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Marketing Professional Talk with Wendy Winder
Wendy Winder is a senior marketing leader with 25+ years of experience in all aspects of marketing, brand management and strategic planning. From advertising, social media, event management and planning, promotions, direct marketing, public relations, sponsorships, loyalty marketing, media buying, category management, head office sales experience and everything in-between, Wendy has either done it or led a team in executing it. Her signature ‘let’s get it done’ attitude, creative vision and aptitude for building teams with a foundation of trust have served her and the wide variety of B2C and B2B companies she worked for with positive results.
Recently, Wendy launched her own strategy and marketing firm – Ray Strategic Marketing. Ray helps companies grow through business strategy, brand positioning, identifying their unique value proposition, marketing planning and assistance in execution. Wendy works with companies to get clarity on who they are, and where they want to go and helps put a road map together of how to get there. She then supports them in execution to achieve success.
Advertising, marketing, public relations and e-business managers plan, organize, direct, control and evaluate the activities of establishments and departments involved in commercial, industrial and e-business advertising, marketing and public relations. They are employed by commercial and industrial establishments, government departments, and advertising, marketing and public relations firms or consulting businesses.
The analysis of key labour market indicators such as job vacancies and employment growth as well as the unemployment rate suggests that the number of job seekers was sufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group over the 2016-2018 period.
For Advertising, marketing and public relations managers & Other business services managers, over the period 2019-2028, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 19,400 , while 19,900 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.
A university degree or college diploma in business administration or in a related field with a specialization in sales or marketing and Several years of experience as a sales, marketing or public relations representative or in a related occupation are required.
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Complete Episode Transcript
Coming up next.
And if you’re in marketing, you love learning new things like that’s the best part about marketing is that everything’s changing and evolving.
The Job Talk Podcast shares stories from people who are passionate and love what they do in their careers.
Through conversation, we explore their careers, past work experiences and the education that got them to where they are now.
We are putting together a Career Crisis Ultimate Interview series.
We are asking experts to give their best advice and guidance around work anxiety, career pressures, career goal setting, and ultimately career transformation.
To learn more about this special interview series and get notified when it’s available, please visit our Web page at thejobtalk.com/help Today’s guest is Wendy Winder.
Here’s our job talk with a marketing professional.
Wendy, I have to be very careful as I’m talking to you today because we’re going to talk about marketing.
And I don’t want to fill the time I have with you talking about how to market a very small podcast.
So let’s talk about, I think we should start your story off with your first post-secondary experience.
Where did you go when you left Grade 12.
Directly to University of Alberta I ended up taking business.
My parents were very supportive of education, but they felt very strongly that after four years I should have a job.
And so I didn’t choose.
I went into business and ironically, I was one of those kids that just didn’t know what.
I didn’t have a I didn’t feel like I had a passion for one thing in particular.
And so in going through university and doing the different courses, I didn’t like accounting.
I, you know, finance wasn’t my favorite thing.
And I fell into marketing and probably loved the experience and the creativity of it the most.
So that’s what that’s when I got my degree in.
When you’re taking business, is it very broad? Like, are you taking courses that are related to sales, marketing and everything, or is it specific? If you choose a stream, say, marketing.
Are all of your courses geared towards marketing.
The University of Alberta, your first two years are very general.
They’re just teaching you how to think really.
And then your last two years are get more specific and that’s where you choose your major and you take more, more courses in your particular field.
Ironically, from hiring people over the years, I’m a big fan of places like Mount Royal over the years, I’m a big fan of places like Mount Royal SAIT, NAIT the it’s more applied and I find sometimes those graduates get up and running faster.
Not to say that either path is bad, but if it’s your, you know, to turn someone right away into a, you know, with less, less teaching.
I find those graduates are doing really well.
Were your parents business minded? What were your parents doing for their vocation? Both of them were teachers.
So obviously education was really important.
So obviously education was really important.
The one regret I have is actually I wish I would have gone in The one regret I have is actually I wish I would have gone in and done an arts degree and been broader in in in the different areas and fields that I was studying and then done my master’s.
