You may know Brian McDonald from his activity in the North Carolina marketing community, as President-Elect at Triangle AMA, co-organizer of Raleigh Media Leaders, and a freelance marketing consultant.
This week, I interviewed Brian about his experiences in marketing–including why he likes event-based marketing and his advice for new marketers–and his reality TV concept that combines travel and old-school country music.
This is the second in my new series of interviews with marketing experts and business leaders in related fields. If you know someone I should interview next (or you have a great story you’d like to share yourself), please let me know.
1. What’s one of your favorite projects?
That’s a tough question as I’ve done so many projects for so many companies and customers. I think what I like to do best is event-based projects for a few reasons.
First is that there is a definitive start and end date that the event will happen that facilitates scheduling and budget at a more rapid pace than usual projects. Secondly, you get real time feedback via in-person communication at an event. Third would be that each event is unique and offers a different creative challenge.
2. What do you do professionally? How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a marketing director but that is such an ambiguous title. I’ve used the term “marketing geek” in the past but now it’s getting passé. For the most part I’m a B2B marketing professional. I’ve worked in high tech marketing, primarily in the software industry, since graduating from NC State in 1990.
I’ve gotten to where I’m at today by always seeking a new way to get things done and by working on both the agency and corporate side. Currently I’m working as a freelance marketing consultant for a few companies in the Triangle.
3. Since you started your career, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing (or elsewhere)?
Easily the biggest change has been the internet. When I graduated college, faxing was the latest communication breakthrough technology.
Since then I’ve witnessed email, the Web, interactive media, and now mobile marketing become viable channels. Social media is the buzz word of the day but even that technology has been around since 2000.
The other change has been in the way we get information. I read the newspaper for my daily news, up until last year when the content and quantity of the local paper suffered.
4. What are some of the things you read, follow, or attend to keep up with the latest trends?
I get information from more customized sources like social media sites, RSS feeds, and TV news more now than even a year ago. I read several local blogs to keep up on local news. I also subscribe to several daily email newsletters like Local TechWire, Carolina Newswire, and DBusiness News. I usually scan Twitter for articles from leading social media news outlets like Mashable and TechCrunch. Also I read the New York Times on my iPhone on the weekends and when I have spare time.
5. What advice do you have for people who are early in their marketing careers?
First and foremost, learn to communicate well. Many times I’m approached by young professionals or students and their email or resume is flat in terms of layout and wording. If your resume is a basic MS Word template with your information in it, how much effort have you put into it? Also have someone read it and proof it for mistakes.
Secondly, learn how to network. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is as true today as ever. Social networks allow us the ability to research backgrounds and learn about people before we meet them.
Use that information to your advantage. There are so many small bits of information that may make the difference when meeting someone that can play a key role in your career. Maybe they went to the same school as a family member, or worked at the same company. Anything that has a personal connection will stick.
Go out and network, meet people, and be engaging. The more you do it the more you will get better at it. There are so many opportunities available to network in the Triangle: LinkedIn Live, Triangle AMA and TIMA, TweetUps Media Leaders, etc.
6. What do you do for fun outside of work?
I have two kids and enjoy taking them to the park or riding bikes. I love to travel and learn about cultures. I’m also a huge fan of the beach and try to get down for a week’s vacation once a year on the NC coast.
7. What’s something most people might not know about you?
I love old country and western music like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings. If I could create a reality show, I would learn to play guitar and do old school country covers at truck stops around the US.
8. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’m really excited to see so many great marketing people and events in the Triangle. I’ve lived here all my adult life and it keeps getting better every year. The talent and dedication of the local marketing community is really amazing and one of the best in the country.
Thank you for sharing your experience and advice, Brian!
Is there a marketing expert or other business leader that you’d like to learn from? Please let me know and I’ll try to feature them in a future profile.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Brian McDonald