digital, life

The Oregon Trail Generation

This post originally appeared on the Swarm Agency blog on June 16, 2015 during my time as a project manager there.

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You may have heard a little buzz across your social networks lately about what’s been dubbed the Oregon Trail generation.

First written about back in April, I shared this post across my social networks, and being a part of this Oregon Trail generation, it resonated with my peers and me.

The Oregon Trail generation is a bit of an anomaly. We hear so much about Generation X, and a lot about Millennials, but for those of us born in the late 1970s and early 1980s, we’re sandwiched right in the middle, not feeling like a part of either generation.

Approximately 30-36 years old at present, born around 1979-1984, us Oregon Trailers grew up as technology was sprouting up right alongside us.

A few examples:

  • We may have carried a cell phone in high school, but the bulky Nokia I carried with the changeable faceplate was meant “only for emergencies” because of the high cost for mobile minutes in the late 1990s.
  • We grew up with PCs in the computer lab and at home, but it may have been an IBM PS-1 or the first Gateway PC, with dial-up Internet that took 10 minutes to connect.
  • As teens, we may have dabbled with AOL chat rooms, building a site on Geocities, or writing in our Livejournal, but modern social networks like Facebook and Twitter were still years away from inception.

I realized that along with me, several of Swarm’s key leaders also fall into the Oregon Trail generation: CEO Tom Ellis; Director of Client Services Jeremy Morris; and Director of Digital Strategy Jason Prance, just to name a few.

I believe that simply by being born and raised as a part of this micro-generation puts us Oregon Trailers here at Swarm at distinct advantage. Why? We understand what life was like before today’s digital age, but we were fortunate enough to have tech with us as we grew up in the 1990s. It wasn’t there from birth like it is for today’s kids, nor did we have to undergo the challenge of learning and adapting to digital as adults, like Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

I also feel that being an Oregon Trailer makes one truly enthusiastic about today’s digital marketing possibilities, because not all of today’s ammo in the arsenal was always available, and we’ve seen it evolve over time.

We can joke about outdated SEO tricks, or wax poetic about website projects we did a decade ago, now housed on the Wayback Machine, because we’ve been around just long enough to feel a little bit like digital old-timers.

So why not consult the Oregon Trailers here at Swarm for your next digital project? We’ll make sure to spend a couple minutes remembering the days of old spent in the computer lab playing Where in the World is Carmen San Diego…. and of course, Oregon Trail.

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career, digital

6 Tools That Help You Juggle Tasks

This originally appeared on the Swarm Agency blog on April 21, 2015 during my time as a project manager there.

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As a project manager for Swarm, it’s a must that I stay connected, communicative and productive at all times.

As a PM, not only am I helping to wrangle project timelines, agency resources, project budgets and hours spent on our projects, but I’m also entrusted to communicate with our clients throughout the lifecycle of a project, from discovery to deployment.

Aside from typical project management software, I’ve found there are a host of handy productivity tools to keep me on track, on time and on budget. Here are just a few:

  1. Evernote – Swarm has invested in an Evernote Business account. I love being able to search through client meeting notes and internal brainstorms quickly and easily. I can email meeting agendas directly from Evernote and share chats internally to agency stakeholders. It’s a lifesaver!
  2. Powerbot for Gmail – Powerbot allows you to save email threads, including attachments, to Evernote or Dropbox with a click of a button. Based on the contents of the email, Powerbot will even suggest which Evernote notebook it should be filed into. I tried this on a trial basis, and I’m about to pull the trigger on a paid subscription. Powerbot is also available as a bundle for Google Calendar, and is also available for Outlook and Yahoo Mail.
  3. Awesome Screenshot – Awesome Screenshot is a free Google Chrome plug-in. When working through projects with clients, I can take screenshots and quickly add annotations. You can then save the image locally, print it, or save on Google Drive, among other options.
  4. Boomerang for Gmail – I love, love, love this tool. Whenever a fellow Swarmer or client wants me to follow up something on a later date, or if I’d like to remind myself on a certain matter, I can schedule an email thread to pop back up at the top of my inbox. Not only that, but I can also compose and schedule an email to go out at a certain time and date excellent for reminding clients or coworkers about needed assets for a project! If you’re a multitasker who lives and dies by your email inbox, this is a very handy tool.
  5. Sidekick by Hubspot – This is a great and handy way to know when an email has been opened and read. Basically, it’s a stealthy “read receipt.” Sidekick is also building in some features to compete with Boomerang, such as email scheduling.
  6. Todoist – I splurged on a Todoist Premium account and haven’t looked back. I’m able to keep track of my to-dos in multiple projects, attach files and notes to to-dos, create alerts for to-dos via text, email or alert, search tasks and more. Todoist helps me keep on track for what I need to do for a project, whether it’s for work or for life: groceries, finances, volunteer activities and more.

