Editor’s Note: Jill Selick is the founder of Rubix Marketing. After 15+ years in brand management and communications, she has acquired extensive and broad-based experience in consumer marketing, which allows for the development of winning strategies that meet client objectives. She has worked in both Canada and the US on some of the world’s top brands such as Tylenol, Band-Aid, Neutrogena, Aveeno, Elastoplast, Nivea and Penningtons. Over the years, she has set the strategic framework for dozens of different brands with a clear roadmap to achieving long-term success, and has been the champion in delivering the action plan to get there.
Jill was a McGill Dobson Cup judge in 2018, in the semi-finals of the SME track.
Her path after college
My first job after my BCom at McGill was at Johnson & Johnson. I got the job through Desautel’s Career Centre. At the time I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do and when I had met with them, they told me about this great opportunity there. I wasn’t even sure this was the job I wanted – I thought maybe I wanted to travel, but once I met the team and understood what the job entailed, I fell in love and spent 8 years there. It was the breeding ground and foundation for my marketing career- I worked with really smart people and learned a lot. I had the chance to work on 8 different businesses in the 8 years, and I have McGill to thank for that.
One thing lead to another, and after deciding to build my life in Montreal I ended up at Beiersdorf, which owns brands like Nivea. I was there for 5 years, and shortly after that, I decided that I wanted to help smaller companies who didn’t have large marketing teams. So a year ago, I founded my consultancy: Rubix Marketing. We deliver marketing plans, business plans, brand DNAs & architectures for small-to-medium businesses (and sometimes big ones) who don’t have the in-house resources to optimize their marketing.
A typical consultancy would just deliver the plan and walk away. We actually like to talk about strategy and action. So we build a plan and then make sure that all the right tools are in place for the implementation.
Marketing is more about the consumer and moving the needle forward on the business than the tools.”
How she approaches marketing
There are so many different tools that exist today that didn’t exist when I started. But the guiding focus for the plans we build are the business’ objectives and what their consumers want. And we make sure to set objectives with clear KPIs. If we don’t reach those, we didn’t do our job properly. So for us, marketing is more about the consumer and moving the needle forward on the business than the tools, which change constantly depending on the time and the goals.
How she learned what she knows
I was given a lot of opportunities to learn during my time at Johnson & Johnson which allowed me to work on projects that startups wouldn’t necessarily work on. Keep in mind that I knew very little when I started: I was 22, just finished school, and good grades don’t mean anything in the real world, so I was lucky to learn from all the people around me. Working in a big organization helped because I was able to absorb everything from people who were really smart. If I had started in a smaller company, I don’t know if it would have been the same.
Diversity in my learning experiences has really important for me. In a short period of time, I worked on a lot of businesses. At Johnson, we had a philosophy thatyou couldn’t work on a business for more than a year – they’d move you over to a different thing. They always challenged us with new projects because once you get to year 2, you sometimes become a little more complacent. I strongly believe it’s important to work on different things instead of doing the same thing over and over again.
I’ve worked on CPG, health, and skincare for a long time Now, I touch a million different industries: restaurants, tech space, finance, retail fashion. Every time I enter a new industry, I’m learning and challenging myself. And then sometimes I’m able to apply something I learned in one industry, to another. For instance I may learn a tactic that works in the restaurant industry and be able to apply it to a fashion company I’m working on. At the end of the day, the consumer-focus is still there so the principles still apply, but I’m learning through different filters. You get to learn about the industries as well. So my advice is: touch a lot of different things and take every opportunity to learn.
Take on different responsibilities at work besides your primary focus because then you can learn all the other facets of the business”
Advice she’d give to a fresh graduate entering the real world
This may not be advice you want to hear, but there can’t be the expectation that you’ll have all the answers with just textbook knowledge and zero experience. Things don’t come easy – you have to work really hard. Take every opportunity you have to learn and keep in mind that you have to work harder than everybody else, and seize every moment. Take on different responsibilities at work besides your primary focus because then you can learn all the other facets of the business. Never stop learning.
Marketing book recommendations
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- Growth Hacker Marketing
- Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign