How This Marketing Director Stays Innovative and Agile in the Age of Social Media

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After more than a decade in marketing, Rachel Curry, Director of Marketing, Owned Channels for Volvo, knows the secret to success in the industry. But as social media and content creation is changing the way we consume ads, branded content, and marketing, how is she pivoting to adapt? She shares her advice below—plus, how she’s challenging the status quo and the advice she wishes she could give her younger self.

Q: Your brand just rolled out an incredible resource in the automotive community, sharing crash data with not just Volvo, but with any and all car companies. How did your team make that decision, and how are you leveraging it within marketing?

A: We’ve collected real-world data since the 1970s to better understand what happens during a collision. As a result, it has been possible to identify what injuries arise in different crashes for men, women, and children. To help make cars safer for everyone, we are now sharing our research with the world—just like we did when we released the patent on the three-point seatbelt. It’s reassuring to me that we do our best to make our cars are just as safe for women and children, as men.

Q: You run a team that’s constantly coming up with new ways to market your product online and off. How do you continue to stay creative in an ever-changing marketplace?

A: I read… every chance I get! I love Wired and Harvard Business Review and because I’m often on a flight, it allows me the time get inspired by new ideas. Most of my work is in digital channels, but I still love a print subscription! We’re not the biggest car brand, so the team is extremely creative by nature, our CEO Håkan Samuelsson is a major disrupter in the industry so fresh thinking is actively encouraged at every level of the organization. The key to creativity is to surround yourself with curious people who will ask questions and challenge the status quo.

The key to creativity is to surround yourself with curious people who will ask questions and challenge the status quo.

Q: You’re in charge of messaging for Volvo Car USA across all their channels, which means you’re the ultimate content calendar owner. What are some resources or tools you use to plan out messaging across all platforms?

A: My work wife, the director marketing for campaigns and I work extremely closely and we strategize after every executive meeting and debrief on business priorities. Our teams collaborate on a calendar on key milestones, with enough flexibility that we can jump on opportunities when they arise. We’re a tight, nimble team – and over-communication is key! We also watch the data to understand what content resonates on each platform – we don’t set it and forget it!

Q: You’re a marketing director in the car biz, which is often considered a boys’ club. How do you see your role as an opportunity?

A: I think it’s a huge opportunity to shake things up and challenge assumptions! Women in tech and automotive are under-represented, so I strongly advocate for gender equality and female advancement within our organization -  about half our marketing team is female. Platforms like Create & Cultivate help show that women are in these roles now, and thriving!

Q: What advice do you wish you could go back and give your younger self?

A:  Be your own advocate – it’s ok to challenge the status quo, don’t apologize for negotiating for what you want. Feedback is truly a gift… I learnt that later than I should have, but embracing any opportunity to improve is a great catalyst for growth, personally and professionally, so don’t shy away from it. If you’re not getting feedback, be sure to ask for it.

Q:  What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting a brand and needs some digital marketing tips in a world that’s so saturated with content?

A:  Own your data. Data is king. Whether it’s your subscribers to your newsletter, cookies for retargeting, customer purchase behavior or even preparing to calculate your customer lifetime value – own your data!  Platforms are constantly changing and it’s tough to keep up – but what’s yours they can never take away and will only be incremental value in the future. Keep one eye on the work in hand, and one on the horizon so you see what’s next.

Q: What are you most excited about for your work in 2019?

A: I think the automotive industry is about to experience more change in the next 10 years, than it has in the last 50. I’m excited to be part of it. At Volvo we lean in to that disruption, and want to make our consumers lives easier, safer and less complicated… oh and more women in the drivers seat!

This post is sponsored by Volvo.