Interview with Jennifer Cyr, Head of MarComm, Sightbox
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional
Q. Please take us through how you got initiated into marketing as a profession and how you grew to be the seasoned marketing professional you are. Also, add a few interesting experiences you had in these years.
A. I started my career as a Junior Marketing Specialist at a marketing agency in Portland. I stumbled into marketing directly after graduate school. I had zero experience and was just looking for a job to tide me over between applying for teaching positions. But I quickly fell in love with the challenge.
After that first job, I was hooked. My philosophy for marketing is to stay curious—once you get too complacent, your performance will generally suffer. Digital marketing is always changing, and if you aren’t in a position to constantly learn and evolve, you’ll quickly get left behind! I took positions that sounded interesting, would offer me an opportunity to stretch beyond what I already knew, and give me the opportunity to learn from someone who’s been in the industry for longer than I had.
One of the more interesting experiences I had was doing demand generation marketing for a B2B2C company that manufactured an automated Jell-O shot machine. Some interesting challenges were: How can you generate demand for a product that consumers find intriguing but business owners (ie, the primary audience) might be skeptical of? SPOILER: An engaging brand voice definitely helped. 😉
Q. What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on these channels?
A. The primary marketing channels I’ve worked on are email, organic social media, blogging, event marketing and SEO. My advice to marketers just getting into the profession is to cast a wide net—try everything and learn as much as you can. Once you’ve dipped your toe in a lot of areas, then you can specialize. Specializing too early can cut you off from other interesting opportunities! Plus, if you’re an SEO person and you can write and have an eye for strategy, you’re a more attractive candidate than someone who just does SEO or just copy-writes because you’ll understand how good writing and SEO work together.
Q. Please tell us about some of your most innovative marketing initiatives.
A. When I was the Marketing Coordinator for an experience design agency, part of my content marketing strategy revolved around writing about failures. I interviewed some of the designers and wrote about their experiences failing. I didn’t expect it to get that much attention, but it caught the eye of Design Week Portland and they featured us on their blog for Design Week. As a result, we had quite a few more attendees to our Design Week event than we would have.
Q. With scores of marketing software available today, how according to you should a small/ medium business go about selecting the right software for their needs?
A. Definitely get the right people in the room when making a decision about software solutions. If it’s just leadership making a decision without consulting the people who would be using the software—that’s the wrong way to go. If it’s just the people using the software making the decision without consulting engineers for potential technical challenges—that’s the wrong way to go, too!
Q. What are some of the important marketing software that you have used?
A. What I’ve done is review similar-sized or themed businesses and check out what platforms they use. This leads me to use Iterable, our current email service provider. It’s an amazing tool, and one I’m so thankful to have in my toolkit.
Advice for the marketing community
Q. What primary marketing channel should young marketing individuals focus on, at the beginning of their career, to get a holistic view of marketing? or Your advice to young individuals who are just entering into marketing domain?
A. There really isn’t a single marketing channel that I would recommend to everyone starting out with. Cast a wide net. Try everything at least once. See what resonates with you and then learn as much as you can!