Digital Marketing Interview Series with the Director of Community & Content at Scoop.it
Ally Geer is the Director of Community & Content at Scoop.it, a content discovery platform. Here are her thoughts on digital marketing:
What do you consider essential skills for a marketing team these days?
With an increase in tools and strategies for digital marketing and innovation that seems to occur on a daily basis these days, one of the most important traits of a successful marketer is flexibility. Being able to roll with the punches and react to the ever-changing atmosphere of business in general can help marketers stay ahead of the pack within the broader marketing landscape as well as keep their specific businesses current and relevant.
Coming in at a close second, though, is communication. Not only is the entire job of a marketer to be able to communicate the value of a product or service to current and potential clients, but it's also extremely important to stay in close contact with the rest of the departments of the company. In my experience, marketing teams are working more and more closely with other departments and this is a great way to fully integrate the external communications of a company with the internal workings. This synchronization is extremely important to the success of a business.
What do you feel are the most underrated skills in a marketing team these days?
I feel that one of the most underrated skills of a marketing team is the ability to relate to sales, business development, and revenue. As someone with a traditional marketing degree, I learned these things in college but never truly learned how to take charge of them. Now that marketing is shifting to digital, it's a lot more social media and content-based and some of the traditional business aspects are fading away. The best marketers are awesome at writing, creative, and social media/community management, but also are able to translate these into business objectives.
How did you get the background and skills necessary for your role?
I started my job as a community manager about 4 weeks after I graduated from college. To be honest, I hardly even knew what a community manager was, so I can't possibly say that I had the background and skills necessary. That said, from the very first day that I started working full time, I have treated my career as a learning experience and tried every single day to learn something new, whether it be from my bosses and colleagues, other community managers, or even experts outside of the field who can offer a fresh perspective.
Continuously joining tweetchats, attending conferences on community, social media & marketing, reading endless blogposts and books, and following industry thought leaders across social platforms has helped me gain many of the skills I have today.
What advice would you give to young people who want to do community management some day?
My best career advice would be to follow your passion and not give up. Truthfully, I never would have thought I could possibly move across the country from New Jersey to San Francisco completely alone to work for an up-and-coming tech startup, and had I not taken this advice I probably would have thought it wasn't possible. However, I ran with it and rode the wave and now I've found lots of success in San Francisco at Scoop.it within the digital marketing field.
What do you see as the biggest challenges for marketing professionals over the 3 years?
There are always going to be challenges for marketing professionals. The biggest one that I see stems from the fact that it's getting easier and easier for anyone to act like a marketer and publish content online. You might have heard about Mark Schaeffer's theory on Content Shock, which may or may not be a viable threat, but I do find the concept interesting. Anyone can publish online these days. Before, it was only the ones with the most money who were able to get the attention of audiences: advertisers on television, in newspapers, etc. Now, anyone can post a blogpost or a white paper while only spending a few dollars and a few hours of their time. Eventually, it could turn into an Internet where everyone is publishing their own content and, in turn, only reading the things that they publish, leading to many of the important things getting lost in the noise.
Although I might be a little biased, I'm positive that the answer to this is curation. Take a look at all of the most successful sites today - Upworthy, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post - they're all creating their own content but also curating the best content from around the web. Marketers can combat content overload the same way; by organizing the rest of the content out there alongside their own and becoming a trusted resource for their audiences.
What excites you the most about your industry?
I've always been one to thrive off human interaction. I absolutely love the fact that it's so easy to meet new people and connect with them via shared interests. Think about it in a context of dating or making friends: a few years ago, your only options were those who were physically around you and those who you encountered during the course of your life. Imagine all of the potential friends or partners out there who share so many of the same interests and values but you simply never got to meet because of geography! Now, thanks to advances in the digital space, you can find these people and build relationships with them in so many meaningful ways.
The same goes for marketing. Now that everything is digital, it's so easy to connect with customers and build relationships with them. It's also easier to find new clients and people who would be interested in your brand if only they knew that it existed - which, now, they can!
Ally Greer heads up Community and Content Marketing at Scoop.it, a San Francisco-based company that helps anyone from SMB's to large enterprises to become media through publishing by curation. There, she leads the development and implementation of content strategy with the goals of lead generation and brand building as well as a building a multi-tiered community management system. For musings on the Internet, sports, and eyeroll-worthy puns, follow @allygreer on Twitter.