Minute with a Marketer: BMO’s VP of Digital Content Talks Strategy
BMO Financial Group serves more than 12 million personal, commercial, corporate, and institutional customers in North America and internationally. We chatted with Rachel Gerds, the bank’s vice president of digital content, North America, about her team, recent milestones, and 2016 marketing goals.
Q. Please share a bit about your role and your company.
I head up our social media and digital content teams at BMO Financial Group. BMO (pronounced bee-mo) is a great place to work – we have the breadth and depth of a large global financial services company offering products and services to a spectrum of audiences, and we also have an awesome culture that’s a blend of familial and inclusive. These things don’t always go together! My schedule is nuts; it’s true what they say, that no two days are alike. But I get to laugh a lot most days, whether at my own expense or because of the smart, witty people I have the pleasure of working with. (Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I have the coolest job at the company!)
Q. What are your marketing goals for 2016?
On the long list of goals, the one that’s on my mind is the need to reset our strategies – we perform tons of great work in both social media and digital content, and both disciplines have evolved organically at the bank in the same way they’ve evolved in a more general sense. This year, we need to press pause to be intentional about working efficiently, integrating, and tying our efforts to the big-picture business and brand goals of the company.
Q. Is there one thing you are most proud to have accomplished in 2015?
We truly integrated our Toronto- and Chicago-based digital content teams in 2015. While we performed plenty of strong, strategic work last year, the integration of the teams – which lets us take advantage of similarities across borders, increasing ROI – is one I’m most proud of, because people are the most important part of my job, and this change was really about the people and the way we work.
Q. What was the best piece of business advice you ever received?
If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. It’s my mother’s version of, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” the famed Wayne Gretzky quote. There are so many opportunities I’ve had that would never had come my way if I hadn’t spoken up or raised my hand. Thanks, Ma!
Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer – specifically a litigator. This aspiration is the product of countless childhood arguments with my brothers and too many “Law & Order” marathons. Dun-dun!