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In today’s digital economy, professional development plays a large role in continued success – and Danica S. Nelson is a prime example.
Danica is the Senior Marketing Communications Manager, CRM at TELUS, an avid learner, and a member of the BrainStation community. Danica spoke on BrainStation’s Diversity in Leadership panel in March, and recently completed our Social Media Marketing Certificate to help her continue to excel professionally, both in her role at TELUS and outside of it.
We spoke with Danica about her career journey, the BrainStation experience, and how she’s using her newfound social media skills.
BrainStation: Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?
Danica: I have a Bachelor’s degree from Ryerson University where I majored in Radio and Television Arts/Media Production. I also hold a certificate in Media & Communication Fundamentals from Seneca College, and recently completed a Marketing certificate at George Brown College in addition to the Social Media Marketing Certificate from BrainStation.
In terms of my career, I’ve been working at TELUS for 11 years – I started in 2008 where I was hired as a Sales Representative selling cell phones and plans in my local mall, and did that for over 5 years to financially put myself through University. In my last semester of University, I was required to do an internship, which I completed on the Marketing Communications team that I’m still on today. I’ve grown from an Intern, to a Specialist, to a Manager, to a Senior Manager within 5 years. I’ve definitely had the authentic “climbing the corporate ladder” experience.
What does your day-to-day look like as the Senior Marketing Communications Manager, CRM at TELUS?
No two days are the same within my role, and that’s how I like it! Depending on the day I could be spending hours in back-to-back in-person meetings at the TELUS office, on conference calls at home, sifting through emails on the train, or writing briefs out of the Marketing agency – it really depends. I’m very grateful for the flexible work style that my team is offered as it allows me to do my best work.
I specialize in crafting marketing communications for TELUS’ existing customer base and work closely with our main Marketing agency, The Greenhouse, throughout the creative direction and development process. At any given time, I manage up to 20 integrated marketing campaigns simultaneously from briefing, to execution, to post-mortem for my respective portfolios.
What are the core elements and channels of your digital marketing strategy at TELUS?
The core channels I leverage for the marketing campaigns I manage targeting TELUS’ existing customer base are Facebook, Instagram, IAB (Interactive Ad Banners), and GSP (Google Sponsored Promotions).
You’ve worked on the Marketing Communications team at TELUS for more than five years, how have you seen the strategy or marketing efforts change with the rise of digital technology?
Since I started as an Intern in 2014, TELUS’ marketing communications strategy has changed significantly. Back then, it was common for my team to create physical addressed mail pieces promoting TELUS’ products and services, and send them directly to customers – I remember spending hours learning about different types of paper stocks and finishes.
Now, my team has shifted our efforts to primarily digital-focused campaigns, and that’s allowed us to meet and exceed our engagement and conversion expectations. We’ve tested, failed fast, and innovated to remain competitive within the space and ensure we’re delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time, in the right medium.
What role has professional development and learning played throughout your career journey so far?
Professional development and learning has played a pivotal role throughout my career journey, and I’m a passionate lifelong learner that’s dedicated to being enrolled in at least 1 course per year. TELUS is an organization that’s incredibly supportive of team members’ professional development and success.
While I used a combination of in-store sales experience and self-taught marketing knowledge to get my foot in the door in the field, consistently and intentionally keeping my skills up-to-date with courses and bootcamps completed outside of my day job has undoubtedly contributed to my growth.
Also, as I’ve spent my entire career thus far working within the same company, it’s important for me to learn from industry professionals in different fields to gain different perspectives and expose myself to new ways of problem solving. I’ve been taught by professors who work in everything from finance, to CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods), to e-commerce, to boutique marketing agencies and everything in between – and it’s truly helped diversify the way I develop creative solutions within my role.
You have an extensive background in marketing and communications, and you’re no stranger to the marketing world, so what drove you to take the BrainStation Social Media Marketing Course?
TELUS is a very large organization that has many different teams with various specializations. My team, which specializes in overall Customer Communications, collaborates with the highly skilled Digital and Social Media Marketing team to ensure we’re delivering quality communications to our existing customer base. I believe that in order to have the best possible outcomes in this collaborative effort, it’s imperative for me to have a thorough understanding of the foundation of the digital and social media marketing world, to be able to provide them with the tools they need to help facilitate a successful campaign. I took the BrainStation course to be able to play my part in ensuring our teams are developing quality, engaging campaigns as efficiently as possible.
When I started doing my research for what organization to take a Social Media Marketing course at, BrainStation was recommended on numerous occasions through word of mouth, online searches, and within the tech community.
In addition to your roles at TELUS, you were the Co-founder and Host of a successful podcast that recently wrapped up, and are now working on a new solo project called Liberty Leave. Can you tell us more about these?
Damsel in the 6ix was a podcast I co-hosted that encouraged women to effortlessly slay life and focused on career navigation, self-development, and dating in Toronto. It was featured on BlogTO’s “Top Toronto Podcasts You Should Be Listening To” article, and included podcast guests from companies like Bumble, Plan International Canada, NKPR, and more. After over 12K listens and 62 episodes, my co-host and I have officially closed the chapter and are exploring new opportunities after an incredibly fulfilling experience.
The new project I’m currently working on is called Liberty Leave and will focus on inspiring people who are making purposeful pivots in life and have left behind what doesn’t bring them liberty, for what does.
I think it’s important for people to develop their own identity that doesn’t solely stand on the legs of their day job. Whether that’s just a strong personal brand, or it also includes a side project that allows you to let your creativity flow and work with brands you may not have the opportunity to in your day job – growing your career and presence doesn’t solely need to be done within the company you work for full-time.
How are you applying the skills you learned in the Social Media Marketing course to your professional role at TELUS or to your side project?
The skills I learned in the Social Media Marketing course have helped me better understand targeting practices and user personas, pinpointing what verbiage has the highest likelihood to resonate with my audience, what layouts and formats drive the most engagement, what platforms tend to have the highest conversion rates for different demographics, and much more that I’m applying to my role at TELUS today.
For Liberty Leave, I have the opportunity to completely build a brand from scratch, and I’m excited to utilize the skills I learned in the course to create a presence on social. In this day and age, it’s imperative to have a strong social media presence for a company to grow, and I can’t wait to reference my pages and pages of notes from class to build out an acquisition strategy to support my growth stage.
What was your favourite part of your BrainStation experience?
My favourite part about my BrainStation experience was interacting with the community. I had some incredibly bright and ambitious classmates, and it was so inspiring to see how they were utilizing their knowledge from the Social Media Marketing course to help drive results for either an organization they work for, or for an existing or upcoming business they were passionate about developing.
I also had a great professor that I found very relatable, and she really helped me shape my understanding of where and how to spend on Digital Marketing channels depending on what your desired outcome is, and illustrated her recommendations with real-life examples and commentary.
If you’re interested in professional development like Danica, BrainStation offers a range of training options on the full digital product lifecycle that can help you accelerate your career or make the transition to a new one.