November 12, 2019 3 min read

If you’ve ever wondered what the key differences are in the client-side marketing role are, then Vanessa Pagliaroli, Brand Marketing Manager, has the answers for you. She’s worked in various industries and shares what she learnt along the way.

Finding the Right Fit

My biggest challenge was finding a marketing position on the client-side that I would be happy with. Client-side opportunities, especially intern positions, are much rarer than they are on the agency side. Once I landed my first job at Mercedes, the biggest challenge was adapting to the practices for corporate culture: for example, email being the main form of communication, meeting heavy environments and the time to complete work. When you’re in school you’re taught the skills we need to succeed in our careers, but the day to day corporate etiquette and practices are an entirely different skillset that can’t be taught – they are learned.

Vanessa smiling at a park.When I started my career at Mercedes-Benz Canada, it was as a Loyalty & CRM intern. In this role, I was responsible for working with an agency to develop the quarterly issues of the Mercedes-Benz magazine and any direct mail offers that were sent to existing clients. After interning for 6 months I was hired full-time as the Integrated Brand Marketing Coordinator. In this role, I was responsible for working with the different product departments to ensure their messages were features in any larger brand campaigns. 

After spending a little over a year at Mercedes, I moved to Holt Renfrew as the Customer Experience & Loyalty Coordinator. During my time at Holts, I helped to launch the Holt Icon Loyalty Program and worked on several different public promotions (i.e. Black Friday, Boxing Day) and targeted campaigns. After two years at Holt Renfrew, I joined RBC, where I spent the first two years as the Marketing Manager of Cards. In this role, I was responsible for all above the line marketing for the credit card portfolio. In October of 2018, I changed roles and moved to the Brand team where I now work on larger integrated mass campaigns such as the Olympics.

Retrospect & Reward

Every marketer needs to have innovation. Innovative thinking forces marketers to get outside their comfort zone, take a risk and get things done. Innovative thinking forces us to think creatively, which means problems get solved differently and strategically. What motivates me to stay in marketing is seeing a project come to life. Taking an idea from inception and building a strategy behind it that becomes an entire campaign is one of the most rewarding feelings. When you’re in marketing it’s great because you always get to see the product of your work.

Then there’s also collaboration. At all the companies I’ve worked at and in all of my roles, every project requires teamwork to some extent. Being able to be a solid team player and collaborate, especially when there’s differing opinions is critical for building your brand and ensuring the best outcome of the work. When you can effectively collaborate, magic happens.

Launching a new royalty program during my time at Holt Renfrew and working on the Avion integration for the RBC Olympics campaign in 2018 were the moments I am most proud of. There’s nothing like seeing your work on TV and hearing the positive reactions from friends, family and co-workers and your name being associated with that work.

Stay Relevant

Vanessa smiling and sitting on a city bench. Marketers need to think of digital and mobile-first. More and more marketers are having to be more agile, be alert on new and emerging trends to ensure the work they are producing is relevant to the market. It’s important for marketers to be curious, ask questions and educate themselves as much as they can on technology trends as the landscape is constantly changing and as a marketer you want to be at the forefront. Getting your foot in the door, rolling up your sleeves to do the work and being recognized as the person who really wants to do a good job and learn. The more meetings and conversations you can listen in on projects you can raise your hand to be a part of will serve you tremendously in the long run.

The advice I would give someone looking to be the next “me”, is speak with as many people in the industry as you can by booking informational interviews – this will allow you to not only learn more about the different roles that exist but in turn, enables you to grow your professional network. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get uncomfortable – that’s when you’ll learn the most about a topic and yourself.




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