From day one as a Marketing Coordinator to almost a year later as a Marketing Strategist, I’ve seen, heard, and experienced quite a few things that have changed my perspective as a marketer. There are things that experience alone teaches you that a textbook just can’t (something that you are told over and over when you begin your career), which isn’t really something you understand until you’ve experienced it for yourself. It really is all about the real experience you are able to gain, the roles you are given the opportunity to do so with, and yes, the mistakes you make along the way.
Here at Revenue River in our Marketing department, we have two main roles; a Marketing Coordinator and a Marketing Strategist. Typically, you start out as a Marketing Coordinator and then are able to move into a Marketing Strategist role when the time is right. Regardless of what the roles are called, it is pretty standard in the industry; a Marketing Coordinator is a content creator, someone who executes strategy. A Marketing Strategist is someone that is creating the strategy to be executed and can be seen as an account manager.
While both roles are integral to a campaign’s success, I’ve learned a lot of important, yet very different, lessons in each role. In hindsight, had I started thinking like a strategist when I was a coordinator, I would have been a much more effective coordinator, too. Here are the ways becoming a strategist has changed how I think about a campaign and some important life lessons that I’ve learned along the way:
Less in the Weeds, More Pulling the WeedsWhen you’re a coordinator, you’re constantly “in the weeds” so to speak. You’re really involved in the day to day aspects of the campaign as far as deliverables, content creation, and client requests go. Because of this, it’s easier to get caught up in the need to get a deliverable done instead of thinking about the strategy behind the deliverable. Why are we writing this blog? What is the end goal? Which persona is this for? The strategy that goes into monthly or quarterly content is immense; and I think that got lost on me when I was a coordinator at times. Now, as a strategist, everything is more connected. I create a campaign’s monthly, quarterly, annual strategy with the end goal in mind and connect everything on a higher level to get there. Everything has a purpose; it’s not just about getting a blog article written so you can check it off your “to-do” list. Although inherently as a marketer, I always knew this, as a strategist, it has become much clearer. It’s about spending less time caught up in the weeds of everyday busyness and tasks, and more about pulling the weeds out to clear the way for the wildly important.
Shifting ParadigmsAs a strategist, my paradigm has greatly shifted. Working with clients has always been a part of a campaign, regardless of my role, but as a strategist, my responsibilities have evolved. Now, it’s more about shifting my paradigm to see where the client is coming from so I can manage expectations, communicate effectively, and build a relationship. I’ve also discovered as the main point of contact on a campaign that there are times when it is absolutely necessary to push back on a client and use our expertise to make the right decisions for the campaign; even if it isn’t always the easiest decision or conflicts with a client’s request. And in the end, the client usually thanks you for it. And that was something I never would have been able to do without the experiences I’ve had on past campaigns.
Numbers Aren’t Just NumbersBy far one of the biggest ways I’ve changed in thinking from a coordinator to a strategist is the way that I look into results and analytics. Before, I knew when we were having a good month or a bad month, but I didn’t know why. Now, I’m constantly digging into our results on a campaign to see what’s working and what isn’t. Why is this month’s traffic so high? Can we replicate in the future? Why is lead production down? And so on. With so many tools available to us during a campaign, it would be detrimental not to take advantage of them to see what our efforts are actually yielding. It is key to continuously analyze metrics and data and get creative in your findings. This is how we create hypotheses and build strategy; we can make adjustments when we know what we need to fix and what our audience is being receptive to.
Proactive, Not ReactiveBeing proactive instead of reactive is something that I’m constantly working to improve upon, but is something that has definitely become a priority as a strategist. In Stephen R. Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 1 is all about being proactive. Instead of reacting to the world around us, such as dropping everything for a client demand that just came in via email or missing a deadline due to someone else’s lack of planning on a project, being proactive is a much more effective use of our time. As a strategist, I’m constantly planning ahead and anticipating what’s going to come next through project management and campaign management. If I notice a declining trend in results or some type of pattern, I will research and come up with solutions before the client even says a word to me or voices any concern. That way, instead of being reactive and scrambling when there is an issue, I can be proactive and already have some suggestions before even being asked or make sure I have a backup plan in case a project is going to be delayed – something I didn’t quite master yet as a coordinator.
Though I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about a thing or two in my role as both a coordinator and now a strategist, I’ve still got a lot to learn. The great thing about working at a digital marketing agency is that you never stop learning and evolving and trying to make yourself better, smarter, and more equipped.
At Revenue River, we always want to stay on top of industry trends and the newest technology so we can offer our clients the best of the best and drive results to the max. I’ve never had the pleasure of working with a group of people who are smarter (or more fun) than the team we have at Revenue River – and that’s a testament to the type of people we have working on campaigns daily. One thing is certain; regardless of the role, both Marketing Coordinators and Marketing Strategists at our agency know their stuff. And, when you put the two together on a team working to both create and execute specialized strategy and content, the results are killer. I may be a strategist now, but I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience as a coordinator or the help of the awesome coordinator on my team!