Anastasia is Deeplite’s Digital Marketing Manager. With a love for writing and storytelling, she wanted to pursue a career in journalism. She tells us how she made the transition into a marketing role. Oh, and did we mention that she breathes fire?! 🔥
That and more on this blazing segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ANASTASIA. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in the far Noth-West of Russia, beyond the polar circle in Murmansk. When I was 23, I moved to Helsinki, Finland, to study for my second master’s degree. I’ve spent seven years in Finland before moving to Montreal, Canada, which I am very much considering my home now.
When I think of my birthplace, I remember the rough but beautiful nature of tundra, the bright colours of the valleys covered with moss, frozen winter trees resembling corals, and polar lights stretching out on the sky so bright that they could be seen even in the city.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
Although I was a bit rebellious, I liked to study and was successful in most humanities subjects, like languages, literature, grammar, painting. I was not too fond of algebra because I believed that our professor was a cyborg 😂
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
An otter! They are cute but also fierce, agile, and able to stand up for themselves.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
I love to eat and share food with others. I cook all sorts of food at home and love trying and mixing tastes from different cultures.
I do have a plate that always warms my heart up and brings me back to my childhood, my ‘Madeleine de Proust’. It’s a very simple meal that was often served at the school canteen: creamy potato puree, chicken patty, and some canned peas on the side.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would invest my money and start working part-time instead of full-time.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I can breathe fire!
I did poi dancing (a form of performing art) while doing my university studies and learned how to dance with fire and breathe fire.
You will find it on my LinkedIn profile in the ‘skills’ section, thanks to endorsements from my former colleagues, haha.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
At the end of high school, I wanted to be a journalist because I loved writing and storytelling. That’s a big part of what I do working in marketing today!
My passion for marketing grew gradually. I first tried doing PR while still studying at the university. Nowadays, I do a lot of content marketing, digital acquisition, and analytics, which is a great mix of technical and creative tasks.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
As a Russian, I enjoy a good cup of strong earl grey. But as a person who lived for years in Finland, I am very much initiated into the coffee culture. Finns know and love their coffee!
So what I take in the morning depends, sometimes I take coffee, some months I switch to tea. I might even occasionally allow myself a cup of miso soup instead.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I have a daily schedule that I follow – concentration work the first half of the day, meetings and creative tasks in the afternoon, a walk or gym session after five, family time in the evening. After 7 pm, I switch off all of my notifications from Slack or email.
But if there is an emergency at work, those rules, of course, get shoved away.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MBA IN ARTS MARKETING & MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI. YESSS GIRL! ACCORDING TO CNBC, RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY GLASSDOOR FOUND THAT COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, GOOGLE, AND IBM (AMONGST OTHERS) OFFER WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ANY FORMAL EDUCATION. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEIR CAREERS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO AFFORD A FORMAL EDUCATION?
I have two master’s degrees, one from Russia and another from Finland. Tertiary education is free in these countries.
I started my first master’s degree very early, right after finishing high school, and didn’t have much time to reflect on what I would like to do. My mom urged me to get into the university since higher education opens doors (a common belief in Russia).
Both of my masters are not connected directly to the field I am working in. Do I regret doing them? Absolutely not.
Would I study as much if I could change the course of things today? Maybe not. Higher education certainly made me more erudite. But most of the skills that I am using at work today I obtained through conducting my research and practice of taking online courses. Plus, the world is moving so fast right now. I am sure I will, again and again, have to refresh my skills and add on my today’s knowledge if I want to stay up-to-date with the profession.
YOU HAVE A GREAT RESUME. YOU’VE WORKED FOR COMPANIES SUCH AS IBWAVE, DEEPLITE AS WELL AS EKAHAU. HOW IMPORTANT HAS LINKEDIN BEEN FOR YOU AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN LOOKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR PROFESSIONAL BRAND FOR NETWORKING PURPOSES?
Very important – nearly all the roles I had I found through LinkedIn.
The only advice I could give here is to stay active, do LinkedIn research and connect with the right people. Don’t be afraid to reach out! But always go for a personal message vs. copy-pasting text from one chat to another.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
I think it’s crucial for anyone.
Humans are social animals; we learn and thrive through our connections with other people.
I’ve always looked for teams and bosses from whom I could learn from. I am grateful for people who encouraged me to grow and showed me the way to becoming who I am today. But your mentor also doesn’t have to be your boss, it can even be your whole team if the work culture is set right for mates to learn from each other.
