How Hub And Spoke Frameworks Work With Celena Canode And Emily Pick

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How The Agile Hub And Spoke Content Framework Works With Celena Canode And Emily Pick From G5 [AMP 151]

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Marketers are expected to do more without increasing headcount and know how to use marketing tools and technology (MarTech). Change is inevitable, and embracing it can help marketers succeed.

Today’s guests are G5’s Marketing Campaign Manager Celena Canode and Content Marketing Manager Emily Pick.They offer insight on how a hub and spoke content model promotes and delivers marketing content to get major results. G5’s goal is to help clients increase exposure and achieve peak occupancies via digital marketing for self-storage, multifamily, and senior living verticals. 

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By CoSchedule
AMP151: How The Agile Hub And Spoke Content Framework Works With Celena Canode And Emily Pick From G5
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Some of the highlights of the show include:

  • Day-in-the-Life of G5 Marketers: Multi-purpose, do everything, always changing, never concentrate on one task for too long
  • Norm for Marketers: Set aside time to focus; be agile to adapt to the unexpected
  • Open Office Space: Remove distractions, find a place to hide, or work remotely
  • Marketing Strategy: Streamline plans and align tasks with business goals
  • Vertical Leads: Identify pain points, develop tactical side of strategy, and provide value through content and education to overcome challenges
  • Hub and Spoke Model: Distribution plans consider channels, how to share and amplify content, and empower internal teams to appropriately use content
  • Marketing Analytics: G5 uses Salesforce and Pardot to track goals and KPIs
  • G5 selected CoSchedule to consolidate and centralize tasks, schedules, and staff to provide visibility and accountability 
  • Lattices, not Ladders: Are you willing to move and take a different position? 

If you liked today’s show, please subscribe on iTunes to The Actionable Content Marketing Podcast! The podcast is also available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Google Play.

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Transcript:

Nathan: More so than ever before, marketers are being asked to do more with less and I really mean that quite literally. There’s a lot of data out there from a variety of reports from Gartner and Beyond, and all of it suggest that CEOs are expecting CMOs to do more. Do more while not increasing marketing team head count. Do more with customer experience, complete more work, more projects, there are more internal requests coming than ever before, and alongside that, all at the same time, marketers are expected to maximize their heavy investments in MarTech to their fullest potential.

What does that actually mean for us? Essentially, companies are willing to spend more on our marketing tools and expect us as marketers to be extremely efficient with them. Doing that takes some foresight. Change is inevitable and we all know that especially in the marketing industry, things move really fast here, but embracing when change is necessary can really help you succeed. So, how to do that, right? That’s why we’re talking with Celena Canode and Emily Pick today from G5. Emily is the Content Marketing Manager and Celena is the Marketing Campaign Manager at G5.

You’re going to learn what agile marketing looks like in the wild. It’s a pretty fun use case. Celena and Emily are also going to share some simple frameworks for how they take on urgent requests alongside their planned work. It’s a lot simpler than you think and I just think it’s a brilliant framework for the rest of us. And they’re going to share some insight on how a hub and spoke content model can help you ship some really successful marketing, and then make sure you’re promoting it to get the biggest results.

I’m Nathan from CoSchedule, and now it’s time to get AMPed with Celena and Emily from G5.

Hey, Emily and Celena, I’ve got you on the Actionable Marketing Podcast. Thanks for being here.

Emily: Thank you for having us.

Celena: We’re excited to get started today.

Nathan: Well, I’m excited. Let’s just take it from the top. For anybody who might not have heard of G5 before—I know, why wouldn’t they—could you loop us a little bit on what G5 is?

Emily: Sure, so this is Emily. I am our Content Marketing Manager. I’ve been at G5 for about four years now. G5 really specializes in digital marketing for the self storage, multi-family, and senior living verticals. We have a pretty inclusive suite of products and services. We do everything from demand generation to reputation management. We really specialize and have a lot of technologies that are some of the smartest on the market for digital advertising. Our entire goal here is to really increase the exposure for our clients and make sure that we are helping them achieve their peak occupancies.

Celena: And business goals.

Emily: Yeah, really. Just helping them meet all their business goals. Everything on the front end of the marketing side we do.

