Expert of the Week: Laura Morrison

Laura Morrison

Digital Marketing Manager at Richardson

What is your professional background?

I have served in a number of different roles in my professional career. My first jobs were administrative in nature.  During the 2008 recession I lost my job as an administrative assistant at a large law firm and decided that I never wanted to be expendable again so I made the decision to earn an MBA from Rutgers University in Camden.

After earning my MBA, I entertained a brief foray into the world of retail management, and, while the opportunity to lead a large team was valuable, I learned very quickly that retail management was not a good fit.

Following that I was fortunate enough to find an opportunity to serve as a content manager for the website GradSchools.com. This was a great role for me as new player in the digital marketing field, content marketing is regarded as the cornerstone of most digital marketing plans, the role puts you in the mix of virtually everything that happens on a web site.

In this role I learned about SEO, user experience design, marketing budgets, web development, social marketing and so much more.  After working for GradSchools.com for about 4 years I started looking for opportunities to expand my digital marketing horizons by working with new products in new verticals. 

I started working at my current organization, Richardson Sales Training, in June of 2016 as a digital marketing manager.  Richardson is a B2B company with over 37 years of experience offering professional sales training services to large to medium sized organizations across the globe.

As Richardson’s digital marketing manager I get to work on super cool projects like branding and improving the lead conversion funnel.  The best thing about my professional path is that if you had asked me 10 years ago where I would be today I would probably not have told you digital marketing, but now I could not imagine working in any other field (except as a rock star, but anyone who has seen me Karaoke knows that is not a real option).

 

What inspired you to choose marketing for your career?

I have always been interested in what makes people tick, so marketing was a natural choice. As a marketer you get to spend every day thinking about the way that other people perceive your brand/product and try to find ways to improve it by creating new offerings, changing your messaging, or doing research to gain insights into the minds of your customers.

In a lot of ways marketers are social scientists that are good at turning customer insights into revenue for the companies they work for.  Plus, marketing is so awesome, because you get to test new ideas and hypothesis’ almost constantly which means that every day is an opportunity to learn and grow professionally while adding value to your organization! I am admittedly biased, but, in my opinion marketing is definitely the most exciting and fun department in any organization.

 

In layman's terms, what does a digital marketing manager oversee?

We make sure that the organizations we represent are visible to customers and potential customers at all times, connect that audience to the services and information that they need in formats they are comfortable with, and grow business opportunities by presenting the value of the service provided in honest and compelling ways that help potential customers become long term business partners.

 

What’s your average day like?

I usually work 9-10 hours a day and some weekends, but I do make it a point to set aside time for play (in digital marketing this is easier said than done, because I cannot take a shower or cook a meal without my mind wandering into thinking about new things that I want to accomplish – and there are endless possibilities for improvement to explore).  Typically, I spend time reviewing website performance and updating reports, attending meetings both strategic and process focused, performing general website maintenance and updates, and then working on strategic projects.  Right now I am working on gaining a more widespread local search presence for our company, building out a website for Richardson’s international sales training team, and researching strategies to engage new audiences through digital channels.

 

What software programs have you found to be effective with digital marketing?

For inbound digital marketing a user friendly email and social media solution is key. I actually really like HubSpot because it is an integrated system that allows you to automate many daily activities like social posts, landing page creation and performance reporting, and RSS driven email updates.  For outbound marketing reporting tools are super important for gaining insight into opportunities for SEO improvements and user preferences. I am currently into Moz Pro, it offers a number of robust and sophisticated tracking and reporting tools and also provides competitor data which helps you keep a pulse on trends in the market.

 

What do you foresee with digital marketing in the near future? What about the long term?

In the short term, mobile is going to continue to be HUGE, if your digital channels are not optimized for the mobile experience then you are not delivering information or services to your audience in the way they want to consume it.

Long term, I predict that personalization of the digital experience will be paramount – everyday there are more and more solutions emerging that enable digital marketers to bridge the gap between highly interactive in person interactions and the traditionally more generic online experience. 

 

With regards to management, what are the most common mistakes that can occur with managing employees?

When you fail to listen to your people you fail them. Sometimes your day is so busy that you don’t really hear the things that people are saying to you, or you are so overwhelmed by emails that you skim through them and respond without thinking about them or asking follow up questions for clarification.

Taking time to silence the noise in your mind when you are engaging with your people it’s worth it because (1) it’s polite, and (2) it saves time in the long run because you avoid making careless mistakes.  The other challenge that I have is that as a millennial I sometimes tend to forget that leaders must sometimes be formal in order to build trust. 

As a generation millennials are not typically focused on formal business conventions, we want send emojis and smiley faces in our emails and use slang when interacting in person, but when you are in a leadership role, I think it is important to know how to speak and write professionally and understand when the situation calls for a more formal professional approach.

 

What books/blogs/materials about management would you recommend?

To be completely honest I don’t read that many books or articles about management. I tend to reach out to leaders that I encounter in real life for advice and guidance.

 

What advice would you give to someone looking to aspiring to attain a managerial role?

Be brave, if there is an opportunity to shrink into the shadows or step up and show your leadership capabilities choose to step up and take the risk associated with being in the spotlight. 

 

Find Laura on LinkedIn.