Having a good Digital Marketing Strategy is crucial to the success of any business. In this employee interview, we take a behind-the-scenes look at the role of a Digital Marketing Specialist.
Matt Krumins is a Digital Marketing Specialist at AlphaKOR Group. Matt has been an integral part of the AlphaKOR team for about a year and a half. In addition to managing multiple clients and projects, Matt always brings 100% effort and positivity into his role. In this interview, Matt discusses what it is like to have a career in Digital Marketing for a Managed Service Provider (MSP), and provides insight for marketing students and recent graduates who are looking to get into the marketing industry.
What attracted you to the position of a Digital Marketing Specialist?
I was looking for a career that would have a lot of future security and something that I found interesting related to business. I wanted a position where I could stay on top of the latest technology and always have a position rather than getting into a dying trade.
Digital marketing was kind of new when I first went to school for it. I liked social media marketing, technology, and other aspects of digital marketing and figured that the internet and social media aren’t going anywhere soon.
What educational background did you need to secure this role?
I took Advertising and Marketing Communications Management at St. Clair College. It taught me exactly what I do in my current role, so it was a smooth transition going from school to the workplace.
Before I completed this program, I was enrolled in a Psychology program but felt that I didn’t have a good sense of job security having pursued that degree. I wanted to enter a career that I believed to be more practical for my lifestyle. I took a reverse approach to choose my program by starting with where I wanted to be in my career and worked backward to choose a program that could get me there.
What does the average day look like for you in your role?
I wear many hats in my role. On an average day, I do a little bit of everything: a little bit of website design, social media management, campaign management, graphic design, etc. I work with clients and my team.
In my role, I take an analytic approach to my work. There are patterns in what I do, and you must understand what is expected of you and what you will be doing throughout the monthly period. It’s not a job where you do the same tasks every day, you’re constantly working on something new and problem-solving.
Did you work in Digital Marketing before working at AlphaKOR Group?
Before working at AlphaKOR, I did digital marketing at school. By learning and working through projects in school, I was inspired to do some digital marketing for myself. I gained a large following on YouTube and Instagram by playing music, which is something I’m passionate about.
I thought to myself if I could apply the same principles as I did for myself without any training, with proper education I could apply these skills to something a little more viable. Not to say that personal projects aren’t viable, I was just more attracted to the traditional role of working for a business. Working for myself was a cool experience and opened a lot of opportunities for me, including my current role. I am happy to be where I am.
What is the biggest difference between doing marketing for one organization vs working for an MSP?
I think with most Digital Marketer’s, the goal is to have an all-star client and work with the biggest brands because then you can hone your creative ideas into one project. For that one brand or organization, you’re working on the same thing and building the brand from the ground up.
Working for AlphaKOR Group, a Managed Service Provider (MSP), you get to work on multiple brands simultaneously. It’s a great learning experience, putting those notches in your belt. You experience various situations that you just can’t learn in school. My teachers always told me that I would learn more in my first month of working than I would in my three years of schooling. To that, I would say that I’ve probably learned more in my first week!
When clients are paying for a service, you have a different sense of responsibility than completing a school project. You’re working for multiple clients who have different needs and so you are experiencing so many things at once, whereas if you’re working for yourself or just one organization, you have this set path.
I would say it’s like the difference between staying in one country your whole life versus traveling the world. You acquire different skills that you can’t replicate and become an excellent problem solver.
What is it like working for an MSP?
It can be challenging, but also very rewarding. The biggest thing you can learn from working for an MSP is customer retention- you must always perform your best and provide value to your clients to keep them.
When you have multiple clients, you also must know how to manage your time. I find that is a team effort- leaders and management help allocate my time to various clients and projects. On an individual level, you must have the discipline to understand that you have a certain amount of time to allocate to a client and get the job done. The more experience you have and the more scenarios you’re faced with, the easier it will be to address the next time it comes around.
How do you manage your time working for multiple clients?
To help manage my time, I use tools such as Microsoft Suite and Google Suite. I also rely on other tools such as various design and analytics software to help my productivity on the job. I learn a lot from others as well and a lot of what marketing is, is not reinventing the wheel, it’s just optimizing the wheel for the person who needs it.
What skillset is critical to your job?
The big one is communication. Anyone has access to social platforms, to Google, and can build a website. Being able to communicate is what sets you apart as a specialist and as a company, it’s what makes you valuable. If you have efficient communication between your team, then you can create fully integrated solutions for your client. Not only do you rely on effective communication to work with your team and management, but also with your client.
Communicating with your team and clients also help a lot when it comes to the creative process. Also, it’s important to know how and when to ask for help. Asking for help is a powerful tool.
