Unleashed continues to grow, despite the pandemic and other challenges. We contribute a large portion of our consistent growth to our amazing designers and skilled developers. Still, some of the recognition is owed to our marvelous Director of Marketing, Scott Shepherd. His strategic vision and diligent delivery schedule enable Unleashed to share its innovative work and superior solutions in a digestible manner. Through the Unleashed marketing program, Scott has helped countless brands take the first step in their digital journey.
What are some of the duties of a Director of Marketing?
They can vary greatly depending on the organization, but at Unleashed, we focus on driving our communication channels with our clients and prospects. Unleashed is focused on sharing its knowledge of digital strategy and web technologies and hopefully, we win some business along the way.
What is your favorite part of leading the Unleashed marketing department?
Our sales and marketing team is a small, but close unit. I like the team's camaraderie and getting to know each individual, even if it is usually over a Zoom call.
Speaking of getting to know people, I also enjoy events and getting out to connect with clients, partners, and industry leaders. I like to think we all learn a bit from each other and maybe develop some strong, mutually beneficial relationships. I'm hopeful that we can get out this fall to connect with people in person again.
What are some of the qualities you need to have a successful career in marketing/communications?
This is a tricky question to answer because it really depends on how you define success. However, I have grown my career by having a broad base of knowledge of the different elements of marketing.
Marketing is really broken out into several niches that need to be tied together to drive an organization's marketing strategy. Whether it is market positioning, brand awareness, lead generation, product marketing, event marketing, social media management, or public relations, all of these activities need to be tied together to achieve marketing objectives that support the overall organizational goals. When people get siloed, it is very easy to lose sight of the fact that those activities are part of the company's overall goals.
Also, marketing can take on many different forms, depending on your audience. You may be focused on awareness of the company among a few key markets with a specific client profile, or you may do mass advertising in a B2C environment. However, the one thing that carries through to all of this is the need to develop metrics and track impact as much as you can.
What was the biggest obstacle for the marketing team during the pandemic?
I started at Unleashed one week before the offices closed due to COVID-19. So, for me, it was a challenge just getting to know team members and having them get to know me. I don't mind a Zoom call and working from home has some real advantages, but getting to know team members and having brainstorming sessions where people really open up and get creative can be a real challenge.
What was the marketing team's largest accomplishment last year?
After navigating the pandemic, the team has produced a lot of great content and really leaned in to having fun and showing off Unleashed's fun personality. This is a great group to work with – both as a co-worker and a client – and we need to show that off more.
What conferences or networking events are you most looking forward to once everyone is out and networking again?
We were scheduled to speak at the American Bankers Association Marketing Conference and I was really disappointed when it went fully virtual. Austin is an amazing town, and it looked like a great conference. We will still be presenting at the virtual conference, which we are very proud of. However, it is just not the same.
ASAE Annual was another event at the top of that list, but I understand why they also went virtual, which was probably a wise choice considering the circumstances. However, I am looking forward to our own networking events and educational panels that we continue to host locally.
If you could magically become famous, what would you want to be famous for?
Is it weird that fame has very little interest to me? Never has. I was a newspaper reporter and editor for a while, which gave me small pockets for recognition in the communities I covered. I did take some pride when people complimented my coverage. However, good coverage can upset people because the messages do not always align with what people want to hear or even know.
To answer your question, I guess just being famous for doing something positive for the community or being helpful to people would be fine with me. However, if I could be named starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, that would be pretty sweet too. Too bad they have that Russell Wilson fellow.
How do you blow off steam or deal with stress?
I enjoy going to concerts and live music events as often as I can. Let me just say the pandemic has been difficult and I am glad we are slowly starting to emerge from it.