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Marketing Internship Success Story
Let’s talk about your career at GURUS. To start, what position were you hired for?
I was hired at GURUS four years ago for a summer internship position in the Marketing team. At the time, I was studying English Literature and Communications at Concordia University. I was looking for internship programs with Sales and Marketing teams that would help me grow as a professional.
I was attracted to GURUS Solutions because I had heard of their incredible culture from my friend, Jonathan Acoca, who was working in their sales team. From my interviews with Human Resources, I could tell they had a fast-paced environment with a lot of moving parts, and many years of experience taking on interns in their professional services departments. Their internship program for a Marketer was new, and part of their larger Marketing plan, which immediately sounded exciting to me.
How have you grown into your current role?
As the company grew, so did my role. Halfway through my summer internship, I was offered a part-time position. During my part-time position, I worked with our team to start implementing videos, and building the early version of the website’s blog section. Martin McNicoll, GURUS’ CEO, was always open to creative ideas, and quickly jumped on board for our video creation. One of the earliest video projects we worked on was What’s the difference between Spreadsheets and Cloud ERP / NetSuite?. That was a really fun one to write and film for - we took the simple idea of explainers for a technology audience and we wanted to turn it into a sort of skit. Obviously, none of us were professional actors, but we pulled together and created a makeshift studio at the time.
Martin’s openness and excitement for the project made it a blast and I think the final product turned out pretty nicely considering what we had as resources at the time. After that, I was offered a full-time position.
Over the years, we built out a well-oiled Marketing machine and I realized my passion for different aspects of Marketing and business in general. As our team grew, John and Martin were gracious enough to support me, and help me in carving out my own branch of our Marketing machine, which was Branding and Communications.
Another great aspect of branching out into the brand and communications side of GURUS’ Marketing efforts was travelling to international events and conferences, like the annual Oracle NetSuite SuiteWorld. Once a year, NetSuite ERP customers, developers, consultants, experts and partners come together for a week-long event. This huge gathering allows you to network, attend impactful learning sessions and expand your knowledge of the NetSuite ecosystem.
Pictured: Making new friends at SuiteWorld 2019 in Las Vegas
It was an incredible experience for a Marketer for several reasons:
Crafting the branding for the booths (it was the biggest booth GURUS had done yet at that point) was a huge exercise in brand and you saw immediate ROI based on in-person engagement
It was great to meet clients and network within the NetSuite space, which includes thousands of customers from across the globe and from every industry imaginable
I got to host our customer appreciation event and meet some of the great people in the businesses across the U.S. and Canada that GURUS serves. We even got volunteers for testimonials that we filmed on the spot!
It was an opportunity to travel with other GURUS - from every department, including Marketing, Sales, Professional Services and our Executive Team
What drew you to the Marketing team, communications, and brand management?
I have always had a passion for advertising, for videos and for branding. Right after high school, I worked in copywriting for small businesses in Montreal. I went into English Literature and Communications at Concordia University because I wanted to pursue the more practical side of content creation and understand how to find the right audiences and build media that resonates with them. I actually did freelance work while pursuing my studies and got pretty handy with a camera, lights, sound equipment and other tools which proved useful when GURUS started doing videos.
Every business and every NetSuite client is unique in their own way, which translates into having unique needs. That’s the beauty of marketing NetSuite as a solution for someone who comes from a creative background, it’s not as simple as promoting a product or service.
That actually brings me to my next question: Did you feel like there was a learning curve when you started at GURUS?
As Martin likes to say, “An ERP implementation is like a heart transplant”. It’s a huge endeavor! There is so much learning, and process involved in a business making the choice to implement a new ERP system. By the time I’d evolved into my role as Senior Brand & Communications Specialist at GURUS, I felt like I had learned so much about so many different industries and business models. It’s really the best part about being in Marketing in SAAS.
How did you find the various transitions you went through here?
Great - from year to year, my progression has always felt organic. The great thing about GURUS is that management gives you so much room to experiment. That was the philosophy that really stuck with me and inspired me from the get-go. There are no bad ideas, unless we know the data says otherwise. There is no creative hierarchy. These are the two concepts that I quickly grasped and held onto as I evolved into my current role at GURUS and they helped us achieve greater success at every turn - to the point where the company had its best year yet in 2020! The Marketing team has also grown and become a lot more sophisticated with so many great facets. We really have a powerhouse team.
How has your team grown in the past 4 years since you started?
When I started at GURUS, it was just John (our Marketing Manager), Ivan (our Designer) and myself on content, campaigns and communications. We had a lot of work ahead of us, but teamwork is so strong at the company that we rolled up our sleeves and played many roles. It has never been a “me, myself, and I” philosophy at the company.
I had the great opportunity to work with a number of different and excellent Marketers during my time at the company and they each brought in their own knowledge and experience, which was fantastic. It was incredible to see that growth firsthand from the start to where it is now.
Were there any constants you noticed throughout your career? (ex: management style, culture, etc.)
Culture is the heart of GURUS. The company events, the people, the general openness, all of it made every day feel less like work, and coming in to work towards a common goal with incredible people. I made friends that I have had adventures with, that I’ve travelled with to places like Las Vegas, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose & San Francisco with, and that I’ve happily had beers with at the company’s Friday Happy Hour. There has never been a dull moment in my journey with GURUS and I cherish all the great memories I’ve made with the wonderful people I’ve met there.
Our project teams regularly work with each other, and we help each other out in terms of knowledge sharing as well . We are actually encouraged, and pushed to share our knowledge through our multiple platforms. There are specific onboarding processes that require knowledge sharing and collaboration as well. You’re assigned a buddy on your first day, and have multiple training sessions with different departments. We really value collaboration over competition.
What, in your opinion, makes a great digital marketer?
Someone who is excited - to learn, to discover, to meet people, to try new things and fail and keep trying. Everything else is learned over time, but you have to have that genuine excitement at your core.
Is there a particular experience or memory that sticks out as a highlight of your career here at Gurus?
Attending SMX (Search Marketing Expo) in California was an eye-opening experience. As part of my learning journey at GURUS, I was encouraged and given the opportunity to attend the massive Marketing conference with specialized sessions on everything SEO, PPC/SEM, analytics, content marketing, CRO, technical SEO, marketing technologies, Google updates, and more.
I came back with a very different perspective on the technical side of digital marketing. It was such a great experience as it was my first time attending a Marketing conference of its size, with the leading experts across all major industries and from every part of the world.
How was working with the GURUS Product team as the company takes on the transition from a professional services business in the NetSuite ERP space to a product company with its own IP?
I had the great privilege to work with our first ever product team on the go-to-market for these powerful solutions geared towards Oracle NetSuite clients. I worked closely with Neil Stolovitsky, who is an incredible talent and a rockstar when it comes to everything NetSuite and Business Intelligence. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of such a landmark moment in GURUS Solutions history, as they transition from Professional Services to a Software company with their own unique solutions for the market.
What advice do you have for future Gurus?
Be a team-player, take every opportunity to listen and learn something new, and always find a way to enjoy yourself. No one takes themselves too seriously at GURUS, it’s a fast-paced environment, but everyone is laid back. Enjoy the laughs, the friendships, the events and the challenges that will help you grow, because time passes quickly when you’re building great things with great people!.