3 Takeaways From Under-40 Success Stories
On Thursday, May 19, the Direct Marketing Club of New York (DMCNY) held its monthly luncheon, bringing together marketing professionals at all levels. Three collegiate students were given scholarship awards for their work in marketing and a panel was made up of more seasoned professionals — Ashley Johnston-Daly, Pedro Martinez and Donald Gallant were all winners of Direct Marketing News’ 40 Under 40 Award in 2015.
Johnston-Daly is the senior VP of global marketing at Experian, Martinez is currently the director of social strategy and influence at Horizon Media, and Gallant is the VP of analytics and innovation at iPredictus.
The discussion, while centered around technology, gave the audience some insight into what makes these marketers successful. Each marketer said something that stood out — whether it was a piece of career advice or a best practice for marketing. Here are three takeaways from the panelists.
1. 'Keep It Simple'
Martinez, who was named FOLIO Magazine’s “Marketer of the Year” in 2015, believes marketers need to remember to keep things simple or else the overall plan will get diluted.
“If you know what you’re trying to solve for and you have a great strategy for doing that, all you need to do is build on it in a way that’s scalable vs. trying to have bells and whistles that, at the end of the day, aren’t going to be understood. The sell through is going to be harder because you’re complicating the process.”
As a social strategist, Martinez says this is important because of all the data available to marketers. You can hurt yourself by doing too much in the wrong places.
2. 'Go After What Frightens You Most'
Johnston-Daly was given this advice from someone early in her career. She was doing marketing for a real estate company just as this “Internet thing” was taking off.
“We all typically get very safe in our own comfort zone, so if you start to go after what scares you the most, you might just realize it’s exactly what you were always intended to do,” says Johnston-Daly.
She said at the time she was given this advice, technology was what frightened her most, so Johnston-Daly moved on to a career doing marketing for a computer company.
“(Fear) pushes you. It opens up new areas that you otherwise might not have explored.“
She says that for marketers, everything is scary right now because of all the unknowns. However, she says marketers need to embrace the unknowns and new technologies because something really good can come from it.
“Everything exists upon technology right now. The proliferation of technology, the proliferation of data is our new reality. Everybody has to learn to get comfortable and build a friendship with technology — it’s not as scary as it seems.”
3. 'Having a Point of View is Most Important'
Gallant learned that having a point of view is important to success when he became the lead director on his previous company’s largest account in January 2014. He says he had to learn how to be a “client-facing individual” very quickly because he was accustomed to working in the background learning as much as he could about marketing data. All of the skills he acquired during this time allowed him to develop a point of view.
“We can sit here and take in all this data and predict what your sales are going to be, but what you can’t take into account is something like Hurricane Sandy that happened three years ago,” says Gallant. “We knew that was going to impact business. We had to educate them (our clients) and say, ‘This happened, expect sales to decrease, expect a tough time.’ As long as you’re able to articulate that kind of thought process and take in all the outside factors, it makes you more valuable as a person, not just network.”
Widespread power outages and flooding during and after the hurricane made it difficult to keep business going as strong as data had predicted for that time.
“Our clients took a pretty significant hit. But, you have to keep reassuming them ‘here’s what we’re going to do next to make up some of that loss.’ That point of view becomes very valuable in terms of bouncing back,” says Gallant.
These three marketers have taken the above advice to build successful careers in the field. What’s the best advice — either personal or career focused — you’ve received?