Editor’s Note: Community is everything to us at Pixlee. We’re thrilled to welcome our community of #PixleePros in our latest series “Send Tweet: Insights From the #PixleePros.” This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Chantelle Marcelle! Chantelle Marcelle is an experienced marketer who has worked with a variety of agencies and companies of all sizes, primarily with a focus on technology. She has a passion for all things marketing, including community building, growth, social media, content marketing, SEO, and analytics. She's also a huge believer in developing a customer-centric mindset to fuel long-term growth and success. In her free time, she loves creating digital art and biking. To connect with her, visit her website or follow her on Twitter or YouTube.
Haley Fraser: I’d love to start with an introduction to what you do and what you’re passionate about, and how did you get to where you are today?
Chantelle Marcelle: I started out my career thinking that I was going to possibly work in journalism. I was really interested in storytelling and writing. I loved taking people’s experiences and making them into relatable and interesting pieces. However, the economy was a little less certain than I would have liked, so I ended up transitioning into the public relations field. I worked for a few agencies, which was great because I got experience with a variety of clients in different industries. I then moved in-house on the brand side, and I took on more marketing responsibilities and tasks, rather than just focusing on public relations and social media.
Haley: I love that. Upon transitioning from the agency side to the brand side, could you speak on what stayed the same and what changed in your experience?
Chantelle: I was doing very similar work. The differences were that you're not able to focus on one specific industry or brand. In many cases, you're fielding relationships with multiple clients and projects, or a variety of industries. I really wanted to focus and hone in on getting to know one industry and one brand really well and feeling like an expert in that field, rather than dividing my time. Overall, it was similar work as far as what I was actually doing. But this way, I’m much more focused.
Haley: Definitely! It's always nice to be able to specialize and focus. To that point, how have you seen your specific role evolve over this time, especially since you started?
Chantelle: It’s interesting. I've worked for the majority of my career with smaller companies or early stage companies. That allowed me to be more general, as far as what marketing areas I focused on, rather than having to pick a specialty. Eventually, I did focus on just digital marketing. But over time, digital marketing has just become all marketing. I think it makes a lot more sense to segment that into the different areas of digital, rather than having one person who's tasked with being the all-encompassing digital keeper.
Haley: That makes perfect sense. Today you can see that although companies may be hiring for a Digital Marketing Manager, one company will task that role with technical and web-focused responsibilities while another company will task it with running paid ads. That dichotomy can be tough to keep up with. If you had to pick one area you feel has seen the most growth over the last few years, what would you say it is? Chantelle: I've seen a lot of evolution in the relationship between the marketing team and the website. There are so many new and emerging marketing technologies that make it a lot easier and more accessible for people who don't have a tech background to be more involved and hands-on with managing the website. Whereas before, you had to have a developer who was taking on the bulk of that work. It’s been great to see the marketing team own more of the website, since the website is such an integral part of a marketing strategy.
Haley: Most definitely. Being able to iterate on your website and make minor changes when new things happen is critical. I personally think that's always an interesting thing, that marketers have to be able to adapt to constant change in the digital age. Here at Pixlee TurnTo, we focus a lot on community. I'm curious to know how community impacts your life as a marketer.
Chantelle: I would say that community has become even more of a focus over the past year and a half throughout the pandemic. Not only with my full-time work with a brand, but in my personal experiences as well. We've shifted so much of our focus to digital spaces and we use that area to meet a lot of our social needs, professionally and personally. There's been more emphasis placed on the importance of digital and virtual community and personal branding. Then there’s how you can add value to your community or even how you can find your community to begin with. I think a lot of brands have been paying attention to that trend that's been going on and learning how they can enter the community space to build more resilient relationships with current customers or prospects. There's been a lot more focus by brands on how they're being perceived, and how to manage their brands, especially right now. They're having to focus a lot more energy and time on coming across as being empathetic and creating genuine relationships with customers that can endure through difficult or uncertain times.
Haley: I absolutely agree with that. I think there's definitely the expectation to have a community, especially as it pertains to brands. It's also just nice to have access to that as a marketer. On a similar note, if Twitter disappeared tomorrow, what would that mean for you?
Chantelle: I love Twitter. I'm extremely active on it. I tend to focus a lot more of my time there just because the format and the focus on written content align with my personal style. If Twitter were to disappear, I'd be heartbroken, but I would try to figure out where I could connect with a lot of the same community members who I'm already engaging with, or even build a new community that makes me feel as welcome as the one that I found on Twitter.
