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Wouldn't Change a Thing

05 Apr


Amber Donovan, CM, Senior Marketing Advisor at the County of Grande Prairie, has had a fascinating journey. It began with a love for sports and transformed into something unexpected – a desire for creativity, analysis and collaboration. Read about Amber’s journey, her inspiration, the obstacles she overcame, and why she wouldn’t change a thing. 

Designed by Marketers

The Chartered Marketer program is unique because it’s hyper-focused on the marketing profession. In my degree program, I took everything from statistics to finance and accounting, and although these courses provided general knowledge and a foundation to work from, they weren’t directly tied to marketing. On the other hand, all the courses in the CM program were designed by marketers for marketers and tailored to the profession.

What Marketing Meant

Marketing was never a career I was aware of, nor was it part of my social circles growing up. I was a typical student-athlete taking nutrition, fitness, drama, and other courses to remain on the soccer team. That changed when I got exposed to marketing as part of my general business requirements. I went in with the preconceived notion that I would be creating graphics with fun pictures and posting them on social media. I quickly learned what marketing was really about and got hooked on the creativity, research, analysis, and collaborative spirit. It was the first class where I didn’t feel like I was going through the motions. I actively prepared because I wanted to know more. I started hearing ads, and seeing people and graphics differently. I began to recognize what intrinsically motivated others. What inspired me to become a marketer was stumbling across the unknown of what marketing meant and constantly searching for more. It doesn’t hurt to drive down a major city centre and see your campaign on a billboard either.

Black and White

While it can sometimes be overwhelming, marketers wear many hats and serve in various roles depending on the business’s daily needs. We all do things differently; which shows when we tackle tasks. We need to remember that marketing is not black and white. There is no step-by-step protocol to get comfortable with unfamiliar tasks, so we need time to learn and adapt. When I started, I wish I had known how and when to say no. Knowing when to say no could have saved me a couple of burnouts and emotional doubts about whether I could succeed as a marketer.

Staying Current

I stay current in this constantly evolving profession by blocking out at least four hours a week strictly for research and strategy generation. It helps me stay informed of trends, what the competition is up to, and what’s happening in the market. LinkedIn is an excellent resource for following trendsetters in the profession. I suggest leveraging the CM network to bounce questions and ideas off your colleagues. 

Hyper-Targeting

One change I’ve noticed in the profession is hyper-targeting and data generation. As a marketer, I’m so excited about the amount of information out there and how hyper-segmented you can be. Data mining and making sense of data is a skill set that every marketer needs to have so they know what information is relevant to their objectives and goals. 

Overcoming Barriers

Navigating imposter syndrome is a constant battle as a marketer. The pressure to conform and fear of falling short in a fast-paced competitive landscape can breed self-doubt. Canadian culture can sometimes foster an environment where success isn’t recognized and standing out is met with skepticism. It creates a challenging dynamic and makes it difficult to celebrate achievements without feeling like an imposter. Overcoming these mental barriers is crucial for sustained professional growth. My solution is to keep a finger on the pulse of new and emerging trends, learn constantly, and celebrate my fellow marketers and their work.

Looking Forward

I recently attended a Chartered Marketer Townhall hosted by Dave Burnett. While AI is a hot conversation topic, and many platforms and tools are available to the public, I’m more excited to see how personalization will continue to evolve through hyper and category targeting. I’m looking forward to seeing more content that speaks to the emotional intrinsic value and how that plays into AI.

wouldn't change a thing

My Solution

The defining moment of my career was my first cooking competition. At the time, the company I worked for had a grocery store as one of its business lines and was securing a food contract for the local college’s culinary arts program. While the college was a great partner and received donations and support from my company, the challenge was to find a way to elevate the partnership. My solution was to develop a cooking competition. To do this, we secured a celebrity Iron Chef Canada winner as a guest instructor and the host for the televised competition. I created the structure, from the competition framework, branding and media coverage to advertising, and executed the plan with all involved partners. It was the most rewarding, successful, and challenging event/campaign I have run in my career so far.

Wouldn’t Change a Thing

Marketing is ever-changing, but if you’re confident that you know it all, chances are you’re five years behind the curve. My favourite quote is, “We do this not because it’s easy, but because we thought it would be easy.” Marketing is so robust with the hats you wear, your roles, and the types of markets you may be involved in.

We are a breed of our own with brands conveyed through our work, with weeks, months, and years of planning opened up to public consumption and all the opinions that go with it. Sometimes, I feel like I’m crushing it, and the next day, I’m suffering from imposter syndrome because of a new algorithm or social platform update that I wasn’t ahead of. Despite the obstacles, marketing has been the most fulfilling, challenging, exciting, and frustrating profession I have been in, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Amber Donovan, CM
Senior Marketing Advisor, County of Grande Prairie

 

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