By Juvenal Safari
Innovators need to know how to communicate and market their ideas. This is the case whether one wants to work in marketing / communications, is a leader of a company or wants to establish a new business.
Stephanie Scott Salim, Digital Content Manager at Duke Corporate Education, has some valuable insights to share on how to market and communicate ideas. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been doing this in different capacities, ranging from communicating the value of a global airline company (American Airlines), highlighting marketing messages for clients working for a marketing agency and shining a spotlight on some of the best leadership ideas in the world through her work at Duke Corporate Education.
We all have different contexts and objectives, yet there are some common themes we can all keep in mind.
“You have to know your audience and have clarity around your goals,” said Stephanie. “Goals need to be SMART [specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound]. Build a strategy first, then execute and tweak based on your performance.”
Many individuals and organizations share lots of messages across various channels. Is this the best tactic? According to Stephanie, it is not.
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew, maintain a steady cadence of content,” she advised. “Stay up to date on the latest trends via reliable sources and err on the side of clarity rather than complexity.”
We have all needed to innovate and adapt over the past year due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has presented both challenges and opportunities for marketers and communicators. When COVID hit, Stephanie and her team shifted their content strategy overnight to cover topics that would be relevant to leaders dealing with the new business environment. They built a landing page and an email series called "Lockdown Leaders" that shared articles, podcasts and videos on topics like leading through crisis, remote collaboration, agility and adaptability.
Gaining Career Clarity over Time
Stephanie has taken on various roles and challenges. It was interesting to hear how her career path and related interests evolved over the years. After earning a psychology degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Stephanie initially worked as an Executive Assistant and then a Program Manager for Duke Corporate Education, one of the premier organizations that delivers custom executive education for companies. She eventually transitioned into marketing after a period of reflection and thinking about her objectives. After these two months of reflection, she took on a role managing social media for a marketing agency in Fort Worth, Texas.
Key to gaining this clarity was networking. She advises young professionals seeking out a new career to do the same.
“Network with people who have jobs you are interested in, get coffee, pick their brain, find a mentor, join local professional groups and meet people,” she said. “Build a name for yourself, learn, build your personal brand online (LinkedIn, Twitter) and share your thought leadership.”
Becoming clear on our goals is so important; it impacts how we approach our work.
“When you are doing something that you are not interested in, you lack courage and commitment, but when doing something that is interesting, you put in much more effort and can therefore be more successful,'' Stephanie said. “For me, marketing is a very exciting and fun field. It’s very fast-paced and fast-moving. You're always learning and experimenting with new technology.”
From my conversation, I was able gain valuable career advice. Here are three key points:
● Develop self-confidence. Being self-confident allows you to connect with different people of interest and eventually help open doors.
● Identify mentors and network strategically. Mentors are people that you can reach out to learn about their careers and explore your interests. It is also important to leverage professional groups through LinkedIn or take part in Zoom meetups. Use this as the opportunity to network and learn from others.
● Build your personal brand. Creating content around our interests is an opportunity to demonstrate that we’re keeping up to date and learning.
I aspire to one day work in the marketing and communication industry. To reach this goal, I intend to follow Stephanie's advice by growing my connections with people in the industry while keeping myself updated with the current trends in the marketing and communication field. Through doing this, I hope to achieve the goal of being a marketing and communication expert in Rwanda. It is a fast-paced and exciting industry with lots of opportunities.
Learn more about Stephanie on her LinkedIn Profile.