Fiona Galey, a Communications Studies major, has had the opportunity to apply her skills in the world of marketing while on co-op. Fiona recently told us about her current marketing position at Salsify, a marketing and media management company based right in Boston. Throughout her co-op, Fiona has been able to experience first-hand the ways in which marketing and communications are connected, and how the skills applicable to both fields will allow her to grow both personally and professionally.
Can you tell us a little bit about Salsify and what the company does?
Salsify is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company. It provides a cloud-based product content management platform to brands and retailers. Salsify enables e-commerce, marketing, and sales teams to create, manage, optimize, and syndicate detailed product content. It basically allows brands and retailers to have quality product content, which is crucial for the success of their products.
What type of work does your co-op position involve? Any highlights so far or projects you’re particularly proud of?
Any and everything the marketing team does – it’s fantastic! I’m getting serious exposure to essentially everything each person on my team does (we have an 8-person marketing team including me), and I’m dabbling in all sorts of projects. My boss is in charge of a lot of Salsify’s content marketing– so our marketing blog, social media platforms/presence, and generally speaking all content that is put out. Working under her means I am always either supporting her or conducting projects of my own in the same area. For instance, every day I filter through dozens of articles pertaining to e-commerce, retail, IT, and consumer behavior to pick the ones we post that best position Salsify as the “expert” of e-commerce. I feel very fortunate to have so much on my plate and to be so trusted by my colleagues to actually contribute to the progress and success of the team, and the overall company.
On my own, I have an entire LinkedIn project I’m conducting, where I’m strategizing how we can successfully target specific audiences and raise awareness of Salsify. I’m strategizing how to best reach “personas” (which refers to people of certain titles/demographics) that could be our potential customers, and to also raise awareness of Salsify. The learning process for that has been fascinating, and has forced me to think about connecting with specific demographics in ways I hadn’t before.
Beyond that, just a few weeks ago I was in charge of researching six potential speakers for a summit Salsify holds annually. I had to figure out who of had the most presence and following online, who was most relevant, and who would be best as our keynote speaker for the summit.
What has been the biggest learning experience from your co-op so far?
Curiosity is key, and even better – it’s wanted! Your professors and parents constantly encourage you to ask questions, to be a curious thinker, and never has that been more relevant. I’ve always been one to ask a million questions; In fact, I’m the type that often worries I have too many questions – but I’ve learned that there’s no such thing. I continue to have loads of questions every day. People are afraid to ask questions because they think it’ll make them seem incapable, when it’s really the opposite. Asking questions exhibits drive and the desire to do your job well, whatever it is.
You’re a Communication Studies major – how does this connect to your position in marketing?
Communications is completely separate from marketing, but there are definite overlaps. Although they’re different majors and you take different courses, you emerge with a very similar skill set. This can include knowing how to best represent yourself, someone else, or even an object and therefore market it. Both also involve understanding the importance of specific messaging and how others will interpret it, and being able to look at results and gauge what works and what doesn’t. Studying communications undoubtedly equips you with the skills and knowledge necessary in a marketing position.
How do you think your co-op experience can be applied to your Northeastern education? After you graduate?
Returning to classes in the fall, I will have knowledge and experience I couldn’t have possibly acquired in classes. I’ll be able to think about content and conversations from completely novel perspectives, and will have insight in areas I had previously known nothing about. I look forward offering commentary that will contribute to class discussions. It’s empowering to have experience in something you previously knew nothing about; it makes you excited to gain even more experience and to hear about that of others. There’s no doubt in my mind that once I’ve graduated, I’ll have a much clearer understanding of what I want to do with my life – the fact that by then I’ll already know so much about myself professionally and personally is liberating.