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A day in the life of a marketer: Christina Emery

Learn from the experts. Discover the people behind marketing in our industry.

Christina Emery joins us in discussing what being a marketer at Springer Nature is like.

A profile image of Christina Emery - a white woman smiling, stood against a pale background white a vase of white roses to the side.

Hi, my name is Christina Emery, and I'm Senior Marketing Manager, Thought Leadership Programmes Strategy at Springer Nature. I am excited to participate in this blog series because these interviews provide useful insight into different roles across our industry.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!

My journey and career to date

When I was younger, I wanted to either write novels or run my own café or shop. It's been a real journey from those ideas to where I am today! I studied French with German and have had a range of jobs both in the UK and abroad. My career has included everything from teaching, organizing events, and writing for and editing magazines to working for the European Patent Office, an insurance company, and a career consultancy.

After graduation, I embarked on this 'squiggly career' mainly because I didn't know what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I loved languages and connecting with different cultures. I later realized that my language skills and pedantic nature (sorry… 'keen eye for detail') could translate well to a career in book publishing, so I moved back to the UK to give it a go, aiming for Editorial Assistant roles. I invested in the London School of Publishing's Editorial and Proofreading course to improve my skill set, as I had plenty of transferable skills but no directly applicable qualifications.

In 2013, Frances Pinter gave me my big break in publishing, for which I will always be grateful. She took me on as Administrative Executive for Knowledge Unlatched (KU) which started off as a not-for-profit organisation crowdfunding to make academic books open access (OA). The role grew, and I was ultimately promoted to Partnership Manager.

Because the organization was small and Frances so knowledgeable, I learned a lot, fast. I also became a passionate advocate of OA. My role was extremely varied, ranging from liaising with publishers and authors to making sales calls to libraries worldwide to crowdfund pledges for each collection, testing user interfaces for new platforms, and reporting on usage statistics for our OA books.

KU was bought by a company based in Germany, and as I wanted to stay in the UK, I looked for another London-based position. The role of OA Books Marketing Manager was advertised at Springer Nature, and although I hadn't worked formally as a Marketing Manager before, my KU role had involved putting together a marketing strategy, planning campaigns, copywriting, hosting webinars, presenting, updating the website, handling social media as well as working on public reports. This practical experience was enough to land me the job, and I found that I really loved it! I have now been promoted to Senior Marketing Manager, Thought Leadership Programmes Strategy.  

My typical working day as a Senior Marketing Manager

My role involves developing and executing Springer Nature's thought leadership marketing strategy for topics that are important to our B2C and B2B audiences. These audiences include researchers, authors, institutions, companies, funders, and governments.

Thought leadership is a valuable way for us to share insights, expertise and solutions with key communities whilst also ensuring that Springer Nature is part of the conversation about the future of scholarly publishing and the changes that might need to be made in the policy space. 

My morning routine starts with checking email and Slack. I then do a quick scan of industry news before checking my calendar to see whether there are any meetings that I need to prep for. Finally, I put together a daily To-do list to prioritize the work I will tackle. Because my role involves a lot of collaboration with other people and teams across Springer Nature, I may have anything from a couple of meetings on a light day to up to eight meetings when things are really busy.

In between meetings, I work on pulling together case studies that are relevant to our audiences, as well as more formal white papers. I also draft proposals for conferences, work on event outputs and work with colleagues to adapt and repurpose work that has been produced with thought leadership in mind for more specific content marketing purposes.

Finally, one of my favourite parts of this job is the opportunity to use my knowledge to support the OA community. For example, I contribute to the creation of tools to help researchers engage with the possibilities of OA publishing. The OAPEN OA Books Toolkit is a great example of this.

I used to eat lunch 'al desko'. However, I now try to eat elsewhere and go for a short walk to re-energize for the afternoon.

The highs and challenges of my role

I love being part of the academic community and participating in important conversations about how the systems and people shaping the future through their research can be supported and heard.

However, a career focused on trying to create positive change in the world inevitably involves frustrations. Feeling excited about the possibilities for change but knowing that getting there will take time, and the efforts of many, can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming.

Finding that ‘wow’ moment – being inspired to take action 

I've recently been enjoying exploring different AI tools. There are so many different types and ways they can be used, and I am really excited to think about what they will mean for research and research communication. I am lucky enough to be part of a pilot where we have access to some tools to see how they can help marketers. I've even started using generative AI in my private life, which is a real-time-saver!

I get inspiration for my work from a wide range of sources, but three of my favourites are:

  1. FT Longitude Thought Leadership Masterclasses – a free masterclass series which gives a really great overview of thought leadership marketing as well as examples of best practices from different industries

  2. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) – useful blogs on a range of topics across marketing and communications

  3. HubSpot – useful free online courses such as AI for Marketers and Inbound Marketing

The best piece of advice I have ever been given

I've been lucky to work for several inspirational women over the years, and each has offered me a valuable new perspective. But to pick just one piece of advice, it would be to go in search of work that you truly care about. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to simply follow their passion, but when you love what you do, it is much easier to shine.

If I were to give two key tips to someone working in marketing right now, or looking to start their career, they would be:

  1. Approach the beginning of your career with an open mind and think long-term. Your first role may not be your dream job, but it can be a stepping stone in the right direction.

  2. Remember that understanding your audience's/customers' needs, motivations and pain points is key to delivering content that they will want to engage with. There is so much out there competing for our attention these days – content works best when it addresses a real need.

If money was no object…

Thinking back to my childhood dreams, if money was no object, maybe I would open my own café! I'd also love to be able to have the time and energy to volunteer. I've previously enjoyed volunteering for Food Not Bombs and the Lewisham Donation Hub for example, or I'd be interested in an animal rights or environmental organization.

Picking guests for a late-night talk show

If I had my own late-night talk show, who would I invite as my first guest and why? I enjoy listening to best-selling author Mark Manson's podcast 'The Subtle Art…' because of his no-nonsense life advice. It'd be great to have a discussion with him about his philosophies on life, the world of business – and maybe he'd even have some advice on how to solve some of the issues in scholarly communications, from an outsider's perspective!

We have loved exploring Christina's story and insights today – we hope you did too! Discover more great resources to inspire your marketing:

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