By the way, I think LinkedIn had a decent mentorship program, too bad it has been discontinued.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Always splitting tasks into smaller steps and milestones. This way, even bigger projects look less scary : )
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENON 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 all depends on your current career goals! Job hopping makes a lot of sense if you want to gain more experience and get your hands on varied projects. I don’t think today you can scare or concern anyone with job changes and varied experience on your CV.
FOR ITS 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
This is a tough question.
Is it because women do more marketing, so the ratio is this way from the very beginning? Or is it because other C-suite roles are less open for women? Or both?
I saw the recent research report in Harvard Business Review that stated that, on average, women score higher than men in most leadership skills. Sadly, I think skillful women are still overlooked in many countries/cultures nowadays, making them rarely seen in leadership roles.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES, AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
I think it very much depends on the context, the company, and the country. Levels of gender equality can be very different from one culture to another. Therefore challenges women encounter on the path of their career growth will be varied too.
Whatever comes, I believe it is best to stand your ground and push back if you face pressure, be calm and coherent on your path to success.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
Because many people love going to the office. Reasons vary; some of them, for example, don’t have a good environment to maintain work from home. During the pandemic, The Economist issued a great series of articles explaining all the social and economic reasons for remote work not being put on the fast track before.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT ITS SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
Promoting work-life balance and mental health at work, making sure people still take vacation and days off even if they cannot travel anywhere.
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?
For me, it’s very simple. If you found a way of doing something better and more efficiently than it was done before, you’re innovative.
A 2019 REPORT BY PAUL BRIGGS FOR EMARKETER PREDICTED THAT CANADA’S DIGITAL ADVERTISING OUTLOOK WOULD CONTINUE TO BE ON THE UP ALL THE WAY TO 2023. WITH THE ADVENT OF COVID-19, WHAT ARE YOUR PREDICTIONS AS FAR AS TRENDS AND AD SPEND ARE CONCERNED GOING INTO 2021?
Digital marketing has been stepping on the toes of traditional methods for a while now.
The Covid-19 crisis just served as the last drop that made things change steeply. In the future, I see more and more marketing efforts being performed online. Outbound will still stay, of course. For example, the good old events marketing will not disappear but will certainly shift towards a hybrid format, combining in-person and online.
As for the ads, that depends on your company goals, industry, and marketing strategy. No recipe suits all. Organic and advocacy marketing might work so well for some businesses that they won’t need to pay to expand their reach. I collaborate with Montréal inc. Foundation to help startups find the best method for their growth. When I coach teams, I recommend building a strong organic base before driving any funds into ads to protect your business from losing money.
Besides giving a boost to the digital marketing world, Covid-19 also brought challenges. For instance, online fatigue has been growing extremely fast, so marketers should be extra vigilant and on point with their messaging. Work from home has messed up the analytics tracking too. Hence, optimizing your ads can be a hurdle.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
I believe in marketing as a strong connector between people, their problems, and the right solutions. So for me, the future lies there, not in selling more to whoever you can.
On the technical side, I can see more AI being implemented in marketing, especially on the analytics side of things.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and give yourself some credit!
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 am in a great period of my life – I am in my dream job taking care of marketing in an exciting and growing startup. My only challenge is there are only 24 hours in a day.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Finish watching all lectures I marked as interesting in the InBound 2020 conference. Start (and finish!) reading a book in French.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Soviet actress Faina Ranevskaya – she had brilliant and dark humour and she could swear so elegantly. Chihiro from Spirited Away, I love how brave, open and friendly she is.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I prefer paper books, but I also use e-readers, especially if I want to do an outline of the text I am reading.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I think a standup comedian could be a good challenge for me!
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Here are the recent ones: ‘I don’t feel at home in this world anymore’, ‘Call my agent’, ‘Hunt for the wilder people’, ‘Spirited away’, ‘Nobody knows I’m here’.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Some of my friends from Finland and Russia. Hello! Hope you are doing great : )
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Myriam Jessier from PRAGM. She is the best and the most hilarious SEO professional I know. Kelly Burroughs from iBwave. She is the product marketing rockstar any company should be proud to hire. Olga Pope from Linehouse London – she will allow no bullshit to pass in your messaging.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Don’t forget to have fun! : )
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ANASTASIA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Here are my social media platforms: