CustomerX Files: An Accidental Career (and my entrée into the world of blogging)
My first blog entry. Heck, my first blog, period. You would think as an English major, that somewhere during the early 2000s, I would have jumped onto the blogger bandwagon and started sharing my most important (or insignificant) observations on the page. But just as I was determined to carve my own path with that shiny new B.A. degree, I started using my writing in different ways – first as a technical writer on federal research grants, then as a terrible poet during an evening writers’ workshop, and then a content manager for all things marketing, sales, and in between.
Being a content manager means you write stuff. There aren’t really definitions or parameters – you just write – maybe a white paper, responses for an RFP, a case study, an email for a demand generation campaign. You name it, I wrote it. Except for a blog post.
So, 20 years later, here we go. But while I haven’t written a blog, I do read blogs. And I know that decent blogs are interesting, educational, and relatable. Authors share a bit about themselves because after all, while this is a professional blog, we are people before we #peoplebeforeprofessionals (I’m going to make it take off). I am a midwestern girl, born and raised in Wisconsin, now residing in Minnesota. I know the difference between a casserole and a hot dish. I am proud to tell you how much I saved buying something on clearance and I drank from a bubbler in elementary school. I love being in the kitchen when it’s cold and snowy, and outside during the other three months of the year. I share my home with one husband, two teenage daughters, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree.
But this is supposed to be about my career and how I landed in customer marketing and advocacy. So go back to the days of content management. I was able to put pen to paper, but what impressed my managers along the way is that I wasn’t a one-trick pony. I had people skills. Yes, I could work with the customers. In the words of the great Tom Smykowski, “I have people skills; I am good at dealing with people.” And no, the last name similarity is not lost on me.
Fifteen to twenty years ago, customer marketing wasn’t really a thing – in the sense that it hadn’t quite yet been defined (though I would argue it still hasn’t, but that’s another post). So those of us that started the journey without knowing the destination had a certain set of soft skills that served us well: ability to relate to people, empathy, a fierce commitment to customer service, the ability to translate human into technical (or product) terms, and tenacity (aka stubbornness). I could go on, but I know not everyone is interested in a 2,000-word blog post, so instead I am thrilled to suggest you take a listen to the recent episode of Beating the Drum. Margot’s a trailblazer, delivering relevant content to our CMA community – and I was beyond honored to accept the invitation to be a guest on her podcast – which happens to focus entirely on all things CMA career journey.