Nathan. Nice and that’s a really interesting vertical. I really like that. Something that I wanted to ask, and maybe both of you could take a stab at this, is what does a day in a life look like for you guys as the marketers there at G5?

Celena: This is Celena. I’m the Marketing Campaign Manager for senior living and self storage. I guess my day is balancing between upcoming conferences and events and how we’re promoting new products at those events, and also writing email campaigns, working with our graphic designer on ads and other pieces of collateral that I’m going to be sending out and needing at shows. It’s definitely a multi-purpose marketing, do everything, always changing around, never really concentrating on one or two tasks for too long. Just always moving.

Emily: Right, and just to echo what Celena said, I don’t even know if I can say there’s real typical day in our marketing department which is actually one of the things that I really enjoy about it. I come in and there is something new to do every single day. I think one of the big things within our department to be successful is that you have to be willing and ready to adapt to changes and be really dynamic with your planning because I could come in the morning and do something as simple as get on social, check out who’s been commenting on our stuff, see if there is anything I need to respond to, see if there is anything I need to share, all the way up to running up to our CEO’s office and talking to him about what he would like to promote at our next show and what the objectives he would like to achieve with that. It can be something as simple as, “What are we doing for T-shirts?” to really looking at the entire strategic direction of where we’re planning to go within the next X amount of time.

Nathan: Definitely sounds like there’s a lot of variety there and Emily, I really liked hearing, “no typical day.” I think that’s starting to become a norm for marketers. It’s just a need to be agile, right?

Emily: Absolutely. We’ve been discussing this. We’ve been doing so much internally lately, trying to really streamline our marketing plans and make sure that everything we’re doing is aligned with the business goals, but I think that it’s no secret as well for marketers that things come up everyday and you have to be able to shift and be able to have to move really on a dime. Those fire drills happen daily.

Celena: Yes, and we were talking about how a lot of times we’ll pad our calendars with a couple hours here and there, to make sure we have focus time or work time and everyday that we do that, it gets eaten up by things that come up that we just have to adapt to and you go with it. You have your priorities, but around your priorities there are all these little tasks that just can change and can become one of the priorities.

Nathan: Yeah. I really like that. Celena, you’re talking about padding the calendar is true, that focus time. Sometimes it seems like these super simple frameworks just make a ton of sense. Give yourself a couple of hours every day or maybe it’s every week just for those things that pop-up. Could you fill me in on any more stuff like that that you have? Do you use other frameworks or how many hours do you set aside per day or per week? I’d love to hear a little bit more about that.

Emily: This is Emily just jumping on that because Celena and I have been working on our latest state of the industry report for senior living. Huge demand generation pieces for us, really a lot of valuable information in there, lots of rounds of internal edits and Celena is my final reviewer for the first round. This morning alone, she had booked out two hours just to review and see where we’re at on that. I don’t think she got a chance to open that document. I would say that there’s something we put on our calendars.

Personally, if I know that I have something coming up, I might block out an entire week and say that if it’s a non-essential meeting, you don’t got to add me to your calendar or that I reserve the right that I’m not coming. It’s something we have to fairly frequently to protect our time and to make sure that we do have time to get to those tasks that are the highest priority.

Celena: And to echo that, if I have some things that I need very much focus on, like I cannot be distracted, I’ll work from home. Our team and our company is very flexible in terms of providing some space to do that when needed. As Emily said, she writes these reports. She writes one for every industry we work in twice a year, so that’s six 30-page reports and that’s barely the tip of the iceberg of what she’s doing. She’ll block out time, as she said, for the week, but if she needs to grind, she’ll stay home or go to a coffee shop. We would keep a space to do that and that helps out a lot.

Nathan: That makes a lot of sense, just trying to remove those distractions before they even happen.

Celena: Yeah. We have a pretty open workspace where our building is a couple different floors, but we’re more spread out within this building that we’re in, but our floor has very few offices and a lot of just open space. There’s probably 80–100 people just alone on our floor. The people stopping by and coming to talk to our colleagues, or talk to us, or bring their dogs by on their way out for a walk. Things come up.

Emily: We love the open environment, but it can be a little bit distracting when we do have to go heads down. Making sure that we have that time, making sure that we the space is so huge for our productivity.

