When it comes to digital marketing, Four Seasons is leading the pack in the hotel industry...but it wasn't always that way.
Learn more about BrainStation’s Digital Marketing course.
Tell us a little about your background, what led you to the career path you are on today?
Good question. I’d like to say that I received my MBA and it all fell into place from there… but my background is a bit more varied than that. I actually went to school for Graphic Design in Windsor, Ontario, where I actually discovered my love for photography.
After grad I made my way out to Vancouver and opened my own business photographing mostly engagements and destination weddings. During this time I also started working a desk-job at ClearlyContacts.ca in customer success, which quickly transitioned to the marketing department to manage their social media channels. Realizing I had a knack for community building, I naturally decided to follow that calling, which led me to Unbounce, where I’ve been focused on growing our community for the last two years. While I still pursue photography in areas that I’m passionate about, I gave up the paid gigs to focus on building my career in digital marketing full-time.
What are some of the aspects that you love most about your career?
One of the things I love most about my career is the ever growing scope and variety that comes along with it.
For example, when I first started in this role, I was given the mandate of improving our customer community’s engagement metrics. This is all fine and well, but what was even more exciting to me was the opportunity to expand the scope of our community to solve even bigger problems – like reducing churn, providing valuable customer insights and expanding the use of our software. To achieve this, we’re looking at community from a wider lens; launching initiatives that span multiple departments and affect customers at every stage of the lifecycle. It’s very exciting stuff.
The variety and expansion of my career up to now is by far one of the most exciting aspects for me.
What predictions do you have for Digital Marketing in the next 3 years?
Full disclosure, I love this question. There are two things that I think might happen in the next three years, and I’d say there’s a good chance of each.
First, marketing automation is going to become even more crucial to businesses than it already is – and then some. Great marketing automation uses all the information we know about a person to understand what their wants and needs are, and delivers them the information they need to make a purchase, exactly when they need that information, in the place they’re looking for it. We’re making big leaps forward on the AI side of this and soon enough the average digital marketer will be able to press “go” and watch their campaigns optimize themselves. Crazy stuff.
Second, as mobile continues to dominate the market, and as marketers who need to make data driven decisions, we’re going to need to hone in on our attribution models and analytics to properly track the buying process from mobile to desktop. While mobile wins hands down for traffic, people still aren’t buying through mobile and prefer to make purchases via desktop. Google is really the only company that has the power to start to bridge this gap, so I’m curious to see how this plays out.
What is your favourite part about being an educator at BrainStation?
By far one of my favourite aspects about being an educator at BrainStation is the flipped classroom approach; being able to tie back super relevant content with campaigns and tactics we’ve personally seen in our careers is extremely valuable. It’s one thing to say “this is what you should do” and another to show real examples of how/why you should do it, and the effects that it can achieve.
Being able to share the very latest trends we’re learning in our day-to-day makes the content consistently fresh and relevant. You just can’t achieve that with traditional education and often dated curriculums.
What’s the main thing you want each of your students to walk away with after 10 weeks?
After 10 weeks, they’ll be up to date on the very latest across the entire spectrum of digital marketing. But the education doesn’t stop there. Digital Marketing is changing and evolving every single day, and you have to be able to stay nimble and educated if you want to pursue a successful career. Stay nimble and curious – and never stop learning.
Justin Veenema is Online Community Lead at Unbounce and the Educator for BrainStation’s Digital Marketing course in Vancouver.