Women in Industry: Jennifer Hill
COMPANY: RMH Systems, Inc.
TITLE: Marketing Manager
TIME AT THE COMPANY: Five months
I am responsible for development and execution of the RMH marketing strategy. That means I oversee the communication channels used to promote RMH to our customers and prospective customers. Because RMH is right at about 100 employees we’re small enough that I get to wear a lot of hats and have the opportunity to collaborate with leadership, sales and all support teams. While this can sometimes be challenging, it is also one of the things I love most about my job. As I’m working to expand our digital presence for our five divisions, I will need to enlist the help of the full RMH team. A big part of my job is to simply educate and be a “marketing evangelist” by promoting the power of a multichannel, sales-integrated approach. The good news is, nothing so far has been “typical” about working for RMH – I mean that in the most positive way. I love the variety and the opportunity to jump in wherever I’m needed and where I see opportunity without a lot of red tape to go through first. I came to RMH from a very large global company, where I managed a large team. I spent a lot of time in standing meetings (whether they were needed or not), updating spreadsheets, filling out forms and presenting ideas and campaign results to clients and senior management. I had reached the point in my career, where most of my time was spent talking about marketing instead of being a marketer.
Building a Foundation
At RMH, I get to BE a marketer again. And because of our unique culture and supportive leadership, I feel empowered to implement new growth strategies and explore future marketing opportunities. I’ve been with RMH for five months and I’m currently still planning and building a good marketing foundation – coming up with ideas to support our strategic objectives. This includes exploring new vendor partners and technology to streamline processes, developing working content, evaluating sales support needs and responding to industry trends. While I’ve been a marketing professional for nearly 30 years, the Material Handling Industry is new to me. Therefore, I’m asking a lot of questions and devouring as much information as possible from resources such as MHEDA. When I’m not working on a campaign, or completing the day-today marketing tasks, I’m connecting with very supportive RMH colleagues along with other industry marketing professionals – all have been really helpful in understanding this very dynamic and expansive industry.
Go For It
New to the industry myself, my advice to women entering this industry would be, “Go for it!” I’m so glad I did. The industry is expansive, there’s abundant opportunities to learn, innovate and make significant contributions. In my previous role, women by far outnumbered males in our office. Working with more men, does create a different dynamic but I can honestly say, I feel very supported and respected by both the men and women I’ve met and from the RMH Team. I think it helps that at RMH, our culture empowers each of us to make decisions based on what’s right for the team and for our customers. RMH is very customer centric and I think that what unites us and fuels growth. When you have a team of people working toward the same goal and are really passionate about what they do, you focus on leveraging each other’s strengths for the greatest outcome. I don’t think anyone really considers whether those strengths come in the male or female form. We just band together and do the best job we can for each other and our customers – at the end of the day everybody wins.
While women represent more than half of the workforce, they represent less than a quarter in the STEM fields. There is no denying there still a lot of work to be done to find a better gender balance in our industry, but as more women choose STEM careers, we will get there. I think one of the most important things companies can do is create career paths for women. There’s been several studies that site businesses with female leadership outperform all-male led companies and increased diversity often translates to greater innovation. Women bring new perspectives. I think one of the most important things we can do to attract more women to the industry is to educate women about the many opportunities that are out there and break down the old stereotypes that may be discouraging women from seeking well-paid, flexible, fulfilling jobs. Both male and female Material Handling professionals need to be proactive in recruiting more women to the industry by promoting the many benefits. Championing an inclusive work environment, creating mentor opportunities and increase overall outreach to women will help attract and retain more women.
I definitely would not be able to do my job without my colleagues. As mentioned previously I’m also very dependent on industry resources to provide the background so critical to marketing success. Data gives us customer insights and the marketing technology stack now makes accessing that data and creating and sharing content manageable. But it’s the sharing of in-depth personal knowledge that really help ensure we are delivering the right message to right people. I’m lucky in that I can choose from a variety of experts within our five divisions to gain valuable insights that speak to our customers’ needs. Partnership with suppliers has been really helpful. Resources like MHEDA that bring that expertise together is really important and is making the learning curve easier.
The Most Important Tool
There are so many different marketing tools out there and the arsenal grows every day. But when it comes down to it, communication is the most important thing that I do and would have to say, Email is still the main vehicle for sharing ideas and following up. We are exploring a new CRM right now and I’m hopeful that will help bridge sales and marketing better and will transform how we work. I am also test-driving a few new cloud-based tools right now that I am hoping will help us create more branded content. As they say, “content is king” but I want to make sure what we share is our voice and is reflective of who RMH really is. My goal is to find tools that help us share our expertise, drive home our value proposition and capture the friendly outgoing RMH personality. I never want to lose sight of that.
Strong communicat ion is EVERYTHING. Like many companies, we use email, Slack, Dropbox, presentations and the list goes on to communicate to each other and to our customers. However, one of the things I love about working for a smaller company is the ability to converse. I think sometimes it is easy forget the value of picking up the phone, jumping on a Zoom call or even better, having an in-person conversation, when its possible. Email is great and serves its purpose but non-verbal communication, and context is so important and I’ve found it is often the quickest way to get a comprehensive answer.
Keys for Success
A good marketer is curious, is both creative and analytical, adaptable, and must be a team player and good communicator. Throughout my career, I’ve been most complimented for my creativity and ability to build relationships. I’m proud of that. I think creativity stretches beyond designing and writing. Creative people embrace innovation, bring new ideas to the table and encourage collaboration. They are also good at finding alternative ways to solve a problem – all of which have been instrumental in my marketing career. I think creativity and curiosity go hand-in-hand. Having the desire to learn, opens your mind to possibilities and enables you to think in a new way. If you think about it, those who are open minded and curious, naturally welcome others’ points of view, which is fundamental in relationship building. It’s all connected. A big part of a marketer’s job is to understand the core wants, needs of a customer and finding engaging ways to connect products and services to those needs. Being open and curious about customers’ needs is step one and finding creative ways to address those needs is step two and step three is making sure your message finds its way to your customer.
One of the first things I did when I started at RMH was to sign up for a MHEDA/MHI Women in Industry Week webinar, “How to Market & Keep Selling in Tough Times.” Since, I have not had a lot of time to engage with the Women in Business MHEDANET Group as much as I would like to, but I look forward to attending networking meetings events and taking advantage of learning opportunities. I’m in the tele-network program where I was able to connect with a group of welcoming, supportive women. I’m really excited to connect with them in the coming months. It’s very reassuring to know there’s a group of women willing to help, share experiences and maybe have a good laugh together too.