Nathan: I can 100% relate to that. I would say CoSchedule’s office environment, at least here in the Fargo office in North Dakota, is very open. There are times where we just all have to go heads down too and once in a while, it’s nice just to find that break room or somewhere to hide.

Celena: Absolutely.

Nathan: You know, I think this is great. Learning about how you guys handle those things that just pop-up and protecting your time is extremely valuable, but it also sounds like you all have a very well-defined strategy, too. Six 30-page state of the industry reports. That’s a lot of work. I was wondering if you can talk about how you develop a game plan. What’s your marketing strategy and what does that look like? I’d love to know more about your process there.

Emily: Sure. I can talk from how we start up a talk. We’re very fortunate to have vertical leads within our company. Jamison Gosselin is our lead for senior living. Dan Hobin, our CEO is the lead for self storage. Meg Shaw-Butler is our lead for multi-family. We lean on them pretty heavily to really determine what are the pain points within each of the industries and then how can G5 as a company help them overcome these challenges or address any of these issues.

We really start at the top, identifying what are the most important topics that we need to cover and how do we position ourselves in a way that really is going to help our customers and make sure that they have a great experience while they’re doing it. Once we’ve identified these pain points, we have a system in place where we start to look at how is everything tied in, not only from the products and messaging standpoint, but how are we generating demand around these topics. Very high-level to start and then we take a pretty big deep dive into the tactical side, that’s Celena, and we also have another campaign manager, Courtney, who are really head up that strategy development on that side.

I’ll let Celena talk a little bit about how she developed the strategies, but on my side of things, as far as the content, we’re really looking at providing value and educational resources to our clients and to our prospects. For us, it’s how are we delivering the most value in a way that really speaks to the pain points within the industry.

Celena: In regards to the campaign strategies, we really try to take a holistic view of all the different aspects of our marketing—digital advertising, PR, graphic design, whatever. At some point do we have any email? Even before that, we work with our strategy leads, Jamison, Dan, and Meg, to pinpoint what the pain points are for our industries.

Senior living marketers and CEOs are going to have a much different set of problems and business goals that they want to achieve than multi-family or self storage. So really digging into that and overlaying those pain points with our value. From that, knowing that we have a few big pieces of content and then a few others that will come up. Emily is also working on a WCAG compliance whitepaper right now because we know that is important for our industry, and websites, and all the industries.

We’re adaptable in that way, but we really try to make pieces of content, the hubs around our messaging. Our state of the industry reports are wonderful, rich pieces of content that we’re able to get. Emily does blogs and other things from that. We focus a lot of our messaging around, obviously where the pain points are and then back it up with pieces of content that are educational and show our value to our prospects.

Emily: Then we tie it all into the distribution plans. Which channels are we looking into? How are we sharing? How are we amplifying? How are we making sure that we get this into the right hands? Also, how are we empowering our internal teams to use these pieces of content in the way that they should be used?

Nathan: I absolutely love that. It seems like you guys have really embraced the hub and spoke model for content distribution. Would that be an accurate guess there?

Emily: Absolutely.

Nathan: That’s really good. I think a common problem for marketers is that we are typically makers and it’s really easy for us to jump into the tactical side, so it’s really fun to hear how you guys approach this with aligning your work to that strategic goal from the company perspective. It seems like you guys would be able to prove your value and how marketing really aligns with connection to the overall business strategy.

Celena: Absolutely. We lean heavily on our marketing operations manager to help us get those numbers. We use automation systems to properly track and feed into our goals. We have KPIs that we need to meet. Our company sells a product so we have a goal that aligns to our sales goal. We’re able to track more efficiently how we’re meeting those goals. We also have soft KPIs in terms of just getting our brand out there more.

Emily: I just wanted to take a minute to shout out to Tom, our operations manager because the amount of work he’s done. It’s rare that we use anything out-of-the-box here. Tom has done a masterful job of really setting up our systems so that we are properly tracking the attribution that we need to know that what we’re doing is successful, and then where we can identify areas of improvement.

Nathan: That’s awesome. I would say thanks to Tom, too, I think. I would love to have a Tom on our team. I totally get the concept of almost needing a technical person to make sure that we’re tracking things from a marketing perspective, “Did someone consume that?” and then make a decision. Could you fill me in a little bit more on Tom’s role and how Tom helps you be able to measure stuff? I think that’s really interesting.

Celena: Tom is my lifeblood. Not to talk about other products, but we use Salesforce and Pardot for our CRM and then our email automation. Within that, Pardot, we have a B2B marketing analytics software that they have. He uploads all of our content to make sure it has trackings links, he builds out all of our landing pages and it’s a lot because he does multiple landing pages for each piece of content. He’s able to show attribution from where’s something originated, so we have a different landing page for the state of the industry that’s in a blog, versus one that’s just on our resource page on our website, versus one that I’m placing in earned media and syndication pieces that I pay for.

He brings it all together, and as Emily said, we don’t really do anything out-of-the-box. He spent the last two months onboarding our new analytics system from Pardot that doesn’t necessarily play nice with how we track. So he’s been deep diving into courses, classes, and all the fun things to help improve his craft, and ensure that he’s presenting a product to all of us, and helping us see what we need to see in order to help make better marketing decisions. He also builds all of our emails.

Emily: He’s really our number one problem solver at the end of the day. Tom is our technical analyst who can look at our systems and say, “Here is where there is the disconnect and here’s how we can improve it.”

Celena: Yeah, and runs all of our numbers and analytics. He manages a monthly report to our chief marketing officer on how our marketing team and then our sales development reps are actually in the marketing as well. He pulls all of our data and sees where there are gaps, where our marketing may be falling short, or where calls from the STRs are falling short. We lean on him heavily to help make us better.

Emily: I think one thing to note here, too, is that the way our department is structured, there’s very little overlap between jobs. Most everyone has a position and they are the one who owns it. Our CMO likes to say that we’re all player-coaches, so we’re not only developing the strategies, we’re building them out and we are implementing them.

Tom and his role is really the person who ties it all together from the number standpoint so we can see, yes, we have this overall strategy and these goals that we’re working towards, and how are each of those contributions aligning with whether or not we are meeting those goals. Tom’s role is absolutely invaluable to, really, our entire world back here.

Celena: Yeah, and I would say when we were looking for a project management tool software, he was one of the key people that we would talk to in terms of that because basically, any project that we have touches him. Everything follows through him and he’s usually the last touch on it, so it needed to work for him as well. He was the priority for who it should work for.

Nathan: At CoSchedule, I hear marketers say things like this all the time, “I just want to everything in one place.” Me, I like to go deeper than that. That seems a little surface level to me and I like to explore the why. Why do marketers actually just want to see everything that they’re doing in a single place? My research has really narrowed it down to a few simple things.

Seeing everything in one place can help marketers complete more work. When you spend less work coordinating your work, you can actually spend that time completing it. Seeing everything in one place also helps marketers complete their work on time. Without visibility in how your projects are intersecting and overlapping, it’s really hard for marketers to promise deadlines when they’re spread really thin. Seeing everything in one place helps marketers prove their value. We can’t take for granted that stakeholders and execs just want to know what marketing is doing to execute that high-level company strategy. Literally by showing how marketing work aligns with strategic business objectives, they can prove their value to the organization.

That’s why CoSchedule recently launched our brand new Marketing Suite. CoSchedule’s a family of agile marketing products that is there to help you complete more work, deliver those projects on time, and prove your value to stakeholders. Learn more about it at coschedule.com/transform-modern-marketing. All right, let’s get back to the show with Emily and Celena.

What does your process look like? It seems like you’ve got a lot of big projects in the works and you’ve got lots of promotion to play into those rocks, that spoke model. You are obviously doing a lot to measure this and make sure things are set up well. I’d love to hear more about your process like how you keep your team on track, on task. How are you hitting deadlines? All that stuff.

Emily: I think that really speaks to the importance of CoSchedule since we first bought it on board. I’ve been at G5 about four years, but I have only been on the marketing team for almost a year now. When I came on board, we had several different systems and different project management tools that we were using to hope that they could work for different people and different roles. One of the big things we needed to do was centralize what everyone is working on so that there’s visibility, not just for ourselves but for our co-workers to see who touches what at what time.

It’s also been great because we work with so many different teams in the company, and they all want to know what are we working on at any given time. CoSchedule has allowed us to create these shareable views which our sales team just loves. They know what pieces of content are valuable to them, specifically and who they’re talking to at the moment, so they are able to share, and they’re able to, “Oh, don’t worry. We have this really great things coming up that we’re going to be able to talk to you about,” or they’ll know which campaigns we’re working so that they know what messaging they should align to.

We’ve gone through, and with CoSchedule, we’ve started from the very bottom and built out our own processes within the tool. There were some templates made for different projects that we tweaked a bit, here and there, to make sure they fit more with our processes, but really, being able to assign out individual tasks within a project, being able to see what anyone is working on in a given time.

Our designer in particular, Claire, also she’s only been here for about six months. It feels like she’s been here six years. We love her. She’s so valuable to us and she’s so valuable to this company, so everybody wants to get on her schedule. With CoSchedule, we’ve really been able to say, “This is what she’s able to take on and this is where we may have to push back a little bit.” The visibility side of it is huge for us and building out those processes has been a bit time-consuming, but it’s been absolutely worth it. I would say, we’re probably running far smoother than we have at any other given time in the last year that I’ve been in the marketing team.

Celena: Yeah. The ability to set the rules so things don’t show up on someone’s calendar until all the other things are done makes it really easy to plan and set up your processes. You can put a whole campaign and bookmark where things should be. You don’t have to worry about being out of town, or getting sick, or forgetting to tell someone something because it’s a three-week campaign and three-week process. Two steps in, someone checks it off.

You don’t have to manage their time as well as your time. The next person in line is automatically notified and that has been really, really helpful for all of us because as I said, we’re not someone else’s time and our time, and worrying about their schedules filling up because we already looked at what’s going on.

Emily: And because we have those marketing plans that we’ve already identified, putting them into CoSchedule and being able to execute on them has been so simple. We have the timeline built out. We know what needs to be done when. Having that original plan in place in combination with having the tooling to be able to let people know when something is ready to be done has just been so beneficial for our team.

Celena: Yeah, and being able to put all the moving parts in. We have several conferences and trade shows that we do a year. Being able to say, “Okay, this is when the trade show is, and these are all the little things that need to come before that and the timelines on them.” It’s just so much visibility and so much accountability for all of us.

Nathan: I’m really excited to hear that, first of all. That’s really fun to hear and I have to give a shout out to your designer, Claire. I have the pleasure of working three designers here at CoSchedule and they’re always the ones, because of their specialty, everything has to flow through them. Either you can look at that like a bottleneck or you can treat it like, “Maybe we have some room to improve our process to help them not feel like they’re holding back the entire team.”

We had been doing that a lot here at CoSchedule too, where it’s like, “Let’s just see if we can start writing this a little bit sooner so that it falls on the designers here.” I really liked hearing about the timelines and looking at basically, how that specialist stuff shakes out for you guys. Thank you for sharing that.

Celena: Yup. We love Claire.

Emily: Yes, and also, she’s definitely not a bottleneck. If anything, we are the problem. She is not. Always.

Nathan: I will fully accept that too, for our team. Maybe just one last question here before we start to think about wrapping up this episode. I’m wondering, I hear from marketers all the time that they’re being asked to do more with less in many ways, like there’s a lot of research to do. Gartner suggests that CMOs are expected to do more things, take on more work that marketers have never even done before, and they’re expected to do it with the same headcount or even a decreased headcount. I was wondering if you guys feel any of that pressure or is your workload growing and team is relatively stable? How do you guys handle that?

Celena: I would say yes, I would agree with that. I think yes, CMOs are definitely being asked to do more and so we get asked to do more. We’re a little short on our headcount right now that we’re trying to get in place, but it is a struggle. So if someone leaves or you have a bright idea that hire one more person, it can take 6–9 months to make that happen. Even if you are at with a full team, you’re doing more. You’re doing more analysis, and more analytics, and more travel, and more managing up of other departments.