Because nowadays, you know, a master’s is kind of your entry level.
And I, my parents were like really firm and do your master your undergrad in business and then your master’s is like kind of a repeat.
And so it would be better to spend time in the field and then go back and do your masters.
The problem is I started my masters and part way through, had a kid.
Suddenly the masters went out the window, didn’t finish.
So I think do it again.
I would do that.
You finish your university education.
Let’s talk about your very first job.
What what did you get? Where did you go and what did you learn from it? So in my last year, so one of the dream jobs in in university, I thought was to go work for Procter Gamble.
And I thought if I worked for I got this internship at Procter & Gamble, I would be like my life would be made.
And so I applied for it and I was really like, so passionate that I wanted this job that I was like, I can’t just apply.
I need to do something special.
So not to date myself because now you probably do a video, but I did this real fancy brochure and got it professionally printed and did photography for it.
And in the hold that and put it in, I was like, So sure I’m getting this job.
And then I didn’t get it and I was like, Oh my gosh, I just lost out of my dream job.
So I went and asked them like, Why? What did I do wrong? Or, you know, what can I learn from? And they said that they tossed my application because I didn’t follow the rules.
And the learning there is like, that’s where you pivot and adapt and go from there.
So my first job ended up being with Quaker Oats Company and I was the territory manager and so I would travel around and have conversations with grocery stores and try and influence their purchase decisions.
And six months in, my boss at the time, Eugene Wong, I don’t know where he is, but he did me a huge favor.
He sat me down and said, Wendy, it’s great.
You work really hard.
You know, you’re doing all the things you actually have to sell something.
And so I was like, Oh my God, I lose my first job.
But what, what that did for me was two things.
One, it, it, it made me realize that I have to take credit for the work that I’m doing because I was definitely very much putting off the credit for my own work.
And then the second thing that it taught me was to go after the big win.
So it changed my perspective of of walking in and just trying to sell, you know, a case of Gatorade.
I would walk in and go, okay, well, how am I getting that wall? And and that’s what I’m going for, because that’s the big win.
And that lesson is to truly influenced my career all the way through is just going for the big wins and and working hard and taking credit for, for the things that you’re actually doing.
Marketing and sales, are they the same thing? Well, interestingly, they’re not…
In my career, I spent time in sales and I spent time in marketing.
And the time that I spent in sales, maybe it made me a better marketer.
So basically marketing is equipped to to getting leads through the door and sales sales is is basically closing on those leads.
But where firms go off is when you have marketers that have never been in the trenches, they’ll always complain that sales is always complaining.
We give them everything and then they just want more.
And sales will always be like they don’t understand what it’s like.
I need this and I need it now and I need this and I need it now.
And so I think having marketers work in sales for a period of their career and vice versa is a smart thing because at the end of the day, it’s a team and and they do overlap.
So that’s why often you’ll see directors of sales and, and business development and marketing all in one.
I was going to say your experience in sales absolutely helps you in your role in marketing and your experience with that.
Your what does your husband do for for work? Ironically, we were both well, we were both marketing directors, but we we came at it from very different fields.
And I think this is a good thing to kind of share is that his path to marketing director was more from a product management standpoint and kind of really digging in and analyzing.
And the sectors that he worked in were very different.
So he was very much into technology.
So he was very much into technology.
So now he’s director working for Stantec and from my standpoint, I came at marketing from more of a I would say traditional what people think of when we think of marketing where you’re, you’re doing photoshoots and you’re managing advertising buys and media plans and, you know, booking radio and and through my, my background is more in the B2C.
So I work for companies like Goodyear and hospitality groups like the Moxies Group of companies.
Jugo Juice Good Earth Coffee House, so…
even though we had the same title we were doing kind of the same thing, but, but in different fields and definitely our day to day would be much different.
What skills do you think a person needs to have to be successful as a marketing manager? You have to do soft skills.
You have to you have to be creative.
So you have to think differently. Like think outside the box.
You don’t want to always be doing the same thing, but at the end of the day you need to be a team player.
