Tag: Interviews


Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary digital marketing tactic, giving brands the opportunity to create meaningful connections with their desired audience. But as most brands have found, the secret to social success isn’t achieved with a simple click of the heels.

Most often, the road to success is long and winding, requiring smarts, courage and heart to drive your message home to your audience. Of course, many marketers experience a few wicked hiccups along the way—all of witch require creative and holistic solutions.

The good news is that you can always look north to find colorful and creative inspiration from talented marketing sorcerers—like the intelligent, witty and tenacious Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Ms. Jackson arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you navigate new lands, improve your social media strategy, and drive business value in the changing social landscape.

Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Beverly is a child of the Midwest, growing up in Chicago. But while the rest of the neighborhood kids were outside playing and running around, Beverly was inside with her eyes glued to the television—watching the news.

“That was my Kansas,” she said. “I was obsessed with wanting to know about everything that was happening in the world. That’s when I became a news and political junky.”

With her passion for news and politics in tow, after high school Beverly headed to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University.

“I thought I would become either a television journalist or a justice on the supreme court one day,” she recalled nostalgically.

After completing her bachelor’s of science in marketing, Beverly launched her career. But not in marketing, but in environmental policy.

“Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said.

After working for a handful of different environmental firms, Beverly went on to get her master’s degree in public administration.

“I wanted to keep doing my environmental work and save the planet,” she said.

So, after years of environmental work, how did Beverly become the marketer she is today? Keep reading.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

By the late-1990s, Beverly had built a successful career in the environmental space. But while working on a project in Alaska, a figurative twister rolled through.

“I got so sick that they needed to send me home.” she recalled. “I had no idea what was happening to me, and spent about four months being poked and prodded by doctors.”

“As it turned out, I have a rare blood condition, and being in the presence of harmful chemicals and contaminants took its toll,” she went on. “So, I couldn’t go back to that kind of work. At that point, I did what my parents always taught me to do: rely on education.”

When Beverly recovered, she enrolled in a Women’s Extension Program, taking a series of personal interest and career assessments to learn where to go next. One of the assessments she took was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which revealed that she was an ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) personality type—a category that only 2-5% of the population falls into.

“I found out I was in the completely wrong career, which I already knew—but I had fought against it,” she said with a laugh. “I found out that I needed to be involved with innovation, technology, advertising and marketing.”

“And that was my twister event,” she went on. “I stopped taking calls from recruiters about environmental positions, and put my energy into getting into advertising.”

Her first advertising position was with J. Walter Thompson, where she played a role in developing interactive advertising tools in the early days of digital. Since then, she’s worked for Interactive Search, Octagon Worldwide, The Recording Academy and Yahoo!. Today, she’s based in Las Vegas heading up content and social media strategy for MGM Resorts International.

Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion

Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals.

For Beverly, her Scarecrow is Evan Greene, The Recording Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Evan was always there to be my and my team’s advocate. He trusted my intellect and skills, and he believed in me,” she said.

Her Tinman, is John Reese, who was her boss and the president of Interactive Search.

“John has a heart of gold, and he always talked about having heart. And he never put me down or chastised me for keeping my passions close,” she said. “When I was leaving the company to pursue another position, he gave me a heart-shaped paper weight as a parting gift, with a note that said: ‘Do everything you do with passion.’”

Finally, her Cowardly Lion is Larry Vincent, who was her boss at Octagon Worldwide.

“He’s my cowardly lion because he taught me to be brave,” she said. “He taught me that as a marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. You have to be willing to use your voice. And you have to be able to confidently raise your hand when you think things are going wrong. Because of him, I always feel comfortable and confident in my ideas.”

[bctt tweet=”As a #marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. @BevJack” username=”toprank”]

Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Beverly is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as a social media marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field.

So without further ado, let’s dive into Beverly’s tips for better social media marketing.

Good witch or bad witch? What’s one bad social media marketing habit marketers should drop?

Too much self-promotion. I look around social media and there are so many people labeling themselves as marketing “ninjas” or “gurus”—and using the brand they work for to propel their own personal brand or fame. But for me, that’s just getting in the way of your brand’s story—and it can backfire.

The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.

Let’s face it. Most brand marketers are not tasked with being a brand evangelist or ambassador. Usually, it’s their job to work behind the scenes to tell the brand’s story.

So really, what you do on your own personal channels is what you do. And it’s OK to represent your brand there. But try taking yourself out of the equation. Try not to become a team of one. Otherwise, you won’t be impactful, and you won’t be able to scale marketing solutions.

[bctt tweet=”#Marketers should never get in the way of their brand’s story. @BevJack” username=”toprank”]

Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for social media marketing success?