Haley: That makes perfect sense. I feel the idea that the Twitter platform itself is the only place where you can find that communities is definitely changing. I think that now people are realizing that if one platform disappears, another one will quickly take its place. What's the best marketing advice you've ever received or given or would give to others?
Chantelle: There's probably two key pieces of advice. There was a time where I was freaking out about a mistake I had made and my former boss said, “We're not doing heart surgery here. Nobody's going to die at the end of the day.” That reminded me that I have to give myself a little bit of grace. I think people put a lot of pressure on the marketing team to not make mistakes. That creates an environment that isn't going to foster innovation and creativity because everybody's worried about perfection, which isn't possible. The other instance was towards the end of an internship where my supervisor mentioned that he had expected all of these great things and I had just faded into the background. I think a lot of times, especially when you're young and starting out, you're a little bit timid about speaking up. When you have a fear of failure, or a fear of looking stupid, you have to overcome that because you have to lend your voice to the conversations going on. That's the best way to stand out, by having an entrepreneurial spirit and creating your own path. A lot of times, marketing is what you make it. There are a lot of different pathways you can take and explore. You have to take risks in order to find the best area of marketing for yourself and to stand out.
Haley: I love that because I believe it's good to make mistakes. That's where creativity and innovation happens. Most of the best innovations happen that way. I think that's a really great piece of advice. Looking ahead 5-10 years, what do you think will be the most important skill for marketers to have?
Chantelle: I think having resilience and the courage to take risks and to innovate. I would also say to make sure to be flexible and able to withstand change. There's so much change in marketing all the time. It moves pretty quickly, especially with all the new technologies and different tools. You have to be able to stay on top of that.
Haley: Definitely. I feel like resilience also gives you the space to make some mistakes as well. What's your favorite marketing job interview question you'd like to ask or have been asked? Then on the flip side, what is the worst question you've been asked?
Chantelle: The best questions usually involve something playful to lighten the mood. Once I was asked, “What superheroes did I feel best personified my professional demeanor?” That was a fun one. Everybody loves to talk about superheroes. I think the worst interview experiences are the obvious trick questions. Like “Where do you want to be in 5 years?,” and the “correct” answer is supposed to be that you dream of still working at this same company doing something predictable. But really, no one can know exactly where they’ll be in 5 years because life is all about uncertainty, a lesson many of us have experienced in the past year plus. Those questions tend to make you feel forced to give a canned response.
Haley: You definitely don't want to feel like you're being put through the paces when it should be a conversation where you're both figuring out if it's a good fit or not. What advice would you give to anyone who's just getting started in marketing now?
Chantelle: I would say to focus on developing as many of the skills that you possibly can and always take advantage of new opportunities to learn and to try new things. I feel my previous experiences doing things that aren’t traditionally categorized as marketing like graphic design or website coding or data analysis added a lot to my professional skill set. All those things have made me a stronger marketer.Haley: Diversifying your skills is always a good call, especially when you're young and getting kicked off with things. To bring it back to your future, what would you say is next for you?
Chantelle: I ask myself this everyday. I like to leave myself some flexibility to enjoy anything that life might send my way. For example, thinking about how you've got to be earning this much and have this title by the time you're “X” age puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on yourself. You tend to feel this sense of disappointment when you don't necessarily check off all of those things. Or maybe you do achieve those things but then you don't feel the sense of satisfaction that you might have thought that you would. I think allowing myself to enjoy whatever may come can be a lot of fun.
Haley: Absolutely. I think that's a really nice comment about generally being present when you're really career driven and goal oriented. It's nice to take stock of where you are and not put artificial boundaries on where you're going. What would you say are some of the most influential pieces of media that you've interacted with in recent memory? This could be anything from a marketing campaign to a funny tweet you saw or even a book you read.
Chantelle: I feel like I've gotten really involved in the Twitter space in the past few months. I've learned a lot from the knowledge that is so generously and freely shared on the platform by people with a variety of experiences. I really enjoy reading different educational threads. Many people have launched newsletters where they're sharing lessons or tips. I've really benefited from getting plugged into that.
Haley: The resurgence of the newsletter is one thing that’s been really interesting in the last year and a half. What was the career you chose for yourself when you were a kid? What would you tell the kid who wanted that career now?
Chantelle: I think I was hoping to be in a girl band. Like Josie and the Pussycats. Or maybe a TV announcer or news announcer. Two very different paths, but clearly did not follow either of those paths.