By: Koren Hairston
Welcome to The Vital Life, where we spotlight Vital Proteins employees. This week, regional field marketing manager Koren Hairston gives us an inside peek at her hectic work week.
On a regular basis I am asked one of two questions: “What exactly is field marketing?” and “Are you ever not working?” The answer to the first one is actually easy to define; field marketing is marketing in which brands get their products in front of consumers “out in the field,” whether it’s through retail, events and/or street marketing/guerilla marketing, etc. You’ve probably encountered it at some point in your day-to-day life. The second answer is no, I am always “on” and the day doesn’t end at 5 p.m. for me, which makes every day different and interesting.
When asked to write a blog post for The Vital Life about my role here at Vital Proteins, I immediately thought, “Wait, which day – an event day or my admin days?!” When your role involves so many moving parts all leading up to one or multiple events, it’s hard to narrow it down to one day. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to let you all in on what a typical work week looks like for me.
I like to start my day with my favorite collagen combination. This includes Colombian coffee with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, our Defense Collagen Shot chased with a cup of orange juice, and usually some sort of bread (I can’t say no to carbs). It’s my favorite way to reset my body after an action-packed weekend that consisted of chatting and providing collagen education to all sorts of people. Once I’m hydrated, caffeinated and showered, you can catch me rolling into the office in the Vital Proteins Tesla.
For most people, Mondays are the start of the new work week. For me, it’s the end and beginning. It’s the wrap on an event weekend that led to writing recaps, gathering photos as well as reviewing sampling and data numbers while also discussing the pros and cons of each event with my team. This day speeds by due to a lot of meetings and data gathering.
This is typically my heaviest admin day of the week due to it being the marketing team’s review day. I am in the office early, so I can utilize multiple screens and take advantage of our amazing barista, Becca, before she gets busy. She makes the most amazing lattes that really give me the kick I need (ask for the Mocha Koko – you won’t regret it!)
Once meetings are complete, I get going with a lot of event research, responding to emails, meeting with our accounting team, creating the schedule for the field marketing team, taking events sponsorship calls and ensuring we have all the assets we need for the upcoming weekend’s events.
Here at Vital, Wednesdays are for catered lunch! It doesn’t matter if I am in the office that day or not, I always attempt to make it in time for lunch because that means treating myself to coconut milk brownies and catching up with my co-workers. Wednesdays are what I like to call the calm before the storm. I usually have a bit more bandwidth on my schedule and am in fewer meetings. I try to knock out a lot of admin work in the first half of the day and then begin “field errands” after lunch. Field errands sound like normal daily errands, but it actually may sound quite weird to most shoppers. Here’s an example of what I typically have on my shopping list:
My shopping partner, @konathefrenchiest
As I run around stores, people probably assume I’m planning a kidnapping or something scarier. After I get event supplies, next stop is FedEx for my printing needs and usually to ship something to a future event. Then it’s off to the storage unit or the Vital Proteins warehouse, where I am either dropping things off, organizing or cleaning. Once my storage stop is complete, it’s back to the office to finish up admin work and hop on a few conference calls.
In field marketing, we have a saying: “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” This isn’t a negative way of looking at the job but more so a way to make sure you’re prepared for all possible scenarios. Thursday is the day that everything typically goes wrong but it's nothing to worry about since everything is “figureoutable” – this is my favorite made-up word and what I come back to, to stay positive during any obstacle. Learning to roll with the punches and think on your feet is how you keep from being discouraged. This can include an event you had scheduled getting canceled, a team member calling out sick, product not making it in time for an event, or an event vehicle breaking down, etc.
Event of the Day: My field marketing team typically does guerilla marketing on Thursdays, which is actually a type of event that's easier to activate since it’s all about agility and being where the people are.
9 a.m.- 8p.m.
This is event preparation day or load-in day. This means it is all hands on deck when it comes to loading the event Sprinter vans with appropriate assets, taking inventory of everything going in the vans and coming out of storage, and assigning team members to drive the vehicles. That’s just the physical part of the load-in day. Either the night before or the morning of, I am writing the run-of-shows or the game plan for each event, ensuring everyone knows where to be and what the sampling plan is. It is pivotal that you are organized and mentally ready for this tedious day because if you can make lists and have everything written down, you’re golden. My inner Marie Kondo comes out when we pack the vans for events because things need to go in according to how you want to take them out.
6 a.m.-12 a.m.
Most events happen on the weekend so when I say I don’t work a typical 9-5, this is when it becomes apparent. With the usual event beginning at 8 a.m., this means the field marketing team is up and doing pre-set-up at 6 a.m. It helps when the event allows you to set up the night before, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It’s not me setting up solo and doing events. My associate, Allyson, and I work hand-in-hand with the team to set up and activate events.
On average, we have three events happening on the same weekend at similar times. You’re probably wondering how we make this happen, but it really is all about organization and knowing where each team member needs to be and what their duties are. I utilize the Tesla to move quicker through the city to be present and check on each event and team member. I’m picking up ice and snacks for the team and extra assets to drop off at the events.
After the last event – which can be a street festival, concert or gym opening – on Sunday, all the vehicles are brought back to our home base aka storage and unloaded. This means cleaning the assets, counting product being brought back for event recaps and making sure we brought all the items back from each event.
After all of that, it's time to sit back and reflect on the awesomeness that we managed to pull off. Then it's time to go to sleep before doing it all over again.
Photos: Courtesy of Koren Hairston