MS in Commerce Blog

Careers in Marketing Event Brings Professional Alumni Experience to Comm School Students

This year’s Careers in Marketing Forum, being hosted virtually Friday, Oct. 16, by Commerce Career Services, in collaboration with McIntire faculty and the McIntire Marketing Advisory Council, will focus not only on the dynamic and diverse employment possibilities within the field, but also on the increasing role of data to inform strategy and create solutions.

Christy Chattleton, Michelle DiMattia, and Andrew Phillips

Christy Chattleton, Michelle DiMattia, and Andrew Phillips

Marketing isn’t what it used to be. Obviously, there’s quite a difference between the defining responsibilities of careers in the field today versus how people in the industry carried out their duties over a half century ago in extravagant “Mad Men”-era advertising agencies of yore. But marketing isn’t what it was in the last decade—or even more recently than that.

McIntire Professor Rick Netemeyer has seen the progression and says the shift has greatly affected how the subject is taught at the Commerce School in order to meet changing market demands.

“The lines between marketing, analytics, and consulting have really blurred in the past five or six years,” he says. “You get this kind of triangulation of three disciplines coming together. We’re seeing quite a few more consulting firms wanting to hire Marketing students who have analytics skills, and a lot more firms that want to hire Analytics students who have a good understanding of consumer psychology and marketing.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that this year’s Careers in Marketing Forum, being hosted virtually on Friday, Oct. 16, by Commerce Career Services, in collaboration with McIntire faculty including Netemeyer and the McIntire Marketing Advisory Council, will focus not only on the dynamic and diverse employment possibilities within the field, but also on the increasing role of data to inform strategy and create solutions.

Four breakout sessions during the event are sure to answer some burning questions for students, with topical attention given to brand management and consulting; marketing analytics and research; social, digital, and traditional marketing communications; and entry-level general marketing and sales roles.

“Several of our panelists are working for consulting firms, but they originally had their background either in marketing or analytics and are now involved in a little bit of both. More and more consulting companies want to hire people who can interface very well with clients and speak to their clients’ needs, but understand analytics and how to communicate analytic results as well,” says Netemeyer, who will moderate the Careers in Marketing keynote presentation to be delivered by Katherine Gruneisen (McIntire ’16); the Director of Digital Marketing for Stella Artois at AB InBev has had an instructive career that has straddled the marketing and analytics spectrum.

The Walt Disney Company Senior Director for Data Solutions Christy Chattleton (McIntire ’00), a guest panelist for the marketing analytics and research session, has had a great deal of experience working with consumer data and now leads a team functioning squarely in that intersection of expertise Netemeyer referenced.

Defining Blurred Lines
Having first joined the famed entertainment company in 2004 and launching a customer relationship management group for ESPN in 2007, Chattleton says high costs and still-lagging performance meant that mobile and social marketing were virtually nonexistent at that time. Developing changes in data storage and consumer habits grew to affect how marketing was done, demanding a fully integrated approach across all the industry giant’s verticals. And that integration required smoothly run analytics-based tactics from a department that epitomizes the overlap between the various skill sets—and which a growing number of employers seek.

“We named my team ‘Data Solutions’ because it is intended to address the blurring lines between marketing, consulting, data science, and analytics,” she says. “For example, my team is currently collaborating with a large consumer packaged goods company about ways to leverage their data, retailer data, and Disney data to improve sales for a cereal brand and a snack brand. Our solutions will involve advanced analytics and audience profiling to inform a full-funnel creative and media approach, a custom machine learning model to predict high-propensity acquisition targets, and a cross-platform, cross-Disney portfolio attribution solution to measure effectiveness. I typically find myself at the intersection of marketing/media strategy and audience-driven data solutions, and that puts me in a position to regularly collaborate with external ad clients and internal marketing and distribution teams.”

Michelle DiMattia (McIntire ’11), a Manager of Customer & Marketing Strategy with Deloitte, has benefited from varied career experiences as a brand manager, analyst, and consultant. Though she currently works primarily with retailers and companies that produce consumer products, she says her past roles, particularly in brand management, prepared her to focus on consumers and recognize their needs through messaging, products, services, and communication touchpoints.

Yet that important ability seems to encapsulate only part of the equation for success, as she says that, like Netemeyer and Chattleton, she has personally seen marketing transform, becoming particularly analytical in nature.