Also, being organized is vital! You complete a lot of different tasks and manage multiple clients working for an MSP, so you need to be able to organize your clients and projects to ensure they get completed on time.
Critical thinking is also one of the most important skillsets to have working as a Digital Marketing Specialist. You must be able to problem-solve when you’re faced with a problem. What separates you from anyone else is how you approach a problem. Creativity is your currency in this world. You need to understand how to critically think and bring creative value to that.
Other skill sets that are important in this role include working well with others and independently, analyzing metrics, and pattern recognition.
Is your role more of an independent or collaborative effort?
My work process begins with working with others to gather ideas, direction, and make sure that I’m on the right track. It’s important to check in with your team to lay the groundwork.
Working by yourself and being independent is a huge aspect of my job. I would say that in my role, 20% of the time is spent working with my team, and 80% is working independently. Once the groundwork is laid, it’s your responsibility as a Marketing Specialist to then complete that task independently.
How much creative autonomy do you have in your role?
Internally, I think this is a benefit of having a smaller team. I have a lot of creative say. I never feel like my voice isn’t heard, even as someone starting in the field. I have a lot of creative liberties for what I think is the right solution, which is awesome, because that’s a big part of growing- being able to have and develop your voice, creatively speaking.
Externally with clients, I equate it to more of a symbiotic relationship. That’s an ideal relationship for what I want with my clients- that 50:50 ratio. 50% of the relationship is the client who knows their brand best. The other half of this relationship is the strategic expertise that a Digital Marketing Specialist can offer to take their brand to the next level. Communicating with the client is essential to figuring out where we should creatively live.
What is the most exciting part of your role as a Digital Marketing Specialist?
I would say the self-fulfilling aspect of success; there’s nothing like experiencing a successful campaign or reaching a client’s goals and seeing them happy. You can take ownership over that feeling, especially when you have autonomy on a project – you get that big feeling of accomplishment and it pushes you forward.
In a more practical sense, there’s nothing like building a website- it’s a fun, huge project! I enjoy working on it from its inception and working to grow it. And then when it’s all said and done you get to look back and see what you’ve accomplished for a client- it’s also self-fulfilling.
What is the least exciting part of your job?
For me, it would have to be managing organic social media because it takes a very specific type of person to be able to communicate on behalf of a brand and to be interested in community building. To be successful at organic social media, I think you need to be passionate about the community they are reaching. It’s important to understand the right voice and message you want to communicate because the last thing you want is to do anything that might hurt a brand. My interests are more in the analytical and critical thinking aspects of social media.
How do you hope to grow in your field of work?
I hope to grow as a leader and an organizer. For me, I’m all about using my critical thinking skills. I’m a very analytical and critical thinker. I think as I grow, I would want to be less involved in smaller projects and more involved in creating strategy and direction. I want to challenge myself in that aspect. As a leader, you have a greater sense of responsibility to teach, encourage, and bring out the best in your team.
What have you learned at AlphaKOR that has helped you grow personally and professionally?
On a personal level, being in a professional and mature environment has helped me grow. Developing these professional relationships and communication influences my social and personal world. As a byproduct of my surroundings, the way I view the world and how I interact with others is different in a positive way.
On a professional level, developing confidence in my work. One of the scariest things coming out of school was the imposter syndrome, thinking “did I even learn anything?”. Since being in this role, I have developed a strong sense of professional confidence. I have successes and failures now and have learned to be assertive with myself and my abilities.
Working on projects in school and dealing with real-life situations are quite different. One of the biggest reasons why I chose to go to college over university was to gain that more practical, hands-on experience and learn those tangible skills.
What advice would you give to someone looking to obtain a position in Digital Marketing?
Don’t stop learning on your own. There is a lot of value in completing a post-secondary program, but you should always practice independent information gathering on top of that. The thing about digital marketing is that it’s a rapidly changing field, and you need to stay on top of the latest trends and processes. Never stop learning and don’t be afraid to also teach yourself new things.
In digital marketing, I learn at least one new thing every day. We are problem solvers and critical thinkers. There are no wrong or right answers; there are better or worse decisions. When you have a goal in mind, you must think about what the best way is to reach that goal. With constant learning, you’re adding tools to your toolbox and learning the best ways to use those tools.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2020 as a Digital Marketing Specialist?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to take things personally when they don’t work out the way you want them to, and to not let your confidence lead you into a trap of arrogance. It’s important to not put your eggs in one basket because if you can’t mutually agree on a course of action with a client, then it’s ultimately not the right way to go. You need the maturity to pivot constantly and find the best solution that you can mutually agree on. Again, doing your research and taking responsibility for the knowledge you have will set you apart.