Meet the Marketers

Zicklin students connect with marketing experts from American Express, AT&T, Interbrand and GroupM

by Jennifer Bender
Director of Marketing and Communications, AIGA, the professional association for design
MBA Candidate, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College

On what turned out to be a blustery morning, Zicklin international business and marketing grad students gathered on Tuesday, October 12, on the top floor of the Newman Vertical Campus for “Meet the Marketers,” welcoming a panel of experienced marketing professionals from American Express, AT&T, Interbrand and formerly GroupM. Hosted and organized by the Zicklin Association for International Business and co-organized with the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center, it turned out to be an excellent opportunity for students to have an intimate chat with the four panelists:

  • Kimberly Cropper, former member of the Talent Acquisition/Change Management Team, GroupM
  • Jagruti (Ghaghda) Bansal, SEO manager, AT&T Enterprise
  • Caitlin A. Barrett, director of verbal identity, Interbrand
  • Ellie Ginsberg, marketing consultant, American Express

Caitlin Barrett spoke about her role in verbal identity at Interbrand, involving “anything a brand would do with words,” including developing a writing style, naming strategies and core principles of tone and voice for clients, efforts which often need to be translated globally. Caitlin delineated the difference between marketing and branding, describing how her team builds verbal branding guides for clients and uses social listening tools to measure success.

Clarifying the distinction between a branding and a marketing role led to a lively discussion on why it’s important to learn as much as possible about the industry and role you’re considering. Kimberly Cropper, the panel’s recruiting expert, reminded students that internships are invaluable ways to network, show your work ethic and learn about different jobs, business units and companies before you commit to one direction. Kimberly recommended conducting informational interviews, suggesting that a phone call might be easier to schedule than lunch or coffee with busy professionals.

Jagruti Bansal spoke about the role an SEO strategist plays in a marketing team from her perspective as an SEO Manager with AT&T’s enterprise division, and described some of the companies who are doing enterprise marketing well across a wide range of channels. Digital, Jagruti noted, will continue to grow in terms of hiring and budget expansions.

It was interesting to hear from an SEO expert and a branding expert, since the two roles often have different goals in mind when it comes to branding and controlling the message. The panelists acknowledged that when it comes to SEO and branding, it can sometimes be challenging to come with a strategy that syncs the individual goals of both areas – but it is definitely possible. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to serve the client together.

The panelists also touched on the shift from traditional media, which is considered “push” marketing, toward a “pull” approach that involves social engagement, customer relationship management, search, relationship marketing and social referrals. Ellie Ginsberg, a marketing consultant with American Express’ OPEN group, noted that customer relationship marketing is particularly important when you look at a customer’s lifetime value to the company; it’s much tougher to acquire and retain new customers than it is to keep existing, loyal customers happy, and marketers now have an opportunity to see how well we’re doing real-time in digital and social.

In terms of career advice, several panelists mentioned the need for candidates to show the ability to manage client relationships, but all urged students to begin building their online reputation earlier rather than later through a robust LinkedIn profile, Twitter presence and personal or professional blog. Personal branding does indeed matter when HR departments and hiring managers are reviewing resumes.

It may come as no surprise that networking was cited as a crucial activity for students. Kimberly advised students to do their research before attending industry events, to learn as much as possible about the speakers and other attendees so that students could know who to seek out and how to make the most of limited time.

A final word of wisdom was “Know where you want to go.” The marketing world is increasingly complex, and the panelists agreed that the best thing graduate students can do to set the stage for a successful career is to start a career search early. Talk to different people, and find out as much as you can about an industry and the types of roles there before you begin your job search in earnest.

Panelist Jagruti Bansal writes about current online marketing trends and best practices (including search, social media, email marketing and related aspects of digital) on her blog, where she wrote about her take-aways from being on the panel.

Thanks to the Zicklin Association for International Business and the Zicklin Graduate Career Management Center! It was an excellent opportunity for students to engage with marketing professionals and learn more about a rapidly changing industry.

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