MIMA Event: The Future of Digital Careers was held on May 22, 2018 at Horizontal Integration.
In this second installation of the Career Development Series, hosted by Horizontal Integration, a panel of leaders in digital marketing shared their personal career trajectory, gave advice on skill development strategies, and described trends in digital marketing jobs. Panelists included: Kelly Lindberg, VP Customer Experience at Optum (United Health Group corporation); Mike Keyes, SVP, Machine Learning at Remote Insights and Independent Data Scientist; Julie Vollenweider, Partner and Co-Founder of Dialog Studios; and Charlie Hield, Senior Creative Technologist at Colle McVoy.
Several key messages emerged from the panel discussion and subsequent Q&A:
- The path to a career in digital marketing is non-linear and multi-faceted, a “well-rounded grab bag” of experiences, said
- The more skills, experiences and failures, the better. As Charlie stated, “I fail constantly. It’s the only way I learn.”
- The ability to wear many hats is more important than a single focused discipline. “I wear 10 hats”, explained Kelly.
- Taking risks and learning on the job are crucial skills in this business. As Mike explained, “I am hiring you not just for this project, but for the next project and the one after that. I look for evidence that you can figure it out.”
Arturo Mendiola, VP of Client Strategy at Horizontal Integration, kicked off the discussion by highlighting recent market trends. These include:
- An exponentially increasing pool of technology solutions
- Increase in CMO spending on analytics and consumer data
- A shortage and need of data scientists (named “the sexiest job of the 21st century” by the Harvard Business Review)
- Accelerated growth of and demand for cyber security
- Expansion of AI applications and the potential for loss of jobs
- An escalating demand for customer experience across all industries.
Arturo concluded that the digital market field is expanding and in demand.
Kelly talked about her digital and “omni-channel” consumer experience career. She explained that the desire to craft a personalized and holistic consumer experience is driving demand for digital talent, specifically in the space of experience design.
Data: science and architecture
Mike spoke of his work as a data scientist. He explained the process of collecting, visualizing, interpreting and using data with the goal of predicting the future. He stressed the ability to translate Information Technology or “IT speak” into the business world, and business goals and expectations back to IT.
Content is everywhere
Julie discussed her field of content strategy and consultancy. She emphasized the importance of storytelling to capture ideas and direct objectives. One of the main takeaways was a love of learning and an ongoing exploration of one’s interests is key to creating and presenting content.
Master of none
As a creative technologist, Charlie spoke about having a multi-skilled, Jack-of-all-trades working career. A hybrid of a traditional creative and a code developer, he spoke of the need to keep up with emerging technologies by being curious, adaptable and in perpetual exploration.
Tools of the trade
The panelists shared their favorite data collecting tools:
- Tableau, a software for business intelligence and analytics
- Adobe Analytics, for real-time analytics and segmentation
- Qualtrics Surveys, to facilitate data-driven decisions
- OpenRefine, for data wrangling
- API-Application Program Interface, a software intermediary that allows applications to talk to each other
Fake it till you make it
A recurring theme of the evening was the emphasis of learning on the job. The panelists noted the importance of talking to people in the industry, attending MIMA networking events and the value of online learning. They urged the audience to take initiative as well as develop and grow skills by doing. Suggestions for acquiring experience in the field and building a portfolio included:
- Networking with everyone
- Volunteering for organizations of personal interest
- Freelancing for small businesses
- Tableau Public, free software to create interactive data visualizations
- Open Source, publicly accessible collaborative software
The winning resume
As a parting gift to the job seekers in the audience, the panelists shared what they look for in a resume and the capabilities they look for when hiring. Kelly urged the audience to stay away from job descriptions and focus on specific and measurable outcomes and accomplishments. Charlie stressed the importance of showing thinking and process. Julie framed the resume as a story, not only of experiences but of interests and personality. She warned of the dire consequences of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Mike emphasized showing examples of learning potential and motivation. All four speakers agreed that the ideal candidate for any job would possess a combination of demonstrable skills and the potential to learn with exposure, time, and feedback.
Join MIMA at this summer’s CATFOA series starting with Jeff Kling on June 20. Love attending events and all the possibilities available for networking through MIMA? Remember to get friends to join here or continue to support MIMA’s initiatives by becoming a sponsor.
Written by MIMA Marketing Committee volunteer Keren Kroul.