So being able to work with other people, communicating, being a good communicator to make sure that people understand where you’re coming from and then being able to listen and hear back where other people are coming from.
Because at the end of the day, you need to pull everyone together in order to achieve something.
And that’s what a marketing manager needs to do.
Can we talk a little bit about what you’re doing now? You just launched a marketing firm, and I think my first question with that, with launching a marketing firm, I’m guessing that you had a lot of people telling you while you were going through your career that you should be doing this for yourself.
Did you did you find that? I did, kind of in the last decade of my career in I wasn’t ready.
I had young kids and I just I needed I wanted to have more security.
But after 25 years in marketing and 15 as a director and leading a team of marketers, I was ready for another challenge.
I also saw a gap in the market, so I think I’m passionate about helping companies grow.
And so there’s a lot of small and medium sized businesses that either don’t have a marketer at all or they might be large enough where they have more of a D, where a marketer like a social media person or a marketing manager, but they don’t have like a senior level that can really help don’t have like a senior level that can really help craft the plan and, and so I want to help those types of businesses grow by, by being able to hire our firm on a part time basis.
And what is the name of your marketing firm and what services do you provide your clients? So the company’s called Ray’s Strategic Marketing and, and we do help companies grow.
So how we do that is through brand positioning and unique value proposition.
So we really we work with the companies to kind of figure out who are they, you know, what do they do better than anyone else? And in and where do they, you know, where do they value? Where do you want to go? So kind of once we have that locked and loaded and then depending on the company and where they’re at, I’ll help them with building a strategic plan to get to where they want to go and or a marketing plan.
If they kind of got the strategic plan locked and loaded, then we’ll focus on a marketing plan.
And then because plans aren’t good, if they sit on the shelf, then I’ll help them execute. So we can depending on again, depending on the company.
Well, we’ll take up maybe a more hands on approach where we maybe help them through a period of time.
Or maybe we just do check ins and help them with from accountability standpoint and moving through the strategic plan and being kind of their partner and consultant through that process.
What is your process look like when you get that first discovery call? What happens? Can you kind of lead us through what what you’re doing like between 9 to 5? What are you doing during your day? Well, the first thing, ironically, a couple of clients have come through just because they asked me and can, you know, can you help me with the website, which is very common, people want to order off the marketing menu.
But what what really is important is that we go back in and do the hard work before you get to doing the execution by piece.
So yeah, so taking that step back and going like, you know, are you locked and loaded on, you know, what, what you’re going to do to win in the market.
And so usually I’ll just start with a conversation and kind of do a lay of the land and then we’ll often walk companies through a brainstorming process, kind of figure out where they’re at and and through that process, it will unveil kind of the plan and the strategy that needs to be put together.
And so then I’ll go away and I’ll put the plan or the strategy together, and then we come back and it’s more collaborative.
Any plan is needs to be collaborative.
It’s not it’s not something you can go away and do by yourself on a computer.
You need to work back and forth and that will bring forth the best work.
And then we’ve kind of decided on, okay, here’s what the goals are.
Here’s the bag or the big carrier, they should go.
Then we’ll start, agree on the plan and we’ll start moving through the process of executing it.
So on a day to day basis for me, so I’ll give you both scenarios.
What you day to day on a marketing director and day to day on with the marketing firm.
So day to day and a marketing firm, I think probably three days a week you’re you’re doing the work, but one day a week probably three days a week you’re you’re doing the work, but one day a week you’re talking to people and you’re telling people about what you’re doing so that you’re able to get out there and build that awareness.
And so that the clients that need the services that you offer can connect with you.
So you’re marketing yourself, you’re doing, you’re doing your own plan.
And then there’s another day of the week that’s a lot of admin.
When you’re running your own company, you know, your invoicing, you’re, you know, balancing your own budget.
you’re doing your, your own social media or whatever.
So that’s kind of for the marketing firm.
As a marketing director, I would say very similar for both Doug and I – Doug is my husband sorry is that part the week with with your team and you would have a I like to call them Monday morning meetings where you you go around and who’s working on what and and then you kind of figure out, okay, what’s going well, what’s not going well then as a group of is anyone running into any issues in probably 88 on how to get past those and then you kind of block out what you’re going to do for the week.
