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Where are you based?

What job do you do?
Marketing Manager at Panion

How did you get into marketing/communications?
I was a schoolteacher and bored with my job. I loved being in the classroom, but I wanted a new challenge. A friend told me to write down my skills. At first, it was really hard for me to think about and I didn’t know where to begin. Did I even have any skills? Then I got to thinking about what it takes to be a good teacher. I knew how to take big pieces of information and break them down into digestible chunks. I knew how to engage reluctant readers and uninterested, sometimes even hostile, audiences. All of that can be transferred into marketing.

What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?

Changing careers is really challenging so I’m proud to have learned so much in such a short period of time. I went from knowing nothing to having a clue pretty quickly. It was an enormous shift and I think I’ve taken on rather gracefully.

How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?

At my company, Panion, we’ve made huge gains in retention. Through engagement and communications strategies, we’ve been able to get our users to interact much more and stick with us. Growth is amazing, but without retention, it’s completely useless.

Through our blog and website efforts, we are starting to get leads coming into us. I was thrilled when the pace started to pick up and I was getting more and more requests for demos. What a wonderful feeling!

What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
In one of my first jobs, I worked as a food buyer and I had to determine what our customers, college students, wanted. I was entirely sure that our buyers wanted fish sticks. It was a nostalgia food that would remind them of home while stuck in their dorm! Who wouldn’t want them? I must have been very convincing because we bought a ton. After months in the freezer, they had to be thrown out. I made my decision based on my feelings, not on any actual data. I won’t make that mistake again. Emotions can help me be creative, but they can’t help me decide what my customers actually want.

Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Get into the data and then get creative. Be hyper-focused on your personas because you have to remember that you are communicating with a human. Knowing that human well will help you communicate effectively.


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