manager that is human — don’t be robotic.
- Think before you email. An email is a tool in which people often hide behind. Don’t say anything in an email that you would not say directly to someone’s face. You can’t ever take but what you put in writing and sometimes words hurt for a lifetime.
- Trust Your Team. When you begin to manage it is often hard to let go. I am a little bit of a control freak so for me even having a team to support what I did didn’t mean it was always easier for me to get through the day. I have learned that people can only be as strong as you allow them to be.
- Listen. This is still hard for me. You can learn more by being silent than by sharing.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Make sure you are surrounded by leaders that inspire you and challenge you. Every time I have left a job or a place of work it is because I was no longer feeling challenged or seeing myself grow in a way I wanted. If you are always learning you will be engaged. If you are not you will find yourself moving slowly and not putting your best into your work.
Thank you so much for sharing these fantastic insights!