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HERstory: Maria Marchewka

Senior Manager of Brand Marketing @ Newswire

Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on Maria Marchewka’s vibrant journey through her marketing career. From cutting her teeth at agencies like Flying Cork and MASSolutions to molding the brand narrative at Newswire, Maria is the embodiment of evolution in the marketing realm.

She’s a staunch advocate for human-to-human (H2H) marketing, has an arsenal of savvy tools up her sleeve, and her transition tales between content marketing and brand management are nothing short of enlightening.

Whether you’re a fledgling marketer or a seasoned pro, Maria’s insights are bound to sprinkle some inspiration on your day. Ready to ride this wave of wisdom? Let’s dive right in.

Welcome, Maria! Your career path is one to be admired, with your extensive content and social media marketing experience agency-side at Flying Cork, MASSolutions, and Brick Media, and now as the Senior Manager of Brand Marketing of the leading PR distribution platform, Newswire.

In your time at Newswire, you’ve made a significant transition from your content marketing background into your current position as Senior Manager of Brand Marketing. Can you share how your expertise as a content marketer prepared you to excel in brand management? Did you experience any unexpected challenges in navigating this transition?

My past experiences, whether at my agency jobs or freelance work, prepared me for my current position as the Senior Manager of Brand Marketing. Because in every role I’ve held so far, most of my days were spent writing. 

The same is true for my current position. I still spend a lot of time writing, whether it’s social media content, blog posts, educational resources, email marketing campaigns, or sales collateral. Now, because of my past experiences, I’m better able to switch out my creative lens to make sure I’m always viewing the specific project through the eyes of the end user. 

So, if it’s a social post, I need to write in a way that works for the platform. If it’s an email campaign, I need to get to the main point of the content quickly. 

Moving from past jobs where I’d write for multiple clients in different industries at once to solely focusing on one brand has been a welcomed change. It’s allowed me to dig deeper and develop a brand voice that cohesively spans our marketing touchpoints. 

You’ve mentioned being on the receiving end of a well-intentioned nudge towards grad school. Although you ultimately didn’t pursue this route, you reference this experience as a catalyst for seeking out other ways to further your knowledge and develop your skill set.

What were the most useful alternatives you found in your journey to self-educate and sharpen your skills? Do you have any advice for marketers that are on the fence about pursuing advanced degrees?

Throughout my career, I’ve learned the most from doing and consuming.

When it comes to “doing,” I’ve forced myself to try new things because I knew they’d do me good in the long run. Early in my career, I used Upwork to find freelance writing jobs to gain experience. I’ve overcome (and still battle) the fear of judgment to build a presence on LinkedIn. Just this year, I dove head-first into email marketing. 

The common theme of all these examples is trying new things, learning as you go, and strengthening that marketing muscle. It might be controversial to say, but I honestly can’t remember one lesson I learned in a college classroom. The most important and long-lasting lessons I’ve learned have come from experience. It’s made a difference in my career so far and it’s something I continue to do to get better and grow as a marketer.

But “doing’ is only half the equation, the other piece is observing. In this day and age, we can follow the “greats” in real-time. You can learn anything you want thanks to the Internet. To improve my craft, I read books, listen to podcasts, download free guides, and watch tutorials on YouTube. 

But, one of the biggest unlocks in my career has been paying attention to what the senior-level executives do at the companies I’ve worked for. When someone asks them a question, I listen to their answers. I see how they handle certain situations, and I ask my questions to tap into their knowledge. 

In marketing, I think if you focus on doing and observing and pouring yourself into both, you’ll learn and you’ll grow at a rate that brings your career to new heights (without the insane cost of an advanced degree). 

Working at an agency versus in-house can be two wildly different sides of the same marketing coin. After working in both environments, what do you consider to be the most notable differences and similarities between the two? Have any of these aspects changed your approach to marketing or your career overall?

I’m grateful to have agency and in-house experience. Both have helped shape my marketing approach, sharpen my skills, and become a better marketer.

I worked in smaller agencies, and the most notable difference is that you have to wear many hats to get things done on the agency side. I know from my experience there were many times when, in addition to writing content, I had to become a graphic designer (I now consider myself somewhat of a Canva superstar) or produce a podcast, for example. As someone whose main focus is writing, switching gears to assume these roles, though they were good learning opportunities, strained my creative energy.

Now, being part of an in-house marketing team, I can focus more on writing and strategy. We have experts on the team that focus on their areas of expertise like graphic design, SEO, etc. 

It’s great to learn from one another, put our heads together and use our strengths to develop strategies, execute, and analyze the results. 

Though the experiences were different, there are similarities in that there’s a level of scrappiness in marketing.

The “scrappiness” is a bit different from agency and in-house, however, the commonality is you find ways to get things done and well, with what you’re given. 

My time in marketing agencies and now with an in-house marketing team have helped and continue to help me grow as a marketer, learn new things, and sharpen my skills. 

By the same token, your agency experience has given you the opportunity to work with a diverse array of companies and industries. Do you have any tips on tailoring strategies and marketing efforts across a variety of industries? Does the same apply to B2B, B2C, and DTC businesses?

No matter the company or if it’s B2B, B2C, or DTC, you have to understand your audience. 

It’s all about human-to-human (H2H) marketing. 

You have to remember that no matter the industry, there are people on the other side of the screen. Now more than ever, consumers want to build a connection with the brands they purchase from. This means they don’t want to be sold on something every time they engage with your brand. They want to learn something and be entertained. As a brand, you have the opportunity to deliver. Especially on social, you have to treat it like a dialogue, not a monologue. 

And, you can do this by addressing industry FAQs, highlighting your team, asking questions, responding to comments – basically being social on social. 

To understand what works and what doesn’t, you have to test, test, and test some more. 

Testing unlocks opportunities. Whether it’s A/B testing headlines, the color of CTA buttons in a campaign, offers, messaging, etc. 

Marketing is all about reps, doubling down when something works, and adjusting when things aren’t clicking. 

In your recent guest appearance on the Marketing Happy Hour podcast’s email marketing Q+A, you mentioned using tools like OmniSend in your email marketing activities. What other tools do you regularly use in your day-to-day?

I write daily, whether email copy, blog posts, or social posts. Because of that, I created my list of go-to tools that help me

Grammarly – I use the Grammarly extension on my computer, and it’s helped me more times than I’d like to admit. As marketers, we move a mile a minute from project to project. Because of this, we sometimes overlook punctuation and grammar. Grammarly keeps my writing concise and in check.

Hemingway App – I’m guilty of using passive voice in my writing. I use the Hemingway App to break that habit, which checks my text for passive voice. This tool helps improve readability too. It highlights sentences that are difficult to read so you can simplify them. – Our marketing team uses Monday to keep all our content pieces organized in one place. I love the functionality of this platform. You’re able to update the progress of the project and include links, and notes/messages. 

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