Diversity is our social reality, and it should be seen throughout businesses to have companies understand and be able to respond to the wealth of varying needs of diverse customers.Megan Trimble
Megan is the Retail Brand Manager for Tim Hortons UK. In this segment of Women In Marketing, Megan shares with us the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance and most interestingly, why public libraries remain an important source of information even in the digital age.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born and grew up in Lisburn, Northern Ireland during the 1990s. It may have been on the news a lot during this period for negative reasons, but growing up I was fortunate enough to rarely see the reality of this in my daily life. My fondest memories can generally be traced back to sunny days in the spring and summer at our caravan holiday park on the North Coast. Scrambling through forest dens, making up games on climbing frames, or spending hours on the river with my sister and friends jumping between speed boats and inflatable toys.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I am exceptionally good at eating large quantities of doughnuts – comes in fairly handy with my job! Otherwise, I’m a big water sports fan being able to waterski, kneeboard and wakeboard.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Squirrel it away in several savings accounts whilst I picked out a few properties across the world to use as bases for regular travels. And probably a bit of restoration to my beloved 33-year-old car, Noddy.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
I love a good Chicken, Bacon & Leek Pie with a bowl of crispy/fluffy triple cooked chips. Perfect comfort food.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
It was when I realised it was a real job option! I was one of those kids who set up mini stalls at car boot sales, or the play park selling all kinds of little items. From hand made bracelets, to nail painting, and even giving Mohawks to some boys I knew (sorry parents!)
I’ve been interested in selling and making customers happy. I recently came across some ‘advertising’ I had made for my beauty salon services with full marketing descriptions of the personal benefits and “high quality, low prices” and hand-drawn imagery. It took until my final year at uni to find out people made real money doing this, and I was hooked.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
A goat, very underrated.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I got hit by a speed boat when I was 16. True story.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I don’t drink any hot drinks so I’m an enigma to most people (I just don’t understand them, I’ll stick to cold drinks thanks). Without coffee, it generally takes me a little while to get going in the mornings so I check in with industry news, look through our brand’s social media to get a gauge on the mood for later messaging. Ten minutes and I’m ready to dig straight in.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I was advised very early on in my career to find a way to separate the two mentally and compartmentalise. This has been the best advice I’ve ever received. As soon as I finish for the day, I generally have a list of tasks or activities for my evenings and weekends to look forward to and move my brain on to new things. I’m also very conscious of protecting my personal time to make sure I recharge and focus on whatever I’m doing.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR DIPLOMA IN PROFESSIONAL MARKETING FROM THE CHARTERED INSTITUTION OF MARKETING (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
Read everything. Public libraries are hugely under-recognised for the enormous amount of resources and value they hold. Most are also online so you can access ebooks, audiobooks and journals from anywhere. Otherwise, just try stuff. Challenge yourself to make a new campaign proposal for a brand you love, laying out visual inspiration, writing taglines and mocking up adverts. Who knows, maybe you can build a portfolio of work just by playing around on free digital tools. Taking initiative and doing things for yourself is most important and will take you wherever you want to go.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
It’s different for everyone, there isn’t a right or wrong way to build a career. Sometimes we don’t know where we might fit with a company, other times the company changes around us, and sometimes we just get it wrong. If you have gained all you can from a role or company and can’t access the opportunities or goals you have identified for yourself, it’s time to find the next thing.
I don’t agree with staying put for a set amount of time because someone says it looks better if you are unhappy or could be doing a better job somewhere else. I would say don’t hop for the sake of it though, try to work on any blockages in your current role if you can, there may be hidden gold available to you that just needs to be discovered.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
I think it’s important to have women at all levels and roles within a business. Marketing has been historically more welcoming of women so getting to CMO level has been slightly more attainable through our numbers and pushing for it. In doing so though, these female CMOs also prove the value of women at the top levels of business, bringing benefit to others to join them.
Diversity is our social reality, and it should be seen throughout businesses to have companies understand and be able to respond to the wealth of varying needs of diverse customers.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
Fear of change. For hundreds of years, work has meant overseers physically observing the efforts of others, going against this therefore feels strange to a lot of people. Like anything though, the more it is done, the more normal it becomes and people forget there was a different way before.
Power, and the potential loss of it, also comes in to play and is a difficult thing to break or even realign.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
It has got to be a cultural thing with commonly known expectations and boundaries. I believe in the benefits of rest and recuperation helping to give you a better base for future success. Talking to employees about their working hours, listening to how they manage their work-life balance, and keeping open channels of communication to discuss how individuals are coping is the main way to target this.
But not only when there is a problem, this also needs to be a regular, normal part of interactions so employees can be helped to manage workloads or get more resources where needed in advance of burnout or stress issues.
