Upon graduating, I landed a position at a small boutique agency in Inglewood (I literally crossed the stage and signed my name on the dotted line the very same day). At the time, we were actually based out of a condo in Victoria Park. But, we grew quickly, as did I—from my original position as Social Media Maven, to Content Developer, to AdWords Strategist, to my current title as Online Marketing Lead (a somewhat blanket statement for all of the above). Soon, we were operating out of a much larger office in Inglewood, next to the famed Spolumbo’s Deli and across the street from the historic Ironwood Stage and Grill.
(For those who aren’t familiar with the area, Inglewood is a hip little neighbourhood just east of downtown Calgary. As I had to explain to a friend, it is not “the ghetto,” and you are much more likely to be accosted by a group of trendy vegans than low-rent thugs. It also happens to be home to several of my favourite spots in town!)
Anyways, my journey of employment is an interesting one that some of my friends like to tell. I had secured a last-minute, extremely nerve-wracking, buy-an-entire-new-outfit kind of interview for an oil and gas start-up. Wanting to make an impression, I took it upon myself to learn Adobe InDesign and put together a brand new résumé in a week—a summary of my experience and accomplishments in a creative booklet form. I then got it rush printed at Print Calgary, where a fellow Doctor Who-loving, Tardis-necklaced receptionist named Lillian helped me submit my order into the system.
Sadly, the interview went less than stellar, due in no small part to both my anxiety-fuelled attempts at humour (“I was born exactly 9 months after Valentine’s Day—I think I was an accident.” Crickets.) and a dress collar that unknowingly bowed open inappropriately upon seating (Thanks, Aritzia). It may have also been a result of the week-long intensive review of my entire marketing degree that I put myself through, so when I was asked to tell them about myself and that they didn’t want to know anything whatsoever about my marketing qualifications, all I could think of was the 4 P’s, the 5 I’s, and Faith Popcorn trends (99 Lives! Anchoring! Cocooning! EVEolution!).
A week later, I received the official notice that the position was now filled, while sitting in an auto shop sipping on a juice box that a 6 year old boy next to me had kindly offered (he probably noticed my long face). Less than five minutes later, ding! I had a new e-mail in my inbox: an interview request. In short, I was told that my résumé had come across their desks, and they were interested in meeting. I scanned my brain, unable to determine how or when I had applied to this company. I did a little research online, and still couldn’t place them. However, I accepted the offer, and the rest is history.
Originally, I thought the rapport I had built with the receptionist at Print Calgary was my in, but it was due to much more fateful circumstances. As my résumé booklet was being printed, it passed under the inspection of an interim print manager. Their regular manager was away for a few days, and it was only during these 72 hours that the interim manager was overseeing the print projects. Had I not gotten the other (failed) interview that I hurriedly created a new résumé for, he never would have come across it. And, as fate would have it, he knew of a company that needed someone just like me.
Anyways, my time here has been great: not only am I in a place where I can apply what I feel are my strongest skills, but I’ve also learned an immense amount in a relatively short period of time. We are a somewhat smaller agency—I like to think of us as a golden mean on a spectrum that ranges from Kijiji freelancers to Ogilvy & Mather. The flatter organizational structure gives us a higher degree of autonomy, as well as room to take more risks. I remember having lunch with a friend, an intern at one of the larger agencies in town, who bemoaned the tedious paperwork and administrative process for something as simple as changing a single photo on a webpage.
As well, not all individuals or businesses can afford the time or budget involved with such large-scale implementations—nor do they really need such a wide scope. Where were the solutions for local businesses and smaller enterprises? And, in the same realm, where were trustworthy providers you could be sure weren’t gypping you? (A common theme in marketing is calculating its intrinsic value. Many people don’t know what a website is exactly worth, and the number on that can be highly subjective). I remember consulting with an acquaintance, who was seeking feedback on his company’s new website—a $12K job that didn’t even have a proper navigation menu! I almost didn’t have the heart to tell him. And, I desperately wanted to redo his site for free simply to help—but, of course, business doesn’t work that way. If only he had come to us before—we could have created a website that at least provided the bare necessities for a fifth of the price he had paid. For even half the price he paid, we could’ve put together a premium website customized to the fullest extent, with all the fixin’s.
This is why I think it’s extremely important to do what you want to be doing, and to work with people that share the same mindset. When you work with others who love what they do, and know why they want to do it (i.e. to help people), you have a real team. That way, you generate the best output possible, because everyone is doing what they’re best at—and what they’re most passionate about. In lieu of a better (and less buzzword-y) term, it’s synergy: what we create is greater than the simple sum of our parts.
And that’s awesome.
Of course, I can’t sign off without a little bit of unabashed self-promotion. If you’re interested in setting up a website or pursuing any other kind of online/digital advertising, check out our website at OMG Rocks (yep, that’s me in the video slider). For more information on websites specifically, see our Websites page. For our other services, or to inquire about pricing, call (403) 697-9664 to speak to our friendly neighbourhood Matt.
One of the things we pride ourselves on is being a marketing agency that’s actually approachable—we’re not a big, scary firm that throws around intimidating industry jargon. We operate on more of a collaborative, person-to-person basis rather than being all business, all the time. So, if you’re not sure what you need, don’t hesitate to stop in and ask a few questions the next time you’re in the hood.