I believe that everyone should have a robust toolkit that’s tailored to their unique business, marketing needs and budget. And that toolkit should have a few staples:

No. 1 – A measurement tool. You need a tool to measure how effective your social communications are. My tools of choice are Sprinklr or Spredfast. They both function at scale, and the companies put a lot of time into research and development. Some other useful tools out there are SocialFlow and Hootsuite.

No. 2 – An analytics tool. You need to be able to measure the impact your efforts are having on your business. I love TrackMaven for pulling out specific insights on how I’m doing against my competition, as well as how social efforts are stacking up against other marketing channels. Of course, Google Analytics or another preferred analytics tool are a must, too.

No. 3 – A multi-channel publishing and management tool. When you’re spreading your message across different channels and their respective audiences, you need a tool that allows you to publish and customize content to each of your channels. Again, my favorite tools for this are Sprinklr and Spredfast.

No. 4 – Image and video creation tools. Compelling visuals are so important from an engagement and a retention standpoint. Choose something that is scalable to your needs and budget—whether it’s a mobile app or an enterprise solution. One tool I love is Flixel—it creates moving pictures that are incredibly immersive and creative.

No. 5 – A team communications tool. Communication between team members is crucial. And if you have team members who are always on the move, sometimes you can’t catch them by phone and email isn’t fast enough. We use Slack to stay in touch, and share things in small bursts.

No. 6 – A “go-pack” with tools and resources to create content on the go. If you want to lead your followers on an experiential journey, you need to be able to grab stories in real-time and serve them up in snackable sizes. Everyone on our team has access to a variety of tools such as SLR cameras, tripods, mics and lighting kits so they can pick up what they need and get into the field quickly. All the stuff you’ve planned for is locked and loaded. But we all know that some of the best content is created in the moment. It’s the icing on the cake.

No. 7 – A kill switch. Any well-run social media marketing program needs to have a protocol in place that allows you to stop what you’re doing. For example, we’re in the hospitality industry, in a hospitality city. Our brand and messaging is fun, aspirational and designed to showcase an experience—and the last thing you want to be is tone deaf when a tragedy happens. When the Paris attacks and the Orlando nightclub tragedy happened, we deployed our kill switch. We stopped talking. We stopped selling. It would have been inappropriate to be spreading our message, when so many people were in turmoil.

[bctt tweet=”Every well-run #socialmedia program needs a kill switch. @BevJack” username=”toprank”]

That’s a horse of a different color. What creative tactics can marketers use to create an engaging user experience on social platforms?

Show don’t tell. In order to create an engaging user experience on social platforms, you need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. You need to be able to reach into their heart, put your fingers around it and feel the pulse beat.

And video, when done right, can do just that. We do a lot of video here. We’ve done short and sweet, and big, long and epic. Our brand is all about positioning entertainment as a fundamental human need. But we can’t just tell people this, we need to show them—and you need to be authentic.

[bctt tweet=”You need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. @BevJack #socialmedia” username=”toprank”]

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

I would ask for more flexibility. And what I mean by that is: being more open to the possibilities of “what if?”

When you’re more flexible, you’re more willing to take risks. You’re willing to stretch your budget. You’re willing to allocate more resources. And you’re willing to step outside the prescribed way of doing things and do the amazing.

[bctt tweet=”When you’re more flexible you can step outside of the prescribed & do the amazing. @BevJack” username=”toprank”]

We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Beverly for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches social media and content strategy. Thank you, Beverly.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment, my pretty!

What’s one thing you’d ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP

From emerging social media channels to the rise of artificial intelligence, the exciting cyclone of change often drops us marketers into unfamiliar territory—and we have to find our way home.

Thankfully, the marketing industry is flush with talented marketers leading the way, and we often look to them for tactical insights to navigate the winding road and avoid fields of deceiving poppies. However, in our thirst more knowledge, we often don’t get to see who these leaders are in full living color.

To bridge the gap between person and marketer, we’re kicking off an exciting new “Behind the Curtain” interview series—which, if you haven’t guessed, is inspired by Dorothy Gale and the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.

In this series, we’ll take a peek behind the curtain to get know some marketing industry wizards on a more personal level, as well as gain insights that can help other marketers use their brains, hearts, courage and creativity to improve their marketing efforts and drive business value in the changing digital landscape.

Our first featured marketer is the brilliant and incredibly nice Amisha Gandhi, Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP.

Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Amisha was born in Bombay, India, grew up in New York, and now lives in San Francisco.

“New York is my Kansas,” Amisha said. “I’m definitely a New Yorker at heart—which is probably where most of my personality comes from.”

But Amisha didn’t always plan on being a marketer. Actually, Amisha studied both theater and biology/pre-med.

“One [degree] was for me and the other was for my parents,” she said. “I’ve always loved theater, and I think that’s where I honed the artistic part of my brain … which I definitely get to bring into marketing, especially influencer marketing.”

Amisha is also a working mom and avid traveler.

