1:1 with a Marketing Expert: Beth Gerage, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

In this episode of Modern Marketing Messages, we introduce Beth Gerage, a seasoned Digital Marketing Strategist with over a decade of experience in the field. Recently joining the team at Americaneagle.com, a website development and digital marketing company, Beth brings a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective on crafting effective digital marketing strategies tailored to diverse client needs. From her unexpected start in marketing at a Chicago pizza company to mastering mobile-first approaches and advocating for personalized marketing, join us as Beth shares her journey, insights, and the significant trends shaping today's digital marketing landscape. Tune in to gain valuable lessons from her storied career and current successes.

 


Introducing Beth Gerage, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

Beth has accumulated 11 years of experience in the marketing field and recently celebrated her three-month anniversary at Americaneagle.com. In her current role as a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, she is responsible for working with marketing retainer clients to develop and implement effective digital marketing strategies. Beth’s primary duties include building roadmaps for clients and ensuring that the team’s efforts align with the clients' goals. Her work involves collaboration with specialists across various disciplines, including SEO, PPC, email marketing, and both paid and organic social media, tailoring strategies to meet the unique needs of each client.

Beth’s Journey into Digital Marketing

Beth’s career in marketing began rather serendipitously, starting as a customer service representative at a famous Chicago pizza company right out of college. Initially, this was not intended to be her career path, but her natural curiosity and willingness to learn led her to take on additional responsibilities. She started by making updates to the company’s website directly from the customer service desk, a task that gradually evolved into a formal role on the marketing team. In this role, she acquired a diverse skill set, including email marketing and SEO. Thanks to 11 years at the pizza company, Beth was able to embrace various challenges and handle significant projects which laid a robust foundation for her experience in digital marketing.

Feeling the need for new challenges and continued learning, Beth moved to Americaneagle.com as a senior digital marketing strategist. This shift allowed her to work across various industries, enhancing her experience and satisfying her desire for continuous learning and professional growth.

Significant Changes in Digital Marketing Over the Years

One of the most significant changes Beth has observed throughout her career is the transition to mobile first. When she started nearly 11 years ago, the mobile-first mentality was just beginning to gain traction. This shift has fundamentally changed how marketers optimize experiences, focusing on mobile device usage, which has become the primary mode for users to interact with digital content. Beth reflects on her early days in the industry, noting how uncommon it was to even own a smartphone, and acknowledges the profound impact this shift towards mobile has had on marketing strategies.

Undervalued Digital Marketing Strategies

Personalization in digital marketing is significantly undervalued. Beth observes that many companies still employ generic, one-size-fits-all strategies, such as sending the same email to an entire subscriber list without segmentation. With her work, Beth advocates for a more nuanced approach that involves understanding the unique preferences and behaviors of different customer segments. To achieve this, she emphasizes the importance of asking many questions to deeply understand clients' needs and utilizing data analytics to confirm or challenge preconceptions about customer behaviors. This method allows for crafting more targeted and effective marketing campaigns that genuinely resonate with the intended audience.

The Role Data Analytics Plays in Shaping Marketing Strategies

Beth emphasizes the critical role of data analytics in shaping digital marketing strategies, describing it as "crucial" and foundational to everything her team does. She points out that data is integral because it provides objective insights into how marketing campaigns are actually performing, beyond gut feelings or assumptions. This reliance on data ensures that marketing decisions are grounded in reality, allowing businesses to make smarter, more informed choices.

graphic of quote from MMM 53: 1:1 with a Marketing Expert: Beth Gerage, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist

Example of a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

One successful marketing campaign Beth recalls easily is from her days working at the pizza company. For the ecommerce division, a campaign was launched to promote its new offering of thin crust pizza, a departure from their traditional deep dish. The creative approach involved a fun survey asking customers whether they preferred "innie" pieces of pizza with no crust or "outie" pieces with crust. Beth played a key role in developing the landing page for the campaign, designing the survey, and deciding which information to collect from those who were completing the survey.

This campaign was executed using an omnichannel approach, leveraging email, social media, paid advertising, and a PR push to ensure widespread engagement. The campaign not only increased product awareness but also significantly boosted the company's email subscriber base by 20%. This example illustrates how a well-coordinated, creative marketing strategy can effectively engage customers and drive substantial business results.

Example of a Successful Americaneagle.com Digital Marketing Campaign

In her initial three months at Americaneagle.com, Beth has already contributed to several "mini wins." One notable success involved relaunching and revamping paid advertising campaigns for a client that sells flagpoles. This strategic overhaul resulted in a significant increase in the client's average order value, boosting it by more than $400. Beth highlights these early successes as promising signs of the impact she can make, emphasizing that small wins can accumulate into substantial achievements over time.

