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Anatomy of a Growth Marketer: Janelle Stettler

Anatomy of a Growth Marketer is an ongoing blog series showcasing top talent in the field of digital advertising.

Great in-house advertisers are the lifeblood of digital business growth. They are methodical and analytical, using results from real-time reporting to iterate on best-performing creative and copy as well as to identify under-performing campaigns. A seasoned performance marketing specialist is expected to wear many hats, and may be responsible for a significant percentage of spend (resulting in significant company growth).

What’s it like to build a marketing team from scratch, and what are the tools for success? We asked Social Media Marketing Manager Janelle Stettler for her insights.

Janelle Stettler

Janelle Stettler

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What is your role, and what attracted you to it?

My role is to oversee our university partners’ paid and organic social media activity, and my team’s goal is online customer acquisition via digital ad spend on various social media sites. In addition, we maintain and scale the communities on the social sites we manage by developing and sharing relevant content and engaging with our audience. Having a vibrant online community not only supports our paid efforts but also helps develop our brand.

I took this role because I was attracted to the challenge of making social media an efficient source for customer acquisition and building it from the ground up.  I also was attracted to this role because it touches so many areas of the business and is so versatile; it allows for a lot of creativity. There hadn’t been anyone focused full-time on social media advertising; it was just me when I started 14 months ago. Since then, we’ve added three people under my management to support and maintain the growth of spend and our portfolio of online offerings.

I believe having a mission that is clear and defined, and finding employees who are passionate about the mission plays a big role in getting the right people in the door.  I have been fortunate to find excellent employees, and I believe that like I was, they are attracted to the uncharted territories of an evolving market space.

What is a typical day in the life of a Social Media Marketing Manager?

It’s hard to describe a typical day because no day is ever like the last. There is always a new challenge to solve, opportunity to explore and research, testing to be done, and endless opportunities for analysis. I would say that brainstorming and implementing new ideas to scale or improve efficiency are common themes.

That said, a typical day usually starts with a birds-eye analysis of campaign performance.

I would say that brainstorming and implementing new ideas to scale or improve efficiency are a common theme.

Based on pace, recent performance, and feedback from my team, I’ll drill into campaigns as needed and react and/or delegate tasks based on the story the data is telling me. If new ads have been created, I’ll review them and provide feedback. Given the recent growth of my team, I spend time training new employees and getting them up to speed on our business. There’s a lot of foundation that I’m laying right now because of how quickly this channel has scaled.

What do you find most useful about Nanigans software?

Nanigans has allowed me to scale spend and inquiry volume, and maintain that growth. Because testing is crucial to success and continuous improvement, being able to create hundreds of variations of ads in minutes is a huge advantage to the platform. The reporting tool allows for instant feedback on our campaigns and granular control which really helps with efficiency and knowing that we are spending money effectively.  With the reporting tool, I constantly find myself “going down the rabbit hole” because there are so many interesting ways to look at all the data that is available. Since I oversee multiple brands with their own products, this flexibility is crucial – I can get an overview of overall performance for any date range, and can just as easily isolate and view a particular brand or product. Within my team, we constantly share views we create in the reporting tool which is extremely convenient.

Though ad creation and reporting have been the keys to successfully scaling this channel, my favorite feature would have to be the automated optimizations, particularly for budgeting. I can easily make adjustments to our daily spend goals and then trust the platform to automatically spend money on our best performing ads. It’s really like a 5th team member that doesn’t sleep, but allows us to! Since we don’t have to be constantly making adjustments to our bids and budgets throughout the day, it frees up time for us to be creative and strategize.

The software is really like a 5th team member that doesn’t sleep, but allows us to!

I know I’ve mentioned several features, but I can’t possibly leave out our amazing Nanigans team, Nader and Erica; they really go above and beyond. Besides being incredibly responsive, they proactively anticipate our needs and make suggestions to help us reach our goals. I sincerely respect their knowledge and expertise and highly value our partnership.

What are the advantages of in-house marketing?

I am able to get instant feedback on performance of campaigns. That ability is very rewarding because it allows us to quickly see the results of our work.

In-house marketing allows you to stay true to your brand; no one knows  your mission as well as your own talent. When marketing is managed in-house, you can be sure that growth is supported in line with the core values and vision of the company. Besides having control of your brand, you are able to synergistically collaborate with other channels and teams face-to-face in real-time to quickly respond to change or take new directions within the business. In-house marketing also provides opportunities and room for growth for employees.

What do you find most rewarding about being an in-house marketer?

I have had the support and faith from leadership to build this channel and was given the tools I needed to succeed.  I knew there was potential to scale spend, but have been thrilled by the explosive growth we’ve seen and even more thrilled to now have an awesome team to manage what I was doing myself just a year ago. I am able to get instant feedback on performance of campaigns. That ability is very rewarding because it allows us to quickly see the results of our work. I am fortunate to be at a company that has empowered me to try new things. I’ve really been able to see my vision come to fruition. The possibilities for testing and growth are endless as social media is an increasingly vital role for all advertisers and consumers. Like the advertising movement from newspaper to radio, or radio to television, the social media market is now rapidly expanding. It is exciting to be involved in this dynamic and developing marketing space.
For more insights from an experienced digital professional, read our first Q&A, “Anatomy of a Growth Marketer: Kevin Hsu.”

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