SHERYL SANDBERG MADE AN INTERESTING REMARK IN HER KICK-ASS BIOGRAPHY ‘LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD’ THAT “SEARCHING FOR A MENTOR HAS BECOME THE PROFESSIONAL EQUIVALENT OF WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING”. SHE IS ILLUSTRATING THE NOTION OF WOMEN HAVING TO SEEK APPROVAL OR VALIDATION, ESPECIALLY FROM MEN WHO ARE AT MOST TIMES THE MENTORS. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON MENTORSHIP?
I have been lucky enough to have had two fantastic mentors throughout my career. Neither were formally arranged but both have given me such strong advice and guidance that has directly improved my career. Both have been women and have provided a holistic approach to work, providing honest experiences of juggling work with parenting, relationships and personal fulfilment. I didn’t seek either mentor but knew from our interactions and subsequent keeping in touch sessions that they would continue to inspire and encourage me through their open nature and willingness to help.
A mentor is just someone you can learn from, that can be anyone, and different opportunities will present themselves along the way. Staying open to feedback, asking questions and engaging with others may reveal a mentor in unexpected places. In my experience, they give forewarning to upcoming challenges or impart knowledge through their own experiences and behaviours, they shouldn’t be held on a pedestal as all-knowing, they’re just people who have maybe been where you are already and have a few tips and tricks.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT Tim Hortons UK?
Innovation gets thrown out on the table a lot!
True innovation to me is finding a new solution or approach to a problem, new or existing. This can be a better-designed product that more appropriately fits the user’s hand, for example. Even simple changes can have a great effect for the customer, saving them time, money, or hassle and that to me is worth pursuing, even if it doesn’t incorporate the latest tech.
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
We have continued to progress our influencer marketing programmes and have seen good results with this. For us, we have always focused more on community focused influencers, over more well known and national or international stars.
We know these local influencers, they’re often big fans of the brand before we approach them! If anything, I would say more brands will move towards hyper-local, or micro-influencers to see better results. These influencers are also more real, they live next door to our customers, and have a better handle on what people want to see, they get the tone right.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS SOME OF THE MAJOR TRENDS IN DIGITAL IN THE NEXT 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
Less friction between platforms and devices. With more people at home with all their tech and families joining together more regularly, the pain of trying to move data or entertainment around has become even more frustrating. I can see more tech companies and businesses working to make activities more seamless and integrated. No one wants to spend half an hour tapping buttons and fiddling with wires if they don’t have to.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
I keep templates for basically everything!
I’ll set up a few designed pieces for presentations, excel sheets for regular projects, or briefing forms with standard options to help save time. Over the years, I’ve amassed a nice collection of personal ‘cheat sheets’ that I bring with me and continue to build on, tweaking as I go. They look good, get me to a basic starting point on something new quickly, and mean I don’t waste time looking for the right format to get some work done.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
I always have at least two books on the go at any one time. Usually, a paperback because I’m old school and love taking a cheeky peek to the end of a story and trying to work out how things happen, and also an audiobook for my commutes. Currently, I’m reading ‘The Cactus’ by Sarah Haywood, and listening to ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama. I did just finish ‘Invisible Women’ by Caroline Criado Perez which was incredible, can’t stop raving about it.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
A weird mix. I’m rewatching Community with my partner, as well as The Fall (Gillian Anderson is fantastic). I’ve then got a few documentary series (Babies, History 101 and [un]well) as I like a broad mix of topics to learn about. Trinkets is a great escape show that’s easy to watch and I’m very excited to start watching Get organised with the Home Edit.
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
Never been a fan of a handshake, not bothered if we lose it! A little wave is fine by me.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My parents. Being separated by a bit of water has never seemed so far before. Hopefully, they can travel over to visit soon, in the meantime, it’s video calls and WhatsApp.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
I once emailed a very important national journalist calling HIM Sarah…. never copy and paste in a hurry… on the other hand, we became very friendly as we made a joke out of it and ended up doing a lot of work together that I was unlikely to have got without grabbing his attention. Mistakes happen, find a way to make them work and learn for next time.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Just focus on being happy, don’t worry about all the other stuff.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
I’m currently trying to improve my financial/commercial skills. I tend to sway more naturally towards the creative and execution side of marketing, so I’m actively trying to upskill myself to help boost my value to the company and my career. I’ve got the great support of my manager, some books in my TBR list, and a financial analyst buddy to help me get there.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
I’d love to be involved with an educational programme at some point in my career. I initially wanted to be a teacher for many years and have benefitted hugely from the opportunities my education has given me, I want to be able to help give that to others. Personally,I want to do loads more travelling, adopt a dog, and live abroad as well.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Jacinda Ardern, she’s doing an awesome job and I respect her approach, she’s very down to earth and real.