Summarizing the past 20 months working as a Precision Marketer at AE is….really challenging.
Do I talk about the amazing work culture and values fostered by AE? The welcoming, quirky, and hard-working team? Or the way the job itself has transformed since I first started?
After jotting down my favourite memories of working at AE, I knew what I wanted to share…
Here are the 5 parts of being a Precision Marketer that I loved the most!
Building Up The Site
Before starting at AE, I had never used WordPress. (I know, how did I even get the job, right?!)
If you have any experience using WordPress you know it can be like wandering through a labyrinth trying to rescue your baby brother from David Bowie…
From conception to birth, building out a page is quite the process. You brainstorm a page idea with the team, create a wireframe, build it out on WordPress, write the copy, design the graphics, make endless tweaks, and BOOM! There’s a gorgeous new piece of marketing magic for the whole world to see. The length of the process is part of what makes it so rewarding.
Because of how frustrating WordPress was to learn, I am even more chuffed about how far I’ve come. I’m so grateful to have learned this skill and I can say with confidence that I am now a (semi) proficient web page creator!
Creating Video Content
When I started at AE, we had a problem. People knew of AE, but very few could explain in a sentence what it actually did. I was tasked to help solve this problem, by creating an explainer video.
I love video. I love how fun it is to watch and how it can effortlessly get an idea across when used effectively. There’s something you just can’t capture with words…and video has got it.
After getting the green light on my script and overall concept, I raced into the groovy world of video. There were a million things I needed to know, so I researched everything from lighting to how to build a stop motion rig to camera settings.
Then Jeff and Annabel left for a 4 week vacation to Australia and it was just me and the camera left to battle it out…
Despite the moments of panic and despair – I got it done! My mantra was just keep trying, and it worked. The finished product wasn’t perfect, but I think it helped a lot of people to understand AE better.
I made many more videos after that first one, including ones for help docs, email campaigns, ad promos, PR, and sales. It was a blast and I loved every minute!
Writing With Pizzazz
Working on AE’s Marketing team has given me a lot of opportunity to write. And not the often boring, long form reports that I had to write for business school. At AE, our brand is fun, authentic, and quirky – just like me! So whether I was writing a social media post or a help doc, I could always inject a little personality.
Now I feel like all around stronger writer. I know how to communicate big ideas in a few words, and how to be fun and professional at the same time.
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- Writing is the perfect activity for Deep Work. Close out your tabs and apps, put on some tunes and go fullscreen. Ahhhh the perfect blank canvas.
- Avoid cliches and expressions. Okay, I still suck at this, but I’m learning! Now I always ask myself, is there a more original way that I could say this?
- You have to make humans and computers happy with your content. This means not sacrificing readability for those extra keywords, but also realizing the power of SEO. This article has been bringing in 1000+ people to our site since being published.
- Always make your links open into another tab. Always.
- Turn off your self-editor when starting a writing project. It’s better to get your rough ideas on paper and edit later – we call it a “vomit draft.” The next day when you open up the document, it’s so easy to see what edits need to be made.
Strengthening AE’s Culture
One of the many great things about working at a startup is how you get to wear many hats. I loved being able to do a bit of “People Ops” work while being on AE’s Marketing team.
I helped to organize our monthly games nights at KWENCH (our co-working office space), birthday and onboarding lunches for team members, quarterly “field trips” (like axe throwing and watching Star Wars in 3D), and our end of the year holiday party.
I also got to help re-vision our company values and start initiatives like our “Vole of the Month.” (Once a month a team member gets nominated based on how they are living our values. They are the Vole of the Month!) I got to work on the internal communications around that, facilitate the process every month, and create this little award trophy:
AE is a company that puts a lot of effort into having an awesome workplace culture. (Check out all the fun things we do together on Instagram!) At the end of the day, AE sees its employees as people first, who want to be themselves and enjoy being at work.
Visioning For Our Growth
Every fall, we get the whole team together for our Strategy Days. It’s two full days of team building and strategy assessment where we get a chance to look at the full AE picture.
While some employees might roll their eyes and think, “When can I get back to my real work?”, I thrive off this stuff.
I love stepping back from the day-to-day and seeing what is working – and what isn’t. Then following up with meaningful and rapid action on those discoveries. For me, this meant working with the Marketing team to craft our plan for the year. It’s probably one of the few times a year where I actually love working with spreadsheets!
It’s fun to engage with your team in ways you might not be used to. We did the classic Spaghetti Tower challenge as well as a unique Tinkertoy building challenge. Secrets out: I can be pretty dang competitive!
Overall, it was an amazing experience to work so closely with the founders of a succesful startup and to have my perspective be acknowledged and acted on.
There are two things I know for certain.
First, that I will miss the team greatly. While I am excited about my upcoming adventures, I know it will be hard to stop wondering what’s going on at AE…Are Jenn and Jeff still representing the team at HIIT every week? Are Grant’s younglings finally sleeping through the night? What did the team play at the last Games Night? Did we sign on any new customers? Thank goodness for social media.
Second, that I will carry the memories and skills I picked up at AE, forever. I already know that it was a pivotal experience in my career and I am immensely grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!