And as a marketing director, a lot of that is you’re probably moving projects along, you’re meeting with suppliers, but you’re also meeting with your team members and making sure that that you have paved the way for them to shine.
So any obstacles they’re struggling with or they’re having that you’re kind of helping them to that make sure that they can go out and do what they do.
How are you finding being the marketing manager for your own firm as opposed to being the marketing manager for a business, someone else’s business? Yeah, it’s it’s hard.
Well, first of all, my my firm is relatively new.
The first thing I did was like a do my own.
What I preach about is figure out, you know, who I am, what makes my company unique, and how I’m going to win in the marketplace.
And then I put together the website and then I just got going, so then I just got it.
Okay, now I’m going to meet with people.
I have cups of coffee.
We’re going to talk a lot.
And through that process, an old mentor of mine said to me, Hey, when do you did you put your plan on paper? And I was embarrassed to say that I haven’t so that we can I literally spent the time and did my own plan because it was in my head.
and did my own plan because it was in my head.
I intuitively knew it.
But there is magic to writing your own goals down and writing your own, putting your plan on paper.
And then literally I have it stuck up in my office.
You know, here are my 5 to 6 things that are super important to work on.
And then I break it down even to 90 day rock’s that we call them the the most important things to do within the 90 day period and attacking those first.
But then there’s then there’s discipline involved with that.
And what’s interesting is I can it’s easy for me to marry, to plan and say, okay, you need to do content marketing and you need to be on video and get yourself out there on LinkedIn or whatever.
But then doing it yourself is a whole other, whole other piece.
So it’s, it’s been invigorating because it’s definitely this switch has pushed me out of my comfort zone.
And if you’re in marketing, you love learning new things.
Like that’s the best part about marketing is that everything’s changing and evolving.
And the things that we were doing 20 years ago are not what we’re doing now, but there’s basics that make sense. But pushing yourself out of the comfort zone and really going for it and marketing yourself is is hard and there’s an accountability factor that you have to hold yourself accountable to.
But that’s what makes it exciting to do.
You think all of these social media platforms that come out and my kids are trying to keep me up to date on, you know, every new product that comes out.
Is it is it almost overwhelming to you? Do you have a favorite social media application that you go to and use.
My personal favorites, Instagram, because of the visual history of it.
But there’s always going to be something new and we’re always going to have to figure out the new thing.
And what’s interesting, which I find super interesting right now, is this has been a great lesson to right now, the media platforms are kind of taking away some of the power.
So they’re not allowing you to have as much access to the consumers to remind it.
It’s a pendulum where, you know, it used to be email was king and getting everyone’s information was so important.
And then we migrated away from that.
And now we’re realizing now it’s actually having that direct access to your customer is super important.
You know, Facebook and Instagram have been very good about allowing us to drive people to our own websites and, you know, TikTok, Snapchat, they want to keep you in that medium.
And so that’s a different thing for all of us marketers to figure out is how to navigate that, but what’s coming behind them, that’s a challenge.
You can’t first of all, in marketing, you can’t be an expert at absolutely everything.
So again, this is where and you look at the field of marketing, you can go in and really specialize.
And if you’re passionate about something, I would suggest doing that and then being expert in that.
If you’re more like Doug and I, you are a generalist.
And so I’ve been lucky enough to have done public relations and communications and loyalty marketing and sales and all media buying and all these different things.
marketing and sales and all media buying and all these different things.
And that’s helped me because now I can apply my craft as a generalist, but but I also know it would be silly for me to go out and do a media buy.
A digital media buy.
Right now, I literally there are so many there’s so much that goes into that.
And you need experts that are just doing that to be able to do that.
Throughout your entire career, do you have a favorite product or service or project that you worked on that you’re most proud of? I have a favorite job my and I say yet because Ray is likely going to take over that but my my favorites.
I worked for Jugo Juice.
