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.

The Switch: My Journey from Digital Media to Digital Marketing

I posted this little missive on my Facebook account today. I think it boils down what I’m feeling quite nicely. Image

On April 3, I was laid off from my former job. And on April 22, I started a new career in digital marketing for consumer packaged goods. Talk about a quick turnaround! And I could not be more thrilled about what lies ahead.

The most interesting aspect of being laid off, and of being able to be open about job-seeking, was the questions I got from those curious about my journey. I received several messages along the lines of “I’m intrigued to see where you end up.” (And I had a lot of cheerleaders, too! You know who you are!)

And so, digital marketing is where I ended up. I don’t know if everyone really finds that intriguing, but I will say that I believe digital marketing is a great career path for digitally-savvy journalists bound to traditional media, but hungry to move beyond the focus on and subsequent constant “shipping” to traditional print and broadcast channels.

Some things I’ll be tackling: Inbound/permission marketing, digital content strategy and execution, social media strategy and execution, influencer and blogger outreach, email marketing, mobile strategies, project management, etc. etc. etc.

A few tips for those wanting to make the switch from media (or any other industry) to marketing:

1) Read, read, read! There is a bounty of books and websites devoted to digital marketing. Learn as much as you can. I’m still a novice in many regards — especially all the marketing jargon! I’m a huge fan of thought leaders Chris Brogan, Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki, just to name a few. I also have books from Mack Collier and Jackie Huba on my reading list.

2) Network, network, network! Attend local meetings of the Social Media Club or other marketing-focused groups in your area. Reach out to professionals you admire in your town and ask for 30 minutes of their time over coffee or lunch. I’ve had several chats over the past year or so with folks here in the Orlando area who I (wrongly) assumed might not even give me the time of day! And I’ve had others reach out to me in turn. Give some, take some!

3) Sign up with talent agencies. I hooked up with Aquent and Vitamin T a little more than a year ago. It took some time, but my second interview through Aquent worked out with my current placement, made through their Vitamin T network. Did I mention that Aquent also placed a former report of mine in a position in New York City? They’re the real deal! Digital talent agencies like this are a great way to jumpstart the job hunt while still employed.

4) Brand yo’self! As a journalist, your skill-set may be reporting, editing and/or photography — but it’s all relevant. Beyond those skills, think about the digital skills you’ve learned and make sure they’re prominent on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t have a LinkedIn page? Then you’re probably not a fit for digital marketing — at least, not yet.

I’m excited to see where my future is headed. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I may be changing the world soon enough!