Marketing and CMOs in general are in this really interesting spot where they see the company from a different perspective. They see the brand in a certain way, they see enablement in a certain way, and they get the whole bird’s-eye view of what’s going on in the company. So, a lot of marketers are very empathetic and social people so they’re much more likely to take on more because they have opinions on how things should be connecting and how people should be using what we’re creating.

We take it on ourselves to better the company, but I think CMOs drive that because they also see it. They want to be able to help a sales team as much as possible or the account management team as much as possible. They definitely have a different perspective on what’s going on in the company. So, it just happened.

Emily: Then just so far as how you address it, this is where planning really comes in. As our team has grown, we have certainly had to change our practices around how we are planning, how we’re documenting, how we are sharing those plans. Also, we’re having to be more strategic in what types of events we’re going to, what kinds of content we’re creating, how many emails are we sending out.

We use the analytics from Tom to inform a lot of our decision-making, but then we’re looking at, “Okay, at what point have we oversaturated the market a bit?” We’ve really moved away from the old spray and pray method and are trying to be more thoughtful in what we are delivering. A lot of that is as we’re being asked to do more, what we’re looking at is providing higher value pieces of content, in particular, as we’re talking about the spoke and wheel model.

I know on my side of things, people always want more content. Our SEO team, our account management team, our strategy team, everybody wants a piece of documentation that they can hand off to a client or prospect that simply explains to them why we are the solution to their one-off problems, issues, whatever it may be, but that’s not scalable and it’s not sustainable, so what we have to look at is what provides the most value. Also, from my perspective, I have one contractor that I work with on a fairly regular basis. What are the pieces of content that I’m comfortable outsourcing to someone, and is it a cost-effective choice for us, and are we getting a return on that specific investment?

Everything comes back to planning and what are we doing to make it easier on ourselves because we know that opportunities are going to come up and there’s so many times when we don’t want to say no to them, and why would we? This has happened to us so much this year with events where we get an opportunity to come, and speak, and get our name out there, and get our ideas out in front of a new audience. If we’re going to do those things, we are actually starting to put back into our planning as well, trying to make sure that we have a bit of a buffer.

Celena: Yeah, and I think what’s been really helpful for us, which I just really started this month, is one of our colleagues, to us a product marketing manager moves somewhere into the manager of integrated marketing or demand gen, her name is Kelly, super seasoned marketer. She’s helped us with out strategies and then helped us see that you can be much more specific and much more thoughtful about your campaigns as opposed to the spray and pray.

It’s really important to have that good manager, that good marketer leading a team because then, they’re able to make the tough decisions or push back when need be because things will always come, but you got to have someone that will protect the team in a lot of ways and can be that guard so that every little request isn’t coming straight to your doers. Your doers are going to do, but having that, “How does this fit into our strategy for the rest of the year?” gut check is really, really helpful.

Nathan: It sounds like choosing what not to do is almost just as important as choosing what to do. It sounds like you guys have a pretty good framework for maximizing your team for results. It sounds like you’re hiring so we’ll have to share this around and any people we know, we’ll direct them your way. See if we can get some nice, talented marketers on your team. Seems like you would have a nice environment to join.

Emily: Right. If you happen to know any event coordinators who loves trade shows, and conferences, and loves the nitty-gritty of planning, we would love to talk to them.

Nathan: Well you heard it here. Go ahead and find them. I think we’re about ready to wrap up this episode. I have a couple rapid fire career growth questions for you that I’d love to run through just really quickly. We’ll be using this for our episode here, and also you can find it on our academy at coschedule.com/academy. I guess maybe just to kick-off those rapid fire questions, what’s the one thing that you maybe wish you had known before you began your career?

Celena: To be flexible.

Emily: Lattices not ladders. Ladder is one of the new things that we’re talking about here. It’s not necessarily upward mobility, it’s, “Are you willing to move and take a different position?” That means that that’s where group grows opportunity is.

Nathan: Very nice, and flexibility. Could you explain that just a little bit more?

Celena: Yeah, it’s the same kind of idea. For example, I started my career in a non-profit doing educational things and I got a piece of advice there at a young professionals group, from someone more seasoned that said, “Pay attention to the doors that open more easily. Not necessarily that you have to walk through them, but pay attention to them.” Because I paid attention, and I asked questions, and built relationships in my company, I ended up moving into marketing and communications. It changed the trajectory of career which has worked out for the best for me, for my professional and my personal life. That’s why I’m indebted.

