Practitioner Spotlight--Margaret Uttke

Practitioner Spotlight--Margaret Uttke

April 3rd, 2019

Name:

Margaret Uttke

Office:

St. Paul, MN

Practice Area:

Marketing

Area(s) of expertise:

Solutions Marketing, Sustainability Reporting and Communications, Digital Marketing

About Me in 240 Characters:

I would describe myself as a Shakespeare nerd who loves the outdoors. I’m an avid backcountry hiker, a bit of an athletic klutz, jewelry designer, and a fiendish writer by night. I very much enjoy nerding out over new trends and technology when it comes to marketing and communications.

Favorite Thing about Being a Marketing Practitioner:

The variety of things I get to do and the different people I get to work with.

What is the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?

Working as the Communications Director for the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER). I’ve found it fascinating to watch a group of competitors collaborate and have so much fun leading the way in improving not only their businesses and environmental sustainability but also leading other industries to do the same. Honestly, it’s such a great group. Sitting in the room with Pepsi and Coca-Cola talking and setting aside their competition to work together on bettering the environment and finding best practices is amazing. It’s such a crazy collection of whip-smart people, too. I get to work with so many different marketing and communications professionals in a variety of different companies to message not only BIER’s work but also their own companies’. We are an allied voice, and I love working with everyone there.

What are some of your favorite tools/resources for professional development in marketing?

I’ll try to keep it short and list a few of my favorites:

  • For business to business (B2B) companies, Marketing Profs, hands down. Professional membership is worth it! And it's run by the awesome Ann Hadley who has great advice. They have a handle on the trends and it’s huge for anyone at any point in their career.
  • Access to the digital marketing Twitter community. You can learn a lot from leaders in the industry from just listening. You can engage in short discussions or ask the community questions—they are personable, down to earth, and great for crowdsourcing and answers.
  • Attending conferences like Marketing Profs B2B, Inbound, or our local MN Search Summit can help you meet people and learn about the hot new topics in marketing.
  • Along that same line, finding a marketing mentor outside of your industry to get their unbiased perspective, feedback, and advice is very useful!
  • Lastly: working with great partners and vendors. Finding the right people to work with is a huge deal—in our case, we are looking to implement some new marketing tactics and our partners have put me in touch with leading experts in these new areas. They are a great resource for us!

What is a key ingredient for success as a marketing practitioner?

One thing, especially in digital marketing, is not being afraid to experiment and fail. It makes me think of Ross Simmonds and his idea that you shouldn't be afraid to create wildcard content. You may end up finding something that is awesome and works in your program. There are also times when it’s a big fat flop, but it’s not having a fear of failure combined with the awareness to recognize and be agile enough to move away when something isn’t working. Failure can really help because you can analyze why something doesn’t work to shape the aspects of your marketing that do work.

A key to this “experimentation is okay” mindset is company culture. Being in a place that allows you to learn and grow, like Antea Group, gives you more opportunities to diversify and gain new experiences. We end up participating in the leading edge of marketing—a lot of environmental marketing is far behind current trends—and it’s nice that we get to experiment with the hot new ideas to carry our marketing forward leaps and bounds.

The third thing that is absolutely necessary for success is having a great team—and that you all share the “not being afraid to fail” mentality. Having a team that can try new things and incorporate them into our strategy for the future is the best.

All of these pieces are keys to success. Or as I call it, the success cocktail: shaken not stirred, the perfect Marketing Pink Drink™ (sans umbrella).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

It was between English teacher (which I did do for a while) and marine biologist. The second one didn’t work out because I hated biology. Oh yeah, and my third and last option was secretly discovering an alternate universe where I could be a wizard. That didn’t work out either.

What was your first job?

Cake decorator and bakery grunt (i.e. I hate angel food cake because I know what wet angel food smells like in the pan…wet dog).

If you had one month off, where would you go or what would you do?

New Zealand. I would backcountry hike and camp and look at all the Lord of the Rings set areas. Or Alaska in the backcountry, except my bushwhacking skills are lacking and I’m afraid of being eaten by a bear. Or… I'd go to Italy. I’m an art history minor and the baroque and Venetian renaissance are my favorite periods. I would go from city to city drooling over frescos and oil paintings in some old crumbly church.

Is there something unique that people might not know about you? (hobbies, hidden talents, etc.)

I’m a writer in my free time—secretly staring off into space somewhere in a coffee shop where I’m thinking of blowing pirates off a ship or witches casting spells. I dabble in fantasy, humor, and romance writing. I really enjoy backcountry hiking and going out for weeks by myself, there is nothing like being in the backcountry. No phone, no email, no nothing. Just me, nature, and maybe the bear or moose threatening to step on my tent—or battling with a bushy-tailed woodrat all night as he terrorizes me at my campsite. The woodrat won, unfortunately.

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