These are just a few of the tools that help me slash through my to-dos and keep my projects on track. I hope you found these helpful!

career, digital

#helloorlando

What a crazy few months it’s been! Back in October, my husband, pup and I returned to Florida. I worked from home for Swarm Agency through January, but I’m now on a quest to find a new fit for me local to Orlando. I’ve dubbed it #helloorlando.

This job search has been ongoing for roughly a month. I’ve had a lot of luck this time around. So far, I’ve had in-person interviews with 5 potential employers, and have made it to advanced rounds with two of those. I would have made it to advanced rounds with three, but one had the dreaded hiring freeze put into place.

I’m also finding that my varied experience is getting me interviews for several types of positions, including technical account manager, marketing manager, digital project manager, business analyst and digital product manager positions. At the end of the day, all of these involve digital know-how and project management skills.

I’ve also had touch points with a lot of recruitment agencies here in Orlando. I’ve found the folks at Ciber, Theoris, TEKSystems and Conexess to be the most helpful and professional, although it’s looking like in the end, the job I land may be one where I was directly recruited or directly applied to the position. Funny  how things work out!

LinkedIn has been wonderful. I sprang for the JobSeeker Premium, which was free for the first month, and it’s been so helpful. I’ve also found that a lot of companies are using ZipRecruiter these days. I also like the Indeed job search engine, and have alerts set up with LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and Indeed. The “suggested jobs”emails I get are the funniest though. Pretty sure I would NOT make a good construction site project manager, ha.

My goal is to have this job search wound down and starting a new job by no later than March 21. Hopefully I can make that goal. Wish me luck!

career, digital

Exploring My New Dawn in Digital Marketing, PR, CPG and More

Modern marketing conceptIt’s been a really interesting couple of months for me.

Back in April, I was laid off from my former employer, which has since sold or traded about 1/3 of its media properties. So let’s just say I consider myself lucky to have been put out to pasture before the biggest — and most unexpected — axes fell.

Up until April, I had always worked in media — local newspapers, national magazines and local TV. But having worked in a digital role since 2006, I had been immersed in content marketing tactics and social media for many years, leading the charge at past jobs for things like a cloud-based social media dashboard and engaging directly with the community.

So, my switch to digital marketing for a specialty foods company was a no-brainer, and a great fit for me, as I love to eat as well. (Who doesn’t?)

Over the last two months, since starting my new position, I’ve been researching marketing tactics and software. Here is what I’m most excited about for marketing tactics.

Inbound, or Permission Marketing: The first term, popularized by Hubspot; the second, by marketing god Seth Godin. This is essentially marketing to people who want to be marketed to for your product or service, whether that be through opt-in emails or through searching on Google or Bing.

Relationship Marketing: Somewhat tied to inbound marketing, relationship marketing is a focus on customer retention and satisfaction. In digital channels, this is done through a combination of social media, public relations, SEO, content development, and app development.

Content Marketing: Pretty simple — the creation and sharing of media content in order to acquire customers. I’m excited about this one, to say the least. Content marketing inspires business and advocacy from customers. This dovetails pretty nicely into…

Social Media Marketing: The process of getting attention and website traffic through social media channels. A big part of my strategy.

Influencer Marketing: Identifying and marketing to influencers, be it journalists, bloggers, or other trendsetters with an audience of their own. I’m excited about launching some initiatives along these lines, and already got started by supplying samples to a recent blogger conference.

Loyalty Marketing: Growing and retaining customers through incentives. For a specialty foods company, this means mainly loyalty cards, and having our coupons available on these, as well as having our consumers come back for our brand again and again.

I’ll next cover some of the SaaS (software as a service) providers I’ve been exploring as I decide on tools for my digital marketing strategies.

digital

Posterous to Wordpress

I’ve received word that Posterous, the service where I host my blog/website, will be shutting down on April 30, 2013.

Well, sigh.

I’ll be moving my blog and URL to WordPress, which should be easy enough, hopefully. At a professional level, I work with both WordPress and Drupal, so I’m familiar enough and find WordPress to be super adaptable and easy to use.

Wish me luck!

-K