Speaker Interview: Erin Monday

This month, Triangle Marketing Club is excited to host Erin Eileen Swanson Monda, who goes by her “superhero” name Erin Monday. She will be sharing with the TMC audience how to rock your social media and produce ROI. Along with other useful strategies, Erin will also be teaching us how to grow our social medias and use storytelling to keep the attention of a very distracted audience. Erin is the Senior Manager of Nutanix right here in Durham. I was lucky enough to speak with her before the event and learn a little bit more about herself and her background.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

My legal name is Erin Eileen Swanson Monda, but I go by @ErinMonday — it’s sort of a public, digital persona. Like a Superman and Clark Kent thing. Six years ago, I was Communications Director for the Research Triangle Park. Enter your typical marketing person — list serves, websites and such. Early on, I toured the state to meet with various communities over the course of two months. I saw how beautiful North Carolina is; I saw how kind and good its people are. And also, how they suffer — poverty, starvation are very, very real in many parts of the state. In Fayetteville, one of the regional leaders broke rank in this really elegant room full of crystal and linen and cried out from the back — back of the crowd — and it changed me forever. Paraphrasing, but it was something like, “Why won’t you people help us? We’re in the muck. We are trying to pull ourselves up, but we can’t. Can’t you see? We’re trying, but we can’t.” Everyone else handled it gracefully. Me? This was the final grain of sand, the tipping point. I was shook. Haunted-in-my-dreams shook. This is where you can visualize the Rocky montage. I hit the gym every day, ate lean, got my hair did, learned how to put on makeup, started dressing sharper, and decided to become someone who would help. Who could help. I had no idea what I was doing. But I had seen enough superhero movies to sort of get the gist. NC needed to be heard. And what is marketing for, if not that? The Monday persona made her debut at a NCTA dinner meeting; Walt Mossberg, the tech reporter for the WSJ, was speaking to the crowd and addressed us as Cary-Durham. I — she – – stood up and corrected him: “Thank you sir, but we are RTP.” And so it began. From every waking moment on, I was talking up North Carolina, volunteering and trying to help uplift our region’s stories. Started #RTP180.  Partnership with RTP companies and their marketing departments, local organizations, universities, developers, politicians — this was crucial. Partnership with everyday people was important too. Amplification requires buy-in. Trust. They were the voice, the gasoline, I merely helped package and project.

How did majoring in Professional Writing lead you to a career in marketing?

I knew I was a talented writer, and knew I needed a piece of paper to let other people know too. Experience for publishing houses like Hearst taught me enough about the journalism industry that I knew I wanted to go into PR/Communications.

What made you become interested in social media?

Natural trajectory from the PC/web/search era to the mobile/app/feed era. Follow the user.

Why is social media important for a company in today’s business world?

Traditional marketing doesn’t work as well anymore. Email, direct mailer, etc. You need to go where the eyeballs are.

What are some big mistakes that companies typically make with social media?

Being too careful. There’s usually people in positions of power at organizations that don’t understand the medium, from a technical perspective, and they can really hinder things. If you are staying on the safe side of the pool, no one knows you are there. Define boundaries, trust your team and go.

What are some key concepts that you want the TMC audience to take away from your presentation?

Look at your marketing organization. Is most of your collateral for copy/print? Start paring back and find ways to slowly switch over to visual, in-feed, multimedia assets. There are new tools out there these days that make it cheap and easy to make videos and graphics. I will show you. And then we will slay.

I want to thank Erin again for speaking with me and for coming to speak this month. Don’t forget to RSVP to this event on April 30th. We are really excited to hear Erin speak for the TMC audience! Check the Meet-Up page for more details on the event.