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.