Emily: I couldn’t agree with that more. I was a human physiology major in college. I can tell you, I never once thought that I was going to be a marketer. Copywriting fell into my lap as an opportunity for a friend’s company. Ended up at G5 probably the lowest run you could get in the company as far as the creative services side of things, in a content creation standpoint, and working my way up that ladder, and then speaking to a lot concepts topped out on the copy side of things and thought, “I need a new opportunity.” So even if this means I go back to the bottom, that’s really the right choice if I want to keep moving forward in my career.

Nathan: I think that’s awesome for you back. Thank you for sharing it. That was so, pretty deep stuff. I love it. As you’re thinking about that career growth, and the lattice and ladder concept, being flexible, sounds like you guys had some pretty good mentors. I was wondering if you could share some maybe your resources if they’re books, or maybe websites or blogs that you’ve read, or people that helped you out along the way.

Celena: Not to necessarily name different people because there are plenty, but the thing that I have found most useful in my career in terms of resources is building relationships and sitting down and talking to people. Even higher-level people in your own company or in different departments, asking to get coffee with them. Some of the best conversations I had at my old job are a member of the board just sat down and said, “Would love to talk to you while we grab lunch.” He wasn’t imposing.

Building out your relationships and just seeing where those go organically. Your bosses are going to change, but if you have a good boss and you have strong colleagues, ask them how they do their jobs. Watch their technical skills. I worked with a photographer at my old job who had decades of experience photographing presidents. He worked at The White House, and I would just sit and watch him in Photoshop, and that was my classroom. He’s 75 years old and still a good friend and coming to my wedding in Bend, Oregon next year from DC.

It’s important to cultivate your relationships, but don’t try. Obviously, put an effort, but don’t pick someone to cultivate a relationship with based on their position. Find people that you connect with and be open to having very strong relationships with them. That’s been one of the most important things in my career.

Emily: I’m actually going to piggyback off of that but take a slightly different angle. As far as relationships, one of the most valuable things to me when I joined our marketing department were the relationships that I formed when I was on our creative services team. I tend to interact with a different audience in this world than I did on that side. In this world, I work a lot with our executive team, with our leadership team. I work with a lot of the leads, but when I was over in the creative services department, I worked hand in hand with a lot of the doers in our company. 

You really get a great perspective for what it takes to be successful throughout a company and not just in your own job, but also those relationships can be very beneficial for you later. As I moved to digital marketing, I can probably go to just about any department in this company. I can find someone that I have a previous relationship with that I can call to be a subject matter expert on something. Somebody whose brain I can go pick.

Even just having that ability to go sit down in someone else’s office or over by a chair in their desk, you learned so much and those relationships are so valuable to your overall understanding of how a company functions. I think this is an issue within probably most any medium to large company is the silos. Having those relationships helps break down the silos between teams, and make sure that you are on the same page, and that whatever you’re doing is beneficial for everyone.

Celena: I think we’re in such an environment now. Our parents and generations before would stay at a company for 30 years and then retire, and that’s not where we’re at now. People move around, or they leave and go to other parts of the country, or they move across town to another job, but maintaining those friendships and relationships, you just never know what’s going to come out of that. I would say no one is beneath your friendship and making sure that you are being thoughtful, and kind, and building out your relationships because I truly, truly think that your peers are your mentors as well because no one’s ever done willing. You can learn something from anyone. Just be open to it.

Nathan: Wow. I absolutely love that. Congrats on the wedding, by the way.

Celena: Thank you.

Nathan: I think that advice really plays well. You made a friend, 75 years old and he’s going to come to your wedding here in a few months from across the country no less.

Celena: Yeah, into little Bend, Oregon where it’s going to take him two flights in a really small plane he’s not going to like.

Nathan: I would be with him on the small airplane front. I think that’s a great place to wrap this up. I want to say thank you, guys. Thanks so much for sharing this information with us and for helping others trying to solve these problems with planning, emergencies, and measurement. I really appreciated everything that you guys shared today. Thank you.

Celena: Thank you, back.

Emily: Thank you for having us. We had a great time.

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