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Risk for Reward: Why Calculated Risk is Crucial for Designing Your Career in Marketing – Clair Byrd [SSM036]

Mar 27, 2017 5 min readPodcasts
Photo of Hailley Griffis
Hailley Griffis

Head of Communications & Content @ Buffer

How does someone with little-to-no marketing or social media experience go from a line cook to Director of Marketing for some of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies?

By taking calculated risks.

As humans we naturally tend to forget that stepping away from the norm and trying things that are inherently risky can actually be a good thing in both our personal lives and careers.

Clair Byrd, Director of Competitive Marketing at Twilio, has seen first-hand how being fearless can translate directly into career growth for marketers and social media managers. It has led her to where she is today and allowed her to work on some of the most revolutionary projects in the industry.

Join us as we unravel Clair Byrd‘s incredible career story of how she went from cook to marketing superstar. Clair shares how she approaches marketing and how every single move she makes is a risky, but important decision in her career.

A huge thank you to Clair for jam-packing this episode with actionable wisdom and takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking to take their career to the next level.

How to listen: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

This episode is available on:

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Clair Byrd shares her incredible marketing journey and how she has been able to be honest with herself to identify strengths and weaknesses in her skill set in order to develop as a marketer. You’ll learn what it takes to grow and thrive along with some other awesome things like:

  • Clair’s career path from Chef to Director of Competitive Marketing at Twilio
  • Thinking strategically about career changes and developing your skills
  • The idea of “mise en place” and what it means for social media and marketing
  • 50/50/50 and the art of brevity in marketing
  • The importance of transferable social media and marketing skills

3 Key Takeaways for Marketers Looking to Take Their Career to the Next Level

In Clair’s words…

1. Transferable Skills

The idea of transferable skills is something that I don’t think gets enough attention in the marketplace in general – where you can take someone from a different industry and they can totally blow your mind with something you didn’t even know was possible.

2. Being fearless or willing to fail

Willing to fail or not being afraid is what I’m more interested in for people. Be honest with yourself with the success or failure of the thing that you took a risk on. That’s where it becomes important and where there is a clear distinction.

3. Stepping away from competition

Find something that makes your product or your brand unique – a differentiator from the marketplace. It’s not necessarily about your product or your features, it’s about your point of view. If you can encapsulate that and step away from your competition by becoming a unique voice with a unique point of view, you will be able to attract an audience.

A Great Moment

Clair Byrd: Social Media Marketing Skills
“Being in social media is more like being a poet. You have to be incredibly impactful and distill everything down into 140 characters or less.”

– Clair Byrd

Awesome People and Stuff Mentioned in the Show

Clair Byrd: Design Disruptors

Favorite Quotes

  • To do that I needed to understand a number of things… including how savvy businesses operate, interesting ways to market your products, and interesting ways to increase margins (your gross margins on products.)
  • Something that was foundational for me in the kitchen was “mise en place,” or, everything in its place. When you are creating a dish in the kitchen you have to have every single little piece prepared before you even start cooking. That’s how I approach life and my job.
  • I had to learn what marketing actually was. I don’t have a formal background in marketing – I just had a relatively decent ability to write for audiences.
  • Mentorship in the beginning of my career was very challenging to find and so I crowdsourced my education online.
  • The content vision is always challenging. Content is such a great long-tail program, though it takes time to build readership and show ROI. But it is a very sustainable, long-term program. Being able to measure your impact beyond vanity brand metrics is really important.
  • Lots of people get stuck in the “progress not perfect” mentality, which I think is a very powerful thing… But the balance can be very hard to find.
  • Risk is where the reward is… I’ve always found that my best programs have always come from a place of immense risk.

How to Say Hello to Clair (and us)

Clair Byrd would love to hear from you on social media! You can find Clair on Twitter here and on LinkedIn here. And if you’d like to see one of the coolest marketing projects (ever) – Check out DESIGN DISRUPTORS.

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a podcast for marketers and social media managers looking for inspiration, ideas, and results for their social media strategies. Each week, we interview one of the very best in social media marketing from brands in every industry. You will learn the latest tactics on social media, the best tools to use, the smartest workflows, and the best goal-setting advice. It is our hope that each episode you’ll find one or two gems to use with your social media marketing!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

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