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Employee Q&A: Cara Hueston
Jan 21, 2022
8 min read
Cara is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Mappedin. We’re delving into her experience at Mappedin, advice for changing roles within an organization, pros and cons of working in a small team, and best practices for a job in marketing.
Cara, thank you for chatting with me today. To start off, can you tell us about your current role at Mappedin?
I’m the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Mappedin. I work on all parts of our digital marketing strategy, which includes everything from the website, to SEO performance, paid ads, inbound lead generation, and content strategy.
When you first joined Mappedin, you were hired as the Office Manager. How was this experience, and what made you decide to transition into a marketing role?
It was a great experience. I enjoyed that role because it allowed me to get to know everyone at Mappedin and get ingrained in the company really quickly. Back then we were in the office and a much smaller team than we are today, so I was managing the day-to-day operations and got to wear a ton of hats. I would plan company events, onboard new employees, complete phone screens and interviews, and provide support for different teams wherever needed.
I was really interested in marketing because I went to school for business with a focus in marketing. When we were hiring for a role on the Marketing team four years ago, I expressed interest and I’ve been working in marketing at Mappedin ever since!
That’s great! How has your journey on the Marketing team been, and what are some of the different roles that you’ve had along the way?
It’s been great, and crazy to see just how different the company is compared to back then. I’ve been at Mappedin for four and a half years now, and so much has changed over time in terms of our focus. We’ve always had a small Marketing team, which I personally enjoy, and it’s been really nice being able to experiment, be strategic, and explore new areas of focus.
I’ve held quite a few roles on the marketing team, including Marketing Specialist, Demand Generation Manager, and my current role as the Senior Digital Marketing Manager. As a Marketing Specialist, I was helping out in a variety of areas that needed more focus and research, including supporting the functions of a Business Development role (before we had BDRs) by qualifying leads and presenting early stage product demos.
Once I moved into the Demand Generation Manager role, I was really focused on generating qualified inbound leads for the sales team, developing and executing marketing strategies across our blog and social channels, creating compelling content, and organizing our appearances at trade shows. With in-person tactics put on hold in 2020, I got creative and started to lean into all of the digital marketing approaches Mappedin was doing, which ultimately turned into the position I’m in today.
Do you have any advice for someone that wants to shift roles within their organization?
Yes! I would say if you’re looking to shift roles, figure out what it is about the new role that interests you, and try to find ways to apply that in your current role. Maybe it’s not in the day-to-day of what you’re working on, but maybe it’s the approach you take. For example, if both roles require independent work, or require a lot of collaboration and you figure out what you like about the role you want to transition into, you can start to harness those skills in your current role.
My second piece of advice is to take the time to learn about the role, and ideally meet with people that have the role you wish to switch into. This can be a huge help in gaining some background knowledge and understanding of what they’re working on, what research you can do to prepare, and what the day-to-day really looks like. I think that’s really important for a smooth transition between roles.
What do you like most about working at Mappedin or in your role specifically?
I know everyone says it, but I think we have such a great team at Mappedin; it’s a really supportive environment. One of our core values is play for the team, and that’s something I see very regularly in my team and at Mappedin as a whole. We all have the same end goal in mind, we’re all working towards it, and no one is pushing someone out of the way to get there first.
In my role specifically, I love working on a small team. I think it really allows us to be honest and transparent with one another. It fosters that supportive environment because at any time, you’ve got people that have your back and are working towards the same thing. I think that really helps to unite our team together, and it makes everything more rewarding in my opinion.
Being on a small Marketing team requires shifting priorities and wearing a lot of hats. What are some of the pros and cons of having a position like this at Mappedin?
Good question! I really enjoy this style of working but it’s definitely not for everyone. Some of the pros are that there’s never a dull moment, there’s always a long list of things to do, and often, you have the flexibility to choose different working styles. Whether that’s being more creative for content, or more analytical with reporting, or something really structured in terms of implementing workflows. I personally think being able to wear a lot of hats is a really great pro.
On the flip side, the con would be that some days and priorities are not super structured, and you don’t have anyone saying “work on this today, it should take about two hours.” When you have competing priorities, you need to decide if you want to work through your task list and check off one item before you check off another, or are projects more fluid and you can work on them in tandem? If you have a hard time making those decisions or you prefer your role to be really clear-cut on what you need to be doing, wearing those hats can be challenging because it can feel like you’re being pulled in 10 different directions. Some people see that as difficult, and some see that as freedom, so I think it really depends on your working style.
What qualities and skills do you think are important for a job in marketing?
I would say creativity, but not necessarily in the traditional sense. I don’t consider myself overly creative, but I think you need to be okay being uncomfortable because most of the time in marketing, you don’t have 100% of the information. For instance, we might be marketing a product feature that isn’t released yet, so we have to be forward looking. We don’t know how people will react or what advantages people will see in this feature, and so we have to be creative in predicting those reactions long before they actually happen.
Also, to be successful in marketing you often have to work with other teams, so I think strong communication and collaboration skills are really important.
As you know, Mappedin moved to a remote first environment. How has working remotely been for you?
It’s been great, which actually took me by surprise. I was definitely not someone who looked forward to working from home pre COVID-19. I loved being in the office and socializing with everyone, being able to pop by someone’s desk, or catch up with the team at lunch. I was really dreading working from home at first, but I think Mappedin and certainly our Product & Marketing team has done a great job at keeping those connections going even though we’ve moved online. I also think that the flexibility of working from home is really nice.
Do you have any WFH tips?
My WFH tip is to take advantage of the extra time in the day! Where you get time back because you don’t have a commute, aren’t walking to and from meetings, and so on, do something that’s good for your mental health. Whether that means going for a walk, running out and picking up a coffee, getting away from your computer for a few minutes, or basically anything else that you might find beneficial *other* than squeezing in an extra 15 minutes of work.