“I love to travel,” she said. “But wherever I go, I like to be a local—to be immersed in a different world and see it from a local perspective. When my son is older, I want to go to the Galapagos Islands.”

She’s also a huge Sci-Fi fan. Among some of her favorite films and TV shows are Blade Runner, Star Wars (leaving out Episodes 1, 2 and 3, of course), and Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica is an all-time favorite,” she said. “It’s such a great story.”

Some of her other favorite flicks are Casablanca and anything by Alfred Hitchcock.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

Amisha has had an interesting career path, starting her professional career working in a research lab for a pharmaceutical company.

“I really didn’t like it, so I quit my job and actually got a temp job as a data entry clerk at MCI,” she said.

Since then, Amisha has worked at startups, PR agencies such as Burson-Marsteller, and been a consultant to companies such as Accenture, Google, Merrill Lynch, GAP, HP and Time-Warner. Today, she’s well-known for bringing her mix of social media, communications and marketing skills together for creative campaigns and elevating executives profiles such as former CIO of SAP, Oliver Bussmann. She joined SAP team in 2010.

What was your Twister event? What moment or event put you on a path to a career in marketing?

While I working at a company that produced local market books, CitySearch.com—an online city guide and community—wanted a partnership. And I thought that was a really cool concept, and just in passing I mentioned that I’d love to work there, and ended up getting an interview.

After the interview, I showed up constantly. I brought the sales team doughnuts one day. Another day I stopped by with thank you notes. Finally, they just said “OK. Come on in and join our team. The other guy wants this job, but you want it more.”

It was a startup at the time, and when you work at a startup you wear many hats. I had a variety of jobs there and learned about marketing, sales operations, advertising, editorial, even movie promotions—you name it. But that’s how I got my start.

Dorothy found dear friends in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman on her journey down the yellow brick road. Who are some of the people who’ve helped or inspired you during your career?

I have been so fortunate in my career to have worked managers, mentors and clients who’ve pushed me, guided me and inspired me.

While working at a political PR firm, I worked with an incredible PR executive named Barbara French, who taught me so much about storytelling.

Barbara was always pushing me to find that “so what” story. To this day, I still think about that. How do you tell stories that really excite and engage people? How do you find that really compelling, juicy story that people want to know about, read about or even care about? What’s the so what?

Also, one of my clients while working there was Kamala Harris—who is now Sen. Kamala Harris. Back then she was working in the city attorney’s office. She was trying to change the world, and it was so inspiring to watch.

Some others that I have to mention are Jim Dever and Penny Delgadillo Valencia here at SAP, who are great leaders and without whose support I would not have been able to build out the influencer marketing program.

It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent and I’ve found it fulfilling to give back, especially to those who are early in their careers here at SAP.


It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent. – @AmishaGandhi
Click To Tweet


Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Amisha is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as an influencer marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field.

Good witch or bad witch? What’s a bad influencer outreach habit marketers should drop?

I think one of the worst habits is approaching influencers with a “What can you do for me?” attitude. Instead you should be approaching them with a “What can I do for you?” mentality.

If they’re a good influencer, everyone is hitting them up. So you have to be coming from a place that offers real value—and I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about personal and business value.

Influencers are trying to raise issues. They’re working to bring awareness around topics that are important to them. They’re not just there to sell your product. I’m interested in building mutually beneficial relationships for the long-term.


Influencers are not just there to sell your product. – @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


The Wicked Witch was defeated with a just pail of water. What’s one effective influencer marketing tactic that marketers often overlook?

I think that marketers often overlook the fact that you’re building something together with influencers. Collaboration is key, so I collaborate a lot.

Pick their brain. Ask them what value they see. Ask them what they think their audience wants to see. Ask them if they’ll help you build something amazing. When you treat them as a partner, rather than a participant, you’ll be able to create something more effective and meaningful.


Treat influencers like partners, not participants. – @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for influencer marketing success?

You should absolutely have a good influencer identification tool; it’s worth the investment. We use Traackr, and that not only helps with identification, but also tracking and measurement—which is important for seeing your results beyond social media activity.

We also use VoiceStorm for the employee advocacy, and Sprinklr for social media amplification. Of course, not everyone has the resources to invest in these tools, but there are some good free tools like FollowerWonk, Klout and Hootsuite.

In the end, it’s all about being able to tie all your efforts together to show success and how that contributed to real business value—which is kind of like clicking your heels and getting you home.

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

I’m always looking for ways to drive and find better data. The better the marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. So, I’d ask the marketing wizard for a tool that can bring together influencer data, insights, identification, tracking and measurement linking it back to sales—something that can bring all the external tools together.


The better the #marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. – @AmishaGandhi
Click To Tweet


We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Amisha for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches influencer marketing. Thank you, Amisha.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment!

What would you ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.


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The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.