I come back off of mat leave or I’m taking time off to be home with the kids.
And I did a one year maternity coverage contract for them and end up being a year and a half.
coverage contract for them and end up being a year and a half.
But the timing was perfect.
The company had just been purchased by MTI, so the owners of the company to begin with sold to this larger company.
And they so they had gone through the process of figuring out who they are and who they want to be.
And so they wanted to offer healthy, healthy options for people on the go, for active people, on the go.
And so that was that piece of who they were was locked and loaded.
And when I came in, unbeknownst to me, the VP was leaving.
And so she came in and she said, Write your plan.
I wrote the plan.
And then she said, okay, go, let’s, let’s do it.
And then she left.
But the amount that we were, because the team had gone through the process of figuring out collaboratively who we wanted to be.
And then I’d written a plan.
We had this path of like, let’s go to it.
And then as a team, we were able to make big, big leap in that amount of time.
So we did things like introduce the kale, Mighty Kale Smoothie, which ended up well double digit growth for the company.
By the time I left, we needed fresh pressed juice.
Like we just we moved the needle from where they were to where they wanted to be in dramatic fashion in that amount of time.
And the two magic things that needed to happen was that the team was bought in and then we had direction and got it done.
So that I mean, that was hands down.
I think my favorite experience.
I need to eat more kale in my diet instead of eating cake at midnight over a sink.
It’s really kind of sad.
I was the first the first iteration and we had it.
It looked like mud. That one didn’t work. Yeah.
Then we went so green, I was like, Trust me, people will keep my mum.
Friends want this product.
What? What do you love most about being in the marketing world? If you could kind of summarize what you love most about the profession you chose? Two things…
I love seeing the impact.
So there I do have a passion for seeing companies grow and having playing a large hand and being able to make that happen is super fun and exciting.
And it doesn’t. It’s not boring.
Like you, there’s always new and different things to do and different ways that you want to connect with your customer.
And then the second thing is the people, and I think whether that’s a marketing specific thing, I just think that I’ve had the pleasure of working with some just amazing people that I’ve stayed in contact with through, through my life. And, you know, that’s the part that makes it fun.
Is there any specific advice you could give somebody that’s looking at a career in marketing? Yes.
That’s a pretty broad question.
But see what you can do with it. Yeah, I know.
I think there’s a I think this would apply for anybody, but I’ll try and do it.
But the big learning for me is that the path isn’t straight and so don’t get frustrated that are worried that like, oh my gosh, it took a sales job, but I wanted to be a marketing director or everything.
You can learn these different spaces round you out and makes you a better marketer.
Appreciate good people and surround yourself with them.
recognize not everyone’s going to be good, but when you find people that are, you know, glommed onto that, learn from that and learn from the people that aren’t good on on then who you don’t want to be.
So when you’re in a position to, you know, run a team, what are you not going to do and how are you going to make people feel? I would think another thing is I’ve written have patience.
You don’t have to be a vice president tomorrow.
Enjoy the process, which is totally hard in the moment.
I get it because I felt that way too.
But I guess get the enjoyment from the value that you’re able to add in and take pride in the work that you’re doing.
Another thing would be give generously.
So I fundamentally believe that giving without expectation of what you’re getting back is super important, and that always, always comes back to you.
But I think don’t keep track, don’t measure, just give in anything that you’re doing.
And then lastly, say be yourself.
Because I think no matter what career path you’re going down, if you’re you, you’re going you’re going down, if you’re you, you’re going to add that unique, special blend that makes it magical.
And we need that and we need more people that are passionately themselves.
That is excellent advice.
And you’re a very positive person.
I I’m not always super positive like that, but I, my dad told me that we’re realists, but I think that’s just another word for being pessimistic.
Anyway, Wendy, I wish you all the luck in the world as you’re starting up your marketing firm.
Congratulations on taking the jump and doing this.
It’s just fantastic.
And I wish you all the success in the world.
Thank you for tuning in to The Job Talk Podcast.
For more information, please visit us at thejobtalk.com Our podcast music was created by our friend Mike Malone in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.