As the “Elle Woods of digital marketing” as she calls herself, Courtney Morrison’s path to marketing was a unique one.
And like most marketers, that’s not uncommon. In MKTG WMN alone, we have our fair share of “off-the-beaten-path” marketers who started their careers in different corners of the working world. In our community alone, we have lawyers turned content writers, political directors turned executive coaches, acquisition marketers turned communications specialists; the list goes on!
Whether you start in a completely different field or go from one end of marketing to the other, there’s one thing every marketer has in common: A big appetite to learn and challenge themselves. It’s that innate curiosity that drove Courtney from entertainment to content marketing — and it’ll be that same curiosity that challenges others to take a similar risk to find what they love to do.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Courtney to hear more about her career transition, how she still applies learnings from the entertainment industry to her work today, and one piece of advice she has for future up-and-coming marketers.
Courtney: Once upon a time, my first paid job was as a hostess at Outback Steakhouse. I continued to work in hospitality through college (even taught some mixology classes in NYC 🍹). I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up so I moonlighted as an intern with some incredible companies — PSB, Atlantic Theater Company, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Columbia Business School, and ultimately NBCUniversal. I ended up working at NBCU for six years in entertainment content research and strategy.
From there, I moved to AT&T to learn about content distribution and sales intelligence. That’s when I found my real passion: Brand partnerships, data strategy, and you guessed it — marketing. In 2019, I left AT&T to pursue some creative opportunities and worked in Utah for the Sundance Institute on the Corporate Partnerships team. I learned so much and made a lot of incredible connections there.
Fast-forward to the last six months and I was promoted at a tech startup called EveryoneSocial, launched a rebranded podcast and webinar series, and planned a conference for leaders to connect in the employee advocacy industry. Due to budget constraints in the Marketing Department, I was let go. I’m currently searching for my next marketing job and using this time to focus on family and my digital content company, Fairest Way.
As I reflect on my career path thus far, I realized I moved into marketing after working in content research for 10 years because I want to bring people together through stories and hope. Through marketing, I can apply what I learned through innovative campaigns to any content marketing role.
Courtney: I’m a dabbler! I love learning new things and exploring. That’s probably why I travel so much and love connecting with people all over the world.
But it’s my research experience that makes me a unique marketer — I understand audience behavior and love talking to people about how they think and why they love certain products and experiences.
Courtney: Entertainment is one of the most important marketing strategies that I know. We only have so many hours in a day — and people pay attention to marketing that is helpful, timely, and connects with emotions.
I read a lot of books on this topic and the more I learn, the more I see how positive news, marketing, and education systems are benefiting our society. Marketing is not just an ad or a video or a meme — it’s magic that connects people and ideas.
Courtney: Marketing is not for the faint of heart. You will be tested. You could be fired — even when you’re doing a good job! Your ideas could be shot down. Your teams may not listen to your ideas. Your own bosses may not understand why you do what you do. You might not be paid enough money.
But, if you like connecting and understanding people, experimenting, researching, and trying new ideas, this is the field for you. Good luck out there and if you ever need any advice or questions I’m happy to connect.