Endless Opportunity in a Collaborative Community

By Kaitlyn McKendry of Vicinity Manufacturing

My marketing journey began when I needed to officially select a major. At the time, there were no designated advisers to the ‘undecided’ group. Marketing seemed general enough, so I selected it with the thought that I could always change it later, though I never did.Kaitlyn McKendry

As a recent college graduate it can be unnerving to transition to a professional environment. I applied to Vicinity Manufacturing with the hopes to polish my networking skills and put some tangible real-world experience onto my resume during my senior year at Kennesaw State University. Since joining in August of 2012, I have far surpassed my goals.

I’ve learned a lot within my role at Vicinity, the way a child learns how to swim after being thrown in. As a small organization without a team of department resources, collaborative efforts can be limited at times. We all wear multiple hats.

From day one at Vicinity Manufacturing, I have been given creative freedom to pursue new things, channels, ideas, and develop as a professional. I’ve grown from intern tasks such as stuffing envelopes and list maintenance to organizing campaigns and working to optimize our use of CRM as a whole. I have been able to pursue passion projects that coil with and support our marketing goals, and pick up various responsibilities all while learning new things.

I am always hungry for knowledge, new tips & trends. I do my best to stay active in our local Atlanta AMA chapter as an outside source of new information. Being connected with like-minded individuals is a driving force of inspiration that helps keep me from overthinking things myself.

Over the past few years my role has evolved across various marketing functions. As I have attended more events, been introduced to and worked with different partners, my genuine appreciation for the entire community has really been cemented. The Microsoft Partner channel is an amazing resource, allows me to stay connected, collaborate, and share ideas with peers in similar roles or pursing similar efforts in general.

I am a firm believer in accepting as much feedback as possible to produce the best outcome. As an individual I can tend to get caught up in striving to get things right. Last year at reIMAGINE, I sat in on Peter Matejcek’s session and one of his slides has become my mantra the past year: “90% is good enough”. The idea that the last 10% to perfection has diminishing returns stuck with me. Adopting this methodology has helped me shred insecurities about my work by encouraging other people within our organization to weigh in on the last 10% or reach out to a marketing professional who I admire to get their quick opinion.

Our content engine has flourished since taking this initiative. It has helped our sales cycle stay on track, made it possible to provide additional documentation for current clients, and allowed me to achieve a better overall understanding of our product and what works for Vicinity audiences.

The open community among marketing professionals within the Microsoft ecosystem was intimidating as a newcomer. Today, it is simply an amazing resource for a second opinion or avenue to see where other marketers are having success. I have been fortunate enough to participate in both The Genius Series and the BBC Marketing Group. I am constantly impressed by the accomplishments of my peers. Being a part of this bigger group has helped me to establish and embrace my role and encourage our entire team to help fuel marketing.

I think overall, I’m still a bit “undecided”, but my marketing journey has offered countless questions and seemingly endless opportunity. Through the different focuses and various tool sets available, I find satisfaction in everyday challenges while learning and achieving new things.

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