The Sustainability of Influencer Marketing

Beth expressed a cautious perspective on the sustainability of influencer marketing. While acknowledging that influencer marketing can be effective when the right partnerships are formed between brands and influencers who share a genuine connection with their audience, she is unsure about its long-term viability. Beth notes that as more people attempt to enter the influencer space, it may lead to market saturation, causing consumers to possibly become skeptical of the authenticity of influencers. She remains undecided on whether influencer marketing is a lasting strategy, suggesting that its future success might depend on careful selection of partnerships that truly resonate with target audiences.

Common Mistakes Marketers Make and How They Can be Avoided

Complacency or laziness in strategy is a common mistake in digital marketing. Beth describes how easy it is for marketing teams to become entrenched in routine activities without questioning their effectiveness. For instance, marketers may continue to send emails or post blogs on certain days out of habit, rather than because these actions are strategically beneficial. Beth stresses the importance of continuously evaluating and optimizing marketing strategies to ensure they remain effective and responsive to changing conditions in the digital landscape.

The Impact of AI and Machine Learning in Digital Marketing

Beth discusses the potential impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning on digital marketing, highlighting their ability to create efficiencies in various processes. She notes that these technologies could significantly speed up content development and improve other digital marketing functions. However, she also acknowledges the uncertainty around how these advancements will be integrated over time, particularly in terms of content acceptance and algorithm changes by platforms like Google. 

Despite these advancements, Beth and Taylor agree that AI cannot replace the human touch needed for creative tasks and maintaining the unique tone of voice that brands require in their interactions, emphasizing the enduring importance of human insight in digital marketing strategies.

Tools to Assist Digital Marketers with Their Work

Real-time data analytics platforms are indispensable tools in Beth’s work as a digital marketing strategist. She emphasizes the critical role these platforms play in her daily activities, allowing her to constantly monitor and adjust to the real-time data, which is essential for making informed decisions and strategizing effectively. For Beth, staying updated with such analytics is crucial, not just for her own work but also in providing valuable insights and guidance to her clients, some of whom are more digitally savvy and actively engage with these tools, while others rely more heavily on her expertise.

Resources to Stay Up to Date with Marketing Trends

To stay updated with the latest marketing trends and news, Beth primarily uses LinkedIn, where she follows industry leaders who post insightful content. Additionally, she subscribes to several marketing newsletters that deliver relevant information directly to her inbox, allowing her to browse through them as her schedule permits. This method helps her stay informed and keep abreast of new developments in the field without having to actively search for the information.

How to Improve Your Digital Presence

Beth advises companies looking to enhance their digital presence to start with their website, considering it the foundational asset where customer interaction occurs. She emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the website meets customer needs and effectively supports their ability to engage, such as through conversions or form submissions. Beth suggests that after securing a functional and user-friendly website, companies should focus on content quality, SEO optimization, and then extend their efforts to other digital channels. This approach ensures a strong base from which all other digital marketing efforts can expand and thrive.

Career Advice for Marketers

Beth recalls the best piece of advice she received during her college years from a professor: "You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable." This advice has been a guiding principle for her both personally and professionally. In the context of marketing, she interprets it as an encouragement to continuously seek improvement and innovation, embracing changes and challenges rather than settling into comfort. This mindset has been fundamental in her career progression, from starting in customer service to advancing into strategic marketing roles, consistently pushing her beyond her comfort zones to achieve growth and success.

Quick Skills Marketers Should Develop

For individuals just starting out in digital marketing, focus on learning how to use foundational tools, specifically highlighting the availability of free resources for mastering standard tools like those offered by Google. She emphasizes the importance of gaining proficiency in these essential digital marketing tools, as the skills acquired can be widely applicable across various aspects of the field.

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Brought to you by Americaneagle.com, a digital marketing and web design company, Modern Marketing Messages discusses the latest and greatest in both online and offline marketing tactics, strategies, and trends. We take a deep dive into anything and everything marketing, speaking to the best and brightest minds in technology and marketing. Episodes will cover different areas of focus, from advanced SEO to paid search, personalization to influencer marketing, and everything in between.

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About Author

Taylor Karg
Taylor Karg is Americaneagle.com’s Marketing Content Writer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Over the years, she’s gained experience writing for B2B brands across a variety of industries. Taylor prides herself on her ability to tell a story – and having fun while doing it. When not interviewing or writing, Taylor can be found eating tacos and watching the latest Netflix, Hulu or HBO series.


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