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In this month’s Generation: NEXT! we delve into the world of marketing. An ever-important success factor in an ever-evolving playing field, Rayna Naclerio of DDI System gives her advice on how to navigate this terrain. She sheds light on her past/current work while advising up-and-comers how to better market themselves in the process.
Danielle Galian: How did you get started with DDI?
Rayna Naclerio: I started with DDI System almost seven years ago. I was looking for a position that allowed me a stronger focus on the marketing aspect of my career. I began as their first full-time marketing person. I’ve loved growing into the Marketing Director position and building an entire marketing team!
DG: What’s your favorite part about working with people/companies in this industry?
RN: I love the real, down to earth personalities of the distributors I’ve met. The stories of how many of these companies began out of a great-grandfather’s truck and have grown into multi-location businesses that still pride themselves on the “personal touch” are fascinating to me. In this digital age, it’s refreshing to meet people that still value person-to-person relationships.
DG: What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
RN: Outside of work, my daughter is my world. Since she’s only 8, my hobbies tend to revolve around her. We hike, go to the movies, get our nails done, find new restaurants, play board games and spend warmer seasons on the soccer field. I’m also an avid reader and love to try new things.
DG: What’s your favorite book?
RN: My favorite book currently is a series – I’ve almost completed the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanowich. I love the ability to get lost in this fun and easy read at the end of my day. The characters are witty and charming, and come across as everyday people that could be my best friends! I find myself laughing out loud every night and that is something I absolutely treasure when getting lost in a book.
DG: You have an incredibly well-rounded background in marketing. What’s your top tip for millennials to market themselves, whether it’s for a job search or personal online presence?
RN: My advice today is simple — stay connected. Jobs these days are becoming much more about who you know to even get the interview. Network, join young professional groups, use LinkedIn for a professional profile. Just be sure you’re portraying yourself as a person others not only want to hire but want to work with.
DG: What’s your top tip for companies marketing themselves?
RN: I actually just co-presented at our User Conference on this very topic! I’ll tell you the same thing my presentation covered – keep an open mind to the avenues where your prospects spend their time. They are reading industry magazines at work – but don’t overlook the amount of time they are spending on social networks, texting others, or looking at e-mails. Reach them through multiple avenues including print, e-mail and social opportunities. Don’t get stuck in “what we’ve always done.” The world as we know it is changing and we have to stay on the edge to remain relevant.
DG: Conferences and meetings consistently discuss innovation as a make it or break it move for companies. Can you give our readers some insight into the latest marketing innovation/trends that boost online presence?
RN: I don’t always buy into “trends” – that term suggests the coming and going of opportunity. I like to think of marketing as an “evolution.” As our behaviors as individuals change, so must our approach toward marketing. I see social and e-mail advertising as current and future hot spots. They not only keep a company’s name in front of their customers, wherever they are, but they also drive web traffic and SEO results. I have watched a lot of e-mails turn away from sales-only messaging as well. A newer focus on personalization, product expertise and highlighting of community involvement are driving new prospects that want to engage with companies, not just place a one-time order. Thinking outside the box in the social and e-mail arenas will definitely make a positive impact —and one that doesn’t go away.
DG: You are also an accomplished graphic designer. What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on prior to DDI?
RN: Thank you! I was in the design business for over 10 years prior to joining DDI and love the creativity that went with designing print pieces, websites and even short videos/animations. As my path moved more towards marketing and building a team, I no longer have to design every day, but always jump in when the creativity sparks! With DDI, my favorite design project was the branding and collateral surrounding the first User Conference I took the lead on. Not only was it fun planning the actual conference, but running with a “drive” theme allowed a lot of creativity in designing a race car-themed logo, signage, forms, event website, presentation templates, etc. The overall look was cohesive and exciting for both our team and our customers.
DG: Do you have a favorite motivational motto or phrase?
RN: When I was in seventh grade I moved cross country. When I left, a friend hugged me and said “My greatest gift to you is to see yourself the way I do.” At the time, I laughed. Over the years that statement has become extremely important in my life. We tend to be so hard on ourselves as human beings. I believe we need to stop and realize our impact on the lives of people around us. I surround myself with amazing, energetic, thoughtful, empathetic and brilliant people. I want them to know what they mean to me, and what an inspiration they are on a daily basis. I end up repeating that phrase often!
DG: As a director and designer, creativity is of the utmost importance. How do you keep that creativity alive and flowing for you and your team?
RN: Inspiration is everywhere. I have visited cemeteries to take pictures for catalog covers, I have pulled inspiration from car ads to sell software, I’ve gone to photo shoots where I ended up being the model “legs” when we needed a picture of a little girl hugging mommy. Pulling from life experiences, being present to what’s around us, and being able to think quickly can really get the creative juices flowing! I encourage my team to look at things differently. I ask them to picture their best-case scenario with the craziest of ideas – and figure out ways to make it happen. When my team works together and positively pushes each other to think outside the box, upside down and sideways, we accomplish more at increasingly higher standards. I’m consistently impressed with what we can deliver on tight timelines and the new, fresh ideas we produce.