You ever have that feeling? When you know you’re in the right place, at the right time? I had one of those moments this week. I was sitting at my desk in front of a blank Word document, and I paused because I realized I’m exactly where I should be – writing kick-ass copy for the right demand generation agency.
Let me back up
Of course, I wasn’t always a copywriter for a demand gen agency. More importantly, I wasn’t even always at an agency. In the world of advertising, there’s this invisible line that is hard to cross. People who choose to make a career out of marketing and/or advertising must make a choice — Do I want to “do what I do” on the client-side, or do it on the agency-side?
When I was in college, I tested the waters on the agency-side. I had the rare opportunity to land an actual paying summer internship at a well-respected Advertising and PR firm in Cleveland, Ohio. It was my first taste of living my dream of being a writer in the real world (and getting paid for it too)! I was ecstatic. I loved seeing how one big idea could be broken down into executable chunks. It was so exciting to see a bunch of talented people together in a room, using their strengths to tackle a client deliverable. I loved the fast pace. And I loved knowing I could contribute to something – no matter how big or small – and what I did for a living mattered. It mattered to my company, to my clients, and to their customers.
I learned two things that summer: 1) I could indeed make a living doing what I loved (writing), and 2) I learned a heck of a lot about duct tape. Too much maybe (this probably had to do with the fact I wrote more than my fair share of press releases on the various uses of duct tape and other such products for one specific client). But I digress.
Flipping to the client-side
After graduation, I applied everywhere. And even though I was hoping for an agency gig, I found a position on the client-side. And ya know what? I liked it. A lot. I liked it so much I stayed with my company for eight years. I wrote everything and anything about an alternative form of small business financing. I also discovered a new love – online marketing. It was fascinating! I could literally track everything I wrote. I could tag it with some code, and then I’d know who read it, where they were reading it, how long it took them to read it, and most importantly, if they picked up the phone and contacted my company because they read it.
I didn’t have that experience on the agency-side. I wrote press releases, tried to schmooze with editors, and sent out media kits in the hopes a magazine or newspaper might reserve a small section of their publication for my “story.” And then, maybe it would be seen by hundreds or thousands of people, or maybe it wouldn’t. I didn’t know, and there was no way to tell. On the client-side, I had proof, and in some instances, I had instant proof that end-users were taking what I wrote and using it for their benefit.
I had to learn more
Yet, something was still missing. Yes, I could see when people were reading my content, and I could talk to the ones who chose to interact with my company after they read it. But what about the people who read what I wrote and did nothing? Why did my content appeal to some people and not to others? What was different? I needed more answers, and I knew I wasn’t going to find them on my own. I needed help. That’s when I said so long to the financing company, and hello to a digital marketing company (yes, I did the unthinkable — I flipped sides again and went back to an agency).
And it was hard. There was so much to learn, and thanks to the nonstop evolution of the Internet, almost as soon as I learned one thing, it changed. It was incredibly rewarding though. With every new piece of information I learned, I came one step closer to understanding the connection between content and taking an action (or not). Oddly enough though, the most valuable thing I learned at that digital marketing agency was also the most frustrating one. All the marketing, writing, and advertising that I did for my clients only lived in one place – on the web. My clients had their own internal departments executing everything that was not digital-related (e.g., trade shows, print ads, direct mail, etc.). I did my thing, and they did theirs. We worked in siloes.
And because of this misalignment, my marketing efforts sometimes overlapped theirs and vice versa. We missed a lot of opportunities to execute flawlessly and deliver a smooth user experience from print to web to event. It was clunky and messy. Customers sometimes received conflicting messages. And trying to track what worked and what didn’t was difficult, which meant my day-to-day contacts had a hard time proving the value of any marketing efforts to their leadership. I was determined to find a better marketing and sales environment, and I knew I wasn’t going to find it at that digital marketing agency.
A fresh (technical) perspective
Personal circumstances brought me to Denver, Colorado, where I dabbled with freelancing for a bit, but eventually found a writing position for a large retirement services institution. Once again, I found myself on the client-side. I started out as the go-to internal writer, but quickly moved into an email marketing position. And although I wasn’t writing the emails (which is what I would have liked to have been doing), it was my job to understand everything I possibly could about the marketing automation platform (MAP) the company had purchased and how to plug it into their customer management system (CRM). And that’s exactly what I did.
With an incredibly small internal team (and the outside help of an email marketing partner), I learned how to design, build, and send out automated emails that pulled in bits of dynamic data from the CRM. And then, I learned how to run reports and deliver results to the heads of each sales vertical in the company. Amid all this, I worked under the annoying constraints of dirty and incomplete data, manual list uploads, and CAN-SPAM and CASL limitations. It was intense. And I struggled a lot because the company did not have a solid tech stack in place, and we didn’t have the in-house expertise or external support to manage it all.
Still, I tried. And I soaked up everything I could through my trials and tribulations. I celebrated successes with my team and discussed possible solutions for challenges. And although I was incredibly grateful to learn about the “technical” side of marketing, I yearned to write again. And I knew I was still missing the bigger picture.
Finding my true ID
I don’t quite remember how I found Intelligent Demand (ID). All I knew at the time of our first introduction was it was an agency in need of a talented copywriter. Through the interview process and additional research, I learned ID was not just an agency, but rather an integrated demand generation agency. And after I was hired and continued learning about the company, I discovered ID had a real-life method for connecting all the dots I’d been trying to connect throughout my professional career. They had the solution I’d been seeking all along!
They worked in a truly collaborative environment, breaking down typical communication barriers I’d seen in my previous work environments. There’s no client-side vs. agency-side here — ID and its partners operate as One Revenue Team™ with unified goals.
Everyone plays to their own strengths — creatives work alongside techies, account services keep everyone aligned with an integrated strategy, and account ops focus on delivering on-time and under budget, every time. And best of all, there’s data to back up every move ID takes.
In my other places of employment, I only learned broken bits of how to execute a well-rounded marketing program. And when I started working at ID, I found the rest of the pieces I was missing. Finally, I’ve found a
place where my written words are rooted in a well-researched strategy, and my messages stay consistent across multiple channels (online and offline). They are d
elivered automatically to users who are in a specific spot in their buyer journey, and because my team knows where those users are in their journey, my messages are relevant to them. And if my words don’t resonate, my team can see why because we have access to robust reporting and analytics. And you know what? It works!
Back to the beginning
So, when I said “I had a moment this week where I realized I’m exactly where I should be,” I wasn’t lying. It’s not just “fluff copy” to fill up space in a blog post. It’s real. Want to see how real? Contact us, and we’ll show you exactly how we produce real results, every day.
Now, back to writing that kick-ass copy…