Member Spotlight: Alaina Beaird

AUTHOR: Jennifer Hasamear, Cole & Associates, Inc.

Tell me about your role at CMT, how long have you been there, and how long have you been a member of SMPS.

After graduating in December of 2016 with my bachelor’s in English, I joined CMT (Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc.) in April of 2017. In my current role as a Marketing Coordinator, I assist in developing proposals, internal and external presentations, and print marketing collateral (brochures, ads, etc.). My specialties are graphic design and content editing and development. I’ve been a member of SMPS since December of 2017.

Since joining SMPS, what do you think you have gained the most from being a part of this organization?

When I joined CMT, I was completely new to the industry of professional services marketing. Joining SMPS was a game-changer for me in understanding the nuances between what we do versus traditional (B2C) marketing. However, what I think I’ve gained most from SMPS is the chance to help elevate my team, both in recognition and performance. Last spring, we won our first STL SMPS Marketing Excellence Award in the Special Events category, which gave us a chance to both receive recognition for our hard work, as well as see the great work other marketing teams are doing within our industry. This exposure has allowed us to challenge our creativity and output even more going into 2019.

Since you are still a student, you offer a different perspective into this industry. What are your thoughts about the AEC industry and marketing?

I’m currently an MBA student at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Just this past week, my marketing professor gave a lecture about the power of positioning your company’s product from an emotional perspective. For example, the McDonald’s slogan—I’m Lovin’ It—has nothing to do with food, and yet it sells. In other words, many successful companies in B2C marketing appeal to how a product makes the consumer feel, not just the actual utility the product is providing. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do this same thing in B2B marketing within the AEC industry. After all, we provide more than just professional services to our clients. Whether that “something extra” comes in the form of providing clients knowledge, confidence, or peace of mind, all of those things are strong differentiators that we can use to better market our firms.

What are your plans after graduation? What are your plans for the future?

I just started my degree this January, so after graduating in December of 2020, I’m planning to continue growing my marketing career with CMT. In the long term, I hope to move up into leadership positions focused on marketing management and strategy.

When you went into Marketing in school, what were your original plans? And why?

When I set out to study English for my undergraduate degree, I had no idea that I would end up in the marketing field. In fact, because writing and grammar are my fortes, I initially wanted to be an editor. I worked throughout college, so as I progressed in my degree while getting more real-world experience, I began to understand how valuable clear communication and writing skills are, particularly in the business world. It also happened that photography, graphic design, and visual arts had always been passions of mine, so it was ultimately easy for me to connect the dots to a marketing career after graduation. In addition, because I don’t have any academic background in business or marketing, I’ve always hoped to go back to school for my MBA.

What is something you love to do outside of work?

Outside of work and school, my husband and I love to travel. This definitely goes hand-in-hand with my love of photography. We’re hoping to visit Germany, where my brother is actually in college working towards a degree in electrical engineering, later this summer.

What is one thing you already own that you know you can’t live without? And why?

I’m sure everyone says this, but I don’t think I could live without my phone. Hopefully it’s not for the reason you expect, though. I’m a runner, plus I have to commute for class, so both come with long stretches of time. As a result, I’m always plugged into something, whether it’s an audio book or a podcast or even just NPR. I love to learn new things (literally constantly and everywhere), and my phone makes that possible.

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