What got you interested in marketing and e-business?
During my high school years, I worked at Gap Kids and really enjoyed helping consumers find what they needed. It was an early start to learning the importance of products, pricing, promotion and placement. With that, I knew I wanted to go into marketing. I worked in business-to-business (B2B) marketing for the first five years of my career and now that I'm in business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, I realize it is a lot more fun for me.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
The consumer. Figuring out who she is, what her needs are and how we can make her life easier or more fun. The next best part is developing communications plans to engage with her. It's our job as product managers to find those consumer insights and package them up with the business goals in a brief. Then we work with agencies on bringing those research insights to life. Plus, McCormick is all about food and making it taste better, and everyone loves food.
How did your experience at the College of Business and Economics help prepare you for your work at McCormick?
Joining groups such as the e-Business Association, the Towerlight and SIFE were great for helping me to learn how to run an organization, raise and manage money, and network. The internship program was invaluable. I had three internships before graduation, which definitely prepared me for a full-time job. I enjoyed the balance of applying my marketing textbook knowledge to a small graphic design/printing company and then a large financial services organization. Classes were great and I had some wonderful professors — but the applications are what prepared me for the “real world.”
How have things in the marketing field changed since you graduated? Have you had to adapt and if so, how did you do it?
The biggest change from 2004 to today in relation to marketing is the way we've adapted to technology. Operations were surprisingly manual and communications were one-way from company-to-consumer. Over time, we've enjoyed the technical advancements that help us manage the amount of information available to us. We've also learned that coming up with plans inside the walls of your own company is dangerous. It's critical to listen to consumers, let them voice their opinions and build strategies from that insight. My second job which was at a startup in Baltimore was completely focused on the later. Talking to industry and academic thought leaders in this space opened my eyes to the future of marketing.
What do you see as the future of your industry?
To date, many companies have done a great job of meeting the functional needs of consumers. This has been sufficient to get on the shopping list and be a successful business. Brands in the future will do a better job of meeting consumers’ emotional needs. To do this, we'll need to meet consumers where they are, where the conversation is happening. We'll need to answer the question, “How can this product improve my life?” I'm looking forward to being a part of this evolution.