Earlier this month, Modern Marketing Today sat down with Alexandra McHugh of New Relic to discuss the challenges and trends in the federal IT marketing space. During our conversation, Alexandra shared her experiences as the Founder of the Mavens of Marketing. Mavens of Marketing is a peer networking group for senior marketers working in the government IT field and was created as a resource for the traditionally isolated community.
“When I started a new position where I was the single marketing resource, I found myself craving the peer networking and the idea sharing that I had at my two previous positions where I was part of a team. I soon realized being on a team of marketers is really powerful, yet an anomaly in most cases. So with that, Mavens of Marketing was born,” explained Alexandra. The group is currently about 40 members strong and gathers quarterly to share network, learn from guest sponsors on new marketing tactics, post job openings and– most importantly – to have frank, honest discussions about the successes (or failures) of their marketing programs.
In addition to serving as a forum for sharing “dos and don’ts” for marketing programs, Mavens functions as a resource center for preferred vendors and new techniques that are not yet as prevalent in the government marketplace. Alexandra noted, “We were often times all using the same select vendors, so what we introduce to Mavens are innovative vendors that bring to us new ways of reaching our audience or streamline our workload, helping us incorporate a more all-encompassing way to market to government.”
Most government marketers work for international corporations, where they rely heavily on their corporate team to represent their government practice, digitally. In doing so it can fall short in aligning with content and activity driven in the field. To help marketers fully integrate their marketing efforts, Mavens of Marketing has featured companies who specialize in retargeting, geo-fencing, native advertising and other digital tactics to bring members up to speed for a more effective and dynamic marketing program.
As mentioned earlier, a key function of Mavens is building a strong network and community for its members. While discussing the conception of the group, Alexandra shared her own experiences in relation to the value of networking and a yearning for a sense of professional kinship, factors that became driving forces behind Mavens. “Often times when you have worked for a larger organization, and you’re a lifetime marketer, at some point in your career you find yourself laid off and I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for those impacted by economic downturns. And so, I’ve always wanted Mavens of Marketing to be a resource for members to find better roles.”
She went on to share her story about facing unemployment in New York City in October 2001, while the country was feeling the immediately devastating effects of 9/11. She was fortunate enough to not only get hired for one role, but received several offers and was even featured on the front page of the New York Times for her resilience in the suffering job market. Alexandra acknowledged that her situation was an extremely rare one, but because she feels so strongly that marketing is instrumental in business no matter the industry, she emphasized that she always wants to see her fellow marketers succeed and this obstacle in her career path drives that feeling home.
“The whole point of Mavens is to help each other. That’s exactly what I do and what I’ve seen others do for each other. I felt strongly that at some point you’ll find yourself in a place where you may not have all the answers and having a TEAM to turn to has become a marquee element of the group. Our members often email each other seeking advice on vendors or tactics.”
Alexandra reiterated that Mavens is a place for marketers to speak candidly and learn from each other with genuine motives. No hidden agenda. She said, “That kind of honesty you can only get from your closest friends in the industry, so it really is a very special forum for field marketers to have at their disposal. I truly feel the reason I started this is because I want everyone to succeed and the only way I could do that is to learn from my peers.”
Mavens continues to thrive and provide an invaluable place for field marketers to pool knowledge and insights from their colleagues. We look forward to seeing more great things come from Alexandra and members of Mavens of Marketing.