July 16, 2020 4 min read

No two digital marketing career stories are the same, and Emily Baillie’s is no exception. With fifteen years in the digital marketing field, discover how she’s come out on top as both a digital marketing entrepreneur and a professor of social media marketing.

A Fascination with Communication

Emily Baillie standing with arms cross in front of hedge. I’ve always been fascinated by the way information can influence people’s beliefs and behaviours. This curiosity led me to study Communications in my undergrad and seek marketing and communications roles after graduation. After taking on increasingly senior positions, I struck out on my own and launched Compass Content Marketing. Around the same time, I began teaching digital marketing courses at the college and university level. Now, I am affiliated with Humber College and McMaster University, and I regularly speak at marketing and business-related events across Ontario. I’ve delivered social media marketing training workshops for a range of amazing organizations including GlaxoSmithKline, CampTech, Huron County Economic Development, Toronto Travel Massive and many more. In my business, I also provide social media strategy development services to various Canadian brands.

I received my Chartered Marketer designation in 2018 and I now teach in the CMA’s innovative Chartered Marketer program. I am also a Global Ambassador for Hootsuite. I am very happy with how my marketing career has progressed.

How Marketing & Learning Go Hand in Hand

When I became a professor about 5 years ago, I faced another learning curve. I knew my subject matter inside and out, but I quickly learned that teaching effectively required me to develop a new skill set. That’s because teaching is not about lecturing. Instead, it is all about facilitating and collaborating with students. This is a huge shift from when I was a student.

Since becoming a part-time professor, Emily Baillie sitting on bench looking to the left. I’ve had a lot of marketing professionals approach me wanting to also get into teaching. When I talk with some of them it becomes clear to me that they expect to stand up in front of an attentive audience and share their hard-earned wisdom. I always come away from those conversations a bit dismayed. Marketing is an exciting discipline for someone like myself who thrives on constantly learning.
Marketing allows me to continuously discover and innovate. In my business, I get to work with small business owners, C-suite execs, side hustlers, creative entrepreneurs, and others from all walks of life. For a time, I get to play a small part in helping them chase their dream and grow their brand or business. That, to me, is very fulfilling.

Prediction Time: Marketing of the Future Looks Like?

It is no secret that AI is poised to disrupt marketing massively. Because I specialize in social media marketing, I’m always thinking about what this means for people on a day to day basis.

I think that we have to be ready for anything. That means, we must embrace change and new technologies, while constantly trying to prepare ourselves for whatever the next chapter in our career may bring.

Final Words of Caution

I believe that it is really important to be happy and healthy in one’s work and I am an advocate for healthy social media use. For my well-being, I make sure to spend a lot of time with my friends and family and immerse myself in nature regularly. For me, a hike through the woods or a trip to the beach is a perfect antidote to the information overload that occurs when I spend too much time on electronic devices. I’m happy to see that more and more people are taking “digital detoxes.” I believe that sometimes, to recharge, we must disconnect!

Remember that when one door closes, a window opens. Or not.

If you want an opportunity, you need to learn how to ask for it. If you are waiting for an opportunity to drop into your lap, you could be waiting a long time.

In my early 20s, I was reluctant to network with others in the industry because I was introverted. I felt intimidated by the prospect of attending networking events with senior marketers. I’ve come a long way since then!

Now I value human relationships more than anything and I tell my students that, like it or not, authentic networking - along with continuous professional development - is an essential part of any successful career in marketing.

Emily Baillie standing under a pavilion. Most of my opportunities in business have come my way because I’ve been proactive. I have thought carefully about what I wanted my marketing career to look like, gathered as much information as I could on this, then went for it. I have developed relationships with people in my industry and treated others - regardless of their role or stature - with the utmost respect. I also work at maintaining my personal brand and share marketing tips and information regularly on my social media channels. I put effort into genuinely connecting with clients, students and colleagues from all walks of life.

It’s such an exciting time to be in the marketing industry. Tech and social media offer a range of powerful business tools that enable skilled entrepreneurs and marketing professionals to take brand-building into their own hands.

I think that when you’re starting out, you should try to get a foot in the door with a reputable organization and learn as much as you can while you’re there. Take a positive attitude, seek out new opportunities and build your network. If you’re a young marketer doing all of those things consistently, you’re doing well in my books!




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