Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International

“Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said. Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals. I look around social media and there are so many people labeling themselves as marketing “ninjas” or “gurus”—and using the brand they work for to propel their own personal brand or fame. The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. What are a few tools you believe are key for social media marketing success? 1 – A measurement tool. 5 – A team communications tool. 6 – A “go-pack” with tools and resources to create content on the go. We’re Off to Meet More Wizards I’d like to sincerely thank Beverly for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches social media and content strategy. Thank you, Beverly.

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Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary digital marketing tactic, giving brands the opportunity to create meaningful connections with their desired audience. But as most brands have found, the secret to social success isn’t achieved with a simple click of the heels.

Most often, the road to success is long and winding, requiring smarts, courage and heart to drive your message home to your audience. Of course, many marketers experience a few wicked hiccups along the way—all of witch require creative and holistic solutions.

The good news is that you can always look north to find colorful and creative inspiration from talented marketing sorcerers—like the intelligent, witty and tenacious Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Ms. Jackson arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you navigate new lands, improve your social media strategy, and drive business value in the changing social landscape.

Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Beverly is a child of the Midwest, growing up in Chicago. But while the rest of the neighborhood kids were outside playing and running around, Beverly was inside with her eyes glued to the television—watching the news.

“That was my Kansas,” she said. “I was obsessed with wanting to know about everything that was happening in the world. That’s when I became a news and political junky.”

With her passion for news and politics in tow, after high school Beverly headed to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University.

“I thought I would become either a television journalist or a justice on the supreme court one day,” she recalled nostalgically.

After completing her bachelor’s of science in marketing, Beverly launched her career. But not in marketing, but in environmental policy.

“Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said.

After working for a handful of different environmental firms, Beverly went on to get her master’s degree in public administration.

“I wanted to keep doing my environmental work and save the planet,” she said.

So, after years of environmental work, how did Beverly become the marketer she is today? Keep reading.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

By the late-1990s, Beverly had built a successful career in the environmental space. But while working on a project in Alaska, a figurative twister rolled through.

“I got so sick that they needed to send me home.” she recalled. “I had no idea what was happening to me, and spent about four months being poked and prodded by doctors.”

“As it turned out, I have a rare blood condition, and being in the presence of harmful chemicals and contaminants took its toll,” she went on. “So, I couldn’t go back to that kind of work. At that point, I did what my parents always taught me to do: rely on education.”

When Beverly recovered, she enrolled in a Women’s Extension Program, taking a series of personal interest and career assessments to learn where to go next. One of the assessments she took was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which revealed that she was an ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) personality type—a category that only 2-5% of the population falls into.

“I found out I was in the completely wrong career, which I already knew—but I had fought against it,” she said with a laugh. “I found out that I needed to be involved with innovation, technology, advertising and marketing.”

“And that was my twister event,” she went on. “I stopped taking calls from recruiters about environmental positions, and put my energy into getting into advertising.”

Her first advertising position was with J. Walter Thompson, where she played a role in developing interactive advertising tools in the early days of digital. Since then, she’s worked for Interactive Search, Octagon Worldwide, The Recording Academy and Yahoo!. Today, she’s based in Las Vegas heading up content and social media strategy for MGM Resorts International.

Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion

Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals.

For Beverly, her Scarecrow is Evan Greene, The Recording Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Evan was always there to be my and my team’s advocate. He trusted my intellect and skills, and he believed in me,” she said.

Her Tinman, is John Reese, who was her boss and the president of Interactive Search.

“John has a heart of…

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