“Successful marketers not only use advanced analytics to understand the channels, content, messaging, and timing that are most effective to reach their consumers, but they also demonstrate the value and return on marketing investment,” says DiMattia, who will share her knowledge on the subject with students in the Careers in Marketing session on brand management and consulting. “Marketers are also expected to understand more about the technology and data infrastructure that allows them to do their jobs and analyze their impact. When I started in brand management, I relied heavily on my agency or IT partners to understand the marketing technologies that I relied on, but now, because the pace of marketing has increased to keep up with the faster pace of consumers, it is the job of the marketer to intimately understand the data and technology elements as well.”

Marketing Socially
Andrew Phillips (M.S. in Commerce ’12), a Senior Account Manager at LinkedIn, will serve as a panelist in the marketing and sales session. He says that in his time with the employment-minded social media company, one of the largest changes to digital marketing he has seen is social media’s role develop further in its ability to deliver value to businesses.

“The biggest shift I’ve seen is that many successful organizations are viewing social media through its utility, rather than just being on it out of a need to develop their brand or keep up with the times. There’s so much more that’s possible with social media than there had been, and the tools available to marketers make it possible to make what used to be very complicated questions into ones where there’s a plausible thesis,” Phillips says, citing one of his clients, the state of Florida, as an example.

“Their team frequently runs analyses on their various social channels, which gives them a shockingly predictable model of how many travelers they can expect during winter vacation months. LinkedIn’s data of almost 800 million global professionals gives us a chance to ask really interesting questions of it. What skills are in surplus in a certain state? Which ones are in demand? How does this impact the kind of industries that a state should emphasize in its business attraction efforts?”

He notes that scale that’s able to be captured through social media empowers marketers with a global lens on their business that’s limited only by their own creativity.

Get Smart, Be Real
Phillips believes that students interested in a career in marketing are best served by building their knowledge base.

“Become a student of the game. Read AdAge and subscribe to eMarketer newsletters. Develop a point of view about who you think is doing good work and effective campaigns for the products you use every day. Read some of the greats on media and advertising: Ogilvy on Advertising, Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, and To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink. Once you’ve done that, take advantage of the free certifications out there for Google AdWords, Facebook, SEO, etc. There’s so much you can learn from quality content online, and much of it is free.”

Both DiMattia and Chattleton agree with the idea of getting familiar with as much of the content about the industry as possible.

“I also find I can absorb some great nuggets of information by following really influential marketers or advertisers on social media or LinkedIn,” DiMattia says. “You can learn a lot by seeing what the greats are doing. Listening to how people are applying marketing concepts in the real world can make all your Marketing coursework so much more interesting when you see it come to life.”

Chattleton suggests students follow their curiosity to research trending subjects and then to reach out to contacts to get their perspective.

“Talk to alums and contacts in a variety of marketing roles to figure out what it is you are most interested in out of the gate. Are you interested in brand marketing? Media planning? Research? Creative? Account management?”

Phillips concurs, explaining that reaching out to those in marketing, particularly anyone who also received an education from the Comm School, can make all the difference.

“I was tremendously impacted by a handful of conversations with McIntire alums who were kind enough to share their time with me. Use LinkedIn’s Alumni tool and filter for people in marketing roles. Don’t just ask for internship information or to ‘pick their brain.’ Have a specific, genuine question you want to ask or a topic you’d like to get their point of view on. Show up on time. Say thank you. Follow up when something crosses your desk that you think they’d find interesting. Be a real human being. Don’t get discouraged!”

When it comes time to look into potential offers, Chattleton suggests taking the longer and wider view.

“Consider different cities, and weigh the pros and cons of large versus small organizations. Try not to panic if you don’t have a job when all of the Finance concentrators already do. And take it from me, if you just can’t wait any longer and take a job in consulting, you won’t regret it. Recognize that your first job will not be your last.”

Professor Carrie Heilman, who will moderate the brand management and consulting breakout panel, is enthused by the diversity of positions represented by the Careers in Marketing panelists. “It illustrates the breadth of opportunities available to students, who I think will be surprised to hear how our guest speakers’ roles allow them to flex their creative, strategic, and analytic muscles every day. We are grateful to have so many amazing and accomplished alums and friends as panelists this year as part of the CIM forum, and for making this educational and impactful day for our students possible.”

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